Discover more from THE FEELING by Kate Carraway
THE FEELING: Wet January
Ten big feelings; great knives; resolutions; a Q&A with Anita Grant
Here is my holiday-in-review: “good.” The best part, my true favorite, was my mother describing how she bought a knife for my husband — which included carrying her own knife, the same one that she was about to buy Simon, through a department store in a briefcase — while she was waving that knife, the original knife, the briefcase knife, for emphasis. (This should be “true favourite” in deference to les Canadiens.) (Also: great knife! My mom rules at gifts, as well as low-stakes capers.) The second-best part was that Simon, who needs and wants nothing, really liked the Theragun I bought him, and buzzed the muscles in his tense sports legs into mashed potatoes.
Okay so: here is THE FEELING-in-Review, or, the top-ten editions of 2022:
#10: The Seven Year Itch
“Seven years is a long time. Two years, not seven, is how long it takes for life to really change, according to your pal Kathryn Andromeda ‘VibeKiller’ McGillicuddy Carraway. Seven years, two homes, one dog, one child, infinity. (My darker, private, obsessive math is more like ‘Seven years, one death, multiple profound calamities, negative-several best friends, one dog, five or six unsuccessful attempts at a second dog, three pregnancies, two miscarriages, one D&C, one hysteroscopic transcervical resection of the uterus septum, two rounds of IVF, one perfect glittering-rainbow dream-baby, a relief of additional frozen embryos gently suspended in the midair of maaaaybe, a multiverse of relationship iterations.') (‘A relief' is the collective noun for frozen embryos.)” Read it here.
#9: Cool Exhale
“An important, frequently discussed self-helperie is ‘acceptance,’ which happens to negatively activate my entire system, tip to taint. Even as a well-meaning suggestion, ‘acceptance’ sends a warning signal that travels up and down my vagus nerve, and washes my gestalt with battery acid. It feels weak, like giving up, like tacitly agreeing with something it is important to reject and defy. Being soft and yielding as part of self-care and self-preservation and ‘life management’ is essential — ‘IT IS IN YOUR BEST INTEREST TO FIND A WAY TO BE VERY TENDER’ — but ‘acceptance’ has always seemed like the rotten side of the soft stuff.” Read it here.
#8: I’m Still in My Dream
“Okay, so, back to four a.m., pitch-cold and ice-black, with the sunrise alarm clock, with or without the birdsong feature, and drinking room-temperature water with lemon (I would put out the lemon and cutting board and knife the night before, a tabula-rasa tableau) and then taking a KC Bulletproof coffee (two shots of espresso blended with a quarter-teaspoon of coconut oil and a dash of cinnamon) into bed with me for journaling and meditation (which, along with hypnotherapy, are the wellnessy things that have helped me the most over the last ten-ish years, just for FYIsies), and then right into work, no internet, just my pink Himalayan salt lamp, my pink desk, and my pink brains.” Read it here.
#7: This Is the Most Fun I’ve Ever Had
“I remember thinking to myself, with the bright-white lucidity that is only really available in the seconds after you wake up, and when you’re away from your regular life, ‘This is the most fun I’ve ever had.’ I could tease out the specifics of why this particular day and night and event and moment, for me, meant so much (elements of wholesomeness and chaos meeting right in the middle; of randomness and newness and sweetness; of being released from a tether of familiarity and barrel-rolling into space while also being snugged up next to my bestie, on my right; of the punk poetics, the simultaneous vibes of insiders-only and the demand that everyone, everyone, is part of it) (and getting to a Big Feeling like that, in collaboration with someone else, when so much of friendship is about sustaining a promise more than it is acting on that promise, has something to do with it) but I’m more interested in the fact of the awareness I had, in the moment.” Read it here.
#6: Maybe I Do Know It All
“Knowing it all, having to know it all, usually happens by force, by imposition. It would be much more relaxing to know nothing, to not have that urge, sparked in our case studies by trauma and animated by the subsequent hypervigilance, to just, you know, exiiiiist, incurious and dull.” Read it here.
#5: That’s My Type
“For me, the uneasy juxtaposition of being a dreamy, phantasmagorically inclined, vibed-out lovey-baby Dizzy Bitch (Pisces moon) and a rigid, rules-y, analyzing-assessing-assured Boundary Kween (Capricorn sun, Capricorn rising) meant that I was never out there ‘looking,’ anyway. ‘Looking’ for love, for a particular version of love, satisfies neither aspect. (I would go down, hard, trilling in agonized embarrassment, to be ‘out there’ like that. Which is not to say I’m against it! Just, I would dissolve!) Instead, whenever I found myself crushed out it was like waking up, still high, among the leaves and branches of the forest’s understory, a mix of Puck’s love-in-idleness potion and Chanel’s ‘luminous cream’ gloss in black rubbed on my eyelids like so much cosmic dew, orchids growing out of my mouth, looking for a pollinator.” Read it here.
#4: “Struggle Buddies on the Low”
“What describes all of that shit without smoothing over the idea that we are still wild, mostly feral creatures? Not to be a lifehacky, biohacky guy who drinks blood for breakfast or whatever, but that plain, plastic denial of the animal self is very much the problem with self-help of every stripe, with every morning-routine TikTok and purchased unit of perfectionism and other careful-careful oversolution to the problem of being mortal.” Read it here.
#3: Projections and Predictions
Here is what I predicted for wellness in 2022, let’s see if I was right:
The vagus nerve and the nervous system. Solitude. (“The same way people are trying hard to understand ‘rest’ as something other than ‘lazy,’ ‘alone’ will separate itself from ‘lonely’ in the collective consciousness, which is handy because true aloneness contributes to addressing ‘loneliness’ to whatever degree is even possible in the overthinking, overfeeling human animal.”) “DIVORCE HIM 2022.” Ketamine and mushrooms.
Refusal. (“Saying no, passing, quitting, decluttering, not buying, decommissioning, breaking up, goodbye, adios. The average life is a swamp of optional toxicity and abuse and it’s a huge ship to turn… but it’s turning.”) Teeth. Freeballing. (“I always call drinking coffee in public without a lid ‘freeballing' but let’s borrow it for being out in the world without a phone, which is a constantly blossoming freshy-freedom that is yours for the taking.”)
The Post-Stigma Crash. (“Being super-open about things like, for examps, creating and maintaining boundaries, and including self-care and therapeutic and wellness practices in regular-degular and fake-famous and legit public lives, is beyond normie now; it’s on Microsoft Team meetings (did I use that right? ‘Teams’?) and Midwestern Mom Instagram and, I don’t know, name any celebrity interview that wasn’t just straight-up written by the publicist, which is most of them. But yeah from a practical perspective, in the same way a newly sober or spiritual or healing person is just a fucking mess, the vulnerability-management is being mishandled en masse. But, hey, that’s 2023’s problem.”) Read it here.
#2: “A Crush Is Just a Lack of Information”
“A guy who is too eager (and, for examps, ‘texts too soon,’ or at least without some acknowledgment that it’s too soon, is coded as ‘too eager’ because online dating has made women appropriately skeeved by guys who don’t notice, understand, and participate in the important, if obviously artificial, rituals around who does what and when) isn’t acting right, and from my vantage point as a married mother (FUCKING WHAT???), what most married-or-equivalent women seem to want from their dude is for them to just act right: to say the right thing, to not embarrass them, to understand the social context, to ‘reflect well’ on them. Which is an awkward phrase, and a tragicomic expectation. (Isn’t it wild how dating is set up to benefit men, and marriage is set up to benefit women, and men abuse their position in dating to ghost and scam and fuck and run, and women abuse their position in marriage to transmogrify themselves into tense, mean, grim, bossy mommies to, I guess, impress other mean mommies? Like, girlies, can we just have fun???)” Read it here.
#1: The 100 Best Things I Ever Did to be Happy
I finished this long-ass list in 2022 after adding to it every couple of years. It’s done now, only because “100” is so satisfying, but I have a few more on the go that I add to at moments of revelation or self-righteousness or generosity or self-delight. Read it here.
THE FEELING Q&A: ANITA GRANT
Anita Grant is the author of Hello Hair, “a children’s book designed to show Black girls how to be in a healthy relationship with their hair. The children’s book features 100 illustrated children’s hairstyles to encourage creativity, inspire their ability to maintain their own hair, and reconnect with their personal identity through their crown.” She says “While the book is just the beginning for what’s to come from the Hello Hair brand, my mission is to create books, products and educational material that showcases the importance of self-love through hair care and self acceptance.” It’s nice when something is powerful, purposeful, sweet as hell, AND a banging commercial endeavor, you know?
What about your work has changed you as a person?
The creation of Hello Hair was also the beginning of my inner-child healing journey. I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my negative relationship with my hair and how it impacted my confidence and self-esteem. I’ve learned to be kinder to myself and that it's okay to be vulnerable.
Is happiness something you actively work toward?
Yes, I think it’s easier for our minds to go to negative thoughts before a positive one and life overall can be really tough. I’m very intentional about redirecting my thoughts, surrounding myself with positive people and consuming positive information.
Are you in therapy? If so, what does it do for you?
I’m not currently in therapy but I was in 2019. If I could afford to continue doing so, I absolutely would. I think we all need therapy; it's an opportunity to self reflect, learn new coping mechanisms and release any negative thoughts/energy.
Do you feel like you "choose" your thoughts?
Yes, I believe there is power in our thoughts and our words. Manifestation has been a huge part of my life and I’ve seen them come to fruition, so I’m very intentional.
When do you feel most rested?
Rest is something I’m still working on. I have a difficult time resting when there’s always work to be done, but I know this is not sustainable.
Are you a crier?
Yes! Always have been but in the last two years, the things that make me cry have changed. I used to cry about every business rejection or mishap in my life; now I cry about everything that goes right. New opportunities, successes or positive experiences make me so emotional.
Do you regularly feel guilty? About what?
I grew up with a narcissistic parent; guilt tripping was one of their favorite tactics. It impacted the relationship I had with myself, with others and my overall mental health. But it also played a huge part in my motivation to work harder and make a positive impact in the lives of others. Thankfully, after seeking therapy I was able to relinquish the unreasonable and imposed feelings of guilt. I believe as long as your intentions are positive and come from a place of love, you shouldn’t feel guilty.
In what area are you currently thriving?
I am thriving with being me! If I can sum up 2022, I would say it was the re-birth of Anita Grant. I can honestly say I’m living my authentic self and stepping into my light. I feel like anything and everything is possible!
In what area are you currently surviving?
I’m definitely surviving in this mother/entrepreneur/partner role. Every day you never know what you’re going to get; if your child will be sent home from daycare or if your partner needs you or if business obligations will burn you out. I try not to plan too much but rather just flow with it.
F.Y.P.M. (JK JK)
THE FEELING paid subscription gets you the monthly VIP, XXL bonus edition of THE FEELING, called THE FEELING Diary, and access to the full archive. Do I have to keep doing this little squeak-to-action every single week? Hey, did I tell you about the money-manager guy I met with, who told me it was “inefficient” to write my own stuff? Anyway, let’s help me out-earn Simon so I have more leverage in convincing him to move somewhere with palm trees and dirt roads.
I forgot a few things in my list of 2022 faves for the latest Diary edition which for some reason feels urgent to include here: Ross Gay’s book of essays, Inciting Joy; season three of Barry (which costars a woman who was the older, genuinely cool-girl girlfriend of my high-school boyfriend’s best friend); “Diet Coke” by Pusha T (which recalls my favorite song to hit tennis balls against a backboard to, “Dope Bitch”); “Something Like A Heartbreak” by Tinashe (which recalls my favorite musician to see as an underage corduroy-overall club kid, Esthero). Otherwise, I think I got it. Maybe I should add the Las Culturistas podcast, but is that like adding your best friends? “Amy, Ben, Heidi, Reena and Anna. FAVES!”
Continue making every item in my home beg for its life until the drag of me-until-now has calmed, and the material culture of KC Inc., personal and professional, is a smooth lake.
Lay my eyes upon new outdoor environments, beyond my preferred parks and forests. Which reminds me that if I’m going to go away, like away-away, this summer, I have to get my Google Fingies working. Which reminds me to check my boot size becuase my ankle-boot-style rain boots, my ankle-rain-boots, my rain booties, my cutie-shorties, have grown a fairytale hole (suddenly; magically; meant to teach me a lesson that remains unknown) and it’s been a soggy, wet January so far.
Continue to, just, throw things into my own orbit. What works for me is not deciding to do something but acting as my own (effective; invisible) personal assistant and leaving it out on the bed for my future self to encounter. Like, I packed a little makeup bag for the car, because I leave the house the way I once arrived at a beauty event at Fashion Island, which is to say rolled out of the open door of an SUV and onto the ground, and now I always have, at least, my little second-tier products with me, in a little second-tier bag, when I need them.
I want to make a lot more money this year (to be FAIR to ME, I have been BUSY making a person out of my blood and my bones, but like, she’ll be two this spring, time to boogie).
I have been very focused on “softness” for a few years, but my attention is turning to “warmth,” and honoring that and parsing/investigating that is going to be important.
I love you.
“My fantasy would be Mr. Echo from Lost, dressed as a Mad Man from Mad Men, talking to Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, about what they should apologize to me for, and together they decide that they should apologize for how good pizza tastes. Fantasy complete.” — Gabe Liedman