And I cannot stress this enough

jk yes I can. it's cool we can all stop stressing now

STRESS, n. In English, this word means either “pressure or tension exerted on an object” (in physics) or “mental or emotional tension resulting from life’s bullshit being way too much for you to handle” (in pretty much everything else).

It’s a shortening of distress, which English gets from Old French destresse (Modern French détresse), which comes from Latin, where the relevant verb is distringere (to stretch out), from dis- (in this case, this prefix indicates “reversal”) and stringere (to press, tighten, compress).

(If you’re wondering, this does mean stress is related to stretch, but we get the latter from Germanic origins.)

I’ve been thinking about this word for two reasons. First, because my own life has had a lot of stress (my own health crisis, plus some urgent, on-call interpreting and translating for some friends in crisis, plus a new freelance writing job with some intense deadlines). Second, because Twitter’s had a good time fucking with classic lines from books and movies by changing them to include “and I cannot stress this enough.”

But of course, memes don’t really get funny until you’ve seen them over and over again. The internet loves the Rake Effect:

Memes are the best when they’ve lost all meaning—not that they ever have a great deal of meaning to start with.

That’s about how much sense I feel like I’m making this week.


I do not have any books—Romance or romance or otherwise—to tell you about this week because for the first time since I started writing this newsletter, I did not finish reading any books this week. That’s how you know I’m overwhelmed.

(I read some long articles about the deterioration of US democracy and also about medical trauma and reproductive rights, which was a great choice for my stress level. I’m not sharing them.)

Wishing you all and also myself a less stressful week!

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