Something Good #9

on New York, the power of reiki, dunkaroos nostalgia

Hi, I'm Nina Iordanova and this is the 9th edition of Something Good, a newsletter designed for your 🧠, 🖐, and ❤️. Coming your way every two weeks, I hope you find something good here.


A few weeks ago, I bought an old high school friend’s poetry book.

It was late at night, I’d had most of a beer with dinner and I was feeling happy and light.

(My latest thing has been drinking half a beer then cling-wrapping the rest and putting it in the fridge for the next night. It’s hard to shake the habit of not wasting things, and somehow, throwing out a flat beer after two weeks is easier than preemptively pouring it down the drain).

I came across her account as I was scrolling on Twitter, trying to clean up 11 years’ worth of friends who had mostly become strangers.

She was a good friend of mine, and she was a poet even back then. She’d jot couplets on the back of my homework and write me poems for birthday cards (I still have every one).

We bonded over writing and musical theatre and the arts, and did our best to keep in touch after high school and university as we both pursued careers in film.

At some point, we fell out of touch.

The distance, work, new friends, new problems—you know how it goes. So it was really nice to see a glimpse of her life on Twitter, and to find that she’d published a collection of her poetry.

And it felt really good to buy a copy of her work.

It made me think of what I wrote about money last month, and my worries that having too much of it would change who I was and what I cared about. It made me feel like—oh, thanks to this new job, I can spend money without thinking too much about it. And one of the first things that it let me do was support a friend’s creative work.

Holy shit, maybe money CAN just enable me to do more of the things I care about. Maybe it’s not a shortcut to unleashing this inner monster I’m scared is inside me, where the only thing keeping it at bay is a lack of power. I’m not sure. It feels too early to jump to conclusions but it made me really happy to buy a copy of my friend’s book.

In my last newsletter, I talked about my reluctance to move to New York, even though it was something I’d dreamed of for so long. How I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave my family, and how I was trying to figure out what was important to me at this point in my life.

Some new feelings came up in the past two weeks as I’ve sat with the idea.

(I’m terrible at change. I resist every single suggestion in the moment and need a bit of time to see how I actually feel. So that’s kinda what happened.)

What came up for me is how much I’m craving a big change. Not just a new hobby or a new apartment, but the kind that switches the trajectory of your life.

I’ve been feeling stuck in a lot of ways I haven’t even begun to figure out yet. Part of it is as a person. I feel like I’ve leaned so heavily into one side of my personality—the sweet, kind, thoughtful, soft side, the “let it be what it is” side—that I’ve lost some other parts of myself which are just as important to me. My competitiveness, my dark sense of humour, my ambition. All the parts that feel sharp and playful.

I also feel pulled to work towards different things. I’ve spent a lot of time enjoying the small things in life, the ones I write about in every newsletter. My neighbourhood, time alone, nature, reading, cooking. Seeing the beauty of everything going on around me and that I get to be a part of.

Now, I’m excited to strive towards something. I want to become a better writer. I want to reach more people with my newsletter. I want the community we’re building at Good People to grow. I want to be indispensable at my new job, to help the company make more money, work more efficiently, and have happier people. I want to learn new skills that help me better at all those things. I want to build a huge and strong personal network. I want to make a lot of money.

And I want to prove to myself that I can thrive in whatever situation I put myself in. That it’s worth taking the risk for a shot at what I want. Even if it will be hard.

There’s a lot still up in the air about if and when the move will happen, but I’m excited about it now. I want it to happen.

I’ll be in New York from June 12 - 27 to kick work off with my team, and we’ll take it from there.


This caught my eye

🍭 Depths of Wikipedia Instagram. All the parts of Wikipedia that you didn’t know you needed to know. Til now.

😗 What people are really doing when they play hard to get. We think we want things (or people) because they’re objectively right for us, because we chose them. But what if our desires are largely based on the value that other people give them? This is the world of mimetic, not objective value.

💆‍♀️ Reiki can’t possibly work. So why does it? “There are those who will tell you that Reiki is absolutely real because people experience it to be real. It is real because we feel it, and feelings are produced in the body. Skeptics are quick to point to the placebo effect: The body’s capacity to heal itself after receiving only the simulated experience of medication or therapy is well documented. But precisely because that capacity is so well documented, reflexive dismissal of the placebo effect as “fake medicine” demands scrutiny—and is now receiving it.

In late 2018, The New York Times Magazine reported on a group of scientists whose research suggests that responsiveness to placebos, rather than a mere trick of the mind, can be traced to a complex series of measurable physiological reactions in the body; certain genetic makeups in patients even correlate with greater placebo response. 

Ted Kaptchuk, a Harvard Medical School professor and one of the lead researchers, theorizes that the placebo effect is, in the words of the Times article, ‘a biological response to an act of caring; that somehow the encounter itself calls forth healing and that the more intense and focused it is, the more healing it evokes.’“

❤️ In startups and in love, you know when it’s working.

🔮 Thingtesting. A place to discover and learn more about new online brands (seems like mostly D2C). I love this kind of stuff.


Things my mother taught me

I remember when we were in elementary school, all the kids had really cool lunch bags. Either the triangle kind with the velcro on top and the separate compartment at the bottom for your sandwich, or the square kind that zipped open all around.

They’d have pictures of Disney princesses or Powerpuff girls or robots, and my friends would open them at lunchtime to pull out Dunkaroos and Fruit by the Foot, Caprisun juices in foil pouches and Munchies Party Mix.

My lunch was always packed in a plastic yellow No Frills bag. It would often be a Michelina’s frozen food (favourites: mac and cheese, and Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes) and have a fruit - an apple or banana or a few oranges. Sometimes a Nutri-Grain bar or fig newtons. And a Tetrapak Minute Maid juice box.

I don’t remember having any concrete thoughts around those differences or what they meant, and no one ever made fun of me for it. When I asked my parents to buy me those snacks, my mom told me she wasn’t going to feed us that kind of junk food made of processed sugar and food colouring, and I’d go off to school with another orange.

None of it was a problem. But I remember looking at all those kids and thinking, one day I’ll have my own cartoon design lunch bag, and when I open it, it’ll be full of Dunkaroos and the juice will come in a foil pouch.


Closing thoughts

I like the duality of this hat and dress combo. The hat is bold and strong and opinionated, and the dress is pretty and sweet and soft. They highlight each other because to their contrast. It feels like the two sides of myself I love most existing in balance and making each other stronger because they’re together.

Warmly yours, 

Nina


If you’re wondering who’s behind this newsletter:

My name is Nina Iordanova. I’m a writer, community builder, and co-founder of Good People. My mission is to create more ways to make us feel like we belong - to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us.

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