Superopinionated is the personal blog of Courtneys Stanton. Based in Portland, Oregon, their posts examine life through the lenses of addiction recovery, intersectional feminism, and mental illness.

Super Opinionated Power Club #13: Death is coming for us all, except maybe Gwyneth

Welcome to another meeting of the Super Opinionated Power Club!


I found out on New Year’s Eve that my cat, Christopher, who came out of nowhere and found me when I was 17 and has been with me ever since, had a lump worth investigating and the investigative surgery turned up three lumps and the rather pricey biopsy revealed two of those lumps are cancer (one was just a salivary gland). He has another lump growing low on the front of his chest already. The vet tells me the other half of my longest steady relationship “probably has a few good months, maybe even a year”.


Or I suppose I could keep paying money to have people cut Christopher’s little body open and futilely try to remove the cancer, but he is 16, and he’s still healing up from the initial surgery and is only now back to his old playful self, and I don’t want the rest of his time to be spent half-shaved and sore, confused and grumpy and in and out of the vet’s office getting various surgery sites checked out and stitches removed and his body constantly battling to heal. I want him to get to behave as a cat and have his little cat routine he’s always had right until the end. I also irrationally want him to live forever, and I want none of this to be happening, but acceptance is slowly coming. Even here at the last, he’s giving me the gift of learning how to be mature, how to say goodbye gracefully, how to be loving and do the right thing.


I realize there’s normally more order to this thing, but what just happened in my life a few minutes ago, I’ll write you a tiny play, but without the formatting, because I’ve completely forgotten which margins are which for which type of description and whatnot, and I can’t be bothered to look it up right now, and I don’t trust TinyLetter to preserve it when I move everything over from gDocs anyway. So much for all those classes in film school! Sorry, screenwriting, you were very nice. So I’ll very lazily write you some descriptions, left-justified:


[Courtney is lying on her mattress on the ground, under a blanket with a picture of two anime characters on it. She is a thirty-something adult woman,and yet. She is propped up against two pillows, checking her email, because she set a goal of reaching inbox zero this week, because somehow she thought that was a reasonable thing to ask of oneself in mid-winter.]


Inbox: [refreshes]

Weekly email from GOOP: [arrives like a telegram from an alternate reality where poverty doesn’t exist, nobody ever dies, and sunlight doesn’t cause skin cancer]

Courtney: Oh right, it’s Thursday! Well, let’s skim it and see what...we’ve...oh god. Wow. I. I don’t even.

Time: [passes, inexorable]


And now here we are, where I’m not even going to *click through to the full GOOP newsletter*, or even expect you to read it, I’m just going to respond to it, here, because I cannot physically stop myself.


I’m sorry in advance, but this is apparently what I do when I can’t live-tweet anymore (because I deleted my Twitter account).

I can't tell if they ARE me or they're JUDGING me, and I'm the one who ADDED this image...


So we open with this:

One of the truest blessings of my fortunate life has been the gift of friendship from the women I know. Most of these relationships are decades long, some are newer, but all of them expand my world, my capabilities, and my heart. Every woman in my life that I am close with teaches me something significant. Lynsey Addario, a relatively new yet close friend from the past five years, has brought into focus what it means to be a woman in a man’s world, one where her very femininity can be seen as a threat. Lynsey is a war photographer who has seen things firsthand that most of us cannot even tolerate in our imaginations. She is a different kind of brave. She possesses a very rare kind of passion and strength, one that puts the truth before her relationships and her life. Below, a Q&A with a true inspiration. Love, gp


...which I’m not going to go over with a fine tooth comb, because the only reason for that sort of focus is to prove that various members of One Direction are in love with each other. I think it’s cool that GP uses this big lifestyle brand platform she’s built for herself (smart, btw, because you can sell cookbooks et al at every age...get cast in Hollywood films as a lady? Not as much, unforch) to promote lots of different kinds of women. The fact that the promised “below” is actually a bunch of beheaded thin white cis women’s bodies “dreaming of spring” is, uh, less cool:



Now who’s ready for some war photography!!


Hope you are, because literally the next thing after the big splashy appeal to spend money on whatever GP thinks you dream of for late Q1/early Q2 2015 is some hints of that which most of us cannot even tolerate in our imaginations:


This is weird, right? I’m not the only one who thinks putting a rotating ad of faceless (headless) leggy white girls right above a photo of a group of soldiers carrying a body bag is tasteless, a-am I?


Addario’s photos are remarkable, and I’m glad to have seen them. The pull-quote rang a bell for me as well: “Everyone wanted to reduce my entire career down to the one or two moments when I might have lost my life.” This actually may be a good place to bury the announcement that a documentary that I’m in will be premiering at SXSW this year. If you’re attending the festival I encourage you to go see it! But anyway, I can relate a bit to that feeling, of having your work, and then having this whole other set of work that you seem to have to do just to do your work. The job and then the job of living with the danger of your job. And all anyone focuses on is the danger, when they focus on anything.


And then, right below what is hands down the most solidly information-dense segment to ever appear in a GOOP email! Guess what it is? Come on, this is easy, it’s one of GP’s favorite perennial subjects:


Soup cleansing—And why it's so good

While we tend to gravitate toward longer whole foods-based detoxes, soup—the ultimate comfort food—makes a whole lot of sense as a wintertime solution.


Folks. FOLKS. I am going to walk all the way back to, oh, first grade science class with you, since GP seems to have missed it and so maybe you did too -- I hear a lot about how great California schools were back in the day but apparently not in Santa Monica, so who knows. Your body already comes with a built-in “cleanse” system. It’s called your digestive system, particularly your liver and kidneys. You do not need to deprive your body of certain foods for certain periods to “detox” your system, as a general rule, and definitely not going down to just drinking soup exclusively (?!?).


Now, is it possible to get things in ye olde digestive thoroughfare to a not so great place? Yeah, sure! I don’t know your life! All things are possible! If you’re concerned about that, go talk to your doctor. Don’t enjoy the rapport with your doctor or trust them with this, a medical concern about your body which is literally their job? Then I heartily encourage you to try and find another doctor or nurse practitioner or what have you that does work with you -- even though yes, finding a decent health care provider is *a huge fucking pain*, I can sing this song in three part harmony, I have specialists for several parts of my body now, and finding them was a process measured in m o n t h s. Doing that process still resulted in better advice for me than ~cleanses~ by a mile. You don’t need to “cleanse”, you need food. The human body was designed to digest food. I will not die on a lot of hills these days, but I feel like that’s one I’m willing to defend. GP is wrong about this, I don’t care how stylish she looked casually brushing her teeth with that little old timey badger toothbrush in Shakespeare in Love.


(Is anyone else terrified of those coming back through one hardcore movement or another, leftwing or rightwing? I’m always low-level worried about that. I keep expecting to see them show up next to Tom’s of Maine one of these days. I worry about my dental hygiene.)


Then AS USUAL there’s the one kernel of “oh well I don’t know, maybe?”:


Meditating away pain

Frequent goop contributor Vicky Vlachonis makes an even more compelling case for turning meditation into a daily practice.…

Look, I already try to meditate every day, and I’m one of those people who is like “hey, the fact that they can measure the Placebo Effect and had to name it tells me that the human mind is pretty effin’ powerful” and as someone who’s been in very intense pain with no end in sight and had to console herself with “well I know this isn’t going to actually kill me even though it feels like I’m dying, so that’s something…” I’m sort of all ears about this? But that’s just me. I just really loathe that I can never get through an entire one of these things and find it 100% ridiculous. Once I am completely uninterested in something, I can just say “well that’s not for me, that’s some other kind of person’s life, oh well” and then I wander away and it doesn’t really trouble me anymore. But *every time*! EVERY TIME, GWYNETH.


...and then there are more ads for things to buy, because it’d been a while since this email had asked me to spend money, so why not. Literally the only things I’ve bought new-manufacture this year are underwear, mostly because I don’t know where one would find that sort of thing in a resale capacity and in the type of thing I’m looking for (practical, not fancy lady vintage), and that’s going to be my plan for the future until I encounter a situation that requires me to not purchase something from a thrift store. I have no desire to add to the demand for new things to be made when there are plenty of clothes out there that I can make do with. Of course, I’ve also stopped wearing almost all makeup, most of my jewelry, nail’s been a time of stripping away a lot of stuff that used to be fun but recently causes me a lot of “upkeep” stress (chipped nails, smudged eyeliner, that sort of thing). It’s easier for me right now to never have to think about it than to have to maintain it. It’s weird to be a hard sell.


I find the social media part of the GP empire charming, mostly because it’s so banal. Her actual iPhone pictures are just some selfies with friends, a picture of her dog, and a couple photos of museum trips. It’s the most boring window into someone’s life one could ever imagine, which I assume is the point, to normalize her and deflate envy. Granted, the email is sent from the GOOP offices on Park Avenue, so I don’t know how well that works, but I also don’t know if I’m supposed to notice that? Or if being on Park Avenue still means anything in terms of ~media empires~. How is that even measured these days? Is any measurement actually worth anything compared to the measurement of money? Is money worth anything if your day is shitty? (no)


Having backed myself into anti-capitalism (AGAIN), I leave you all to eat dinner and hold my dying cat. I had today with him. If I wake up and have tomorrow with him, that is a priceless gift to me. And that is as far ahead as any of us can look.


Good night.


Super Opinionated Power Club #14: Mine eyes have seen the Ascending of the Jupiter, oh Lord

Super Opinionated Power Club is back and isn't as into structure at the moment!