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Writer on tech, money, sexuality, & social justice. Content strategist @ Chime (Formerly Facebook, Dog mom 🐶

A step-by-step guide to caring for others and ourselves

So many of my friends are frozen with guilt and horror right now. Each day, the situation in the U.S. especially seems to get more grim; many people in positions of leadership are either not helping much or actively making things worse.

What can we personally do in the face of a global pandemic where the people in charge are failing to help?

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1) Put on your own oxygen mask first.

Do not skip this step, especially if you’re tempted to!

Are you sick, burnt out, depressed, scared, furious, exhausted, etc?

Pause. Get centered. Drink some water or seltzer. Take your meds and/or vitamins.

The real mystery is why we can’t believe that the simplest explanation is the truth.

There is no such thing as hypochondria.

Even the medical / psychiatry / therapy community (which can be pretty behind on trauma informed stuff) has changed "hypochondria" to "illness anxiety disorder.”

And there is some pretty compelling research and academic papers positing that what we called "hypochondria" (especially in women and kids) is simply trauma responses.


The mysteriously sick child

My dad told me from the time I was a baby that it was simply a mystery why I was so sick and sore and exhausted and terrified all the time.

He once said that maybe I just had too high an expectation…

What happened when a woman prioritized her own survival over other people’s comfort

“You do not have to be good “

—Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

Starting in 2020, I stopped being good.

Well. I don’t know that I actually stopped being good, but I stopped making it my number one goal.

I stepped into my own power, and while I didn’t behave cruelly (to the best of my knowledge), I did get frustrated, and felt anger in my body for the very first time in 14 years.

I even raised my voice once when I was defending someone in my care against viciousness, and all other attempts at stopping the harm had not…

How traditional book publishing exploits authors and workers with unfair rights, royalties, and compensation.

And a roadmap to a more equitable book industry

Here is a fun fact that isn’t fun at all:

The majority of published authors earn below the poverty line.

Imagine that for every hour of work you received only 8% of your wage.¹

¹But don’t worry, you’ll get a few thousand dollars up front!²

² Oh, but you’ll also need to keep working until those thousands are paid off before you can earn any more.

Sounds terrible, right? Welcome to the standard structure of a publishing contract.

What’s more, it’s unlikely that an author will ever earn out their up-front payout (advance).

Even back in 2006, before the explosion of indie and self publishing, “The average book in America [sold] about…

This! And honestly, it's not an accident. The burnout is, sadly, the point. And it took me decades to realize it.

How to lose $30k and gain a lifetime of lessons in 90 days

I started a company in a pandemic.

While it ultimately failed, the service itself was well-received, successful, and genuinely spread joy to people in a crappy year. I was still sick with a viral infection/pneumonia — maybe covid, but not confirmed because testing was limited at the time — when I started the company.

The business put money (about $30,000 total*) directly into the pockets of artists, freelancers, and creatives who were feeling the financial hit of the sudden depression in March/April. …

How it’s possible to assault someone without knowing it, and for us both to believe it was consensual sex.

To the people I loved (and “loved”, if you catch my drift ) before (I got away from Jesse),

I realize that this headline may read as incredibly dramatic, and likely alarming.

Particularly if you know me.

And especially if you’re one of the people who kissed me, hugged me, put your hands on me, playfully hit me or whipped me or zapped me with electricity, or had any type of sex with me.

It must be absolutely gut-wrenching to read this, and I am so incredibly sorry.

It seems pretty likely that you may be having a stress response in your mind and body. This can often look something like this:

“Whoa, that can’t be right.” or

“But not me though … right?”…

And despite what my abusive father, ex, and Facebook have said publicly, they know it, too.

I don’t think it was ever true that me finally hitting my dad back to get him to stop choking my brother was mutual abuse.

I was 13, 5’3", and maybe 120 pounds. And I was a child.

Even later in life, I’ve stayed 5’3" and have never been particularly athletic. I’m curvy, but fluctuate between a dress size 0 and 8.

If you want proof of my lack of physical coordination and strength, just ask my PE teachers and gym buddies, and anyone who has seen me attempt to open a jar. …

And I have been paying the price for 30 years.

Rush limbaugh was one of the men who most radicalized my abusive father, who has harmed me more than I can possibly say.

Imagine the worst — then imagine something even worse than that. It’s probably beyond that.

And my dad adored Rush. Went to his q and A’s and book signings. Emulated him and looked to him as a model of healthy masculinity. I grew up listening to Orange County a.m. radio KFI, with hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Larry elder, Dr. Laura, and the author of “In Defense of Internment Camps.”

That’s what I was born into, and as…

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but:

Insisting that justified emotions and actions from survivors are mental illness*— pathological, even — or abuse is a clever way for people with power stay in power.

I’m happy to elaborate on this more in the comments, if people are curious or have questions or concerns. Tweet me at @EvaGantz or leave a response on Medium.

But for now, I’m taking a nice, long dip in the hot tub at the safe house I had to run to when jesse got ahold of my address. Again.

I am ruthlessly prioritizing (as…

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