Sickness and shutdown

A cafe in Budapest, Hungary. © E.A. Crunden

A cafe in Budapest, Hungary. © E.A. Crunden

Around the Globe

Africa. Cape Town could be the first city in the world to run out of water. A jailed Ethiopian opposition leader has been freed. Zimabwe will hold elections this year. One of the country's opposition leaders died in a helicopter crash. Uganda may resume use of the death penalty. 

Americas. While in Chile, Pope Francis accused victims of sexual abuse of "slander." Sao Paulo in Brazil is at risk for yellow fever. DACA is going to the Supreme Court. China outranks the U.S. when it comes to world leadership. Shutdown

Asia & Islands. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas accused Trump of destroying the Oslo accords. Palestine voted to rescind recognition of Israel until Israel recognizes Palestine. Tibet, Taiwan, and China. Suicide bombings in Baghdad killed dozens of people. The Koreas will march under the unity flag at the Olympics. Rohingya Muslim leaders issued their list of demands before returning to Burma. New Zealand's prime minister is living her best life.

Europe. Macron flips on immigration. A Kosovo Serb politician's murder has enflamed ethnic tensions in the region. Romania has its first female prime minister. Belgium will offset some of the funding UNRWA has lost from the U.S.

Spoken & Written

"Larry, you do realize now the women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time are now a force, and you are nothing? The tables have turned, Larry. We are here. We have our voices. And we are not going anywhere. And now, Larry, it's your turn to listen to me." -- Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman to Larry Nassar, her abuser


Journalism: I spoke with advocates and experts about the diversity visa program, which isn't a real lottery, has merit-based components, and serves a crucial role in the U.S. immigration system. The White House keeps flip-flopping on DACA and the wall. Trump trampled a Republican plan to fund CHIP at the expense of DACA. The "ultimate deal" isn't going so well. Another day, another false nuclear missile alert. The Trump administration is slashing millions in aid to Palestinians. The peace games cometh.

Anything goes:

The past few years have wildly changed how I talk about and interact with bodies, as well as the things bodies produce. This is partially because both the person I live with and one of my best friends both actively discuss shit, to such an extent that I would be unable to function if I failed to adjust my own bandwidth for toilet conversations. But here's something they (and everyone else I know) doesn't talk about: vomit.

An important thing to know about me is that I barely function. For the past two years or so I've labeled a lot of my ongoing misery something that may or may not actually exist with the label "chronic nausea." I have a number of undiagnosed health problems unrelated to mental health (have plenty of those as well) and virtually all involve my body's inability to function the way I assume bodies should, allowing me some relative level of comfort in exchange for healthy eating practices and due diligence. Migraines, stomach pain, and a bad back are the most enduring symptoms, but the underlying one is unexpected, unstoppable nausea. 

My entire life has been an exercise in physical misery; everything hurts, all the time. When I was little I used to whine and cry about this and my mother would smack me over the head and tell me no one likes people who complain and feel sorry for themselves. These days everything still hurts but I'm quieter about it (when I can be.) A loft of the misery has been muted since I took a number of drastic steps to fix the problem -- I became a vegetarian, I started making food almost entirely from scratch, I avoid most eggs and dairy that I can't closely monitor and source, I exercise regularly, and I try to listen to my body. That usually gets me through about half of every month. The other half, well. 

I woke up at 4 a.m. on Friday and proceeded to throw up for nine hours. It was #GovernmentShutdown day, I had a large passion piece on diversity visas publishing, with both a happy hour and a friend's birthday party planned for after work. Instead I spent half the day in bed, shuddering and miserable, before finally keeping down a croissant and managing some caffeine to deliver me from a relentless headache. It's not the first time I've lost an important day to an eating mishap, or a body mishap, or just something about me in general failing to do its job. But it was still frustrating. I treasure my Fridays, the days when I work from home, multitasking writing with laundry, recycling, planning, and precious time alone. This one vanished into a toilet, along with the contents of my stomach, making everything somehow even worse than it would have been had I gotten sick on any other day.

In the midst of this -- the throwing up, the lost day, the misery -- I thought back to every time I've tried to discuss vomit with friends (or anyone.) It's such an enduring part of my life and I'd love to be able to talk more about it: what it feels like to be constantly ill, constantly in pain, constantly prepared to dry-heave for a few minutes in order to restore order to the body, something that happens a minimum of five days a week. Yet it remains taboo; "I'm eating here" is the usual response. I wish I could just be eating here too, is really the point. But like the realities of pregnancy and sex and shit and birth and death, though, vomit is off limits. 


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