You are what you repeatedly post May 1, 2019 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Inspired by penguin pie's comment yesterday, realized I resuse AskMetafilter answers.

Selections from my Ask answer rotations:

The poem The Sentence by Anna Akhmatova (1, 2, 3)
James Turrell's House of Light in Niigata, Japan (1, 2)
Kate Harding's essay The Fantasy of Being Thin (1, 2)
The Wadi Shab hiking trail in Oman (1, 2)

What are your best on-rotation answers?

*never posted on MetaTalk before. cortex did i do it right?
posted by BusyBusyBusy to MetaFilter-Related at 6:59 AM (63 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

I am forever recommending Susan David's Emotional Agility, because it is the best/has made my life better/helped gel things I was trying to learn in therapy/applies to a lot of situations/etc.

[Off MeFi I post Brené Brown's empathy talk all the time, as well.]

Love this post!
posted by wellred at 7:09 AM on May 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

Hire a professional Latin translator before you get that tattoo done.
posted by jedicus at 7:15 AM on May 1, 2019 [14 favorites]

I've recommended Good Old Dog a lot.

More generally, I have a tendency to give meta answers- resources, rather than a direct answer. Questions about examples of things in movies get a link to TV Tropes or, AskMes get compilations of previous questions, etc. I've started collecting my compilation answers in my profile.
posted by zamboni at 7:27 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have recommended the Moosewood Daily Special cookbook in AskMes about 36 times by now. I am starting to think I should contact the publisher and ask for a residual or kickback.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:28 AM on May 1, 2019 [10 favorites]

I always recommend Gayle Greene's Insomniac to people who have trouble sleeping. I thought I'd mentioned it here two or three times but, uh, it's more like ten. It really helped me!
posted by something something at 7:39 AM on May 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

"Dump him," but I usually use more words, and hopefully convey more empathy.

"Buy a Subaru."
posted by sockermom at 7:44 AM on May 1, 2019 [16 favorites]

A diversified set of low-cost index funds in an IRA from Vanguard, Charles Schwab, or Fidelity, appropriate for your age, risk tolerance, and plans.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:50 AM on May 1, 2019 [13 favorites]

I recall that Cool Papa Bell is personally responsible for about 60% of Coast Guard Recruits.

My recommendations have been sparse. But I can be counted upon to boost Minnesota at any opportunity.
posted by Gray Duck at 8:13 AM on May 1, 2019 [13 favorites]

For folks not tied to a lot of computer specifics, I used to say "figure out your baseline specs, and look for ads." At least in the US, it seems that there's always another computer sale going on. And if there's not one now, wait a week or two to save a few hundred dollars.

Particularly in the US, if you're thinking of doing any building modifications to your home or commercial property and you don't know what to expect, go and talk to your city/county building and planning office, as they'll be able to tell you the local rules and regs pretty quickly, and for free. They can also tell you if you need a licensed architect, or can get a qualified draftsperson do draw up plans.

I talk about things to do and see in Central Coast California, though my references are now 7 years old. I don't expect things to disappear in that time, but there may be newer attractions, in addition to the usual array of hikes to take and sights to see.

I have also promoted tourism in New Mexico, as well the lower cost of living and pleasant weather to folks who are looking for a new place to live. I may have swayed one MeFite to move here. (And I'm sorry we haven't had a meetup yet!)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:18 AM on May 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

My standard answers:

Seagull Guitars
Subaru Forester
Pemigewasset Wilderness
Hitachi Magic Wand
posted by bondcliff at 8:43 AM on May 1, 2019 [19 favorites]

I constantly suggest the Musée Mécanique (in SF) to anyone looking for something to do there. Because it’s awesome and I miss it.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:46 AM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I keep stealing your plums. SUCKERS!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:18 AM on May 1, 2019 [21 favorites]

I seem to answer all the questions on beauty, skincare, Paris, and Brighton, and recommend meetup for people wanting to know how to make friends!
posted by ellieBOA at 9:28 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pretty sure I've done all these at least three times each, probably more:
  • Comply foam tips for earphones
  • Spaced repetition (flashcard) software for learning stuff
  • Try out lots of different bicycles before settling on what kind you want
  • WalkScore for finding homes with reasonable commutes by transit or bike
  • Just go talk to the zoning or building people, they're nice
  • Carrying stuff on your bike instead of on your back is a good idea
posted by asperity at 9:42 AM on May 1, 2019

Websites and Software:
Flickr and Google Photos (at least two places in the cloud)

Don't do unpaid work at your job.
Walk on the right side of the sidewalk/hallway/skyway.
It is generally your landlord's job to fix things.
What you do during your vacation time is no one else's business. You earned it, you get to use it. If they can't survive without you, they need to hire more people.
posted by soelo at 9:46 AM on May 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

You can ride a bicycle in your normal clothes, the Dutch do it all the time. Ride slowly enough so you don't get sweaty.
Get a refurbished Thinkpad.
Just eat sandwiches for breakfast and/or lunch. It's fine, I promise.
If you're giving someone a break or a freebie, be sure to let them know or they'll expect it all the time.
If you're having sex, it is a relationship. Of some kind, at least.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:53 AM on May 1, 2019 [12 favorites]

Oh and:
Using Linux is easier than it used to be and probably easier than you think. Try Mint.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:54 AM on May 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

Even this Meta itself is recycled content.
posted by saladin at 10:08 AM on May 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Just eat sandwiches for breakfast and/or lunch. It's fine, I promise.

but what if you just don't particularly like sandwiches?
posted by sammyo at 10:27 AM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Get medical power of attorney (and property POA) for your aging parents.

Read Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles, and Rosemary Kirstein's Steerswoman books, and everything by Kate Elliott (who finishes epic fantasy series that are just as good as GRRM's).
posted by suelac at 10:43 AM on May 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

I recommend Anna Karenina quite often when book recommendations are solicited.

Any time someone asks about European vacation destinations, I suggest Luzern.

I talk about my Toyota Corolla a lot in car-buying threads.

Overall, pretty accurate picture of who I am. :)
posted by kevinbelt at 10:44 AM on May 1, 2019

The sheer breadth of topics that I'm prepared to provide answers for on a moment's notice is frankly breathtaking to me. And I never would have known this otherwise. AskMe is a really great thing that we have, I'm very grateful for it (I mean, not just for good a person I just made myself out to be just now, I rely on it for so much)
posted by bleep at 10:51 AM on May 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

A) If you are a man on swipe dating apps who is trying to date women and you are unsatisfied with your results, note the following: most men are not very choosy, swiping right on lots of people, and don't try very hard: "It's a numbers game". If that describes you, consider the opposite approach: 1) swipe right on only a small percentage of women, giving you the room to 2) try hard on the women that you did approve of, not in an emotionally invested way, but in a paying attention, engaged, considerate way. This will work better.

B) If capitalism has granted you some kind of windfall and you are having feelings about it, consider giving almost all of it away.

C) If you aren't sure about your athletic routine for whatever reason, an evaluation and plan developed over a few sessions with a personal trainer is worth the time and money.
posted by Kwine at 11:26 AM on May 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

I've tried to stop recommending Kristin Lavransdatter to people for just this reason. It remains a book I want to tell people to read, of course; I just hate to be repetitive.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:45 AM on May 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

I've recommended the Honda Fit many times when car questions are asked and I stand by that. My little Fit is now ten years old and is running just fine. Last month it went to Illinois for a week and DC for a weekend and ran like new.
posted by octothorpe at 12:08 PM on May 1, 2019

I've recommended Promises I Can Keep to understand poverty better a few times.
posted by vespabelle at 12:25 PM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just because old food doesn't smell bad doesn't mean it's safe. The bacteria that causes the rotting smells are not the same ones that will cause food poisoning and most of the ones that do are odorless or close to it.


Landlord tenant law can be surprisingly complicated and you must consult with a qualified lawyer before doing something like changing the locks rather than trusting well meaning people on Metafilter.


You need the Boggleheads three fund strategy and at most a visit to a fee only, fiduciary bound financial planner.
posted by Candleman at 12:27 PM on May 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'm a broken record for Ally Bank and Wirecutter.
posted by General Malaise at 12:47 PM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

You can ride a bicycle in your normal clothes, the Dutch do it all the time. Ride slowly enough so you don't get sweaty.

Come visit Florida, it's nice but, well, not so much in some ways.

Get a refurbished Thinkpad

Yes. 100% true.

I guess my versions would be

Crate train your dog.

Never trust a military recruiter.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:52 PM on May 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Use the mobygames category drill down browser to find that half remembered game from your childhood.
posted by juv3nal at 2:04 PM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Aw! *Comes to the front door blushing, in a housecoat, delighted to see all these MeFites on my lawn but a little unprepared for all the company* Thanks BusyBusyBusy, great topic for a Meta. Ironically, the one thing I don't have a stock comment for is inspiring a Meta post, as it's never happened before. However, I think my most reused Ask responses (aside from the Learning How to Learn one linked above) are probably:

* Creatively stuck, frightened to create, or hating on yourself for not fulfilling your creative potential?
Listen to this brilliant Liz Gilbert Ted Talk and then listen to her podcast Magic Lessons.

* In a funk, sad about your life, can’t see the point in anything (once treatment for depression has already been addressed)?
Try volunteering.

* Worried about someone suffering domestic violence, want to help but not sure how or if you can?
Check out the MeFi ThereIsHelp Wiki, which a few of us updated a few years ago with worldwide resources on organisations which can advise concerned people as well as the victims themselves.

* Got problems running, particularly as a beginner?
Some variation on ‘run more slowly than you think you need to’ and 'try the NHS Couch to 5K podcast'.

* Something keeps bugging you way after you should have let it go, you want help to think about it differently?
Try the zen parable of the two monks at the river. Definitely one I read here originally, I think maybe in a jessamyn post, though I've not been able to re-find it since.

I'm still waiting for the opportunity to recommend membership of the Telegraph Appreciation Society on multiple occasions, but it might be a bit too niche.
posted by penguin pie at 2:14 PM on May 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

Cats need more patience and empathy than you think they do. Making them feel safe might be harder than you think because they are small and we are not. Dogs remember trauma and it takes them a very long time to process it.

Always have frozen peas in the freezer. Try roasted barley tea. Collard greens are amazing. It is extremely worth it to learn how to cook for yourself to your taste.

Wear jewel tones. Textures make a big difference in the formality of an outfit. Try your best to wear comfortable clothes for important occasions. Freya and Panache and Elomi are good brands for people with large breasts but you'll have to overcome sticker shock.

Nobody thinks about that weird thing you did nearly as much as you do. You should think a lot about what kind of relationship you want to have with them and what you might change to cause that to happen. Grieving takes many different forms and most of them are okay.

When you move somewhere new always put up art as soon as you can. Have soft blankets. Consider like, twice as many lamps as you have currently.
posted by Mizu at 3:30 PM on May 1, 2019 [14 favorites]

I've recommended Eucerine SPF 30 Daily Protection Lotion more than I ever thought I would (it really does do a good job of shielding your face and neck from the sun, though–without being greasy).
posted by marimeko at 5:01 PM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Hmm, my go-tos seem to be

-You should read Robin Sloan's book Sourdough!
-You should watch Sense8!
-Zucchini butter is a good potluck dish that is vegan, FODMAP friendly and gluten free.
-Listen to podcasts or audiobooks to help you fall asleep.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:07 PM on May 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

Team Refurb. Thinkpad
Primate's Memoir, Robert Sapolsky
Get a Prius, esp.if you like to camp; you can use the storage battery to charge stuff.
Terry Pratchett's Parable of the Boots
How not to commit suicide, Art Kleiner
posted by theora55 at 6:07 PM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think my main gotos are:
  • Get a Mazda3 hatchback [I'm resisting the urge to fight anyone who suggests another vehicle in this space]
  • Listen to Ravel if you like piano music, or orchestration, or beauty
  • Don't call the police on your neighbors
posted by invitapriore at 6:23 PM on May 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

Cold Comfort Farm
Philip Lopate's We Who Are Your Closest Friends
The City Museum (and Ted Drewes) in St. Louis
My husband's Aunt Moriah's almond cookie recipe
posted by Mchelly at 6:25 PM on May 1, 2019

Steve Reich's Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards

On Certainty
posted by wittgenstein at 6:27 PM on May 1, 2019

"Anxiety medications work a lot better than trying to force yourself to deal with your unreasonable mind telling you that you have to change the entire world because you are uncomfortable. Yes most people are afraid to take them at first, this is normal."
"Sleep medications work a lot better than trying to convince yourself you just have to TRY HARDER to sleep when you've already tried everything and are in some must-sleep situation (but do get an apnea test)"
"Boundaries work a lot better than trying to force yourself to deal with unreasonable people, leaving you constantly upset and exhausted"
"It takes a long time to get over bad parenting. Hugs to you if you had bad parents. Try harder quicker if you know you are a bad parent or are getting wrapped up in your own nonsense instead of trying to focus on your kids' lives."
"People freaking out about the suitability of their own AskMe answer (or the wrongness of others') are more likely having an anxiety or other emotional response than a response that comes from some fact-based assessment. It's OK to say thanks and move on and ignore."
"This website is free, take from it what you want and leave the rest"
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:39 PM on May 1, 2019 [16 favorites]

Oh, I forgot: start your musical ear training by identifying scale degrees instead of contextless intervals.
posted by invitapriore at 7:35 PM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Several times now in response to the "what programming language should I learn to get a job as a programmer" I always respond that this question is like asking "what wrench should I buy to become a plumber" -- you can't get away with using just one, once you've learned one the others are much easier, and avoid Perl.
posted by axiom at 9:12 PM on May 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

* Love is like heroin so give yourself permission to be self-compassionate and also fiercely self-protective when recovering from a breakup
* Listen to pleasant dialogue/monologue to help your anxious brain fall asleep
* Harrier Lerner and/or Attached
* Sheet pan meals, rotisserie chicken, get creative with salads
* So far I think I've only used the rumination bit once or twice but I suspect I'll use it again, having typed it up
* It's okay to be single for a long time and maybe even forever
* It's okay to take a step back from a troublesome relationship
* Throw yourself into hobbies
posted by bunderful at 9:19 PM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Carmax, get something for sleep and stop toughing it out, it's time to put your pet down, when your relatively new relationship has you writing more than one, "Is it okay that I don't like this" question just break up, yes you should quit, yes you should change careers, no do not get another Masters in anything liberal arts, your mom is not the boss of you and even better you do not have to become your mom, just don't go to the event, buy the Subaru, tell them "I'm sorry; that won't be possible," take the trip, you don't have to wear makeup, nobody paid nearly as much attention to you as you thought they did, there are other people out there to date, you don't even have to date, even the smallest amount of meditation will help...

and cats are weird.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:36 AM on May 2, 2019 [7 favorites]

Mine are:

-You are not overreacting. Your feelings are valid. Your boyfriend/husband is an asshole and you deserve better. Fucking dump him.

-You are not overreacting. Your feelings are valid. That guy you’re casually dating is an asshole and you deserve better. Fucking dump him.
posted by a strong female character at 8:44 AM on May 2, 2019 [7 favorites]

Definitely post the two answers a strong female character mentioned in various flavors quite often.

Besides that, I seem to frequently mention
-The Instant Pot
-Georgette Heyer books (though not nowadays without this significant caveat)
-Ithaca, NY
-Various Wirecutter recommendations
-Samaithu Paar (book about South Indian cooking)
-Tim Minchin's If I Didn't Have You
-P G Wodehouse
posted by peacheater at 9:47 AM on May 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

avoid Perl

I love Perl and I enjoyed the part of a technical interview at [BIG COMPANY YOU'VE HEARD OF] where they told me "a lot of these components are written in Python for convenience, but the stuff that has to be really high performance is all Perl because it's faster. Even the Python people here will tell you that."


* All new cameras are good cameras; try them out in a store and get the one you like the ergonomics and UI of, without worrying about megapixels or sensor size (unless system size and weight really matter to you, in which case go Micro Four Thirds for interchangeable lenses or Fujifilm X100 for one-and-done).
* When making complicated air travel reservations, ITA Matrix will help you figure out what's possible. Use multiple browser tabs (and possibly browsers) to find the best price on your selected itinerary and fare class once you've found your flights. And if you can't book what you want online, the airline will (probably) waive the fee for booking by phone.
* Can't sleep? Lemme tell you about how sleep hygiene has to be part of your solution because drugs on their own won't do it all.
posted by fedward at 10:26 AM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Read these books by Kim Stanley Robinson (1, 2, 3) and Ed Brubaker (1, 2, 3). Check the IIHS car safety statistics (1, 2, 3).
posted by mbrubeck at 10:44 AM on May 2, 2019

Ha! I hove this thread. The answers here are like a slim impulse-buy collection of quotes next to a bookstore cash register: Collected Wit and Wisdom of the Green People, brought to you by Subaru. Or Chicken Soup for the Souls Who are Justifiably Concerned They Left the Chicken on the Counter Too Long.

Apparently what I like to do best around here is point enthusiastically to books & writers I love: Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw (1, 2, 3, 4) or Thessaly (1, 2), or Kelly Link, Kelly Link, Kelly Link, Kelly Link! Most of my other repeated recommendations are for writing by women too, which pleases but doesn't surprise me: Lucille Clifton, Ursula K. Le Guin, Rosemary Kirstein's Steerswoman books, N.K. Jemisin. Also, for kids' books, Barbara M. Joosse's Mama, Do You Love Me? and Sara Pennypacker's Clementine books. (Also I listen to a lot of Minutemen. Like, a lot.)

Lots of my non-book suggestions fall into one of these groups: set boundaries more firmly; do what it says in The Chicago Manual of Style; talking about money is better than not talking about money. That... that all sounds a little like me! More specifically, it sounds like a version of myself pointed in a direction I want to be. A version of myself I like and have been tinkering with for a while, often with the quiet help of AskMetafilter. I'm not sure if that's heartwarming or recursive or both.
posted by miles per flower at 12:09 PM on May 2, 2019 [6 favorites]

If her work is even a little bit applicable to a book recommendation question, I will always recommend the books of Frances Hardinge. (Hey, do you like fantasy novels about strange, angry girls fomenting revolution? Please read Frances Hardinge!)
posted by darchildre at 3:53 PM on May 2, 2019

WCityMike: Kind of HN's answer to the same question.

Oh maaan, that is gold. The first comment, which begins "Salaries never stay secrets forever," is very satisfying. (Not so much the replies which attempt to nitpick it to death.) But about half the way down this (really long) page, there is another comment:
Every Economist Article Ever

There is an apocryphal story in which your anonymous correspondent was on a small business jet somewhere between Davos and Dubai, when he asked a former Thatcher minister what shade of pink the Financial Times newspaper was. "Parlour," the minister replied. It is in the spirit of this self-referential anecdote that an auspicious news peg has provided an opportunity to sound off on a pet saw and perhaps let on that I went to Cambridge.

posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:04 PM on May 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

Wolf Hall.
Angela Carter.
Most of the popular coastal destinations in the South (Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans) are lovely in April, so long as there is not a festival going on.
Dave Godin's Deep Soul
Freelancing is a tough gig unless you know someone coming out of the gate.
posted by thivaia at 6:27 PM on May 2, 2019

-Do what you need to do to take care of/protect yourself but don't burn bridges if you don't have to.

-Figure out which part of the issue is your business and then let the rest go.

-If you can't stand somebody, imagine having to write their eulogy. You might see the positive intention behind their behaviour, and in any case, you get to imagine them dead.
posted by rpfields at 6:40 PM on May 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

El Born is a great thing to check out in Barcelona, and it's free!

....and phew, I really thought I was the only one that ever repeated myself in Answers and everyone was sending me shade. But just from this page, I know everyone else does it too, no one would have noticed even if I had been the only one, it would have been their fault anyway for not just ignoring and moving on, and we have done the right thing every time we bought those subarus.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:38 PM on May 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think I have ended up commenting about conservatorship repeatedly.

And mentioning that I hate the Bay Area.

And pointing out that it may be fine some day for people who like fooling around with their own gender to go all “I hate labels!” but that it isn’t now. Which seems weirdly specific but I feel like it has come up several times.
posted by Smearcase at 8:55 PM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, almost forgot:
* You're asking how to get over this troubling thing (break up, deeply embarrassing event, etc) that just happened today. Get some sleep. You will probably feel a ton better in the morning. Not anywhere near over it, but definitely a lot better.

And while I don't often say this I often think it:
* Ranty questions and hyperbole in tend to not get very helpful answers; I speak from experience.
posted by bunderful at 5:06 AM on May 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Anybody: I'm looking for a book recommendation for--

Anybody: I'm interested in writing for children. My specific question is--
Me: Join the SCBWI.
posted by yankeefog at 5:11 AM on May 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Anne Tyler
'The Shipping News' by Annie Proulx
Sunshine by Saab 78
Tumbleweed and The Sunnyboys and Hoodoo Gurus
Meat pies, mini quiches and rissoles
'The Leftovers'
posted by h00py at 6:52 AM on May 3, 2019

I always recommend Penelope Fitzgerald to read.

The other thing I try to do as much as I can around here is talking about the explicit process I went through to get less chronically mentally ill. One of the least helpful things when I was suffering in the hole was the idea that the process of getting out is somehow ineffable. The model I heard so many times was: things are bad -> *handwavey leap of faith type stuff, find the right treatment magically, dunno what it is or how you do it, you just have to figure it out and then you'll be okay* -> not mentally ill any more.

So part of my core thesis, even though I don't think I've said this as explicitly in any comment on the subject (because I tend towards "here is a personal essay about how I handled the thing, take what fits to solve your problem" school of answer writing rather than the "here is what I would do/direct advice" school), is the fact that I did go through a process and I do understand how it works and it wasn't ineffable and I want as many other people to hear about it as possible, just in case it helps, because "I know it's possible to get fixed but I can't remember or explain or describe how I personally got fixed" is the most depressing thing to hear when you're already severely depressed and nothing seems to be working. The methodology is specific to the problems I had, but I strongly suspect a lot of people get stuck where I was a few years ago and don't necessarily strike on damascene turnaround that I've managed to engineer for myself since then.

Here goes. If you live in a state of what feels like permadepression, or what sometimes gets called "double depression" (very bad lows that never even out to baseline in between, like chronic dysthymia with occasional worse depression), and you've tried in the region of 5-10 medications and nothing has significantly helped, and you keep waiting for the right combo but even on the ones the doctors think you're responding well to you feel like an empty pointless husk, and you've pursued avenues along the lines of "is something more complex than 'regular' depression going on here" (how I ended up with a bipolar diagnosis that I no longer think is accurate) and still nothing changes and you feel stuck and terrible all the time and there's maybe some bad stuff in your past that is too painful to look at or poke: consider a trauma-informed approach.

In my case, the permadepression got built up out of all kinds of subtle, interwoven layers of trauma response that took me a long time to recognise and identify. What I had desperately hoped/wanted to believe was that it was chemical depression entirely unrelated to traumatic life events (hence the constant disappointment that throwing drugs at it didn't help at all), but it was actually trauma-related depression that mapped 1:1 to traumatic life events that I felt totally overwhelmed by and incapable of dealing with. Those feelings that were too painful to look at, let alone poke, were very necessary to spend time with. I'm talking about the stuff that feels gross to even bring up in therapy - shame on the deepest level about my innate self and my body and the powerful unending sense of inadequacy my dad gifted me with in spite of me being objectively pretty good at a bunch of stuff in the eyes of everyone except him.

I went to therapy with the explicit goal of "deal with trauma" rather than "become less depressed", and I poked at those sore spots and cried about them and let the shame overwhelm me completely for short amounts of time rather than letting it eat me slowly and constantly in the background. Firstly, this taught me that I could withstand the shame, that it wouldn't actually kill me if I let myself feel it rather than pushing it away or burying it. Secondly, it taught me a lot about what was and wasn't actually my fault, and that my parents' expectations of me and then my own expectations of me (essentially "be perfect all the time or else you are a gross failure") were absurdly unreasonable. And then finally I got to the point where I could poke the really sore stuff and it didn't actually hurt that much any more, and in some cases I could almost take it out of my head, hold it up to the light and examine it 360 as a rational adult rather than getting stuck seeing it through the eyes of the traumatised kid that I used to be.

My ultimate "this is working" moment was when I had a flashback to my dad tearing me down for something as a kid, and instead of it crippling me with shame and guilt and inadequacy and a huge sense of it being my fault, I was able to see that it was 100% his issue and him projecting some very unreasonable stuff onto a vulnerable little kid who he was responsible for treating well and whom he repeatedly failed. Being able to experience that with zero "I am innately gross and wrong"-type pain was a huge game changer for me.

I can see how other people who have been through similar stuff might not understand or be able to describe the mechanism of action, but I do understand it and I can describe it and I feel like it's my goddamn holy duty to share that with the world, just in case it helps even one more person hate themselves a little less and get a little less miserable. In summary, the model is: if you are constantly depressed even though you're trying really hard, and there are maybe some skeletons hanging around that you'd rather forget about, poke the stuff that hurts so much you can't bear being reminded it's there until it stops hurting and then see how much happiness that buys you.

The other thing I'm committed to and often use this site as a platform for is reiterating the idea that parenthood is only worthy of sanctity if the parents are bringing that into the relationship. You don't get default respect because you made a kid, nor does making a kid by default make you a good parent or worthy of respect for parenting. You have to be a good, solidly engaged parent to earn that. A lot of people still seem very squeamish about voicing the idea that some kids in every generation suffer because not everyone who makes kids is capable of being a good parent, but that attitude doesn't help the people who used to be those kids, or the kids who are those kids now. I need to speak my truth on this and I deeply value others who speak their truth on it. And on the flipside, I want to keep reinforcing the idea that you can have been raised by truly crappy adults and still turn out to be a decent (and totally, completely, 100% adequate) person yourself.
posted by terretu at 7:05 AM on May 3, 2019 [26 favorites]

Get a lawyer!
posted by Little Dawn at 11:45 AM on May 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sonicare toothbrushes will make your dental care better.

Start an IRA early in your career.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:41 PM on May 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I seem to frequently recommend that people go to a sports medicine doctor for (muscle/joint thing that is hurting) instead of a (specialist in that body part), with the argument that the (body part) is hurting as part of a system of related body parts, and the sports medicine doctor will treat your body and mobility as a system rather than isolated parts. I also recommend Pilates for similar reasons.
posted by matildaben at 9:48 AM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also Mazda3 hatchback and cats are weird.
posted by matildaben at 11:00 AM on May 6, 2019

Swim!! I now swim 5 days a week, which is 5 days a week more of exercise than I’ve ever had and it’s changed my life. Try swimming!

The Rogues of the Republic series by Patrick Weekes.

And not something I’ve had to say here, but in real life, constantly: “Yes you need to get a flu vaccine even if you “never get the flu.” Let me tell you about herd immunity and how you, too, can save babies, elderly people, and the immune-compromised from death.”
posted by greermahoney at 6:41 PM on May 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

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