On deserving everything

“I deserve this”

The heat index exploded this month in D.C., reminding me of what it’s always like in Texas around this time. Weather is so relative, I feel — in Austin I thought 30 F was obscene, in Massachusetts in February it was perfectly tolerable. In Texas, 100 F is heinous, of course, but to be expected, part of the exchange you’ve made in order to live in a place shaped by dramatic temperatures. That same reading in D.C. feels like a betrayal; that it gets so hot in a place that also sees snowy winters and rapidly-cooling falls seems incorrect, like this shouldn’t be feasible. Yet it is and it is broiling here and for all my hangups about a/c, we cranked it up this week, while I said a small prayer for the shuddering electrical grid.

As we’ve been stumbling and sweating through summer, we’ve also just been watching a lot of soccer. I’ve never been a sports person but I’ve always followed soccer (fooootballllllll) in international events and I have a level of familiarity with non-U.S. men playing and with all the U.S. women playing. But this summer I made the switch to finally following women’s club soccer, which has been rewarding, surprisingly. I don’t really like sports largely because I don’t really like competition, and also because I’m anxious and I find it hard not to share the anxiety of players, or feel incredible mortification or remorse as their faces move through grief stages when they fail. (I similarly do not like reality TV shows that are not The Great British Bake-Off, which remains an hour-long exercise in human compassion.)

Watching soccer this summer has felt different, though. The USWNT undeniably feel extraordinary affection for each other; they treated their opponents with respect as well, many of whom are, in club soccer, their cherished teammates. Their victory tour felt like the first truly good thing this year, the unleashed joy and confidence of people who are unsurpassed at what they do and deeply secure in it.

And so when Megan Rapinoe mouthed, “I deserve this. I deserve EVERYTHING,” on an Instagram story shared by Ashlyn Harris, it felt like the most reassuring thing ever said, a kind of validation so many of us need (me, I need it). I’m so wary of the confidence of white cis women, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen anyone like me — gay, short-haired, moderately masculine — in such a position of unmatched authority. Seeing her has felt so good and watching versions of her play club soccer in subsequent weeks has felt the same, watching the way they celebrate and scream and draw blood and bang into each other. Like a battle cry for the ages, but for people who never get the chance to roar.

Mostly I just keep thinking, over and over again, what it is to say you deserve everything — and to mean it.

The Pioneer Valley. © E.A. Crunden

The Pioneer Valley. © E.A. Crunden

Green Scene

Me: The DNC is reportedly planning to vote on whether to have a climate debate. A feud between Democrats and the White House over Puerto Rico highlighted how partisan disaster recovery has become. The White House is testing its environmental messaging as the issue becomes a flash point for voters. AOC and Bernie Sanders teamed up for a “climate emergency” declaration.

Even meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement might not save the Arctic. Here we are again: the real dangers of Barry. A new study bolsters the link between wildfires and climate change. Coal communities aren’t prepared for their increasingly likely fiscal collapse. Lawmakers and employees are slamming USDA and BLM relocation plans as an attack on science. And USDA is under fire in general. Meanwhile, the EPA is opting out of banning a pesticide linked to severe health problems in children and farmworkers.

Elsewhere: Greenland is melting — leaving behind sand. Today’s fossil fuel infrastructure already points to an ominous global warming threshold. What national parks could do with $2.5 million. Climate change is hitting agriculture hard, leaving immigrant farmworkers behind. Gulf fisheries under siege face a new nemesis in tropical storms and hurricanes this summer.

The “toxic stew” summoned by disasters. How PFAS is invading farms in Pennsylvania. How a lobster winds up with a Pepsi “tattoo.” A city suffocating. One is the eyes and one is the legs: these two hikers are tag-teaming to make their adventures more accessible. In a warming world, raise ducks, not chickens. In real life, Simba’s mom would run the pride.

Blues Buzz

What it means to be displaced. Andre Aciman on the spectrum of sexuality. Appalachia needs no elegy. The gay inspiration of the USWNT. New Kristen Arnett! A crime by any name. Sue Bird on Megan Rapinoe. The rise of the queer surf community. On the difficulty of science writing. The relationships women have with nature matter. Deep-V glory. On hunger and women’s bodies. Young Jews are warring with ICE. The lack of lawyers in rural America.

Menstrual cups — safe and likable! “I’m good right now.” Stop stereotyping Southerners. I’m still thinking about this article on sports science, period stigma, and how accounting for bleeding helped the USWNT. What Americans do now will define us forever.

Spoken & Written

Adam Serwer, on the feud over “concentration camp” language: “This variety of tut-tutting is irresistible to many ostensibly objective journalists, who by convention are barred from expressing opinions on policy but are welcome to lecture on tone, and take nearly every opportunity to remind the rabble of their obligation to be polite to their rulers. But to express outrage at the criticism of nefarious conduct while treating that conduct as a typical political conflict in which there are two equally valid positions is to take a side.”

Sue Bird, on Megan Rapinoe, politics, and equal pay: “TLDR: Pay us.”

And Pinoe herself: “I deserve this. I deserve everything.”


  • The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), which you can catch here.

  • Pastrami-style beets, a new household favorite.

  • Look, I know everyone says this a lot, but: drinking water is good for you and probably what you need right now!