Climate Anxiety Counseling at the Sankofa world Market: 8/5/15

Weather: hot and bright, very pleasant when a cloud crossed the sun, and with a nice lifting breeze.

Number of people: 7 stoppers, 2 walkbys

Number of hecklers: 0!

Pages of notes: 6

Alternate Histories: 0

Pictures taken with permission: 2, both by the same person

Flyers for other concerns proffered and accepted: 2

Dogs seen: 0

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $2.10


I was feeling a little sick and bodily preoccupied, and I’d be curious to know if that affected what it was like to talk to me (I couldn’t tell, being sick and also me).

I’ve made the decision not to state the apparent race, age, gender markers of the people who talk to me, though a reader could sometimes infer them from what the person says. It’s been occurring to me lately that I have certain reactions to certain statements because of who they come from; I wonder what guesses other readers make about who’s speaking, and if their level of sympathy or annoyance would change if they had the information I have.

The warmest of thanks to J, whose full name I will not use here because she’s a kid, who visited me periodically throughout the day, talked with me about anime, brought me a mallorca sweet bun, and organized the hula hoop contest (I came in 2nd).

Apparently it was Feed Kate Day at the market; my recently-renewed friend Somphone (there’s a story about this renewal that I may tell later) from the Center for Southeast Asians shared three separate snacks with me.

It was also my last day at the Sankofa Market. The deepest of thanks to Addie and Rolando, who helped me to be there and were generous in 20 ways.

Some conversations:

For if I’m going to find a job. I was looking for in the school, typing something, like helping kids, or monitor on the bus. Now my daughter go to vacation, I have the same vacation with her, or she’s gonna be with the babysitting all day doing nothing–or fighting, ’cause another kid wanna be boss, they both wanna be boss. I think I didn’t do a good job with my resume. I go in and I fill out application and, “You have to wait, you have to wait.”… When I speak a lot and the other person don’t speak a lot–we feel like we can be annoying person.

NOTE TO THIS PERSON: I’m looking for a list of libraries that offer help with resumes and I’m going to put it up here as soon as I have it.


I have a very big worry. [Pause.] Does it have to be important? [Pause.] What was my worry again? Oh yeah. Why did 12 and 9 in Zankyou No Terror die? Why did he die for someone he loved? Why did he fall and die on his face, instead of on his back so he can at least be peaceful and look up at the sky?

I feel like those are two kinds of questions. One is about the character in the story, like what the character decides. And one is about what the makers of–is it a manga or a show?  

A show.

What the writers and makers of the show decide. Like, why would they make a character die in this way that is more sad?

‘Cause they want you to be sad.

This is a weird question, but–

No question is weird to me.

Okay. Do you like to be sad when you watch things?

Yeah, because it gives me a test of sadness. If I’m watching, I have like an inner yelling at them, like, “No! Why did you do that?”

Do you ever write or draw your own?

I have dreams. I get names from shows and then I dream an entirely different story about it. [Tells me one.]


I’m always anxious about the climate, always. I’m working on not getting anxious about it because it doesn’t do any good. My anxieties hit me typically if I wake up at three in the morning. If I catch a whiff of them, I just get going–not just climate, general ecological catastrophe. You forget about it enough and then it’s like, Oh damn it, I forgot about that.

Somebody asked me if I had a specific nightmare and I thought that was a good question, so I’m sometimes asking people that.

That is a good question. I think–a cross between that movie Tank Girl and the Terminator series.


I have a cold outdoor shower, and I look forward at the end of the day–I’m a sculptor, and I look forward at the end of every day to when I can luxuriate in this cold shower. I feel so lucky–the reservoir is there, I can ride my bike to it. I guess my anxiety is for people who don’t have that–anxiety as a form of gratitude … Water being the basis of all our existence–what would the cost be of returning it to a clean state?

NOTE TO THIS PERSON: Here’s a partial answer to your question.


Keeping my business open. I run an art gallery in Olneyville, so making my rent and overhead, making sure I can pay my artists–just fundamental life-money situations. I represent 12 or so artists and they rely on me to sell for them. I deal with collectors, museums, art fairs, and whenever people see me, they’re like, “Oh, what can you do for me?”…I come here to get away from that and just be normal. Nobody here knows me as that.

What else do you do to get connected and grounded?

Kayaking on Ninigret Pond. It’s a big slice of heaven, because if you know where to row, you can row all the way across the pond and go across to what I call the secret beach. … You escape the crowds and it feels like you’re somewhere else. The great outdoors, and farming–my family farms in California, my uncle has an organic farming business. When I tell the people I work with about it, they’re like, I wanna do that.

What does your uncle’s farm grow?

Dragon fruit–you can do it in that weather, you can’t do it here. He grows other things too, but he just bought 20 acres, and I’m helping by looking some things up for him, working at the family business to pay for my own business.


[This person spoke to me on 7/15, and gave me an update today.]

I’m doing better. I’m talking to my brother again, and my mom’s living upstairs with us. I’m actually planning to move out, but first my boyfriend’s gonna move in with me–we wanna save money so we can afford our own place. So that’s gonna be–I haven’t told anyone yet.

You might wanna write down what you plan to say, so you have it ready and you can do it in a calm way.

I wanna say, I do what I want! But I don’t talk to my family like that. But I’m just–


Getting my hair done.

When do you want to get it done?

Tomorrow–I have a conference this week.

Are you worried about the conference too?

Oh! Yeah. It’s for healthy families and sustainable communities [hands me flyer]. I’m a speaker–I’m talking about traditional Laotian dance, I teach a class, and helping children identify with culture. I’m afraid people are gonna ask me questions I don’t know how to answer.

Today’s poem:

Big cool cloud covers the sun

of all the hot days and the soft days

tied together receptor by receptor

if you find one of them in a stream

it’s a sign that the water is clean

not extremely tired or physically sick

as we turn the shade changes

and that’s like being local

to a cool breeze filled with light

at the same time as stinking rivers

as though no holes in houses

anything big could fall

like a big cloud like a bad gift

raging with sweetness or foul water

it’s bad luck to talk to me

I could never listen enough

I buy a raffle ticket I think

if nothing else if everything else

if natural beauty of serious eyes

trampled plantain and hot sun


2 thoughts on “Climate Anxiety Counseling at the Sankofa world Market: 8/5/15

  1. Pingback: Alternate Histories: 8/5, 8/7 | climateanxietycounseling

  2. Pingback: Alternate Histories: 8/5, 8/16 | climateanxietycounseling

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