You’re reading Try Stuff Energy, a weekly-ish newsletter on how it feels like to put yourself out into the word and well, try stuff, like publishing this newsletter. Written by Caitlin Sowers.
There’s a habit I share with my partner at the advice of our therapist, which is to avoid picking fights through the week. We save our grievances for our check-in on Sunday morning. When I feel my blood pressure rise at the sight of dirty dishes stacked on top of the spatula I need to flip my pancake, I breath deeply and bite the tongue that wants to remind Tony that the dishes are his chore. I might remember by the end of the week, but most of the time I don’t. The waiting is the point. Trivial issues that otherwise spiral into arguments are forgotten simply because I can’t remember them.
Hopelessly romantic to a fault, I didn’t think I’d ever find myself in a relationship that required weekly check-ins. My assumption was that with the “perfect” partner, each other’s minds would be read and needs effortlessly met. When Tony walked into my he popped my idealistic balloon. Our personality and souls were undeniably matched, yet we found ourselves locked in arguments multiple times a week. What was going on? Mind reading wouldn’t materialize even among the most compatible lovers. We learned to communicate plainly in couple’s therapy. The gift in all this is when you aren’t mad at someone you get to enjoy them.
My idealistic feelings about romantic partnerships bled into friendships too. I thought I only needed best friends. If someone wasn’t a person I loved, saw weekly, and could sign on the dotted line as an emergency contact, then I questioned the point. I thought about this when I learned the purpose mixed cropping serves in agriculture. The mixture of crop species invites biodiversity, naturally increasing yield and resiliency of the crop. By only permitting one rare kind of friendship to grow, I was missing out on a more resilient and nurtured version of myself. If I choose for my romantic partnership to be monogamous, what a blessing that my friendships can be as plural and varied as I’d like. The friend who’s in town once a year? Pick up her call and enjoy a wild night out. The friend who’s calendar you need to book into two weeks in advance for a 30-minute coffee? Send the invite and enjoy his company over a Matcha latte. The couple who make the perfect tapas date given their unusually small appetite? Book the dog sitter and make a reso. These aren’t friendship counterfeits posing as the real thing, they’re something meaningful in and of themselves. Like an orchard of apple trees nestled amongst pears and plums, I’m better for being in their company.
Loneliness is real and painful and if you hold others to an impossible standard you’ll experience more of it than you should. I felt a wave of this loneliness hit last week and called up an old friend I hadn’t seen in months. I asked if she wanted to have dinner and looked forward to our date all week. I’m still learning a lot about how to be a friend.
So my working thesis on adult friendships is this: Humans are fallible but remain lovable. Most of their shortcomings will be forgotten if you don’t mention them. Forgive quickly and often. Don’t compare people to an ideal and nurture as many types of friendship as you can. If you succeed at this, you’ll be rewarded with love that deepens what kind of relationship is possible with the self. The wider berth we give those we love to err, the deeper we offer ourselves unconditional love.
Sparks of Try Stuff Energy ✨
I’ve been thinking a lot about embodiment recently, both its power and how actively our culture encourages us to separate from it. My friend Rachel recommended Hilary’s text reminders on embodiment practices for connecting to the body. She’s sending them out until the end of the year for free. Text the word WISDOM to 855.794.2265 to sign up. This sounds like the start of some kind of weird pyramid scheme, but trust me it isn’t.
Speaking of embodiment, the only and only Krista Tippett recently interviewed Bessel van der Kolk this week. Bessel is a psychiatrist, trauma specialist, and author of one of the most widely read books during the pandemic, The Body Keeps Score. They have a beautiful conversation that shifted the way I live by at least 1-2 degrees.
I just finished this book and believe it to be the single most important book of my twenties.
Haley Nahman, a favourite writer of mine, wrote about the power constraints offer creativity last week. I really loved it.
A few weeks ago I made the decision to stop reading any public comments or checking stats on anything I share online. I still welcome DMs and emails <3, but I’ve finally accepted my creative outlets don’t require numeric optimizing and public forums are difficult for sensitive people. What creative hobby might you pursue and enjoy without needing approval from anyone else?
Hi 👋, I’m Caitlin Sowers. I started sharing my life online via youtube videos in 2017. I love the art of story telling and am deeply curious about what I can learn by listening to others’ stories as well as sharing my own. As a proud multi-hyphenate I have more interests than I know what to do with.
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