cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

I Am Not Your Negro

From an email

I am in a dark mood today. I am thinking of how easy it is for me as an employed, educated, first world, white skinned person to pass through this life worrying about why I am not more mellow and content with life. I am thinking about how that is a privilege that most people on earth do not have, including very many people I see every single day. I think about how silly it is to be so blind to the reality of what is going on to the people we are friends with, much less the people we will never even know. To think of what it must feel like to know that you are just not as valuable to the world as others for some arbitrary, bizzare reason, and how much energy must go into both overcoming that disadvantage and keeping that rage from destroying you and your family. And here I am, worrying about why I can’t concentrate on my work and how I will manage to save up enough money to pay off my student loans faster so I can start to put money aside so that my future family will have what others cannot dream of having.

Now that I am putting in question many assumptions in my life, next I could start thinking about what I would like for my life’s work to be and how to go about doing it.


open culture

Not sure how I haven’t come across this before, but I am grateful that I now have and my mind is blown.

dix ans à Montréal

שמי סופיה

I am learning how to love with a broken heart.

I can’t sleep through the night without medication, but I know I will get there.

During the week I synthesize information about youth mental health; on the weekend I seek to savour every waking moment as deeply as possible.

I don’t write as well as I used to when I was younger and more tormented. On good days I believe it’s better to live well than to write well. On bad days I believe it’s because I am growing complacent and mediocre. Today is a good day.

After many, many years of being a student, I have graduated into a life of paying student loans.

These days, my friends are fewer but more dear.

My favourite

– colours are the ones you find in weathered countrysides: rust, burgundy, cream, wheat, hazel, verde agua, slate

– scents are those of the people I love

– sounds are those of loons and cicadas

– flavour is that of tahini

– animal is Patate, who is teaching me how to be a creature

– weather is hot August heat, broken by thunder and lightning storms

– thing to do is be between grass and sky, slick with sweat or rain

My hair is long and dark with white mixed in, curls cascading along my back when they’re not woven into a braid or tucked into a bun. My legs are not as strong as they once were but they are robust and take me far.

My family is numerous and joyful despite the things we struggle with. Our history is conflictual and painful but I am no longer ashamed of it. With my mother I am learning to live honestly, because I realize that how I am with her is how I am with myself. I am no longer afraid of my father, but curious. My sisters, brothers, and brother’s brother are vibrant and beautiful, and I look forward to sharing our future together.

I’m not sure how much I believe in God anymore but I know I love a good story.

love is not a potato

Estoy aprendiendo, paulatinamente, que el amor no es una papa.


By Jini Maxwell

When I think about grief, words don’t really come to mind. What I do get is the visceral feeling of being too deep underwater. When I think of grief, I imagine the sudden stab of fear that accompanies a realisation that you’ve dived deeper than you first thought: your trapped breath like a weight in your chest, the glimmer of oxygen perpetually too many arm lengths away.

Grief is more than a feeling. It’s really an environment, a new condition to your life that you have to meet with your whole self. No amount of swimming against the current, or scrambling up the banks, will make it easier to navigate. Most importantly, it is not a puzzle you can think your way out of. It’s something more bodily than that, like the mammalian diving instinct.

At first contact with water, an infant’s heart rate slows, oxygen moves more slowly, and the glottis spontaneously blocks access to the lungs, all before the conscious mind can react at all. Living with grief is an animal experience, and surviving it requires the action of a body that knows how to keep being when the mind couldn’t possibly go on. Your body knows how to keep you safe, not just before your conscious mind, but instead of it. You just have to be in it, and it has to be processed as a part of you.

The bad news is, no amount of time in rivers of grief will prepare you for a new one. The good news is, you didn’t drown then and you’re not drowning now. Your body is carrying you through the experience on instinct. Take a deep breath and listen to yourself from the toes up. Feelings are hard, inconvenient and unpredictable, but the less time you spend fighting your body’s messages, the more you can learn from them.

Survival is, in the end, a game of trust, and not of thought. You have to trust that you can survive your own emotions. You have to feel, even if it’s overwhelming. The most important thing to remember about the river of grief is you’re not surviving it wrong. It’s not taking too long. You’re not moving too quickly. The river you are in is just the river you are in, without moral resonance. Trust that you can cope with doing what you need.

It’s easier to think of grief as something of a redemption arc, starting with pain and ending with the well being you knew before. But mourning exists without narrative; it’s not something you can itemise in a eulogy. The river’s current will stick with you for longer than you expect, and you’ll emerge and re-emerge from the worst parts of it feeling as shocked by the ways you’ve stayed the same as you are by the way you’ve changed. Like a newborn in a swimming pool, trying to analyse your progress is only going to make the water feel heavier around you. Your body knows what it’s doing.

In the moments that you feel yourself entirely submerged, trust that your heart rate may slow, your throat may close and the pressure may build, but your body knows how to navigate this space, even if your mind does not. Every fibre of you is already working slowly and carefully to navigate this new emotional landscape, if you let it. That’s how survival happens—by gentle instinct, not by achievement or analysis. Take the time to be in your body, listen to every soft and hurting part of yourself whenever you feel the urge: beat to beat, without scrutiny, until you can resurface.

However you’re going, you’re going okay.


Why women drink

From Quartz

I don’t drink very much, but I can’t help sympathizing deeply with this article, which I suppose means there are more ways that we silence our agonies, which originate from more than just being women in the world.

happy daddy issues day

Temple of My Familiar

Carlotta’s heart was breaking. She felt it swell with tears and then crack. What does anyone know about anything? she thought. The scene with her mother emptied her of knowledge. Once again, as when she was a small child, she felt she knew nothing. That if the chair on which she sat suddenly became a canoe that floated out the window on the river of Zedé’s tears, she would not be surprised.

v de vino tinto

Georges Duboeuf Brouilly

Robertson Winery Chemin Blanc
Villa Maria Marlborough