All posts tagged: Trigger

The Cues to Drink — And They’re Not Always What You Think

Triggers, triggers everywhere. Even while waiting for the train. (Photo: Andy Kropa/ TueNight) Every alcoholic is different, and every trigger — those things that make us crave a drink — is different for every alcoholic. If you take a big fat Ketel One martini filled with olives and stick it right under my nose, there’s a 99.9% chance that I’ll be triggered to drink. Or if you force me to smell a woodsy-yet-slightly fruity merlot, then yeah, I’m going to want to taste that. And as I’ve mentioned before, there are also those outdoor cafes that used to make me Frogger around the blocks of New York City. The mere view of those lovely people enjoying lovely drinks in the sun while discussing their lovely lives was enough to make me want to say to hell with this whole sober thing. But those are pretty obvious triggers, right? Then there are those other types of triggers — the sly and insidious ones that are so sneaky I sometimes don’t even know that I am experiencing …

The TueDo List: Your Game Plan on the Hobby Lobby Decision

(Photo: Adam Nathaniel Peck/Facebook) If all of its songs and my old history textbooks are true, July 4 is about freedom. Freedom from oppression, tyranny, governance by another entity — however we want to frame it. We’re free now and we’re really happy about it. But as women, people of color, people with diverse backgrounds and desires, we know we have to stay vigilant about keeping our freedom. And as of a few days ago, some of us feel a little under the gun. This week, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision (Burwell vs Hobby Lobby) that allows employers—specifically Hobby Lobby, in this case—to opt out of insuring birth control that’s mandated under the Affordable Care Act. Not all birth control, just several important types, including emergency contraception like Plan B. All of them are used by women. Pointing the trigger at women? That’s how we feel about it. So what can you do, besides feel a certain way? Short of staging your own crafty protest (see photo above and read about one …

Gimme Shelter: A Mom Confesses Her Gun Obsession

Modern children playing in their locked schoolyard. (Photo: Adrianna Dufay/ TueNight) “Dear Families, Today we had a soft lockdown in the building at approximately 12:40 p.m.…” is how the message from my daughter’s school principal started. I had been mindlessly thumbing through emails on my phone as I climbed the steps from the subway, but now I froze. I sucked in my breath and looked at the ground. The problem with trying to be a rational parent in today’s America is that screens and images everywhere deliver improbable, terrible, often true stories directly to your fear center. I told myself that nothing bad had happened. I knew my daughter had to be okay. Parents aren’t notified of school shootings by email. But until the pounding in my ears stopped, I couldn’t take my eyes from the cement steps and bring them back up to the device in my hand. This is the first year our school has instituted “lockdown procedures,” and we parents got a brief rundown of the process last September. When the alarm sounds, …

Trigger Happy: The Positive Side of This Powerful Word

The first time I noticed a “trigger warning” it was about a year ago, at the top of a blog post containing a first-person account of the author’s rape. These days, these warnings are ubiquitous on stories about everything from eating disorders to abused animals. Some colleges are even considering putting “trigger warnings” on books and classes containing potentially traumatic content. But are all triggers, by definition, necessarily bad? After all, a trigger is just an image, sound, word, or reminder that brings us back to something in our history. The scent of suntan lotion will never not remind me of Wildwood, NJ. The opening chords of “Clampdown” bring me back to an age when music had the power to make my heart surge (in a good way). Triggers happen before we can think —they skip our brain and go directly to our emotional center. And that response is just as likely to be happy as it is sad or traumatic. I first started thinking about triggers when I began taking the occasional copywriting gig with …

How I Teach in a Climate of School Shootings

Is an empty classroom now the safest kind ? (Photo: Stacey Newman/ Shutterstock) Every time a campus shooting has happened in the 13 years since I became a college counselor and professor in Washington D.C., I tell myself that it’s not something that only happens at colleges, and that these things can happen anywhere. I have repeated this mantra so many times now that I’m starting not to believe it. It turns out it’s not that comforting to remind myself that I could really go to work at any job and die unexpectedly, and that the odds of this happening on my particular campus are still pretty low, as frail a grasp on statistics as I have. After the Virginia Tech mass murder, I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t nothing. Humans cope in strange ways. When the college campus shooting happened at Seattle Pacific University a few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from an educator who said that she’d be wearing a bulletproof vest to her campus when school starts …

I Can’t Kill Critters: Why I’m Non-Negotiable on Guns

Amy’s “incident” in the local paper. (Photo: Amy Barr/ TueNight) One morning last fall, I got in my car and turned the ignition key. Typically at this point the electronic memory system kicks in and the seat and mirrors adjust to my personal settings. But not on that day. Instead, a dashboard light flashed, alerting me that the air bags weren’t functioning. But the car was drive-able so I took it to the dealer for a look. The diagnosis: Squirrels had chewed through the computer wires. The price tag for the repair: $1,500. It’s moments like this that cause my husband to ramp up his periodic desire to buy a rifle. No, he doesn’t want to shoot the car dealer, he wants to off the squirrels (and moles and rabbits and possums and deer) who have tormented us in so many ways during the 20-plus years we have owned our house. These critters treat our garden as their personal buffet, digging up veggies as fast as we plant them. Others munch the tops off tulips …

Margit’s Note: Trigger Words

(Photo: Adrianna Dufay/ TueNight) Cue, feeling: A sprig of mint in a cube-jingling glass of iced tea = My grandmother (famous for her refreshing mint tea) + relaxation + it’s summer. The word “coffee.” Sure, the aroma too, but just the word makes me want some right this second. The buttery, salty smell of a damn Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand = Eat me. Most of my triggers are food-related, and often my downfall. I could be eating like a champ, tracking my progress, feeling healthy and happy and then the sight or smell of a Dough donut triggers me to kneel at its icing-slicked altar. Triggers are so varied and so powerful. They include various cues that can result in immensely happy feelings or incredibly traumatic ones. The crackle-bang-pop of fireworks signal summer and pride for some; terror for others. We’re exploring all manner of triggers in this issue — from those positive, sensory delights to the words that set us off down a very bad path, to the literal “finger on the.” Because the worst kind of …