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Photo by: Nachelle Nocom

The Thule Eskimos of northern Greenland have a word for winter depression–perlerorneq. The poetic equivalent of the western world’s seasonal affective disorder it translates: to feel the weight of life. The Polar observer Barry Lopez describes this “winter madness” in his book “Arctic Dreams” as “the feeling of looking ahead to all that must be accomplished and to retreat to the present feeling defeated, weary before starting, a core of anger, a miserable sadness.” But the studies of Lopez and other polar observers and anthropologists reveal that perlerorneq holds slightly more nuance than its western equivalent.

For the Thule and…


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Photo: Ava Sol

For the last five months many Americans have found themselves with a wealth of unstructured time, something pined for in harried, pursuit-driven working hours but in practice is pawned off for a recycled streaming show and hapless Twitter debates. We don’t know how to face leisure. This historically formative time once revered as “sacred idleness” or “uncut diamonds” is treated more like triage for our day of work with the basest of recuperative measures. The morning’s ambitions of breaking open that novel, picking up the guitar or cracking the code of the sourdough starter becomes daunting in the evening hour…


Why I don’t just love but need this show

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Photo: NBC/Getty Images

I like to think I’m a therapist’s poster child.

I imagine an exponentially increasing slope on the imaginary line graph monitoring my mental health. I keep all my appointments and execute all professional instructions with anecdotal proof that “it’s working.” I’m funny, affable, and complimentary. I stay on my medication and incorporate holistic practices: regular exercise, healthy eating, social engagement. Check, check, check.

But I do have one closeted habit: a perennial evening companion who, for 22 minutes (or more), offers a nostalgic reprieve from the evening anxiety that starts revving up once the activity of the day dies down…


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It wasn’t until the third OB-GYN discounted my symptoms with a casual, “Morning sickness is a doozy isn’t it?” that I started feeling mildly conspiratorial. It had only been three weeks since my positive pregnancy test, but I had already lost 17 percent of my body weight. My urine was orange. I constantly felt dizzy and lightheaded and was unable to keep water down without vomiting. Food was out of the question. Somehow, all these symptoms were met with cheery suggestions to “try ginger” or “power through.”

I had a gnawing suspicion that my morning sickness symptoms were a bit…


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I softly rock my daughter to sleep singing an old Irish folk song as she tries her best to resist, but she’s too weak for my soft “hushes,” and gentle stroking of her cheek. Her breaths grow slower and deeper. Her eyelids flutter. As her eyes finally stick closed and her miniature fists uncurl, I lay her in her crib.

“Sleep well darling,” I whisper. “I love you.” I close the door.

Then I slide into bed next to my husband, pop some headphones in and press play on an unfinished YouTube video. …


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Woven between incoherent maxims are the raw wounds of a man incapable of communicating just how horrific his pain was. He discloses his grief in a desperate, almost childlike way-on a soap label. A soap label that has become the iconic face of a $120 million soap company. A soap label the Bronner family will never change. Read more

Originally published at https://theestablishment.co on November 21, 2018.

Casey Kleczek

Metro-Detroit based writer and filmmaker. @CaseyKleczek

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