This is a public issue of Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice. Feel free to share it!
Hi friends! In case you missed it, I removed the paywall from last week’s newsletter issue, “Volume 4, Issue 7: Filling the Well,” so feel free to read and share.
Nicole and I are slowly but surely unpacking our home and trying to get back into some routines. I think I’m getting my book-reading chops back and I’ve spent some quality time outdoors with people I care about and looking forward to continuing with more people. I expected more meltdowns that I have had and honestly, I think I’m hella traumatized and grief can’t be scheduled or forced so I’m doing my best to take things day by day. On the plus side, my pink lemon tree is having some growth spurts and the leaves start out as pink before turning a variegated green and yellow situation.
It’s resource week so let’s get to it!
One of the things I have been working on lately is being less judgmental about the foods people are eating, specifically around food that looks unseasoned or food that I have personally tried that I do not like. I know it’s a trend to make outrageous food videos online and I’m not talking about that. I definitely judge people wasting food for “content.” But if there is a video or photo of someone’s food going around and I don’t necessarily think I would be interested in eating it, I have been practicing saying, “I hope they enjoyed that” or “I hope it turned out how they wanted” or something similar. I used to be a huge asshole with my opinions about food. Total food snob. I have actively been working to undo that.
“Authentic” is not a word I ever really used when talking about food aside from maybe regarding a pizzeria certification from AVPN - Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. That being said, "Question Your Understanding of 'Authentic' Food" got me thinking about the use of the word in whole new, disturbing ways. As always, language matters and the language people use when talking about food from cultures other than their own is no exception.
Anna Sale is the host of the Death, Sex, and Money podcast and this book is an extension of that show. Sale wants us to have those conversations that we are avoiding, sometimes even for years. As you can imagine, content warnings for a bunch of hard things, especially around death including infant death.
The author’s argument is that we all go through these particular hard things and by avoiding the conversations that could actually help us and our relationships, we end up isolating ourselves and maybe even making things harder to deal with than they already are. The book is divided into five big buckets of “hard things” by chapter: Death, Sex, Money, Family, and Identity.
The bulk of the book is actually stories upon stories not only about the author but folks she has interviewed for the Death, Sex, and Money podcast about the hard conversations they’ve had in their lives or that they wish they had in their lives and how that experience of having (or not having) the conversation has affected them. In the introduction and at the end of each chapter, which, again, is full of stories, Sale offers up what she has learned about how to have such conversations. She does such a phenomenal job of acknowledging not only that these conversations are hard but also how they are hard and then the importance of having them anyway.
Personally, I am remarkable at avoiding conversations, especially around and with family as well as conversations around death. One quote in the book was, “Family is where we tend to lose our maturity” and wow, that hit close to home. I can’t say that after reading this book I was excited to have all these conversations, but recently I have been forced to have some of them. I am deeply grateful to have read this book a couple years ago because I felt like I had a bit more support and bravery around these incredibly hard conversations and topics.
That’s it for this week! You can shop any books I’ve mentioned in this newsletter at my affiliate shop, The Infophile’s Bookshop, and support independent bookstores. If you want to send me some snail mail, you can find me at P.O. Box 21481, Oakland, CA 94620-1481. If you are a subscriber and would like for me to send you some happy mail, feel free to give me your address.
If you enjoy this newsletter, here are ways to show your support for my writing and resource curation (other than spreading the word and upgrading your subscription, of course!):
Buy me a coffee
Leave a tip (PayPal)
Leave a tip (Venmo)
Where Else to Find Me