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the weekly tea
2022 must be
from white2tea
weekly tea: 2022 must be
Most of the tea I buy, even if expensive for tea, is maybe as expensive (per serving) as a fancy Starbucks drink. 
This? No. This was a tea I got to prove to myself that truly expensive tea was not worth the price tag. Back in 2022, I bought a 20 gram sample (which was more expensive than even some fairly pricy bricks of tea) and had it once, and then wallowed in despair and anguish because it was, in fact, worth the exorbitant price tag.
This is the kind of tea that feels like a meditation without any of the hard work. Often, and especially in the US, “sweetness” brings to mind things with a saccharine quality: cake and donuts and cotton candy and the like. These things are sweet like a luxury.
But there are things that are sweet without containing anything that resembles a sugar or sugar substitutes. Cinnamon, for instance, or vanilla. But the closest analogy I can find is this: Once, when I was a child, we ran out of toothpaste. For a few days, we had to brush our teeth with straight baking soda. The first time I tried it, it was awful. My mouth puckered. My eyes watered. I could feel my glands producing saliva as fast as they could, just to get the taste away. I barely managed to stand it long enough to swipe my teeth a few times.
But then I rinsed my mouth out. I had never thought of water as having any particular taste, but that mouthful of water was the sweetest thing I have ever experienced: sweet like a necessity; sweet like a relief.
This is the kind of sweetness that this tea has: a sweetness that feels both ordinary and extraordinary all at once; a sweetness that is nothing like cake, and everything like the feeling of a burden being lifted.

Having words for the things I do
Anyway, I spent Monday and Tuesday in DC for Sandra Day O’Connor’s lying in repose at the Supreme Court, and then for her funeral at Washington National Cathedral. It was a bit of an experience: it was my first time back in Prestigious Law World since I came out about Kozinski. It was also the first time I was back since I’ve come to an understanding of my neurodivergence.
It turns out, the latter mattered more than the former. There was a point where we were all crammed into a conference room talking and waiting for them to give us instructions, and so I was at a table in a huge echo-ey room and there were seven people talking, and look, I know the Rules for Polite Conversation in these circumstances, and it’s like “be interested in what they’re saying, don’t say anything weird, volunteer a little bit about yourself, ask questions.”
The actual rule for me is, “oh god, all this noise is overwhelming, I cannot think, I want to hide in a corner and read a book on my phone, but I’m going to have to concentrate and be a good conversationalist, which is awful.” For about three minutes I tried to play the game and then I realized—an extremely freeing thought—that I did not have to pretend to be normal! I could just sit there and nod and let other people talk while thinking about other things in my head!
So I did that. And then a friend asked me what was new and exciting, and I said, “all the new and exciting things are in my head!” Which, in my defense, if I said to one of my author friends, they would say, “Amazing, tell me all about it!” And then I could have told a story about going to a state archive and getting to look at these cool cases from the 1880s and how they were bound up in folders and string and what the subpoenas looked like and so forth.
Instead, the moment stretched and people tried very hard not to make eye contact, and I remembered, oh, yeah, these people have new and exciting things OUTSIDE their head? That is probably what they talk about. (I probably do have new and exciting things going on outside my head; I just haven’t really put them together into a little conversational package so I can say things that sound new and exciting like “oh yes, the New York Times liked one of my books,” in a manner that seemed extemporaneous but would really have been very studied.)
Instead, I had that moment of “oh no, I said a weird thing, why am I so weird?” This is a familiar feeling to me. It has been happening all my life.
Then I remembered: right, it is because I am weird! It's fine! I don’t have to hide it! They already know I am weird because I am literally a romance author and I'm sitting next to federal judges and law professors. The worst thing that will happen is they won't recommend me for a federal judgeship, and I don’t want to be a federal judge.
So I gave myself permission to not have to worry about being someone other than myself, and let go of that kernel of shame that told me I had to stop being weird. I had not realized the burden I was carrying, worrying about how to not be weird, until I realized I didn’t need to try and could just be myself. It turns out that the sweetness of relief from a burden is not just for tea.

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I had a recent conversation with friends of mine about story structure, and one of the things that I think happens often in my books is a transition from a state in which someone masks the truth about themselves into one where they can start to be open about reality.
The first book I wrote that I think is like this is Unveiled, where both Ash and Margaret have secrets (him, a secret disability; her a secret identity) and where learning to trust each other with those secrets, and having that trust met with love rather than the derision and hatred they fear, is what drives the plot.
In many ways, I think that true love, when it exists, is about exactly that: about having people who don’t ever make you feel that you did something wrong by simply being yourself.
Buy Unveiled on:

Until next week!
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