The TueDo List: Midlife Massage + Family Secrets + Sunscreen for Goths
And a miniature "Chucky" on the loose in Alabama
📖 READ: Why Pat Benatar is no longer performing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Lessons in fashion and fatness from Absolutely Fabulous. We don’t care that JLo took Ben Affleck’s last name, but “imagine if Ben Affleck had become Ben Lopez.” Nostalgia is fun, but we got rid of cassette tapes for a reason, so why are they so popular again? “Ani DiFranco is the greatest living folksinger of the post-Dylan era, and the only reason most people don’t give much of a crap is because she is a woman.” Finding your true self in middle age: Ten midlife coming-of-age novels. A fun interview with Jane Lynch.
👀 LOOK: Twisted Gen-X humor? Someone in Alabama is terrorizing the neighbors by walking around in a Chucky costume. Check out Frankie Goes to Hollywood performing an earlier, stripped down version of “Relax.”
🎧 LISTEN: Beyoncé’s Renaissance comes out Friday. In the meantime, listen to the creepy remix of Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” from Jordan Peele’s Nope. Shonka Dukureh, who played Big Mama Thornton in Elvis, has died at age 44. Her version of “Hound Dog” wins forever. The Daily Show Presents: Hold Up is “a hilarious podcast about absolutely nothing.”
Now: Not Just A Girl, the Shania Twain documentary (Netflix)
OBSESSED: Midlife Self-Care Tools
By Sarah Buttenwieser
Many years ago, my massage therapist friend told me to buy a cheap and very firm ball from a local shop. They were two for a buck. (More recently, I added an even smaller one, which I might like more.) I was counseled to roll my foot over it. I developed a new habit: Rolling my foot on that ball for two minutes most evenings while brushing my teeth.
Time ensued. Age. Trump. More aches. And then, a pandemic, which meant any care for my body had to come from me. I rummaged around and discovered a yoga strap and a foam roller from a time of injury. That was all pretty manageable. The pandemic wasn’t manageable. I added body self-care tools to my collection, in hopes I wouldn’t miss regular bi-weekly massages. A friend dropped off a big balance ball. My sister-in-law didn’t like her foam roller and offloaded it. I rolled and stretched, maybe weekly.
For me, habits take time to stick. Simultaneously, desperation grew. The corner of my bathroom had begun to fill up with gadgets. I started to run again, and found one and then another ball to help reach trigger points and knots. Having never found a self-massage tool I liked, I splurged and got our family an electric one. (Truthfully, I’m the main user). Recently, I got a manual tool that seems to work well on my neck and calves. Once my massage therapist reopened her practice, I went back, gratefully. But I’d gotten hooked on self-care tools (and reluctant stretching). Recently, the massage therapist told me, just a few days into post-Roe America, that “every woman's neck is super, super tight this week.” I figured she had as good a sense of how we’re feeling in These Times as anyone.
Then, a friend mentioned her Shakti mat. I did what anyone would do trying to heal existential aches, alongside physical ones; I bought one. Now, I lie on that, too. I use at least half of these toys at least four times a week. I do have two more tabs opened on my computer; I’m pining for a hot and cold foot roller and a grooved foam roller. I’ll probably cave and get at least one of them. I may not be getting reproductive autonomy back any time soon, but I’m committed to feeling less pained while I run and live and try not to lose my hope.
FAMILY SECRETS: A Q&A with Carmen Rita Wong
By Margaret Crandall
A couple weeks ago during our TueNight team meeting, Margit mentioned that Carmen Rita Wong’s new memoir had just been published, and it sounded like an intense story. Here’s the official description: “An immigrant mother’s long-held secrets upend her daughter’s understanding of her family, her identity, and her place in the world in this powerful and dramatic memoir.”
I reached out to Carmen to do a little Q&A about the book, its reception, and its future.
What motivated you to write this memoir, and how have your living family members reacted to it?
CRW: I distinctly remember being a kid, sitting on the floor of our local library, which was a sanctuary for me, engrossed in the wonderful feeling of being surrounded by books — like pieces of people — and having an ah-ha moment of: “Wait — Where are we? We’re not here. I’m not here.” The “we” and “I” meaning Latinx, Black, Asian women. I vowed that day to get on those shelves and open doors to others so people like me felt like we mattered. And, to change the horrible stereotypes and racism I was living in. A more selfish reason is I felt a compulsion to share what is truly a wild family story, a “telenovela,” as my daughter calls it, because having others know this part of my story makes me feel less alone in it. And, storytelling is my passion and joy.
As for family, I’ve gotten wonderful feedback from cousins telling me that I transported them back to our lives together and helped them understand better what had happened with me and my mother.
See you in the freezer section, TueNighters!