“Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn’t she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn’t a person with discipline; that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don’t eat the whole cake. You don’t eat a cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that’s safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what’s served on the happiest days of your life. This is a story of how my life was saved by cake, so, of course, if sides are to be taken, I will always take the side of cake.”—Jeanne Ray
I couldn’t. Every weekend is somebody’s birthday, every weekday is a glass of wine with a friend, a finally getting around to the gym, a trip to the store to find something useless I’ve needed for months. I don’t have the time. Sometimes, many times, I want to. I dream of places with open space, leg room, sunlight, and forgiveness.
I do not look at New York like a love and I do not look at New York like the way you look at things you blindly love. I look at New York City like something that could never love me back and more often than not, I am resentful of that. Sometimes I am jealous of the people who hold it tenderly, who look at it as a vast jungle of pizza slices and opportunity. Those people believe more strongly in baseball, in coffee, in bagels than I ever could. The distaste I feel leaves me no closer to leaving than yesterday. I tick off the reasons why not and finally, settle on “cue that skyline at sunset” and a place nearby that serves decent Bloody Marys.
New York City makes you angrier than you were before, specifically at people. People who innocently grab the subway pole near you, or take your seat, or bob their head to headphoned music, or walk slow, or block your entryway to the bodega freezer. You become immune to real things on the way to whiskey bars, you wish you could scream your name and have a flicker of recognition somewhere, and you know that you cannot. You walk past police tape on the way to grab a sandwich. You rent an apartment in areas where your presence forces people out of it. You hear stories of people getting shot, and they are a cough swept under the rug. Your only thoughts: the quickest subway route, the money in the bank, when will I go on vacation. You become a planet slowly orbiting in the middle of nowhere: if you lose your keys your friends are oh, so far away to help you. If you cry, nobody notices. You are responsible for keeping yourself in orbit, and all too many times you forget how. A weekend out in the suburbs or Massachusetts reminds you only of how you are out of place and how you dress funny and it still keeps you dreaming of someplace different. This place, you feel, might not exist.
In New York City, the elements are soot, fire, tap water. You buy expensive face cream to imitate what the sun and open air do. You believe love is in dark corners, you believe 4am is a decent time, you cannot leave your phone anywhere or it will be gone forever.
Some days, like yesterday, I pulled out Google Maps and it wasn’t working and this made me feel so critically alone I thought my chest would burst. Where would I go, I thought, and I had no answer so I just kept walking. I found where I was because I kept going, and in that moment, I remembered why I liked New York City so damn much. It kicks you, I think, and almost pats you on the back while it is doing so.
And maybe, sometimes in the spring, I love baseball a little more. I use “smear” in instructions to the bagel man. I walk on cobblestone streets and feel the sun on me and try something like a dosa or a street taco. I meet a friend who has become a room to me in the house I am trying to build. I feel greater successes, I wipe my tears, I keep going until I find the place I am looking for. New York City is not my lover but it is my toughest love. I want to leave, often, but suspect I never will.
Then again, here I am on the subway ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and the city skyline still feels like a miserable, beautiful beast I’m not sure I’ll ever be allowed to claim. (via The Frenemy)
5:30 - Wake up 5:31 - Well, I’ve got another hour and a half, so I’ll go back to sleep. 5:32 - Sleep, dammit! 5:33 - 1:27 minutes til alarm goes off. 5:34 - Is alarm even on? 5:35 - Paranoid out of mind, check alarm. Hmm. Okay, it’s on. 5:40 - 1:20 minutes til alarm…I should sleep… 5:42 - Is alarm even on? 5:45 - Paranoid, check alarm. Okay. It’s on. 5:47 - What if somehow the alarm doesn’t go off and I wake up at noon?! 5:48 - Not like it will matter, since I’m not asleep to begin with. 6:00 - Mrrhh!!!! I have to wake up in one hour!!! 6:01 - pleasefallasleep pleasefallasleep pleasefallasleep 6:02 - Falling asleep just as soon as I check my alarm again. 6:03 - Okay. It’s set. 6:07 - Wait. Did I set it for radio or buzzer? 6:08 - Better make sure the radio station is coming in clearly and volume is up. 6:10 - Okay. All set. Time for sleeping. 6:16 - Hey, what is that? Is that a spider on the ceiling or just a shadow? 6:17 - I think it moved. 6:18 - [squinting at spot on ceiling, concentrating very hard] 6:19 - No, definitely did not move. Shadow. Sleeping now. 6:20 - Ahh yes, sleepity sleep. Sleep sleep sleep. Sleep-o-rama. Sleeptastic. 6:21 - The Sleepmeister. 6:24 - Is the alarm set? 6:25 - What if the power goes out and alarm doesn’t go off? 6:26 - Better set cell phone alarm, just in case. 6:29 - Okay. Now I’m really ready. 6:30 - Mrrhhh!!! I have to wake up in 30 minutes!!! 6:31 - determined to close eyes, sleep, take advantage of last 29 minutes 6:32 - determined to close eyes, sleep, take advantage of last 28 minutes 6:33 - determined to close eyes, sleep, take advantage of last 27 minutes 6:34 - determined to close eyes, sleep, take advantage of last 26 minutes 6:35 - determined to close eyes, sleep, take advantage of last 25 minutes
If you have a partner or are close to someone who struggles with depression, you may not always know how to show them you love them. One day they may seem fine, and the next they are sad, distant and may push you away. It is important that you know that as a person who is close to them and trusted by them, you can help your friend or partner have shorter, less severe bouts of depression. Mental illness is as real as physical illness and your partner needs you as much as they would need to be cared for if they had the flu.
1. Help them keep clutter at bay.
When a person begins spiraling into depression, they may feel like they are slowing down while the world around them speeds up. The mail may end up in stacks, dishes can pile up in the sink, laundry may go undone as the depressed person begins to feel more and more overwhelmed by their daily routine and unable to keep up. By giving your partner some extra help sorting mail, washing dishes or using paper plates and keeping chaos in check in general, you’ll be giving them (and yourself) the gift of a calm environment.
2. Fix them a healthy meal. Your partner may do one of two things when they are in a depressed state. They may eat very little, or they may overeat. In either case, they may find that driving through a fast food restaurant or ordering a pizza online is just easier than fixing a meal. Eating like this, or neglecting to eat will only degrade your partner’s health, causing her to go deeper into her depression. Help your loved one keep her body healthy, and her mind will follow.
3.Get them outside. The benefits of getting outside for a depressed person are huge. And it is possibly the last thing on earth your partner will want to do. Take them to be somewhere in nature. Pack a picnic and lie in the sun, take a leisurely hike or plant a garden. Being barefoot in the dirt, or “earthing” helps ground the body and reverse the effects of living in a world of emf’s, and digging in soil can actually act as an antidepressant, as a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of seratonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety. Sunshine increases Vitamin D production which can help alleviate depression.
4. Ask them to help you understand what they’re feeling. If your partner is able to articulate what they are going through, it will help them and you better understand what you are dealing with, and may give insight into a plan of action for helping your partner. Also, feeling alone is common for a depressed person and anything that combats that feeling will help alleviate the severity and length of the depression.
5. Encourage them to focus on self-care. Depressed people often stop taking care of themselves. Showering, getting haircuts, going to the doctor or dentist, it’s all just too hard, and they don’t deserve to be well taken care of anyway in their minds. This can snowball quickly into greater feelings of worthlessness since “Now I’m such a mess, no one could ever love me”. Help your loved one by being proactive. Tell them “I’m going to do the dishes, why don’t you go enjoy a bubble bath?” can give them the permission they won’t give themselves to do something normal, healthy and self-loving.
6. Hug them. Studies show that a sincere hug that lasts longer than 20 seconds can release feel-good chemicals in the brain and elevate the mood of the giver and receiver. Depressed people often don’t want to be touched, but a sincere hug with no expectation of anything further can give your partner a lift.
7. Laugh with them. Telling a silly joke, watching a comedy or seeing a stand up comedian will encourage your partner to laugh in spite of herself. Laughing releases endorphins and studies show can actually counteract symptoms of depression and anxiety.
8. Reassure them that you can handle their feelings. Your partner may be feeling worthless, angry and even guilty while they are depressed. They may be afraid that they will end up alone because no one will put up with their episodes forever. Reassure them that you are in the relationship for the long haul and they won’t scare you away because they have an illness.
9. Challenge their destructive thoughts. A depressed person’s mind can be a never-ending loop of painful, destructive thoughts. “I’m unlovable, I’m a failure, I’m ugly, I’m stupid”. Challenge these untruths with the truth. “You’re not unlovable, I love you. You aren’t a failure, here are all the things you’ve accomplished.”
10.Remind them why you love them. Look at pictures of happy times you’ve had together. Tell them your favorite things about them. Reminisce about your relationship and all the positive things that have happened, and remind your partner that you love them and they will get through this.
Remember that the New York you loved five years ago is gone, and the New York you re-learn to love right now will be gone soon too, and part of love means accepting change. This is one of the hardest lessons New York has taught me, but I’m grateful for it. (via)
In New York City, we don’t have highways, we have sidewalks. Would you come to a dead-stop on the Interstate just to take pictures of random, tall buildings? No? Then SWEET JESUS, please don’t do it here.