Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Linked List: Free Soloing, The Secret to Love, K-Beauty, Periods, Poetry, and Candy

Original image source
1. The Risky Appeal of Free Climbing (The Atlantic). The title of this article is incorrect: they are referring to the practice of free soloing (climbing long routes without the use of protective equipment such as ropes and harnesses), as opposed to free climbing (climbing without outside assistance). Even among world-class climbers who have climbed extremely difficult and sometimes terrifying terrain, Alex Honnold is considered crazy for his pursuit of free soloing. Free soloing is extremely dangerous, because there is no room for error; you could fall to your death from a single mistake since you're not wearing a harness connected to a safety rope, as you typically would for climbing long routes outdoors (see this post for an example). Whenever I watch one of his ascents (check out this video and let me know what your reaction is!), my palms begin to sweat, my heart starts racing, and I catch myself holding my breath. While I think the practice is way too risky and I hope no one at home is ever inspired to try it, there is something majestic about watching him conquer these impossible rock faces.

2. The Secret to Love is Just Kindness (The Atlantic). "If you want to have a stable, healthy relationship, exercise kindness early and often." J and I read this article together, and we talked afterwards about how we can improve our relationship, using what we learned from it. Sometimes when one person is busy or stressed or tired, it can be hard to engage in each "bid" your partner makes. After a while, little misunderstandings and hurts build up, and they can lead to big problems in the long run. However, being generous about your partner's intentions, responding with active constructive feedback, and sharing each other's joys can bring couples closer together.

3. K-Beauty: The Ugly Face of South Korea's Obsession with Women Looking Forever Flawless (South China Morning Post). I found this article on the dark side of K-beauty interesting. South Korea definitely has a very uniform beauty standard. For example, a lot of Korean actresses look similar, possibly because they underwent the same plastic surgery treatments (double eyelid surgery, nose job, jaw sculpting, etc.). Also, Korean women do tend to wear more makeup than American women in general. On the one hand, I like Korean makeup trends, which I think look very flattering especially on Asian women, and their skincare is amazing. On the other hand, it's sad when women feel like they have to be beautiful, because that's their only value to society rather than for who they are or what they do.

4. Women Don't Need to Have Periods (The Atlantic). Periodically (see what I did there?) I think about how convenient it would be to not have a period and how lucky men are that they don't have to deal with monthly bloating, cramps, and blood. In the past I've done some research on birth control methods that help you get rid of your period, but I could never bite the bullet on it. I suppose on some level I feel weird about not having one, even though we have the power now thanks to modern medicine. Maybe I've just been brainwashed by society to feel like it's "natural" and "necessary." If anyone has ever tried to get rid of their period and want to share the experience, I'd love to hear from you!

5. Poetry from My Gchat Archive (The New Yorker). These "poems" are hilarious, and I actually laughed out loud while reading them.

6. How to Eat Candy Like a Swedish Person (The New Yorker). This piece was so fun and frivolous compared to the troubling political news I normally read, and it brought me joy. I'm a candy lover myself (no licorice though), much to the chagrin of my dentist. Be warned: the delectable descriptions of the candy made me want to indulge my sweet tooth on the spot.

What was your reaction to Alex Honnold's free soloing video? Did you learn anything useful from the secret to love article? And have you ever tried to get rid of your period?


  1. I have been taking my birth control (microgestin, an old and well-studied second-generation pill) semi-continuously for years now. I take a break every 3 months or so, because otherwise I start getting breakthrough spotting that is more annoying than the light mini-period which can be scheduled with a week off. I was never a super heavy bleeder, but I went from regular/super tampons and a 7-day cycle to light/regular tampons and a 4-day cycle (which only happens 4 times a year!).

    If you're already taking hormonal birth control, I encourage you to try taking it continuously (maybe check with your doctor first, and make sure it's a "monophasic" type where all of the pills are identical) to skip periods.

    1. I do take hormonal birth control. A while back, I tried taking it continuously for a few months, but my period has always been irregular and rather heavy, so I was experiencing lots of breakthrough bleeding. It was super annoying, because it was so unpredictable, and I decided that was worse than just getting a regular period! Maybe I should try it again after talking to my doctor.

  2. That Secret to Love article is great. I remember reading it when it first came out. The research findings make a lot of sense to me.

    I don't get a period after taking the same pill for years now. I originally got bleeding between packs for the first several years, but about three years ago it stopped. As far as I can tell from consulting doctors in the meantime, that just happens sometimes with long-term use of the pill. I didn't do anything special to cause it, beyond just taking the pill as directed. It's a lot more convenient!

    1. That is super convenient! Okay I definitely need to look into this again. I tried taking the pill continuously for a few months a while back, but I stopped since I was getting unpredictable breakthrough bleeding. Maybe I just didn't stick with it long enough? I'll have to consult my doctor again.

  3. Love your recent posts! Quite inspiring!