Pie, trauma, etc
It’s November 22, 2020. We’re in the first week of this “Taali Talk” going to subscribers. Still don’t really know what it’ll look like? But, after last week, a lot of you asked about EMDR therapy. So let’s talk the worst pain of our lives, shall we?!
I don’t want to self diagnose, but I will say that the amount I’ve worked on myself stands just shy of woo-woo nonsense and smacks delightfully of East Coast Jewry therapy addiction. My parents, “preemptively,” put me into therapy when I was 5.
5! Years! Old! Man, I still love them for that gem of a fact that I trot out for shock value, comedic excellence and admiration of their badassery. I played with dolls and learned to communicate my feelings like a good little 5 year old.
So obviously EMDR therapy (or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy) was something I had heard of for years. EMDR is the gold standard for heavy trauma. I watched my closest people do it and come out new humans.
But that didn’t mean that I was ready to take it and my trauma on. Because, despite all that New York Jewess fancy talk, I had no ability to address the deepest things eating at me until recently. In very standard Talia fashion, I picked the worst year of the century to do it. Nothing like living in the epicenter of death to get your juices flowing re: your worst demons. When I entered, I felt like a car with its engine rotted out. Any of you who have read “The Body Keeps The Score” know that trauma lives with you in your body long after the experience ends. But until EMDR, I really didn’t realize just how much it was living with me.
It took 7 weeks of excruciating pain to neutralize a memory and corresponding theme that has been ruling me for legitimately my entire life. Then, this week, we moved on to something comparatively simple (ha!) (EMDR!) (is!) (a hoot!): Boundaries.
My biggest vice, that one. I stopped drinking long ago. Deceptively though, setting boundaries, born of my need to “fix” people, remains much harder to let go of. It permeates, deeply, from a delightful cocktail of helplessness, need to be loved to prove self worth, and an arrogant idea that I know best. (YUM!) Most importantly, it allows me to dive deep into other people’s issues and ignore myself.
I spent years not knowing that. Attracting narcissists, people with borderline personality disorder and just garden variety fascinating delicious fuck ups. Delightful brilliant artists with the greatest talent, clothes, stories and problems.
Then I spent a year dismantling my life. Burning the field for more fertile seeds and facing some hard questions.
My life got very small.
Then things seemed to really be looking up.
Then the world fell apart and my life got EVEN SMALLER. (20! 20! A! Hoot!)
I looked around in terror for a while at the crater the pandemic left. Often these days I still feel that pain and yearn for the life we had. I don’t hope that my small life stays forever, but this current small life is good for a few things.
One of those things is having the space to address pain that required my entire focus.
And one of those things is making pie.
Have you ever made pie?! It is HARD. Scientific. This whole year I’ve gotten more into baking, but pie, man. That shit is a science. My mom asked for pie for this year’s holiday, and, because I have neither work nor narcissists to distract me anymore, I was able to really dive in.
I’m working out of the Petee’s Pie cookbook. If you don’t know Petee’s, it’s a tiny little perfect hole in the wall on Delancey Street with some of the best pie you’ll ever eat. When I found out she had a cookbook, it was a no brainer. In the mere week I’ve used it the pages are already stuck together with flour, cocoa powder, egg whites.
The first pie I made was her delectable chocolate cream pie. I then moved on to the mother of the season: Pumpkin Pie. And that’s where I’ve lived this week. In the memory of it all.
We used to spend Thanksgivings in DC, with a perfect family who taught me much of what I needed in life: Danny and Toby, my great uncle and aunt, and their children. Toby, a brilliant, warm, hilarious life force would cook all of the food. Danny, a gentle genius with perfect pitch and epic musicality would play the piano with me while Toby cooked.
Do you have any memories like that? The ones that sustain you through it all? I don’t know that I’d be making music still without them. I hold on tight to the feeling of security that accompanies playing piano with Danny on the clarinet and the smell of Toby’s pies wafting in.
What an honor to be making the wafting smells this year. (Thanks, ma!) All this week I’ve been living inside of those spices. The deep, soul stirring warmth of them. If you’re American and have any memories of the holiday (valid issues aside), I’m sure you share this with me.
We don’t have to be together in person to feel that gratitude. Another little unexpected nugget I’m grateful I learned this year. Whoever your Danny and Toby are, I hope you send them love this week.
To that end, we did promise a “what I’m into weekly,” and I’ve been back with one my favorite albums of all time, Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark.” Next year José and I are both releasing live albums from this rollercoaster of a year (secret’s out! Well done you, for subscribing and hearing first!), and we’re using “Down To You” as the mix reference. I’ve been living in that tinny piano. Deep and also flat at the same time. The sparse melodic framework of Joni’s piano, and the wide brilliant perfect universe her lyrics create on top of it.
Comfort pies, comfort albums and new frontiers. I’m a Jewish woman, so I’ve never been a Gregorian new year kind of gal, but I will say I’m feeling thankful that January closes this year, even symbolically.
Fingers crossed. Either way, we’ll all still be together January 2nd. See you next week.
With infinite love,