ASK A SWOLE WOMAN
This is the paid Sunday Ask A Swole Woman edition of She’s a Beast, a newsletter about being strong mentally/emotionally/physically.
Hi Casey. I'm a very passive participant in social media and not up on the proper etiquette of using it. So [I'm] sorry if this is against the norms. I recently have been through some health issues I never saw coming. It's changed how I identify with myself and my life pre-diagnosis and post-.
I was on a strong personal journey with strength training and now that's been put on the back burner at the moment. Kinda devastated about this but it is what it is I suppose. I can't stop fixating on all the progress I'm losing and/or will lose that I have built up over the years. But I'm also determined to not let my illness define me my and my physical capabilities.
Would you say that strength training is something that can offer gratification even if you have to dial it down to less than what you know you can fully achieve? I've dramatically had to drop down the weight I've been lifting (I use dumbbells in my house) and it's really difficult to accept that it's where I'm at at the moment. Is there still gratification to found in there? —Judy
Advice for someone wanting to make a big move after living in the same city their whole life? —Mark
Congrats on the move and as a life-long East Coaster would love to read a piece about your move. —Laura
I would read the 4K essay of thoughts on moving. Mostly because I also had a chaotic move from a large city and no couch. —Sam
I. I have to start my equation all over again
There was clearly something in the air, or water, causing a groundswell of “people moving house” in the last few months. Some of this must be attributable to the way that global catastrophes have a way of interrupting our little micro-plans, like moving. Just as the beginning of the pandemic seemed to speed up the decisions people otherwise would have made in due time—moving out of cities, having kids, getting married—its dragging on may have equally arrested anything we didn’t make happen by riding the wave of chaos at the start. A radical shift like a pandemic starting can be clarifying. But when the radical shift just sort of tails off into a background radiation of unrest, it leads to waiting for an end that, in the case of this pandemic, is not meaningfully coming. And once we realize that, the panic really jumps out.
In my case, I resisted leaving New York even after we figured out, several months later, that it was possible to do it safely. I felt certain I could get laid off from my job at any second, I worked in a classically volatile industry, and had no safety net. Even though it became basically meaningless to be… anywhere in particular, thanks to all of the tele-operations that magically sprung up despite every institution’s previous insistence that it couldn’t be done in the case of work, medical care, et al., I fought to hold that part of my life constant, because I could not know what else might suddenly change.
I have to imagine being in New York felt a lot like being in other very crowded cities during the pandemic, which felt very different from everywhere else. New York is cold and wet on average, so all of its operations are indoors; the apartments are small and everyone is on top of each other. I know at least one couple who kept pandemic protocols like the South Williamsburg Hasids keep the Sabbath; rarely leaving their apartment except to walk the dog, carefully toasting their delivery food in the oven to kill any possible germs. And still, they got COVID, very cruelly in the mere weeks before they were eligible for vaccines.
In the long months before vaccines and amply available tests, going anywhere was a macabre dance. Is there outdoor space? How close are the tables? Is there a picture of the space on Instagram? (There was NEVER a picture of the space on Instagram. Not once.) Do they require masks? Is there remote ordering? Should we just pick up food instead? Better yet: get delivery? Laura wants to have her birthday at the park, but is everyone going, you know… on board with the rules? Dan and Chelsea invited us over to their place, but have they, you know… been anywhere lately? Is Chelsea going to the office? Is Dan playing basketball still? Only outside? Well, okay; if we calculate the airspeed velocity of a six-foot-two man’s labored breathing after a breakaway and a failed attempt a dunk against the prevailing winds in the neighborhood of Bed-Stuy at the intersection of Halsey and Tompkins and triangulate all the possible relative positions of the other players on the court at that precise moment, would COVID exposure have been mathematically possible, even inevitable? Oh, they were wearing masks? Oh. Only two of them? Great; now I have to start my equation all over again.