Last week I started learning weightlifting. My lab partner, who was teaching us, said to listen to the barbell, to the way it rattled if you snatched it up at just the right angle.
I’ve been thinking about the physical burdens of care in the wake of a circulating article about high rates of infertility in female physicians.
One of my favorite authors in high school was Ellen Emerson White—she wrote young adult books, emphasis on adult. One of her books, The Road Home is about a girl who served as a nurse in the Vietnam War and falls in love with a boy who comes home as an amputee with PTSD. The impression I have now of that book is the way she cared for him, the bitterness their relationship held, with the care.
American portrayals of the Vietnam War are peculiar. I tend to bristle at Tim O’Brien’s books, the way they tunnel vision on the nebulous “truth” and traumatized soldiers, the way they omit dimension in Vietnamese characters. I’m thinking about Thi Bui’s incredible graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do, about her family’s migration to the states from Vietnam as refugees.
I really admire Fariha Róisín and her newsletter, How to Cure a Ghost (thank you Yeeseon for the rec, ages ago!). The latest installment was about revisiting Harry Potter as an adult and it was *chef’s kiss*.
In her newsletter installment titled “On Unlikability," Róisín mentions a quote attributed to Margaret Mead about how the first sign of civilization is a femur that had fractured and healed, because it meant that someone cared enough to help someone else through difficulty.
I think that care can often be burdensome, and heavy, and that perhaps (to some extent) it is that burden which makes the caring worthwhile. Care as a kind of carrying.