I have written here about how much Mister Rogers means to me. I wrote about him again this morning on Instagram. His kindness is radical, especially now in these days of cynicism and immediate derision. We need Mister Rogers more than ever.
And, it turns out, we also have Tom Hanks. I loved this piece about Hanks, who plays Mister Rogers in a movie that debuts this week. (I’m going.) I love that the title of this piece is “This Tom Hanks Story Will Help You Feel Better.” It did.
This passage in particular left me a little breathless, a little teary:
“My children were getting older, the oldest about to turn 12, I told him, and I felt like lately, everything I said was misunderstood — everything was seen as criticism or nagging — and suddenly I could clearly see how a child who used to want to lie in bed with you and watch movies on his birthday could drift toward someone who could barely look at you. Someone who didn’t understand that all your insistence was just about being a good person in the world, and the myriad ways to do that, and the even more myriad ways you could stumble upon the opposite. This coupled with an awareness that being good wasn’t so simple anymore, and that I ran the risk of my children seeing behind the nagging and criticism, down to my basic daily deeds, and finding that I wasn’t so good in the world — that at best, I was neutral.
It isn’t easy being a parent, not for any of us, he said. ‘Somewhere along the line, I figured out, the only thing really, I think, eventually a parent can do is say I love you, there’s nothing you can do wrong, you cannot hurt my feelings, I hope you will forgive me on occasion, and what do you need me to do? You offer up that to them. I will do anything I can possibly do in order to keep you safe. That’s it. Offer that up and then just love them.’
He looked at me for my next question and when he saw my face he said, ‘O.K. Go ahead. I’m right here for you, Taffy. It’s good to cry. It’s good to talk.’”
It is good to cry. It’s good to talk.
“It’s all right to feel things, though the feelings may be strange. Feelings are such real things, and they change and change and change.”
What would our culture be like if we all actually tried to live the way Mister Rogers and Free to Be You and Me taught us?
Speaking of feelings, I wrote a post on Instagram about how I struggle with the seasonal affective disorder that hits so many of us in the Pacific Northwest. Since I was diagnosed with complex PTSD this year, I have started to recognized that the way we are required to spend so much time indoors during the winter triggers old traumas for me. So I’m trying to meet it head on this year, to recognize that it’s all right to feel these things. And even though some people adore winter — and they still try to convince me of the coziness, the bracing quality of the air, the ecstatic celebration of all that is cold and dark — I have decided that it is all right to not particularly enjoy it either. However, this year, I am embracing the chance to go inward, to go quieter, to write and sit in front of the fire and to not expect to feel exuberant this time of the year.
Who knows? Maybe fully allowing this — along with taking my vitamin D and seeking out the light as much as I can — will make this a different winter.
Also, whale videos. This is a video of the Jpod passing Vashon. Someday, I will see this.
Like Wendell Berry, when I despair of the world, I go out in nature.
As I wrote on Instagram last night, the library is a deeply important place to us. We four go every Saturday afternoon now, delighted at the chance to find just the right books for us, and take them home for free. (I will never get over the joy of this!)
It makes me deeply happy to hear about people putting holds on ENOUGH and waiting 12 to 20 weeks for it to arrive in their local library! I know that sales are key, and as an author I am supposed to tell you to buy a copy. Honestly, though, I can’t afford all the books I want to read. I love the idea of you reading a library copy. If your library system doesn’t have it, you can ask them to purchase it.
Also! The audiobook that I read of ENOUGH should be out next month. It will be on Audible, iTunes, audiobook.com, and GooglePlay. Soon! I will let you know when it’s ready.
If you are anywhere near West Seattle, I will be reading at Paper Boat Booksellers on Thursday, November 21st. I would love to see you there. Come out and support a new independent bookstore!
And to give you a recipe I wrote, but did not create: this herb oil from ChefSteps is utterly delicious. I was a taste tester for the trials. The one that made it onto the site was my favorite. I love the idea of bottling up Thanksgiving in a deeply flavorful oil. And I can attest that this oil drizzled on crisp roasted potato with flecks of Maldon salt is one of the best bites in the world.
This is a public post for my newsletter, ENOUGH. After years of writing gluten-free girl, I wrote a book of essays called ENOUGH. My new essays now live in this newsletter, which is funded by direct subscriptions from readers. So if you enjoy what I write here, consider subscribing.
Feel free to share this with friends.