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- Humaning Is Hard
Hey, Friend! Last time I'll mention my book (probably until next December, when it will be on my mind again, because… would-be-due-date). How long until December comes and goes, and I do not think about that pregnancy? Five. Ten. Fifty five. Someone I care about lost their parent in December. How many Decembers before December becomes just another month? Thank you so much to those who bought the book and those who send $5 to cover shipping for someone else. We are doing something awesome together. Today's story is from that one time I got on stage and shared my experience with a room full of people. I don't remember actually delivering this talk, but I remember saying the last word, and the room erupting in applause, and laughter, and it was truly one of my favorite moments. I'd give you a trigger warning, but then you are subscribing to this newsletter. Humaning is hard. You've been warned. And I don't care, because look: if you want to buy a book for yourself or a friend, here's the link. If you don't want to buy a book, but want to cover shipping costs for someone like this: Or like this: … you can send me $5 below - thank you! I hope your December is amazing so far. Catch you next week.
- I Only Met Her Once
Hey, Friend. In my household I am not allowed to share any new ideas after 9pm. It's just a bit too late for new ideas, according to Italian. Doesn't mean I stop having them. This week my new idea was - “lemme share few stories from my book with folks receiving Lettters To Friends and see if anyone wants to buy a copy, oh, and if someone had a miscarriage recently or their friend did, I will send them a book for free - shipping and all”. Well, this idea is definitely costing me ….lol… , as I am sending NINE free copies and counting to women who went through this experience in the last few weeks. And I don't care, because look: So, before I share today's story… if you want to buy a book for yourself or a friend, here's the link. If you don't want to buy a book, but want to cover shipping costs for someone like this: … you can send me $5 below - thank you! Now let me take you back. We are visiting Campora, a little town in southern Italy, and the town where my husband's uncle and grandmother still live in a small apartment. A painting reproduction by Kandinsky on the wall. The dining room chairs are wrapped in plastic. A large dining table in the middle of the room - underutilized. Photos of faraway relatives and Nonna herself - here at a youthful eighty five. That was eleven years ago. Now, almost completely deaf and unable to discern her own volume, she screams every sentence, occasionally, flashing a smile through the few remaining teeth. “Mangia! Mangia!” She is “all there” - sharp as a tack. Yet, the ageing body, and a recent hip injury has her sitting in a chair all day, covered with blankets, and looking off into the distance. Her day is punctuated by meals. Wake up, use the bathroom, eat breakfast. Get seated in the chair by the space heater. Sit until lunch. Eat lunch. Use the bathroom. Sit some more. Then dinner. Sit in the chair, and watch the same mindless trivia show on TV that was running last night. And the night before. Maybe nod off. Have some fruit. My husband's uncle - her son - will cut up the fruit in small pieces, so she can swallow - peel the pear, skin the kiwi. Go to bed. Repeat the next day. Is she happy? Is she bored? Is she in pain? I feel pity, and then sharp guilt. Am I projecting? I don't know anything about her. I wish we shared a language, so I could ask. Meanwhile, my husband relays to me that Nonna has been grumpy because she thinks it will be the last time she will see us. After breakfast, I move from the kitchen to the living room, where Nonna is sitting in an armchair, with her legs propped up on a plastic chair, with two blankets, covering her legs, and a space heater beside her. She is wearing a navy toque with the NY logo on the front. She is cold all the time now. I make myself cozy in the corner of a sofa, to the right of her. If I scooch over, and she turns her head, we can see each other. Few minutes later she starts shuffling. The housekeeper assists her up to her walker. After breaking her hip last year, she has to lean onto the walker with most of her weight, and make small trips. Few steps to the bathroom, rest. Few more steps. Then repeat on her way back. After the bathroom, she rolls around the walker, and instead of heading for her chair, slowly shuffles around the dining table, and heads straight for the couch where I am sitting. Of course, she could have just called me over - I am literally ten feet away - yet… this feels important. I sit up. With another couch to my left, the dining table to my right, and now Nonna on her walker straight ahead, I feel slightly ambushed. She looks straight at me, and says something. I make out “tutti”, “domani” and “partenza”. “All”, “tomorrow”, “departure”. “So, that's it, you are leaving tomorrow”, I translate in my head, filling in the blanks, and my heart clenches. She continues to speak in her raspy voice, unnecessarily loud, mostly because she is hard of hearing these days. I only understand an occasional word here and there, so I create a monologue in my head. “Be well. Take care of each other. Say hello to your mother”. I get up and gently lean into the walker, placing my head on her shoulder. She starts to cry. Few moments later, I sense her moving away. She hates this emotional shit as much as I do. That's why we get along - despite the language barrier. She reaches into her pocket for a handkerchief and wipes her face, her hand shaking. As she starts to turn her walker around, to set out on the long journey around the dining table, and back to her chair, I slowly drop tears into my herbal tea. This is human life. All of this. All order of things. She has lived a long time. Soon it will be her time to go. Then it will be mine. Hopefully not too soon. But probably too soon anyway. And maybe my grandson will marry a nice girl from a different culture. And we won't speak each other's language, but will get along anyway. And I will get to feel this pain all over again, but this time from the other side. Maybe. If I am ever so lucky.
- Couldn't Find My Car
Hey, Friend. Psst! Did you get an email from me yesterday? If you didn't, it might be because it was sent from a new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and so it could have landed in Spam. If you want to make sure not to miss any letters, please add that address to your safe senders list. Now onto the letter: My first ever due date was in early December. That baby was never born, but a book was. [read on for a story on how I am lost everywhere constantly]. Some of you have read the book, and loved it. Some of you had no idea I wrote a book until just now. I often hear from folks who get this newsletter that they love it because it's not really a newsletter at all. It's really a… letter. My book is a lot like that. So, if you like my writing, and also like travel, and good stories and black humour, you'll enjoy it. I am feeling like sending out some snail mail this week, so in the next THREE days you can buy a copy of my book and I will write you a handwritten card. Tis' the season and all that. Here's today's story (one more coming your way tomorrow): A colleague, a fellow professor at a community college, told me once that she'd read somewhere that people with exceptional verbal skills are often severely impaired at spatial skills. She was referring to herself. She taught English, and her command of language was superb. I didn't tell her. I didn't tell her that sometimes in the gym locker room, I have absolutely no recollection of where my stuff is, and so I wait for the room to get empty, and then start at the corner locker, opening and closing doors. Quietly, trying not to attract too much attention. 001, 002, 003. Nope, nope, nope. I move through the rows, slowly, methodically, at the same time wondering if there will be a day when I open the correct locker, but won't be able to recognize the contents as mine. I didn't tell her how once I walked the same block three times, trying to figure out which way I came from - all the while, my car was parked about two hundred feet away. I got lost on my way home from the gym once after making that drive three times a week for a year and a half. I found myself on the side of the road with the emergency lights flashing - straight, right, left - directions no longer made sense. I dialed a familiar number. “I don't know where I am”, I say meekly. He is somewhat used to getting these calls from me. He sounds tired. He is already in bed. “Isn't your GPS working?” I pull the phone from my ear, and stare at the little screen - my current location blinking on a map.“ It is working”, I sigh. “It's just… not helping, you know?” It is like trying to follow a recipe, when you are delirious with hunger. I feel panicky and completely helpless. I send him my exact coordinates over the phone. “Can you tell me where to go?” Instead, I hear shuffling on the other end of the phone. “What are you doing?” “I'm coming to get you.” “Um. Do you want me to start driving towards you?” “NO!”. Now he panics. “Stay where you are!” My offer is strictly symbolic. It's not like I would know which way to start driving anyway. This is funny on some level, so I try to smile. My lips feel stiff. I stay in the car and examine the cars passing by. In both directions. Is that him? No. Is that him? No. About twenty minutes later a familiar white truck pulls up. The door opens, and a few moments later, my husband is tapping on my window. I roll it down. “Hi, dumdum”, he sighs. I reach up to hug him. I drive home directly behind him, like a lost baby elephant, holding his mother's tail in my trunk, and covering my head in shame with my big leafy ears. “Where did you say I was?” “Are you sure?” “How did I get there?” ******************************************************* Want to buy the physical copy of the book and get a handwritten note from me? Here's the link. I am sending out NINE free copies and counting - to women who had a miscarriage recently. Don't want the book or have it, but want to cover shipping for someone else? You can Paypal me any amount here, and I'll send you a Christmas card as a thank you.
- I Have Always Wanted Children
Hey, Friend! I have always wanted children. lol That's a big fat lie. I have never wanted children. Having kids seemed like a chore that was perfectly preventable and avoidable, yet everyone was doing it. I didn't get it. I wanted to approach women who spent their weekends looking up strollers and baby names, and remind them: “You know you don't have to do this, right?”. I thought that maybe they forgot. Otherwise, why would someone in their clear mind choose to burden themselves so? Why, when the alternative was fun, and travel, and amazing food, and hobbies, and running, and, and… It just seemed like an incredibly bad deal. Who would want it? As one girlfriend after another got married, and got pregnant, I have always imagined myself to be the fun crazy aunt Kate. I would travel the world, return from my adventures, tanned and happy, and bring some exotic candy that no one likes. I have no problem imagining that Kate. She fits like a glove. When I was in my early twenties, I would imagine all the things that pregnancy and childbirth would “do” to my body - body that was already ravaged by lack of confidence, and self-loathing. I did not think I could take it. I was not as strong then as I am now. I also “didn't need anyone” back then. I was perfectly fine on my own, thank you very much. Heck, I almost had a panic attack the first time my then-boyfriend-now-husband hung a shelf in my apartment. What? Help? NO! Unacceptable! You couldn't rely on people, you see. People always left. It was better not to depend on anyone. And, of course, it was absolutely crucial not to have anyone depend on you. Yeah. I was not as strong then as I am now. Today, my family in Canada starts with my husband, and my children, and ends with my parents, and my brother. When my husband and I started dating, I used to joke how unfair it was. He only had to learn three names. I had to learn... eleven? twenty nine? forty three? Numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, and their children. I miss my big family back home. There is a certain buzz in the air, when there are twenty, thirty people in the room, and they all have your last name. In some circles, I might be SOLO, but I do not want to be solo. If I wanted to have a clan, I had to make one. I could not bring my family here, but I could try and create my own. “You would make an awesome parent”, a friend told me (way before I had kids). I came to believe that too. Yet, I don't believe that being a good parent is some unique character trait, or talent. To be a good parent you have to be… a good person. So, what happened? Years and years of deep work, and therapy, and writing, oh-so-much writing happened. My husband happened. My coaching work happened. And everything changed. I changed. My mind changed. My heart changed. I got stronger. And in the process, I became a better person. P.S. This is an excerpt from my collection of essays “Half Pregnant”. I am feeling like sending out some snail mail this week, so in the next FOUR days you can buy a copy of my book and I will write you a handwritten card. Here's the link, and I have 18 copies. 18 handwritten cards sounds like a good amount of cards. :) Or, you grab PDF version only here. Oh and… if you or someone you love had a miscarriage recently, and you think they might appreciate reading this book, hit Reply and let me know - I will send them a free physical copy with a handwritten note and cover shipping.
- I Will Comment On Your Body
Hey, Friend. In recent years, the phrase “We do not comment on other people's bodies” has made its rounds - and for good reason. It challenges the norm of making unsolicited comments about someone's weight, size, or shape. And yet… in our well-intentioned efforts we have yet again taken it too far - where no comments on any bodies in any situation for any reason are acceptable. Avoiding any mention of bodies, in any context, mirrors the problematic stance of “I do not see colour". It is usually sincerely well-meaning, but condescending and dismissive. To never talk or acknowledge bodies is to ignore that bodies are indeed part of us. Not to mention that for those of us who WORK WITH BODIES is downright impossible (and yet many coaches try, tripping all over themselves, because “we do not comment on people's bodies”). I finally met the strength coach who has been writing my workouts for the last few years in person. His name is Will. You can say hi here. We met at a barbell gym for a friendly two-hour lifting session. One of the things he said: “Looks good!” when watching me do dumbbell presses on a bench. He was absolutely commenting on my body - on how my body was moving through space, on how my body was performing a prescribed movement, on how my body was able to maintain stability and form. That's… his job as a coach. If I am watching you do a squat and giving you feedback, I am both commenting on your body and even… judging what your body is doing. I am judging the way your body is moving in space, compared to a certain standard - based on tradition (e..g ashtanga yoga) or expertise or efficiency (minimizing bar path in a clean). What is not part of the comment is the moral judgment. Your squat is never “bad”. It might be inefficient. It might be lacking depth. It might be hurting your knees. But it's not “good” or “bad”. What we want to move away from is not comments about people's bodies, but rather, it's the comments about people's bodies that come with an explicit or implicit suggestion that some bodies are somehow better than others. “You look great! Have you lost weight?” That. ^^^ We want to move away from that. And at the same time… imagine how strange and callous it would be, if my best friend loses 50 pounds in the four months that I have not seen her, and … I say nothing. It's a fine line between “I am paying careful attention to your body” and “are you even paying attention?”. “Your hair looks good!”, my friend says. “I loved the blonde, too. Every time I see you, your hair looks different, and I love it!”. It's an acknowledgement. "I see you!” “I notice you!” “You are changing, your body is changing, the way you look is changing, and I love you.” Ask yourself: Do I have a pre-established relationship with this person? “Nice butt!” From a stranger at the gym (um, please no)? or from a close friend in response to a gym selfie? Do I have full context for what I am commenting on? "Look at your arms!” You know they have been really working on their upper body strength, and now their shoulders are looking more muscular! Do I have implicit or explicit consent from them? See the “nice butt!” example. Close friend - yes, close friend who has previously asked you to not comment on their body - no. Unsure about any of these? It might be best to refrain from commenting. We CAN comment on people's bodies, and do so intentionally, respectfully and carefully. It's about the context, the relationship and the presence or absence of consent. We live in bodies. People we love live In bodies. Bodies are an inextricable part of us. And, as my long-time mentor and friend Krista Scott-Dixon says: “Nobody is sad to hear "You're looking jacked and swole". ;) Hugs,
- Cancelled Things, And Expensive Champagne
Hi, Friend. What did you do for your most recent big birthday? Your 30th? 50th? 80th? Was it a big deal party? Trip? [it’s a trip for me, always a trip] Was it just another day, as you shrugged and insisted that you didn’t want to celebrate? My husband’s 40th birthday present was going to be staying at a castle in southern Italy. Yes, it was going to be just as fancy as it sounds, AND did you know you could rent a castle in Italy for $125 a night? Seriously. Instead, we spent his 40th eating pizza in the basement, and drinking (very expensive) champagne as a consolation prize in our tiny COVID bubble of three adults. It was perfect in its own way, but I do still owe him a castle. I am typing this letter in my Notes app from seat 20A on a YYZ - LGA flight (Toronto to New York) - first leg of what was going to be my solo trip to India - MY 40th birthday present. I’ve been dreaming of coming back to India ever since I left. That was 12 years ago. I was going to go back a couple of years ago - planes booked, hotels booked. That was in March 2020. Har har. All countries closed borders. All tourist visas cancelled. Cue two years of chaos. I was so bewildered and bored, I got pregnant again. Breastfeeding and extended absences do not go well together, so it took three years before I re-booked those plane tickets. This Friday. It was going to be this Friday. But then Canada and India got into a fight, and India cancelled all tourist visas. I found out a month ago, and spent weeks, scanning government websites, reading announcements from India’s high commission, checking for updates, and even considering travelling on my Russian passport (probably a bad idea, but it was very much expired, so that was not even an option). Hours on the phone, and my NYC - Mumbai itinerary is cancelled, and mostly refunded. My husband wanted a castle in Italy. Instead, he got basement pizza. I wanted a trip to India. Instead, I got a mild case of plantar fasciitis. Maybe it’s something about the 40th birthday specifically? But I decide to keep Toronto - NYC - Toronto leg. Out of stubbornness mostly. Because I don’t want to cancel THAT itinerary too. There’s been a whole lot of cancelled things in the last three years, wouldn’t you say? Canceled things. Things that fell through. Things that never happened. Things that happened that shouldn’t have. I was NOT cancelling this one too. My husband was so bummed out on my behalf. “I can’t believe you are canceling this trip for the second time!” Here’s what is so weird… I’m ok with it. You ever had a decision made FOR you? Both times the trip fell through - it was completely and utterly NOT up to me. It’s frustrating, and yet… I remind myself of a few things. It is a privilege to get to visit a country that is not yours. I will never take that for granted. It is always easier when the decision is made FOR you. There is literally nothing to do, but pivot. And so… I’m heading to New York City to hang out with awesome people, feel the big city atmosphere, and maybe even drink some expensive champagne. Hugs,
- Coffee Beans, And How I Think About Black Friday 2023
Hi, Friend. “At least we had the good coffee today” says this journal entry in one of my notebooks. There are almost seventy of them in total. Same entry: "The entire day just hangs on a cup of good coffee sometimes." We started ordering Pilot (Coffee Roasters) beans during COVID. It seemed like a necessary luxury - an oxymoron, perhaps. But with doors closed to everything, and the calendar blank - was else was there? After two years of drinking “the good coffee” every day, there was no going back to the shiny overroasted beans you find at a grocery store. he way I think about Black Friday (and Boxing Day, and every other holiday where your inbox is full of offers and promotions) is twofold: It’s a fantastic opportunity to buy products and services from people and companies you already love and follow (or are curious about) I’m not buying coffee beans just because it’s Black Friday - I’m buying a particular product, because I already consume it regularly and love it. It’s a no-brainer to save money on the thing I am going to buy anyway. Skincare product that I’ve been curious about, but been cringing at the price tag? Well, it’s 30% off tomorrow, so… I’ll be buying. A private podcast from one of my favorite coaches I’ve been eyeing all year - at a discount? Sold. 2. it’s a fantastic opportunity to re-evaluate if companies and people are still bringing value to your life Incessant messages from Sporting Life, because I bought a tank top from them that one time? Gone Old Navy has a 90% off sale (again)? Hit “unsubscribe”. Tomorrow I’ll be buying some coffee beans from the company I love, and some books/resources/courses from the people whose work I admire. I’ll be unfollowing and unsubscribing from companies and people that are not bringing value, or that are focusing on the things that are no longer relevant to me. You will probably do the same. Hugs,
- I Had One Job
Hi, Friend. I was 21 years old, and I literally had ONE job to do, as a teaching assistant to an undergraduate psychology course at my own university - make 200 copies of the multiple choice test and hand it out to students. I have photocopied thousands of pages as a TA - handouts, questionnaires, and tests - so many tests. Remember those tests? Ubiquitous in first and second year social sciences courses - 50-80 items, all multiple choice. You’d be able to knock out two options pretty easily, and then you’d be obsessing between B and D, because they both seemed right, but one was SUPPOSED to be more right than the other. But which one? We kept the doors to the classroom closed as usual, as I made my way row by row, depositing scantron forms and tests - text down - on desks, making sure that no two desks were placed too close to each other. Finally, at 10.02am, the professor stayed at the front, as I opened the doors. The students noisily made their way through, dropping their bags, removing their winter jackets and settling in. 10.07am - most students were in their seats. 10.09am - the professor gave reminders of the test’s duration and format. 10.10am - “You may begin!”, the professor announced. There was a collective rustle, as 200 tests were turned over I would be spending the next 90 minutes, walking up and down the isles, making sure no one was getting too friendly with their eyes on their neighbour's paper. Or so I thought. Except something is off that morning. Too many hushed whispers. Too many confused looks. Instead of burying themselves in test papers, students were looking around. What was happening? I was still clutching the extra test copies. As I looked down on the title page, my blood froze. It couldn't be. I flipped to the next test. And the next. And the next. I was looking at the test key. The master key - a copy of a test that the professor gives to the teaching assistant ahead of the exam - with all the exam questions, AND exam answers conveniently BOLDED. I had just given out 200 copies of THE EXAM FREAKING KEY. Yeah. That was a short test, let me tell you. I mentioned that I was going to do a lil’ thing for Black Friday 2023 - so here’s what it is. I am re-jigging the price AND structure for my AI Magic Dust consults for FOUR DAYS ONLY. I have been booking these for the last three months, and I am seeing a lot of benefit in a follow-up session. I want you to go away and thrash around with some of the new stuff, and maybe even get stuck a little bit. THEN we meet up again, and troubleshoot the sticky parts, so the MAGIC CAN FLOW. There are three focus areas that have been popping up in my consults lately: – you plan to have a launch or a new coaching offer in the next 2-3 months, and you want to use AI to help you create content – you have ADHD or are neurodivergent and you want to learn how AI can help you (oh boy can it!!!) – you want to know how you can use AI to serve your clients even better - custom client gifts, anyone? Lemme show you how you can have a custom Christmas card for every one of your clients (along with custom wrapping paper, if you’d like). Have a question about these? Have something particular in mind and wonder if we can cover it? Reach out to me here: https://www.instagram.com/k_solovieva/ Hugs,
- Watch This By Yourself In A Dark Room
Hi, Friend. If you have been living under a rock, or have small children - which.. let’s admit - often feels exactly like living under a rock… you may not know that the Beatles released a brand new song two weeks ago. Yes, those Beatles. THE Beatles. Two of the four band members are no longer with us, and yet November 2023 brought a brand new Beatles song, featuring the work of the entire band. Thanks to AI. The new track isn't the result of generative AI, which is known for creating new content (think ChatGPT). Instead, advanced AI was used to skillfully separate and enhance existing audio tracks, achieving what was once thought impossible back in the mid-90s. Dedicate just 17 minutes to these two videos, and your mind will be blown. Or heart, maybe. For me it was both. And I’m not even that big of a Beatles fan. Sure, “Yesterday” was my favorite song when I was 14, but that wasn’t super unique. The Official Music Video: The 12-Min Short Film About The Making Of The Song: I watched both videos back to back in a completely dark office, because it gets dark quickly these days, and I was too enthralled to turn on the light. I have goosebumps knowing that we get to live through a time when certain tools were not available, and now they are. How lucky. It’s like living in a Harry Potter book (remember the moving pictures?). Getting an ultrasound while pregnant is a routine medical exam now, but my grandmother did not know she was having twins until eight months into her pregnancy, when the doctor just counted … “too many arms and legs for one”, while palpating her abdomen. We weren’t able to do certain things, because the technology, the tools did NOT EXIST. And now they do. And the Beatles have a new song You might already know that I have been co-teaching the first ever AI course for health and fitness professionals offered through Precision Nutrition, so I have been even deeper down the AI rabbit hole. There is so much magic. So much opportunity to ENHANCE human creativity. Let me show you - I’ll be doing something super cool and AI related, so if you’ve been curious about this whole AI thing, but you do NOT have time to learn a million tools, and where does one even start??? stay tuned. Hugs,
- How To Vet A Stranger
Hi, Friend. About a year ago, my friend Alisa launched a Substack newsletter called Good People, Good Places - documenting stories that make you feel better about the world - and the people in it. When this particular story came up during a casual chat, Alisa wanted to feature it in her newsletter, and I gladly agreed. So today you have a story ABOUT me, but written by someone else. :) Warning: If you grew up watching “stranger danger” videos, this story might challenge your worldview. While waiting for her flight to Bangalore, India, Kate Solovieva chatted with an older man. As bored travelers tend to do, the two talked about where they’d come from and where they were headed. He no longer lived in India but was returning to take care of his late mother’s affairs. Solovieva was embarking on what she referred to as her Eat, Pray, Love trip. She planned to stay in Bangalore for one night before proceeding to her final destination: the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore. “You look like you might be my daughter’s age,” he said. Yes, Solovieva confirmed, she was in her mid-20s. “We’ll be arriving around two in the morning,” the man said. “Do you have someone waiting at that airport?” Solovieva did. Soon after, the flight boarded. If things had gone to plan, that might have been the end of the story. However, when the plane landed in Bangalore, Solovieva checked her texts. There was one from her host. Something had come up. He wouldn’t be picking her up after all. She was on her own, in an unfamiliar country, in the middle of the night, with no place to stay. Sure, the situation wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t time to panic. Solovieva had lived in and traveled to about a dozen countries. Things inevitably went wrong, and without fail, she’d always come up with a Plan B. As she waited for her bag, the older man approached her. “So, is your ride here?” “Well, funny story,” Solovieva said, explaining the situation. “What will you do?” the man asked, sounding worried. “I don’t know,” she said. “I’ll figure something out.” “Well,” he said, looking and sounding uncomfortable, “I know it’s probably forward and strange to suggest this.” He waited. Then he continued, “I am heading to my apartment in the city. I have an extra bedroom. If you want to come along, you are more than welcome.” The man seemed harmless, protective, more like a father than a murderer. Solovieva decided to roll the dice. “For me, traveling is like that. There will always be a bit of gambling,” Solovieva says, looking back on that trip. “You have to rely on the goodness of people because people are generally good—truly. If you’re hungry, thirsty, or have to find a bathroom, if you fall and are bleeding, people tend to react in a predictable way, even if you don’t share the language.” Solovieva and the older man hopped into a Tuk-Tuk. The tiny golf cart-like vehicle was just large enough for the driver and the two of them. Soon, they were flying and beeping through the streets. Then, the man was showing Solovieva his extra bedroom, handing her clean robes, and asking if she’d like to join him on the balcony for a smoke. The two sat, smoked, and talked for a couple of hours before heading to their respective bedrooms to sleep. The following afternoon, the man tuk-tuked Solovieva to the train station. Once there, he bought her a ticket to Mysore, handed her five dollars worth of local cash, escorted her to the woman’s only car, and asked several women to watch over her during the trip. “They mother henned around me, settled me into the train station, and fed me food from little packaged meals and lunches they’d packed for themselves and their children,” Solovieva says. Before the man left, Solovieva thanked him. “I just hope if my daughter is ever in this situation, someone will do the same for her,” he said. “I feel lucky to have experienced that,” she says, “It built up my belief and trust in people. I want to convey that belief to my children. I don’t want to teach them stranger danger. I want to teach them the opposite of it. If you are in a weird place and are lost and confused, you should be able to get yourself home or get some food through the kindness of strangers.” Hugs,
- I Couldn’t Afford Therapy
Hi, Friend. The first time I decided to get therapy, I couldn’t afford it. It was 2am, and I was feverishly Googling for JUST the right person to help me. They needed to specialize in disordered eating, anxiety and body image. They needed to focus on present-time solutions, not healing my inner child. They needed to have a PhD. [Trust me, I have loosened up significantly since then, but at the time, these criteria felt crucial.] Well, I found her. She was perfect. She also charged $225 per session. That was 10% of my MONTHLY pay cheque at the time. I most definitely could not afford it. I most definitely needed it. I have decided to set it up as an experiment - if you know me, you know I like experiments. Framing something as a temporary trial run calms my brain. We set a deadline, we collect data, we assess and re-assess. I was going to put $1,000 towards this. Yes, it was going on my credit card, but I would be able to pay it off within a few months, teaching some extra yoga classes on the side. That bought me FOUR sessions. If I wasn’t going to see any improvement, I was going to quit right there and then, cut my losses and move on with my life, my binging, and my fucked up body image. Easy. I ended up seeing that therapist on and off for the next ten years. So… yeah. It helped. I don’t know where I would be today, if I didn’t decide to TRY. This is NOT me saying “if this is important to you, you should make it work!’" I had plenty of privilege at the time - not everyone can just set aside $1,000 to try out therapy. This IS me saying… I know that while winter is free, and struggling with winter is free, getting help is usually not. If there is a way for me to make help more accessible, I’d like to do just that. Learn more here: https://www.solovieva.com/operationtigger Hugs,
- Anyone Told You To Try A Cold Bath Yet?
Hey, Friend. Anyone told ya to try a cold bath yet? For.. you know… …. everything. Faster metabolism, smarter brain. To cure depression, and to give you luscious long hair. Speaking of “here’s this very specific thing that will fix your problem!”. Someone asked me if I have gone through a specific certification teaching me how to support people through the winter. I have not. But I have… done some things. The short version - I have two psychology degrees, ten years of coaching experience, 1,000+ clients AND ten years of managing my own seasonal dips under my belt. When I was 19, I thought I would become a psychology professor. I envisioned the life of research and college campuses, and students who never get any older. I spent my graduate degree reading everything there was to read about proactive coping and stress management. My master’s thesis focused on the benefits of expressive writing after traumatic events. When I was 26, I headed to Israel to complete my post-graduate certificate in trauma and resilience. When I was 28, I had my first awful-horrible-never-going-outside winter. When I was 38, I started Operation Tigger. I definitely did NOT know that there would be such a thing as a “getting-through-yet-another-winter-mostly-unscathed-even-though-it-suuuuuuucks” expert, and that it would be me. Not a clinician. Not a researcher. Not a well-wisher from the sidelines. Not a biohack “try-this” bro. But a fellow winter sufferer (direct experience - check!) and an experienced coach (relevant expertise - check!). If you are ready for individualized winter plan coaching social support Reach out to me for more information on when Operation Tigger starts up again. Hugs,