S1: This Ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. Lucky you. And.
S2: Hello and welcome back to that little mood. I’m your host, Danny Mabry. And with me in the studio this week is Jane Reiss and Edward C.K. They live in Edinburgh, Scotland, with their three year old daughter and six year old cat. Jane is a civil servant and that is a radiographer in the National Health Service. Jane Edward, welcome to the show.
S3: Thank you for having us, Danny.
S2: I am especially glad to see you both again because I had slightly worried that I had strong armed you when last we spoke, which was also the first time that we spoke. Would you would you mind awfully sharing for our listeners what that what that conversation was like?
S3: Well, I went up to go and introduced myself and said I was a big fan of your podcast. And out of the blue you said if you want to be a guest on it. And I thought you were joking because why would you pick us to be on your podcast? But of course, we said yes.
S4: And at that point, I was prepared to give you the keys to the car. You know, like it was it was like, yes, sure. Hold done.
S2: Actually, I did end up doing some of the best driving of my life in Korea just a week later. So if you had given me the keys to your car, I bet I would have done pretty well. Definitely. It was horrifying. Have you ever driven in Cornwall?
S3: Did you know that all of the road to Cornwall.
S2: All the roads are just like it is enough room for half of a bicycle, but instead you have to have cars. And then those roads are either completely ensconced in either a very, very old stone wall or the thickest hedgerow you’ve ever like. I was just like I was driving and just like if I move half an inch in either direction, I will, like, chop down a tree.
S3: Yeah, and that was like most of Scotland as well.
S4: Legally, you’re allowed to travel at 60 miles an hour down them.
S2: Horrifying. Horrifying. I just every day, just like to go to places I felt like I was driving, like James Bond, and I was both, like, amazed that I hadn’t crashed the car and killed myself and also just was like, I can’t believe this is being filmed. I’m not getting any credit for this. Nobody is like writing to friends that I grew up with to say, Did you see Danny today? He drove so very, very well. We were also very, very proud.
S4: Congratulations. I give you full credit for being able to traverse CORNISH country like I can.
S2: I mean, this is just like my extended vanity project where I just demand that people who say things like, I’ve heard of your podcast can be on my show and then say things like, Did you know I can drive very, very well? Like, I am a giant. Well, I’m very excited and grateful that you are willing to come and give this a try. And I imagine that there will be a certain surreal quality to going from listening to the show to trying to give people, you know, your best answers for how they ought to conduct their life. So I’m really, really excited and grateful that you would be willing to give it a shot. And I’m hoping that you will read our first letter and we can try to figure out how we can be useful for them. Jane, would you be so good?
S3: Yeah, of course. Subject. Want to be truthful? I’m a young adult that’s had trouble with procrastination, lying and depression. I’m not sure why I try to hold back on things sometimes. And recently, a minor problem I lied about to my parents has become an avalanche. My parents are loving, supportive people. The times I feel like I can’t talk to them about my insecurities and issues. I don’t know why this recent life has hurt them. They said I should have involved them, so it could have helped me months ago. The thing is, as soon as I get up to say anything, a lie automatically comes out. For a bit more context, my mom used to have some anger issues that I ended up inheriting, but I don’t want to blame her for that. My dad always sides with my mom and tries is best to listen to what I say. However, I feel like it doesn’t matter what I say because he will always support her. Neither of them know I had. I had brief suicidal imaginations last year, very brief and won’t happen again. And I still feel scared by those old thoughts. How can I talk to my parents about why? I don’t know why I lie. I’m a Catholic and I don’t want them to say I am depressed because I lack faith.
S2: So this was a letter that obviously was like just really moving. Sad to get to read. I think my primary reaction was just one of deep tenderness for this letter writer. Did you my sense of this letter writer is that this this person is like a young adult, probably under 18, definitely still living at home with their parents. Was that the reading that you got here?
S3: No, I actually thought they were sort of early twenties, actually. I just because they say that a young adults I’d imagine early twenties.
S4: It’s it’s unclear I would say certainly they are not independent and that kind of heightens the stakes I guess in the is coming through from the letter writer. The main thing I felt. Is that kind of the sense of shame? It kind of kind of drips from this. There was there was this this this young adult is carrying a huge weight on their head about this.
S3: And and really, you know, doing a lot to protect the feelings of their parents, I think. You know, and even certain lines in the letter where, you know, when they talk about their suicidal imaginations and brackets, very brief. And what happened again is if they’re making sort of apologizing for it to their parents and, you know, saying, I’m sorry, I had those feelings, they won’t happen again.
S2: Yeah, I had the same read about that aside, it also felt apologetic, which was really heartbreaking.
S3: I mean, there’s a lot in the letter like that that, you know, certain phrases or ways of saying things that things that I, I really wondered about. You know, the other thing about inheriting their mum’s anger issues, then anger doesn’t really appear in the letter. Apart from that, you know, they say you start saying, my young adult that has had trouble with procrastination, procrastination, lying and depression. But the angers and and the second paragraph and that’s that’s not alluded to again but then also saying I inherited that from her, but I don’t want to blame her for that.
S2: Yeah. And I wonder if maybe some of this is why I had thought that the letter writer might be still young enough that they were living at home was just that. There’s no mention of any outside network. And of course, like this is about a problem with their parents, which makes sense. But there was no mention of peers or roommates or an employer. So my thought was, this is a person who’s like maybe especially because of the pandemic, whose primary social interactions are with their their parents. So it’s a little tricky because I imagine I would have slightly different advice for a letter writer who was, say, like 15 and living at home versus 19 and maybe at home, but commuting to college or 22 and living alone like. So given that, I don’t know those details and I don’t think I can try to guess accurately here. I won’t I won’t try to get too bogged down in that particular question. But what are sort of your first thoughts about what might be useful to somebody in such a situation? Is there something you want to encourage this letter writer to do or to think about or to say, Where would you want to start with this?
S4: I think, you know, I can identify a clear, if not problem, then kind of behavior pattern that a writer is having in terms of what could be described or what they are describing as compulsive lying. And I think the first thing that I would kind of seek for them or suggest that they think about is what is the motivator of that? And and where is that coming from? Are you lying because you’re trying to protect your parents from feelings that are uncomfortable? Are you lying because you are ashamed of something? And really, is that something that you really need to be ashamed of? And I think that there’s lots of different things that they’re talking about kind of wrapped up in one another. It’s quite a knotty problem that the letter writer is talking about. But what that what their what their their problem is, is that they seem to be lying instinctively and reflectively and reflexively. And I have a great deal of empathy and compassion for that sort of position. But you don’t have to think that you’re a necessarily a bad person. I think that this person’s got this lying, like the idea that I am lying, therefore I am bad or wrong. And that’s what I’m feeling. And that. That needs to be unpacked. The context in which you unpick that is complicated. Depending on the letter writers age. But that’s the that’s the main kernel that I kind of saw from this.
S2: I think that’s that’s very much where I went with this one as well, without wanting to pick apart this letter and say, you know, you must feel either neutral or good about this. You probably have to lie. Your parents are bad people who deserve whatever they get. I do want to point out some fairly clear lines that stood out to me. You know, letter writer, you say, and also letter writer. You know, I’d be curious to know and maybe this just a question you can kind of ask yourself is, is this a problem that you primarily experience with your parents? Does this show up at school with your peers? Has this shown up with employers, if you’ve had any yet with colleagues? If you’ve had any yet, where where does it show up the most in your life? Where does it show at the least in your life? Do you find that you sometimes feel like you are maybe also even lying to yourself? I mean, one of the things that I noticed here was there was a lot of I don’t know why. And and while I don’t want to say that means you are consciously and purposely lying to yourself. Letter Writer It does suggest that at least in one area of your life, you often experience a kind of curious mental blockage or blankness when you’re trying to understand your own desires and motivations and hopes. And so I think what that tells me is that right now it will be good to look at your own situation with a lot of open mindedness, curiosity and neutrality rather than shame. And I know that that is both easier said than done, and especially if you are a self-described Catholic.
S4: Quite see which comes which kind of comes out of left field at the very end of the letter. One of the things that stood out as well as that almost as a precursor to it, the line as soon as I get up to say anything, a light automatically comes out. I don’t want to get too close textual analysis about this. This is someone’s life, not a novel, but we’re dealing with potentially an unreliable, unreliable narrator, someone, as you said, someone who doesn’t know themselves. And I feel like the the Catholic line at the very end. The lack of faith component of it. That’s that’s all of that kind of got kind of wrapped up in that like that. That was that was a that was unprovoked. And that’s something that the latter. Right. Is bringing to the table.
S2: Yeah. And really the two ending lines to each of these paragraphs, one is as soon as I get up to say anything, a lie automatically comes out. And two is I don’t want them to say I’m depressed because I lack faith. To me, there was a pretty immediate and intuitive connection there and letter writer. I wonder if part of the reason you have found yourself in this situation is because you cannot acknowledge a fundamental truth about your family, which is that your parents may very well be loving and they may value the idea of supportive ness. They may sometimes be supportive, they may aspire to supporting you, but in practice they also shut you down. At least historically, it seems like your mother has often had unspecified but significant anger issues. You believe that if they thought you were depressed, they would tell you it was because you were insufficient of faith or not being a Catholic. Right. And that’s that’s pretty painful. And again, I really don’t want to say like, it’s good that you’re lying. You’re only doing it because your parents are actually mean bad people and you should hate them and then you’ll feel better. But it does feel like what’s driving this? I don’t know. I don’t know why I do these things. I don’t know why I lie is is paired with my parents are really really good but then you’re describing some pretty. Cruel things. And again, I really want to stress I don’t want to say your parents are bad all the time or they don’t love you. I believe these are absolutely, you know, possible and consistent with also loving you. But these are some pretty serious schematics. Like if you worry that your parents would say you’re depressed because you lack faith, like that would be a terrible thing to say to someone who’s depressed. That would be actively unhelpful, stigmatizing, dismissive, bad. It would be a bad thing to say, having a lot of anger issues. That’s not good either. If your dad tries his best to listen to what you say but always supports your mother, especially in that context of her anger issues, that tells me that maybe there’s a history of your mother lashing out at or blaming or devaluing you and your father, maybe after the fact, maybe during offering you some kind of toothless support of like, sorry, kid, this must hurt. But, you know, what can you do? And and that there’s maybe also overlying all of that, a sort of pressure to think of them as really good people, regardless of how their behavior affects you. When I put all of those things together, one of the things that I envision is a pretty emotionally unsafe environment where you’re going to be surveilled, punished, demeaned, belittled, scrutinized for any lapse of, you know, Catholic perfection. And if I imagine myself in such a scenario, I would lie my ass off to not necessarily because it brought me pleasure, not necessarily because it felt good, but because I would feel, you know. Surveilled, harassed and scared. And I would want and need a little privacy that I, I knew I probably wouldn’t get if I asked for it, you know, straightforwardly, a little down time and just for someone not to be on my case at all times. So I wonder if letter writer one of the reasons that you find yourself lying automatically is because on some level that you can’t necessarily admit, you know, your parents are not safe people and that doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or that they don’t want to be safe. But at least right now, with the level of like control and interaction they have with you, they are a little bit more invested in telling you how to feel than in engaging with you as you are. And so again, that doesn’t mean like lying is great. Keep going, hurray. But it doesn’t make sense. It’s not unimaginable why this is happening. Does that feel like I’m taking things a little bit too far? Does that line up with your reading here?
S3: No, I was just I was agreeing with everything that you were saying. And I think what really what really jumped out to me is that the parents seem emotionally immature. And that’s probably why I couldn’t tell how old the person was, because I could easily see this scenario happening with someone who is in their early twenties where the parents are still trying to exert that kind of control and not allowing their child to, you know, have a bit more independence and know themselves a bit more. The letter writer doesn’t really say anything about what the minor problem was that they lied about and it became an avalanche. But I’m wondering if we knew a bit more about what that was, and then we could understand as to whether the parents. Really needed to be involved at all and. And you know, then you’d have a bit more context about ah, you know, are they being sort of overbearing and controlling and that’s causing this the letter writer to, to lie all the time because they don’t feel safe and because they actually want their parents to, to back off.
S2: Yeah. And you know, it is one thing for them to say we could have helped. And again, because we don’t know the outlines of this minor problem, maybe they could have. But again, you know, it’s not even quite reading between the lines, just putting together two or three pretty concrete details. It seems fairly clear to me. Hmm. Your parents have not created an environment in your house where you think of them as actually consistently and reliably helpful to you. So again, that doesn’t mean they could never be helpful to you or that it’s impossible for them to help you. But you know, as much as they might want to say, if you had just told us earlier, we could have helped you. They have not, I think, done the work of making your home a place where the truth is received well. And so I think, again, not like everything is going to be your parent’s fault forever. You’ll never, as you continue to grow and develop, be responsible for your own actions or need to, you know, move away from habits or patterns that they taught you. But given that, it does sound like if you’re not living with them right now, you’re at least an incredibly close contact. I really do think this letter writer still living at home, I would say my advice to you would be focusing first on finding outside sources of support and open, honest conversation. This is like a normal developmental thing as well. Like it is normal for young adults to turn more and more to peers and people their own age or closer to their own age than to go to their parents for everything. So that is itself like a normal developmental phase. And whether that be your own therapist, whether that be friends or acquaintances, whether that be people from school or from work support groups, etc., you know, take your pick, take all your pick. But I would suggest starting there, rather than immediately trying to work on this with your parents, like on a dime.
S3: Yeah. I was also going to agree, I think if the person had another adult in their life that they felt comfortable talking to a teacher or an aunt or uncle that they felt safe around or, I don’t know, a friend of the family that they felt safe speaking to that might be useful. Also, a therapist. Given this it was a minor problem. Agree that you know friends can. You know, I have had a similar experience that we can talk to them about, but definitely seeking out some kind of external support from the family and knowing that it’s okay and that, you know, part of becoming independent is, is sort of being a bit more self-sufficient in in managing your own problems. And, you know, your parents don’t have to. It’s not their duty to sort out everything in your life. Yeah.
S2: And it’ll be one thing to kind of go from dawning realization of, okay, I think part of this pattern comes from some things that my parents do that are wrong or that I would like them to someday change. There’s there can be a long road between realizing that for the first time and having the kind of conversation where you come to them not as just their child, as like a young adult and say, like, I’m ready for a relationship to start changing from parent and child to something else. And I hope you will listen to some, like loving but critical feedback that I have for you. That’s, you know, that’s a big step. And not everyone takes that right away beautifully at 20 or 21. So I would say if you hear any of this letter writer and some of it rings true, you don’t have to immediately go to them and say, we need to hash this out right now. You can think like, what kind of time or distance would I want to have between us before I started to bring this up? You know what would be my goals in starting such a conversation? That’s that’s not an immediate short term project. I would say for you, the immediate short term thing that I would really encourage you to find is a safe place that you can discuss suicidal feelings in. And I you know, I want you to do that at your own pace and with a clear eye towards like your own well-being. I’ll take you at your word when you say that this was brief and this was a year ago. One one good thing about that is that that does mean you can preface, especially if you do try to find like a counselor, you can say, like, I don’t have any current plans to hurt myself. I am currently safe. I want to talk about previous brief bouts that I’ve had with like passive suicidal ideation, but I can lead by saying like I am, well, there is no crisis at hand. You do not need to worry that I’m in immediate danger because that, you know, just removes the worry of like, are they going to report me if I share something? But I really do think that is something where seeking outlets beyond your parents is is going to be the move because that that stuff is heavy enough for any relationship. If somebody has previously displayed that they’re not great at hearing your feelings on a smaller scale, that’s usually a sign that they probably won’t be great at handling something as serious as suicidal ideation. So I would just really encourage you to find other outlets for that one. And then beyond that, you know, spend some time investigating this phenomenon. Think about, you know, historically when I have lied, has that protected me from something, a certain kind of intimacy or surveillance that I’m afraid of? What are some of my other options I might pursue in the future? Are there other ways to say, I don’t actually want to discuss this with you right now, but thank you for asking and I appreciate that that I believe they will listen to and respect. And if not, how could I maybe go about figuring out ways to insist upon that as I continue to get older? I think in the sort of timeframe that we have, that’s all I have here. Obviously, I wish I could talk about this for another hour. Are there any like final parting thoughts you want to leave with this letter writer?
S4: I think the the sense of isolation that the letter writer is conveying is very prominent. The idea that they are sitting with these intrusive, dark thoughts and not having any outlet that they can feel safe in unloading them is a terrible situation to be in and. And I think that we can all say that. Those sorts of intrusive thoughts don’t make you biased. They don’t make you mad. And the. The next step is, as you said, finding a place where they can be unloaded in a safe, critical environment. And I think that that is my takeaway would be to let writers that that would be that’s the first port of call at this point.
S2: Yeah. And just, you know, letter writer, it feels pretty clear to me in your letter you don’t like lying. You’re not enjoying it. You’re not, like, getting tons and tons out of it. That feels really good. You’re not doing so just, like, lightly for fun. It’s clearly troubling you, which I think speaks well of your goals and values. And so part of why I just really want to encourage you to move away from shame is not because I want you to say, like, obviously, I just lied because I had to. It was fine. No big deal. Who cares? I’m not encouraging you to, like, be flippant about it. I just mean it really does seem like there are big underlying structures and dynamics here that you haven’t really been able to give yourself permission to acknowledge and have maybe been actively discouraged from thinking too hard about by your parents. And that will help you go a long way towards kind of figuring out what was lying doing for me in those moments. Now that I know a little more, I can probably try to get those elements of like privacy or alone time in other ways. And I believe that you will be able to change this. Like, I have high hopes and I don’t believe like I’m not reading this and thinking I’m really worried that you’re never going to be able to be honest. I think your desire to learn more and your desire to to speak the truth is going to serve you well in this.
S4: I agree. I think I think that there’s everything to play for.
S2: Yeah. Yeah. And I just I really relate to like, I don’t know, my family isn’t necessarily like a bunch of yellows. They’re just so often hurt whenever I want space. And that must make me feel like I’m doing something really, really wrong. Like that’s the daisy that’s hard to identify sometimes, so. We’ll move on to our next letter, which is in some ways fortunately just like a little more like checklist, just kind of like, how do I fix this one issue? Also, thank you for putting your cat briefly on the screen.
S4: She has has she put herself we had no choice.
S2: All right. The subject of this next letter is Arthur. Damn it. Longtime fan, first time writer. I’m 35. I came out publicly as a trans man last week after a year of using him pronouns privately at home therapy, support groups, doctor visits, the whole nine yards. And it went pretty well. However, I work in a customer service role, and for the past 15 years I’ve answered the phone with the peppy Hello Buckingham Library. And that’s speaking. How may I help you? Now I’m Arthur, but the old greeting is apparently carved into my brain because it pops out automatically whenever I answer the phone. This is a real headache. Any advice for how I can better execute this change in my customer service persona? Obviously, I think I’m the only trans man in this conversation, but I’m so curious if either of you have any old like work or customer service scripts that were ingrained in your head and you find yourself using them like months or years after the fact.
S3: Not customer service scripts, but songs I remember from the shoe shop I worked in when I was 16.
S2: Is it possible that we could hear one? I don’t want to put you on the spot.
S3: I’m not going to sing the song. They’re not like jingles, but. Some of which I still listen to today because they were absolute bangers.
S2: But I thought maybe you worked it like a singing shoe shop for something. I’d be like, the U.K. is a very whimsical place. Sometimes I thought maybe like you all sang when people came in to try on shoes.
S4: And that would be news to me.
S4: I have I have plenty of scripts that I go through in my head all the time working in health care. It’s it’s my life. I have a script that I go through. Every single person I can even I can even consent somebody for a CT scan in Spanish, including checking if they’re pregnant. So there’s a lot there’s lots of there’s lots of scripts in my in in my head. What this kind of reminding me of, though, is it’s kind of saying the wrong thing in that kind of like, you know, social or semi-professional or professional environment kind of reminded me like it’s a bit like calling a teacher mummy. Like that’s the, that’s the vibe that I got from this.
S2: Yeah. Or the sort of more adult version is like I feel like every time a new year comes around the first month or two, a lot of people will say like, Oh, I forgot. And I wrote the last year on my check and I had to like cancel the check or you know, not a lot of people write checks nowadays, but that sort of thing of just like it happens, it’s not uncommon. But there’s maybe that underlying fear of, oh my gosh, I just did. I went to all this trouble of coming out after like a year of prepping, and now I’m the one using my old name. I’m like setting a bad example and, like, aren’t people going to think that that’s an excuse to, like, maybe also use my old name with me?
S3: But I also say it’s only been a week. I mean, that’s a week of being out publicly and telling people what your new name is. And if he had only used it in private at home, I’m sure he wasn’t referring to himself as Arthur all the time. So it is the first time that he’s been using it to refer to himself. So I think he should be a bit, you know, a bit easier on himself.
S2: Yeah. I think he you know, he nailed it in the in his own letter, which was just like, well, I’ve been doing this for 15 years. And, you know, it’s been longer than that since I was first, like trained on phone etiquette as a child. You know, like when I was growing up in the nineties, people still had house phones. And so when you were relatively little, your parents would teach you how to answer the phone on behalf of the family. You’d say like, Hello, such and such residents, such and such person speaking, you know. Who are you calling for? Like, if you’re really fancy, may I ask for whom you were calling or something silly? And I will still sometimes, like, if I make a call to like, I don’t know, like a company or an organisation, I don’t know. I’ll catch myself doing my, like old timey like, hello, this is such and such calling from such and such a place. Like, as if I’m reading from a script that I learned when I was like a five year old in 1991. And it’s just very like, Oh, wow, that stuff really does get etched into your memory.
S3: Mm hmm.
S2: You know, part of it, obviously, is just like, time is going to change this. I would also maybe recommend a letter writer, especially if you have a phone that you answer right in front of your like desktop or laptop at work. Put up a little post-it with just your new script, which is Hello bookings in library. Arthur speaking. How may I help you? So that is that like your eye level when you’re sitting down.
S3: I also wonder if just having a completely different script, you know, changing the words entirely so that you’re actually saying something new. So there isn’t a risk that you’re going to be saying your old name.
S2: Oh, I like that. Yeah, maybe starting with. Hi, this is Arthur at booking in library.
S2: So that the name comes out immediately.
S2: Yeah. I think both of those are really good ideas. You can even, like, spend a week or two practicing at home. I know it sounds a little goofy, but, like you’re just trying to make this easier for yourself. Eventually, this will feel as rote as the old script used to. But taking a week or two to just like, do goofy little drills at home off like fake answering the phone and saying the new name, like, I think that will go a long way towards me. You know, it really wants to be like Malcolm Gladwell, but like put in the 10000 hours of using your do not spend 10000 hours. That’s too long.
S4: The letter writer knows that this is just muscle memory. You just have to make the muscles learn your memory.
S2: Yeah. Yeah. And beyond that, like, if you have supportive colleagues or like a colleague you’re close with, you kind of joke around with or talk to you often. You can always say, like, this is really goofy, but like I’m drilling myself this week to try to like actually update my new name at work, you know, will you check in with me, like every afternoon or just be like you saying, Arthur? And, you know, that would be a little fun if you don’t have that relationship. Obviously don’t like ask your kind of weird coworkers to like monitor your usage of the name, but that’s just another option. But again, this makes a ton of sense to me. It’s been a year of like doing this outside of the context of work versus 15 years of doing it at work. Post it drills, changing up the script. I think that’s everything. And just again, like I know it can be a little additionally fraught because of transition, but like this happens to tons of people every time the year changes over. This happens to people every time the month changes over. Oftentimes if people get married and they change their last name, it takes them a while to remember you are not at all alone in this one. So and plus, I just feel like too, after the last couple years of pandemic, everyone’s a little bit more understanding of just like brain lapses. I’ve I’ve way more often caught myself like, fumbling for a word or using one word to mean something else totally different. I’m just like, I’m sorry, my brain is gone and people get it. So maybe don’t say I’m sorry my brain is gone at work because that’s slightly informal and terrifying.
S4: But I’m not going to comment. I’m not going to comment on that. Yeah, but it sounds like bookings in the library have got a customer service representative who gives a damn. So they are a they are a lucky library.
S2: I think so, too. I think that’s all I have for that one. That one was nice and easy, which I really appreciate. So I’m happy there unless you have any final parting thoughts.
S3: Yeah, I thought it was a cute one. I liked it.
S2: How are we doing? How are you feeling? Is this this is your first time giving advice in podcast form? I think you’re doing great. How do you feel?
S3: I feel comfortable.
S4: I feel like we I feel like we were we were well, well prepped and, you know, led us to that. With you. And it it feels almost natural, but. You know, we are learning from the master here, and I hope I won’t.
S2: Dignify that with a response. How have the two of you been since last I saw you, which was also, in fairness, the first time I saw you, because I was just in Edinburgh for the week.
S4: So what was that?
S3: That was beginning of April. I think. Not much.
S4: Hey, like you’ve been you’ve been practicing. You’ve been practicing for the half marathon.
S4: So we have we have an athlete and somebody whose ankles swell up if they walk too far, you know?
S2: So an important balance in every relationship.
S4: Absolutely. We have been arranging lots of holidays because, you know, we are going getting to a point where the world is behaving a little bit more normal. So, you know, it’s nice. It’s nice to have things to look forward to. We’re trying to keep a three year old girl alive. She is our daughter. It’s not it’s not anything out of the situation. And a lot of trying to get through these these troubled times that losing our minds.
S2: What is the most surprising thing about having a three year old? Because I feel like three year olds are often the ages that most throw me for a loop, or sometimes they’ll say something. I’m just like, I didn’t know you knew about that. Or like, you just unsettled my worldview in a very terrifying way.
S3: Yeah, there’s a there’s a lot of that and asking, you know, demanding to know where she picks things up, because it certainly wasn’t from us and. I’d be surprised if it was necessary. But, you know, her friends come out with all sorts of things. Studio three is definitely better than two. I know lots of people say three is the worst age, but personally I find it the best age. Yeah, I think everything is full of surprises. You know, the things that I think are some hilarious things that she said recently.
S4: My wife find the most startling at the moment is that she is claiming to remember her dreams and and a three year old’s dreams. What the what their what their subtext or subconscious is trying to convey. Surprisingly violent. She was telling me that she found a drink, that if she spat out, she could kill flies with.
S4: Yeah. Yeah. Beautiful. I mean, yeah. Truly, like, you know, cause and effect, everything kind of knitting together that’s coming out of her head. I did not. I did not teach her to kill flies with spit.
S2: I’m also impressed, too, not least because as soon as you said she’s remembering, my mind was like, Oh, you’re going to say she remembers her past lives because there’s.
S4: Not very.
S2: Supernatural about like three year olds. And they just I feel like I often see or hear from friends with kids and they’re like, Oh yeah. My kid just like casually said something yesterday that like, if true, would undo all my sense of understanding of like the cosmos. And it’s just like, Oh, we used to be friends in another life. And she’s like, Did we? How did you know.
S3: I’m dying for her to come out with something like that? But she hasn’t yet. But she does remember things from a year ago, you know, last spring, which I find astounding. You know, she remembers last Easter or things that happened last summer. And I think we were only.
S4: Like she was like, yeah. And so when she was just just about to like she she can remember as the kind of a type of sandwich that she ate on a specific aeroplane.
S2: Wow. I think what’s remarkable about that especially is like I’d be a little surprised if when she grows up she remember much about being three. So it’s sort of remarkable to think like she right now has memories that she someday won’t have. And I suppose that’s always true of people over a long enough time period. But it’s so there’s a thing about it’s so strange. It’s like, how do you have memories now? And yet so many adults are like, I don’t really remember much before I was five. I have general impressions or one or two anecdotes that stand out, but it’s like, where does it go? Like, if it’s here now, surely we can. Just like you could ask her again when she’s 30 and she’ll be like, Oh, I remember that sandwich. It was remarkable. I was, too.
S3: I mean, I don’t remember what happened last week. And I just find it astounding that she can remember in detail even, you know, this weekend she remembered the number of times I accidentally scratched her with my long nails. And she would say, That’s the fourth time you’ve scratched me. That’s the fifth time. It’s quite.
S4: Literally this it’s.
S4: A girl is holding that.
S2: That feels so maternal to me. Like that to me is like the sort of like mother’s like and I know how many times you’ve heard me, I’m your mother, but that she’s doing it, it’s kind of like it’s a very Lucille Bluth moment, which I really like three girls. Well, I am really, really glad. At least that right now your kid has some supernaturally unsettling memories and powers, and I hope they only grow over time. Jane, Edward, thank you both so, so much for coming on the show. And, you know, my my thanks and also my apologies for for badgering you into joining me when you just wanted to say hello and say that you liked the show. I hope this teaches you an important lesson about saying nice things to podcasters.
S3: It’s been absolutely our pleasure. And we weren’t we weren’t badgered at all.
S4: This is the best thing I’ve ever been press ganged into.
S2: That’s lovely to hear. Thank you both so much. Have a fabulous rest of your evening and blessings to your cat and your daughter in no particular order.
S4: And and to you, Grace, and your lovely dogs.
S2: Thank you so much.
S1: Thank you for joining us on Big Mood, a little mood with me. Danny Lavery, our producer, is Phil Surkis, who also composed our theme music. Don’t miss an episode of the show. Head to Slate.com slash mood to sign up to subscribe or hit the subscribe button on whatever platform you’re using right now. Thanks. Also, if you can please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We’d love to know what you think. If you want more big mood, little mood, you should join Slate. Plus, Slate’s membership program members get an extra episode of Big Mood, a little mood every Friday, and you’ll get to hear more advice and conversations with the guest. And as a Slate Plus member, you’ll also be supporting the show. Go to Slate.com forward slash mood plus to sign up. It’s just $1 for your first month. If you’d like me to read your letter on the show, maybe need a little advice, maybe some advice, head to Slate.com slash mood to find our big mood, a little mood listener question form or find a link in the description on the platform you’re using right now. Thanks for listening. And here’s a preview of our Slate Plus episode coming this Friday.
S2: I wonder, letter writer, if you have like never thought of yourself as a pursuing person and never thought about what it might feel like to be turned down for sex if this is your first time coming up against it. Maybe it’s like challenging certain ideas you had about your, like, worth or value to your partners. And you don’t have to use the phrase female socialization to explain that. But again, like, this is something you can talk to, especially maybe friends who have started hormonal transition is like, did that change for you? Was it similar before? How did you deal with it? Because, as you say, you’re not interested in opening up this relationship, which is absolutely fine. But I don’t want you to think of your new libido as like either this is satisfied with immediate sex or I just get over my feelings. Like it’s also one of the ways that you relate to the world around you, in your own body, and to talk about it with other people with meaningful and relevant experiences will go a long way towards minimizing or reducing these feelings of like shame and freakish ness that are popping up for you.
S1: To listen to the rest of that conversation. Join Slate Plus now at Slate.com, forward slash mood.