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by | Mar 16, 2022 | Wellness | 0 comments

Welcome to Wellness Weekly 3.15 coming to you every week. This is a weekly series, sort of like a Letter from the Editors, that will rotate between Lara and Luigi, along with other members of Team Smudge and with the occasional guest. We’ll hold space on the Dirt to check in on our Sixth Sense: the term we use to refer to our spirit, intuition, and inner power. And because while we exist in the world alongside our other Five Senses, we’ll do a check-in of those, too.

It’s been a minute since I had a chance to check in with the Smudge community – hellloooo! As we dig into our March theme of Opportunity, I’m thinking a lot about how opportunity is often about seizing a positive, or at least self-authentic, outcome from a set of challenging circumstances. That mindset has been my go-to a lot lately, particularly when the universe seems to be handing out a humanitarian crisis on a daily. It can feel very tempting to sink into the quicksand of helplessness and anxiety, but I am working hard to stick to a daily practice of asking myself “how can I (we) turn this less-than-ideal situation into something good?”


This most recently came up a few weeks ago as Luigi and I prepared the final details on a work trip to Austin for South by Southwest. We were absolutely thrilled to be working with one of our favorite partners to host a happy hour celebrating the energy and return of the festival. But the horrific moves by the Texas state legislature to twist the compassionate caretaking of transgender kids into child abuse cast a somber shadow over our event planning – how could we in good faith, as enthusiastic supporters of transgender rights, celebrate in the state capitol while parents were being investigated for being good parents?

Taking a page out of my seizing-something-good-out-of-something-negative playbook, Luigi and I agreed we could only proceed if we transitioned the event into a fundraiser for an Austin non-profit that supports transgender youth. Our wonderful partner, Neighborhood Goods, didn’t hesitate to support our request and helped us find Out Youth, an organization dedicated to creating a “safe space for youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities to be themselves. We’ll be encouraging donations to Out Youth throughout our event and will make a company match equal to the amount raised. And without question, we’ll be chatting a lot about the additional steps we can all take to make sure this and other anti-transgender legislation in other states do not survive. We are excited to raise some much-needed funds for this organization and to embrace the opportunity to raise our voices for a worthy cause.

Here’s a quick take on what’s going on with my other senses this week…


For the first time since March 2020, my kids walked into school this week without their masks on! They have actually been very accepting of the restrictions, but we were all ready to see some bright and smiling faces in the hallways and classrooms again. It’s hard to believe that things may be inching back to normal, but I am grateful for the possibility that they are.


I usually prefer to read rather than listen to books, but there is a clear exception when that book is one written by drag queen extraordinaire Alaska Thunderf*ck 5000. I treasured listening to Alaska’s distinctive voice (literally and figuratively) in her memoir, My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska, and hope that she’ll consider voicing other titles. War and Peace, perhaps?


One of the more annoying things about me is that I love talking about what’s happening in our garden – I apologize, but nonetheless, I can’t seem to help myself. This week, spinach, rainbow chard, snap peas, kale, celery, and blossoming (ripening?) blueberries are on the menu, and I’m drying sage to make some homemade smudgesticks.


In the last few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to attend concerts, a couple of dance competitions, and some theater shows. While the sound of these moments is obviously wonderful, I’ll give a little shout-out to the smells of communal gathering spaces as well. I’ve missed the distinctive smell of theater lights and props, of congratulatory flowers and fog machines, and the fake-buttery smell of popcorn and the real-greasy smell of chicken fingers. I’m here for all of it and can’t wait for more in the coming months.


During a recent trip to New York, Luigi gifted me the Lunya sleeping eye mask. I’ve always struggled to use eye masks, even when the room I’m sleeping in has bright light. This mask has been a game-changer for me, mostly because of the perfectly silky but cool material that applies just the right amount of pressure to help me sleep. I’m a complete convert!