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An Existentially Exhausting and Heartbreaking Week

Remember to take care of yourself.

The events of January 6th were surreal and tragic. I'm still trying to process it, and haven't yet found the words to express my emotions, but when Leslie sent me this piece yesterday, it perfectly encapsulated everything I'd been feeling, and I hope it resonates just as much with you. xEmily

On a FaceTime call on Wednesday night, my friend said, "I'm tired. But not from a lack of sleep. I'm just... existentially exhausted." I knew exactly what she meant, as I'm sure you do, too. 

This past year, we've all become so accustomed to hearing horrible news that I hadn't even fully taken the time to catalogue just how many high-highs have been interrupted by the lowest possible lows: Vaccines are being distributed—amid the highest peak in COVID-19 deaths we've seen yet. Democrats won the Senate seats in Georgia—and then white nationalists breached the Capitol building. 2020 provided some of the most incredible displays of humanity, juxtaposed against some of the most disgusting and heartless examples of inhumanity. It's existentially exhausting, and heartbreaking.

On Wednesday night, we debated whether to have Jess's slated post on her favorite brownie recipe go live the next day. On the one hand, it felt strange to post something as inconsequential as brownies in the face of domestic terrorism. On the other hand, I personally found myself turning to simple comforts (yoga, chamomile tea, one of my favorite easy dinners) to feel better last night, and brownies fit the bill perfectly. 

Yesterday, a reader from D.C. DM'd me, "Going from being elated about Georgia to depressed/angry/scared about insurrection at the Capitol is HARD and I honestly want to know how others are coping." She shared that after listening to that morning's episode of The Daily, she went on a "full on rage run" as soon as the curfew lifted. I didn't have an immediate answer for her on how I was "coping," but an hour later, I found her DM to reply. Inspired by the reader's own self-care, I'd opened up Jess's blog post and began baking Claire Saffitz's brownies for breakfast. Not much later, I turned to our Facebook group and found myself talking to so many of you over the comments of a post.

Shit is heavy right now, and I can't even begin to imagine how difficult yesterday must have been particularly for people of color as well as Jewish people and persecuted religious minorities. We are all scared and we are all processing, and it can feel impossible to create content in service of such intense emotions—but cupcakes and cashmere provided me with a community long before I even worked here, and I'm as grateful as ever for it. I'm grateful for the fact that I have access to this community of women and, yes, delicious brownies. It's been a long week, and an even longer year, so I wanted to pass along the advice I received in another DM from a reader: "Remember to take care of yourself."

Speaking of which, how are you feeling? What small things are you doing to take care of yourself during this existentially exhausting week? 

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