Some thoughts on Untamed, and also on self care during a pandemic- which you may not have heard of because it doesn’t get mentioned that often?

I’m off to a ROARING start. It’s the fifth day of this month of May and this is significant for a few reasons:

Reason the first: It’s my husband’s birthday and HOOBOY is it weird to celebrate a birthday in the middle of this shitstorm. (I attempted some PR voodoo and branded today the Pandabirthday. Unfortunatey it did not have the intended effect.)

Reason numero dos: It’s Cinco de Mayo. I’m including this purely out of obligation. In reality, (despite my love of tacos, guacamole, and ANYTHING smothered in cilantro) I just don’t care. I can’t drink tequila. Obviously, yes, it’s because I drank too much of it in college on precisely one occasion. That’s all it takes (see also: Gin v. My Husband and Bailey’s Irish Cream v. My Mother.) My intolerance of tequila has been the one consistent fact that I can rely on in a world that is changing constantly. Though it was centuries ago that I was but a wee undergrad dabbling in all of the things, the tequila night was problematic enough that I still. can’t. drink. tequila.

Slight digression alert: I lived in an apartment triplex with super old radiators, and whenever they kicked on for the first time at the beginning of the cold season (I hesitate to call what we experience here in Virginia “Winter”) it smelled OVERWHELMINGLY of tequila. You can probably finish the story.

Digression over, on to the third reason: I’m still trying to finish two April books before I start on May’s pile.

Let’s talk about self care during la pandemia. That’s legit, I Googled it.

I’m not even going to attempt to tell you how to do you, boo. Here are a few well-intended suggestions:

Take a hot bath with a ridiculous bath bomb. This particular tub had one called Savage Bomb and it had a tiny surprise inside. It also smelled amazing (like black opium according to the package.)

Have a glass of wine. Fuck it, I took the whole bottle in there with me.

Use a fun multicolored razor. Once every six months or so, I shave my legs. For something that happens approximately twice a year, definitely buy a new fun razor EACH time. That is rational behavior, pandemic or not.

Enjoy a houseplant that was advertised as low maintenance (and maybe air purifying?) Bonus points if you’ve almost killed it several times anyway, as I have.

Not pictured: Ignoring all responsibilities such as your impending session of final exams, the pile of clean clothes on the laundry couch, the pile of maybe dirty, maybe clean clothes on the floor adjacent to the laundry couch, etc., etc.

Books.

Mix and match. Whatever works for you.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Untamed by Glennon Doyle over the past few nights. This is NOT a book I would normally pick up. It came highly recommended first by a buddy of mine, and also some lady name Wreath. Reef……?

Geese. That’s it.

No. I dunno, it might come to me later.

(Way to be ahead of the zeitgeist, Stacey.)

I have mixed feelings- about life in general, but also this book in particular. I will reserve final judgment until I’m done, but I’ll share a few thoughts.

The dust cover is gorgeous.

The sections of the book that stand out to me involve her children. This shouldn’t be surprising considering I am also trying my hand at this parenting thing- and shit is weird.

A few favorites:

Attendants

In the event of turbulence, terrified passengers look to the flight attendant for cues on what level of panic is appropriate. Keep serving the freaking peanuts!

This is a lighthearted take on the concept, but come along for the ride.

I have a minor phobia of bugs. Okay. You’re right, I said I wouldn’t lie. I am fucking paralytically afraid of bugs. So much so, that I just invented that word. I do not wish this fear upon my current or future children. I believe I have tried very hard to keep serving the peanuts when I encounter a bug in the presence of my child. When not in the presence of the kid- please understand that peanut service will be temporarily discontinued.

In one particularly horrific incident, I found myself the sole parental unit at home one evening when a large insect decided to pop in for a visit. As I was not call able to call upon the resident smiter of bugs, I was forced to take decisive action before my child noticed anything was amiss. I swiftly picked up a heavy coffee table book and casually dropped it on the floor. No other reaction. The book was given a wide berth and was completely ignored (keep serving the freaking peanuts, Tessa) until Dad got home. I’m not sure what the fate of the book was. I imagine I burned it, but honestly I blacked out after the book drop.

Another time the visitor was on the ceiling. Due to the really inconvenient laws of gravity, the book method couldn’t be redeployed. The tot did manage to notice this bug. In a true act maternal heroism, I acknowledged the existence of the creature. Aloud. I told my child that it was just a bug, and it wasn’t here to bother anyone. We calmly went and played with toys in the next room. By the time Dad got home, there was no longer a bug on the ceiling. I’ll never know where it went. Did anyone read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires? If you did, you know where my head is on this one.

I feel like I should just reassure you that we do not actually live in squalor. Rather, in my infinite wisdom, I selected a house in a neighborhood full of fucking TREES and all that comes with them.

Alas, despite my efforts- the poor dude is terrified of bugs.

Case in point- two nights ago- child LEAPS out of the tub like a damn gazelle screaming, “MOMMY THERE’S A BUG IN MY BATH!”

He is in hysterics. Of course, I assume the worst. I prepare for battle. I enter the bathroom. I don’t see a bug. Where did the bug go. Silent hyperventilation.

“Hey, Doodle, I don’t see a bug, I think it’s gone.”

“NO IT’S STILL THEREIT’SRIGHTTHERE!”

“Can you show me?”

He points. I don’t see it. He gets closer and points again. I get closer. I finally see the bug. There is a dead fruit fly on the wall surround of the tub.

He survived!

So……….. yeah. There might need to be a smidge of damage control.

Boys

I loved this whole chapter, specifically because I also find myself responsible for a boy. He will definitely hear me point to men and suggest that they might be poets or dancers or nurses. I will do my best to ask him and his friends questions that may make them feel vulnerable, and foster an environment where they feel safe and loved and not judged.

Today, my son told his dad that he wants to be a teacher when he grows up. I’m thrilled he said it, but I obviously hope that in the next two decades we’ve come to our senses on teacher pay, bullying, gun control, and toxic masculinity. That’s plenty of time, right?

Buckets

I severely loved the concept of the buckets of ocean water. I am sorely tempted to expand here- but I think it’s something worth reading and experiencing in the book first. But if anyone wants to talk about it, you know where to find me.

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