It’s not about the magazines.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetLast week I cried about a stack of magazines.

When we exchanged our about-to-expire frequent flyer miles for a year’s worth of magazines, I had no idea how much those glossy pages would weigh me down. It feels wasteful to throw them away without reading them, messy to let them just pile up. Instead, I force myself to binge occasionally, dragging myself through the pages of Vogue and InStyle, developing a preference for Afar over Travel and Leisure, and desperately trying to keep up with the weekly onslaught of Time and Entertainment Weekly.  I don’t even like half of these, but I feel guilty just tossing them. And with the business of this semester and 5 weekends straight of visitors or travel, my stack has grown monstrous.

Which is why, when I sat down one evening to trudge through German sentences that have no end, I glanced over at the stack of magazines and promptly burst into tears. I hate them, I hate them — DON’T TOUCH THEM -I HAVEN’T READ THEM, I sputtered at James. Instead, he quietly slipped out to go get me a milkshake. In our first year of marriage, he might have tried logic and reasoning, but as we come up on two years, he knows that some tears just need ice cream.

Because we both knew it wasn’t about the magazines. It was about German sentences that slice verbs in half and hide the mutilated words everywhere until I go mad trying to piece the meaning back together. It was about scrambling every day to get my lesson plans together for a new class after 4 times teaching the same class. It was about barely keeping on top with my own work and feeling frustrated with grad school in general. It was his job being busy and us never having time to just be still together. It was about the many things up in the air right now, things that make it hard to imagine a stage of life coming where we won’t be this stressed, tired, and anxious. It was about midterms and papers and late nights and just wanting it all to stop. 

It wasn’t the only tearful outburst of last week, and we decided that this week we had to be proactive. I ruthlessly purged the magazine stack, deciding that tossing Kim Kardashian out with the empty milk jugs deserved no guilt, and that really, how much entertainment do I possibly need to read about each week?

And then, on Monday, on the eve of a week that promised all the same burdens as the last one, we stopped and took a walk in our city. We saw the trees finally brave enough to unfurl flowers and the happy faces of District residents who made it through that never ending winter. We took our eyes off of computers, phones, and books and enjoyed an hour of just being together.

Here’s to finding more ways to stop and stave off those breakdowns that have nothing at all to do with the magazines. Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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28 Responses to It’s not about the magazines.

  1. Sarah Shoemaker says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who is sometimes haunted by magazine stacks! I love reading them, when I can find the time. But I end up subscribing to magazines that I don’t love (if I could pick my always-read-cover-to-cover magazines, they would be Food & Wine, Condenast Traveler, Runner’s World, and Martha Stewart) for reasons similar to yours… it’s a free promotion, it would be a waste not to, etc.

    I try to be proactive with my magazine stacks – When I read it, I offer it to my sister-in-law or dentist/doctor’s office. And if by the second month (i.e. if I haven’t read a May magazine by the end of June), I give it away or recycle it regardless.

    Don’t feel guilty :) And enjoy your conciliatory milkshakes. Sweet treats and a sweet husband are perfect grad-school stress soothers.

    • Hannah says:

      They are so the best soothers. : )

      I just need to be more disciplined about passing them off! I mean, do I really need to know how the stars are just like us!

  2. ptraner says:

    Awesome choices! I might add that in all your spare time… You could donate the magazines to a doctors office or hospital and that might appease your guilt :) Love love love your blog, you make me smile BIG ~ best wishes to you! 💗😃💗

  3. Meghan says:

    I just received my “airlines expiration” email offering the same deal with the magazines. After reading this and another post regarding the magazine pile, I think it might be in my best interest to let those miles expire!

    • Donna Goering says:

      Suggestion: Our public library – short on funds – appreciates it when people “gift” a subscription to the library. Perhaps you could have the magazines subscriptions go to a public library

  4. Oh, Hannah. This is such a lovely piece of writing. And hooray for marriage! Isn’t it wonderful to have someone who knows tears need icecream?

    I also wanted to say thanks for the chocolate chip cookie inspiration; I blogged about it here: http://thisredlipstick.blogspot.com/2014/04/at-two-months-our-marriage-smells-like.html

    Much love from a drizzly, autumn South Africa! x

  5. giulia says:

    this was beautiful! and yes, milk shakes cure everything…
    the pictures of dc make me want to get on the metro and go see the cherry blossoms. maybe tomorrow i can carve out two hours for a walk like this:)

  6. Heidi says:

    Amen. Last night, for me, it was tiramisu…I am just so dog tired from several weeks of working hard with no break. Hope you can get a few more walks in before Summer comes…and more milkshakes. :)

  7. Sounds like you married a good and smart man! We’ve all been there and done that. Taking a break sounded like a great way to handle it. I’ve always wished there was someplace to donate those magazines. :)

  8. Kate says:

    Take all those magazines to a local hospital, drop them off with the volunteers at the main info desk. Patients will LOVE you for this. I collect a big stack and go once a month here in SLC

  9. I would have cried too. Traveling is wonderful and it’s awesome your husband was supportive. The suggestion above is great about the magazines.

  10. nychio says:

    Sometimes a good cry feels so good! I had this exact same moment a few weeks ago, except mine was over my second pair of lost mittens in one week. I literally laid down on the floor and sobbed. Jim came and rubbed my back (and then surprised me with new mittens the following day), but you’re right … It had nothing to do with the mittens. <3

  11. Callie Troyer says:

    I am SO glad I am not the only wife who, about bi-weekly at the very least, lets the stress build up so much that I end up crying all over my poor husband about the most ridiculous things. I don’t mean cute cries either (I am jealous of those women whose crying can be best described with “cute” instead of “hot mess”); I mean those sobbing episodes that leave your eyes red for two days. Last week must have been a particularly stressful week: I cried hysterically when a TV character’s father died. When I superglued both of my hands to the tube of glue and just stood there helplessly until Brian came to rescue me. And when I noticed in the picture of the orphan we are praying for that little Gideon wasn’t wearing a hat.
    I am also so glad that Brian has also learned that ice cream is almost always the best answer.

  12. I’m so sorry grad school had you down! As a fellow student and married person for 2.5 years the scenario you describe is so familiar! I’m glad your husband knows you so well. It makes all the difference, doesn’t it? Good luck with the rest of the semester. This too shall pass!

  13. Pingback: Counting this as the first day of summer. | The Art in Life

  14. Pingback: The Year of Saying No. | The Art in Life

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