Warning: This poem contains intense material. Highlight to read the more detailed warnings, some of which are spoilers. While the overall tone is positive and the events give Turq a big leap forward, this poem is an emotional roller-coaster with some extreme highs and lows. Hanky warning! Based on prompter feedback, this tends to make people cry. The poem covers phone conversations with Turq's foster parents. Turq is a ball of nerves and tears. Dao finds out about Turq being tortured and loses his temper, which hardly ever happens so it scares Turq. Mingxia and Ansel are awesome cleaning up the mess. But Turq also learns that his baby sister died, which upsets him, and he's not in great shape psychologically so he doesn't understand a lot of what's happening or why he feels the way he does. As family reunions go, this one is pretty effective and also typical in terms of mixing happy and unhappy moments. Readers with a history of foster care or other family separation, or child/sibling loss, may find this especially challenging territory. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward. This is a major plot point, so if you choose to skip it, that leaves a big gap relating to subsequent poems.
"The Only Thing Sweeter"
It took time for Turq
to work up the courage
to recontact his foster family,
even though he wanted to do it.
Ansel waited patiently while
the boy fretted and paced and
gnawed on his silicone pendant.
It was late afternoon by the time
Turq finally felt ready to go ahead.
Ansel coaxed Turq into the office,
where it was warm and quiet, so they
wouldn't have to fight to be heard over
the brisk autumn wind or Mr. Simmons
chopping wood at the neighboring cabin.
Turq was still skittish indoors, but it
helped that Ansel's office had two doors
and some familiarity from prior visits,
a little taste of hearth and home.
"I'm here for you," Ansel said,
reminding Turq that he had
support now. "You don't
have to do this alone."
"Couldn't," Turq said. "I can't
tell you how much this means to me."
"Family is about being there for
each other through all of the ups
and downs of life," Ansel said.
"Yeah," Turq said. "You remind me
of them, did I ever tell you that? Anyone
I brought home they adopted as family.
Friends, classmates, other foster kids
whose caregivers weren't as good.
There was always room for one more."
"I'm flattered by the comparison,"
Ansel said, knowing that Turq needed
to talk, to remember the good parts and
build up momentum. "I know how special
they are to you. I really look forward
to meeting your family soon."
"They'll adopt you too," Turq warned.
"Looking forward to that also,"
Ansel assured him. "You're
not going to scare me off."
Turq's gaze went straight to
Ansel's right wrist, covered
by a thick flannel sleeve.
"You sure about that?"
"Completely sure," Ansel said
with a firm nod. "I'm with you."
"Okay," Turq said. "Okay,
let's do this, before I lose my nerve."
Ansel passed him the phone.
"You already put the number
in your phonebook," Turq said,
staring at the luminous screen.
"I expect to need it often,"
Ansel said. "They're family."
Turq touched the button to make
the call, and they both listened
to the muted purr of the ringer.
His expression flickered through
feelings almost too quickly to read, hope
and fear, happiness and apprehension.
Then the other end picked up, and
Turq's face lit up for real. "Hi Dao, it's
Drustan," he said. "A friend helped me
to find Mingxia's webpage. I'd like to get
back in touch with the family, if that's okay."
They chattered back and forth for a while.
Turq seemed more happy and animated
than Ansel had seen him; most of the time,
the boy was quiet and anxious.
When the topic turned back to
their long separation, though,
Turq's mood fell again.
"I, um, couldn't get back in touch
when I turned eighteen," Turq said.
"I wanted to, though. I missed you all."
Ansel couldn't hear whatever Dao
was saying, but he could see how
Turq's shoulders loosened and
tightened at different points.
"I didn't stay in the system all
that time," Turq said. "There were
some crappy families, so I started
running away, I know, it's a bad habit
but I was desperate. Then someone
sold me, which utterly sucked, because
that got me into some mad science torture --"
Turq stopped suddenly. He stared
down at the phone in his hand.
"What's wrong?" Ansel asked.
"He -- he hung up on me,"
Turq said faintly. "I think
he threw the phone."
"Ouch," Ansel said as he
took the phone back, checking
the connection. It had indeed been
cut from the far end "You two got
into some pretty deep waters."
"He got angry," Turq said,
"but, but he never gets angry."
"Turq, anger is a natural and
necessary emotion," Ansel said.
"Everyone gets angry, they just
don't all show it the same way."
"Not Dao," Turq said, shaking his head.
"I mean, yeah, he gets annoyed when
things go wrong, but he doesn't get angry.
He never yells. He's very careful with
everything, with everyone."
"It's upsetting when people we know
don't react the way we expect," Ansel said.
Turq wrapped his arms around himself
and started rocking back and forth.
"I'm scared," he said.
"Anger can be scary," Ansel said.
"It also spurs us to change bad things
instead of letting them continue. If I heard
that someone I loved had been tortured, I'd
be really upset. I might throw things or shout,
even though I usually have better control. But
then after I calmed down, I would feel guilty
about that, and I'd want to apologize."
"I told you that I'd just wind up hurting
people by being around them," Turq said.
"I know, and I reminded you that family
is worth the pain," Ansel said. "Did Dao
pressure you about not reconnecting sooner?"
"No, nothing like that," said Turq. "He
asked what kept me from finding them,
and if there were still barriers to remove."
"That's a subtle but important difference,"
Ansel agreed. "I don't think anyone could
handle such dreadful news well. It sounds
like Dao is doing the best he can. I bet he'll
call you back as soon as he calms down."
The phone rang, making them both jump.
"That's what I thought," Ansel said.
"Do you want to answer this?"
Turq shook his head frantically
and backed away from him.
"Okay," Ansel said. "May I
answer it for you, then?"
Ansel thumbed the button and
said, "Hi, this is Ansel Nicholson,
how may I help you?"
"This is Mingxia Liáng,"
came the reply. "May I
speak with Drustan, please?"
"I'm sorry, he's indisposed
right now," Ansel said. "Shall I
take a message, or would you
rather chat with me for a while?"
He hoped that if the conversation
carried on for a few minutes, Turq
would relax enough to want a turn.
"I'd be glad to chat, but I'm worried
about Dru," said Mingxia. "Will he
be all right? Can you keep an eye
on him so he doesn't get hurt?"
"Yes," Ansel said. He had
no intention of leaving Turq alone
unless the boy put himself
entirely out of reach.
Turq had taken to pacing
around the room, wringing
his hands and shaking them,
obsessively checking the doors
to make sure they were unlocked, and
generally wearing himself to a frazzle.
He wasn't doing anything risky, though.
"I wanted to thank you for helping us
reconnect," Mingxia said. "Your messages
gave us the first hope we've had regarding
Dru. It was as if he had disappeared
off the face of the Earth."
"You're welcome," Ansel said.
"I'm glad I could get you back in
touch, even if it's bound to be
a bumpy ride for a bit. The rest
is something for us to discuss
in more detail at a later time."
"He's still there, and you're
trying not to spook him, am I
right?" Mingxia guessed.
"Mmm-hmm," Ansel said,
putting himself into Turq's path
to see if that would help.
As he expected, the boy
brushed by, just close enough
for their bodies to slide across
each other in passing.
"All right, if he sees that you're
relaxed, that should help him
to calm down," Mingxia said.
Ansel shifted position so that
he could laze against the wall.
"I hope so, yes," he said. "So
how are things on your end?"
"Dao took the brunt of
that first impact," she said.
"He went outside to walk
around the block. I'm sure
he'll want to apologize, but
if Dru's not ready to hear it,
Dao can send an email."
"We'll see," Ansel said.
Turq was paying attention
so intently that if he had been
in caney form, his ears would
have followed every movement.
"I want to ask you everything
at once, but that wouldn't be
fair," Mingxia said. "Shall we
try smalltalk? I've been outside
gardening on the sunny days."
"Oh, you like that too?" Ansel said.
"We planted daffodils and tulips
earlier. We've been exploring
my neighborhood; it's by a lake."
"I'm a horticulturalist," Mingxia said.
"I garden here at home for fun, and
my day job is raising plants native
to various parts of Missouri for
some restoration projects."
"Mingxia has the prettiest garden,"
Turq said suddenly. "I remember
how it used to look in bloom."
"Would you like to say hi to her?"
Ansel said. "I bet she'd love
to hear more about ours."
Turq inched forward
and accepted the phone.
"Hi, Mingxia," he said shyly.
Ansel listened to Turq
describing the flowerbeds
and the cabin and the lake,
then the neighborhood center.
Mingxia seemed to be talking
about her native plants again,
because they got into a discussion
about Briarwood, Mill Creek, and
some of the other parks that had
a lot of wild space in them.
From there Turq drifted around
to talking about his new friends,
and then asking about his family.
Ansel watched the play of emotions
from happy to concerned to curious
as they renewed their connection.
Then Turq started crying,
quietly but thoroughly, tears
running down his face to wet
the soft collar of his shirt.
Mingxia evidently figured out
that he was crying, because
after a few minutes their talk
turned to lighter topics again,
but the tears never dried.
He seemed to appreciate
hearing her voice, though, and
they talked for a long time before
the conversation finally ended.
"Thanks," Turq said as he
handed the phone back to Ansel.
"You were right, Dao came back
and asked Mingxia to pass along
his apologies. He's going out to
the dojo to practice some more."
"That's a good coping skill,"
Ansel agreed. "How are you?
You seemed to enjoy some of
the contact, but it looked like
you got some bad news, too."
Turq took a deep, shuddering breath
and tried to wipe his face with his hands.
Ansel passed him a box of kleenex.
"Remember me telling you that Mingxia
had a baby who was really sick?" Turq said.
"Baozhen died when she was two."
"I'm so sorry to hear that," Ansel said.
"I don't know why I'm so broken up
over this," Turq said, scrubbing his face
with the tissues. "I didn't even know her."
"I thought you said that you got to see
Baozhen before you left," Ansel said.
"Yeah, sort of, but just through the glass,"
Turq said. He twisted the kleenex angrily
in his hands. "This is stupid. I've got
way bigger things to worry about."
A sob hiccupped out of his chest anyhow.
"Turq, she was your sister and you
loved her," Ansel said gently. "It doesn't
matter that you didn't get as much time with
her as you wanted. She died so young, and
that's really sad. Of course you're upset."
That broke the dam for real, and
Turq started crying all over again,
hunching into a miserable knot.
"Ah, come here," Ansel said.
"You can cry on me, I won't melt."
Turq stumbled forward and
bawled on his shoulder.
With small, careful steps
Ansel guided them over to
the soft leather couch and
sat down with Turq huddled
forlornly against his side.
A tug brought the afghan
down around both of them.
Turq cried, Ansel held him and
rocked him, and they stayed
that way while the sunlight
slowly dimmed in the window.
At last the tears ran their course.
"That was rough," Ansel said.
"How are you doing now?
Any better at all?"
"Maybe a little," Turq said,
his voice hoarse from crying.
"God, I'm such a mess."
Ansel slipped away just long enough
to bring him a bottle of water. "Here,"
he said. "Splash your face a bit, and
take a good drink. That should help."
Turq obeyed, and that seemed
to refresh him somewhat. "Thanks."
"You're welcome," Ansel said.
"I'm glad I could be here for you."
"It seems like all I ever do now
is cry," Turq grumbled.
"Emotional overload does that
to people," Ansel said. "It's
why we have tears. We need
that safety valve, Turq, and not
just trauma survivors. Everyone
cries when they're hurting."
"I hate it," Turq said. "I just
feel so broken and useless."
"I know you don't like this, but
at least you're in touch with
your emotions," Ansel said.
"It's a lot harder to fix what
you can't even feel."
"I guess," Turq said.
"It sounded like you had
some happy times, too,"
Ansel said. "How do you
feel about your family now?"
Turq gave him a watery smile.
"Yeah?" Ansel said. "Did it
go well enough that you
want to keep in touch?"
Turq's hands clenched so hard
around the water bottle that
it crackled. He let go.
"I just got them back," Turq said.
"No way am I willing to lose them again.
I don't care how much it hurts."
"Okay," Ansel said. "I'm glad that
you found this worthwhile. Now try
to remember that feeling, because it's
probably how your parents feel. Nobody
gets through a reunion like this without
some bumps, but it's usually worth doing."
"They're my family," Turq said.
"Yes, they are, even if some people
might not recognize that," Ansel said.
“You know it, and they know it, and that
is what matters. You found each other.
The only thing sweeter than union is reunion.”
"Yeah, it's a little bittersweet now, but it'll
get better," Turq said. He started to stand up,
but wobbled and fell back onto the couch.
"Whoof ... guess I got up too fast."
"Are you dizzy? Sick to your stomach?"
Ansel asked, leaning over him.
"More like lightheaded, and tired enough
to be wobbly," Turq said. "I'll be fine."
Ansel thought about possible causes
and then asked him, "When was
the last time that you ate?"
"I don't know," Turq said. He
glanced up at the clock. "Gosh,
it must have been almost six hours."
"I think you're hungry, even if you
don't feel it," Ansel said. "Let me
get us both some supper."
"Sure, I'll be here," Turq said.
Ansel hesitated, then said, "I
wanted you to have something
special, your own comfort food, and
I didn't want to order out and just
get cheap Chinese. So I looked up
a slow cooker version of lamb hot pot.
I hope it turned out okay, I have no idea."
"I'm sure it's delicious," Turq said.
"Everything you've made has been
good, even the leftovers."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence,"
Ansel said as he headed upstairs.
He ladled the soup into bowls
and filled a basket with dinner rolls,
then carried everything downstairs.
Turq's head came right up.
"It smells so good," he said.
"Well, let's find out how I did,"
Ansel said, hoping it would work.
Turq sipped at the broth. He was
relearning how to eat slowly, without
gulping it down as fast as he could
for fear someone would steal it.
Then he grinned. "It's great,"
he said. "Thanks for cooking."
Ansel sampled his, and it was
good, even if it did not taste
quite like restaurant Chinese.
He wasn't sure whether that was
a goof on his part or the fact that
he'd looked for an authentic recipe.
"So, I should keep this dish
in the repertoire?" he said.
Turq looked down at his bowl,
then back up at Ansel. "Yes, please,
if it's not too much trouble," he said.
"No trouble at all," Ansel said.
"Good." Turq leaned against him
and dug into the rich soup, full of
noodles, vegetables, and lamb.
Ansel draped the afghan around
them again. Even if he couldn't lift
all the grief and confusion that Turq
was floundering through, at least he
could provide comfort along the way.
* * *
Dao Liáng -- He has golden skin, almond-shaped brown eyes, and short black hair rapidly going gray. Dao's family moved from China to America when he was a little boy, as political refugees. He is the older brother of Fang who is a lawyer, husband of Mingxia Liáng, brother-in-law of his wife's younger sisters Mingmei and Mingyu, and father of Baozhen (deceased girl), Baozhai (girl), and Chung (boy). Dao and Mingxia have also parented a number of foster children, including Turq. Currently they have a white girl, Gwenllian (whom they have adopted); and two black brothers, Zachariah and Zaire (waiting to see what happens). Dao speaks Chinese and English with equal fluency, using Chinese as the home language so that the children can learn it. His day job is providing first aid at events.
Dao's first daughter Baozhen was born with serious medical problems, which required her parents to give up the foster children they had at the time -- including Turq -- because all the time and money went into taking care of her. Baozhen died at the age of two. Dao regrets that necessity, and it was his idea to try tracking down all the foster kids they let go of. The oldest girl, Andeana, was happy to reconnect with them and is currently in college. The next-younger boy, Benedict, refused to have anything to do with them. They haven't found the girl Jada, who was just older than Turq, or the infant boy Seth.
Dao enjoys painting American subjects in Chinese style. He also likes many Chinese games such as mahjong and go. In Shaolin kung fu, he favors the staff but works bare-handed too. Dao uses his creative skills toward timebinding -- creating a personal narrative that helps make sense of your life path, and being able to pass that along to other people. It's particularly useful for folks who have had a rough time, such as refugees or abused children. Because his family had to flee China due to politics, he's skittish about that, and prefers to avoid the topic unless it's urgent like with an election coming up.
Qualities: Master (+6) Father, Master (+6) Paramedic, Expert (+4) Benevolence, Expert (+4) Chinese-American Painting, Expert (+4) Home Repairs, Good (+2) Chinese Games, Good (+2) Shaolin Kung Fu, Good (+2) Spatial Intelligence, Good (+2) Timebinding
Poor (-2) Gunshy About Politics
Asian-American art sometimes blends aspects of the two identities, such as this painting in Chinese style with an American cardinal.
Timebinding is the act of connecting the past with the present, and passing things on to the future. Humans are nearly unique in their ability to use language and culture to transmit concepts and transcend entropy.
Mingxia Liáng -- She has golden skin, almond-shaped brown eyes, and short wavy hair that grows in brown but bleaches to auburn in the sun. Mingxia's family moved from China to America when she was a teenager, as religious refugees because they practice Falun Gong. She is the older sister of Mingmei and Mingyu, wife of Dao Liáng, sister-in-law of his younger brother Fang who is a lawyer, and mother of Baozhen (deceased girl), Baozhai (girl), and Chung (boy). Mingxia and Dao have also parented a number of foster children, including Turq. Currently they have a white girl, Gwenllian (whom they have adopted); and two black brothers, Zachariah and Zaire (waiting to see what happens). Mingxia speaks Chinese and English with equal fluency, using Chinese as the home language so that the children can learn it. Her day job is raising endangered plants native to Missouri.
Mingxia's first daughter Baozhen was born with serious medical problems, which required her parents to give up the foster children they had at the time -- including Turq -- because all the time and money went into taking care of her. Baozhen died at the age of two. Mingxia still feels sad and guilty about all of those losses. She has been trying ever since to track down all the foster kids they let go of. The oldest girl, Andeana, was happy to reconnect with them and is currently in college. The next-younger boy, Benedict, refused to have anything to do with them. They haven't found the girl Jada, who was just older than Turq, or the infant boy Seth. Mingxia has done diligent therapy to cope with what happened, but the uncertainty of the missing children has made it hard to finish processing.
Qualities: Master (+6) Mother, Master (+6) Horticulturalist, Expert (+4) Emotional First Aide, Expert (+4) Falun Gong, Expert (+4) Sensitive, Good (+2) Comfort Food, Good (+2) Holistic Thinking, Good (+2) Multicultural Awareness, Good (+2) Stone Painting
Poor (-2) Maternal Guilt
* * *
“The only thing sweeter than union is reunion.”
-- Kathleen McGowan
One huge problem with the foster system is that many children age out without either reuniting with their original family or adopting a new one. This is a betrayal from the system that promised to keep them safe and find them a good home. In local-America, many states have an abrupt cutoff that simply dumps teens on their 18th birthday, which often leads to homelessness. Missouri is one of the few states that lays out a transition process. Ideally, there should be multiple options, as in this example from Florida. T-America does better in general, but it's still patchy. One big improvement is simply that if the state fails to provide a secure family for foster kids by 18, then the state remains on the hook for family support permanently. The state's egregious failures in Turq's case will leave him with quite a lot of restitution on top of the usual offerings.
Friends and family keep people going through hard times. Understand how to support and comfort someone in a crisis. It's also important to know how to reach out for support when you need it.
Read about the saying "There's always room for one more." It appears in a variety of folktales.
Reconnecting with lost relatives is a challenge. In L-America there is a voluntary foster care registry for people who want to reconnect, but the services are extremely limited. T-America does better, but it's still patchy, and not everyone knows about it. In this case, Turq and his parents both want to reconnect and are flexible about goals, so they'll be able to work it out. While I couldn't find much about foster reunions, I did find other advice for reconnecting with people after a long absence. A successful reunion means different things to different people. Realize there will be strong emotions, and try to form a roadmap in advance. Here are some survival tips.
Many children in foster care run away, typically for one of two reasons: to visit family and friends, or to escape an unbearable situation. Addressing these unmet needs can reduce the tendency to flee. Turq ran away repeatedly because foster parents were neglectful, indifferent, overbearing, or downright cruel; and in any regard none of the later ones remotely met his needs. Reconnection between homeless youth and their parents is often desirable and benefits from support.
Anger is a natural and necessary emotion that arises from unmet needs or desires, and spurs people to make changes. Key skills of emotional competence include recognizing, analyzing, and acting constructively on anger. This exceptionally brilliant article describes how to handle anger in yourself, your family, and others with a healthy approach. I'm particularly impressed by its presentation of options: if you feel overwhelmed, then you'd probably benefit by getting help from a close friend, a caring professional, or preferably both; but if you don't have access to those resources, then now is probably not a good time for deep headwork because it might just destabilize things further. The latter is exactly Turq's situation: he's been focused only on practicalities, has worked on stretching limitations, but hasn't delved into the causes or manifestations of his psychological malfunctions. He needs to be in a secure situation before it will be safe for him to try fixing the deeper damage.
Control is an essential part of martial arts philosophy, particularly in the face of conflict. This benefits mental health. Martial artists understand that they cannot afford to lose their temper, both because it makes them more vulnerable to attack and because it raises the chance of them hurting someone unnecessarily.
Shaolin monks put a great deal of study into conflict resolution. In particular, a mark of Shaolin mastery is that the practioner feels less and less anger, both in frequency and intensity. A practitioner who angers easily is not a master. Consider how many supervillains (and superheroes) run around vowing revenge on people who hurt their families. Dao throws his phone, takes a walk, regains his self-discipline, and is fine fifteen minutes later. He still objects to what happened, but his emotions no longer control him. You can explore the steps to become a Shaolin monk.
Emotional intensity can be laid out along a spectrum, such as from annoyance to rage. It also varies with personality, and you can measure yours.
The evolution of emotion shows in this emotion wheel, which lays out the basic feelings in different intensities and blends. Opposite emotions appear across from each other on the wheel.
Emotional regulation is a fundamental aspect of emotional intelligence. Foster care and other traumatic experiences undermine its development. Turq has minimal ability in this area due to those factors plus the challenges of shapeshifting and its attendant hormone swings. Emotional regulation skills include such things as meditation, which helps explain why kung fu can support mental health. Understand how to regulate your emotions.
Emotional age can differ from chronological age, especially in foster children. Turq's swings in this scene are particularly dramatic -- by the time Dao throws the phone, Turq is emotionally about three. Fortunately Ansel handles this the right way: responding to Turq on the emotional level rather than expecting him to act his chronological age.
Grief becomes more difficult to handle when it is disenfranchised and society refuses to acknowledge the loss, as in people saying that foster relatives aren't "real" family. Complicated grief happens when unusual factors make an already messy emotion worse; in this instance, the foster relationship, the brevity of contact, separation from family, and then other trauma interrupting the initial grieving process. By the time Turq finds out about Baozhen's death, he also has a lot more problems mangling his emotions. However, there's a difference between complicated grief itself (as defined by the circumstances of the loss) and complicated grief disorder (a stagnation of the grieving process). This distinction is crucial but often overlooked, because instead of offering help up front for an obvious compound fracture of the heart, L-America tends to wait until it's already turned into an infected disaster. Turq is sad and confused and has no idea what to do, but he's not actually stuck, and it's the stuck part that marks the difference between normal and disordered grief. Support and self-compassion are especially important for healing complicated grief. Know how to work through your grief or help someone else grieve.
Validation is a crucial way to communicate acceptance. Because Turq doesn't understand a lot of what he's feeling, he needs someone to help him identify, express, and normalize those emotions. This usually happens in early childhood, but with traumatized children, it may be necessary to go back and fill in what they miss. Dao and Mingxia actually laid down a good foundation for this, but Turq has been through so much that sometimes he has trouble finding that solid rock under all the muck. Learn how to validate yourself and help an insecure friend.
Removal from the home, no matter how urgent, inevitably causes trauma. This disruption of attachment often leads to attachment issues which may require extensive repair. Disordered attachment can take different forms, including disrupted attachment. In foster care, many children with disrupted attachment suffer long-term effects from loss and grief. There are tips for parents in coping with attachment damage. Turq has a variety of issues due to neglect (which encourages nonattachment), abuse (which leads to fearful or disorganized attachment), and the secure attachment that was disrupted. The trauma means that he's a mess right now, but the secure attachment gives him a solid foundation, when he can find it.
PTSD of abandonment frequently makes people feel like damaged goods. They may also fear hurting other people. Turq is turning his negative feelings on himself, because he doesn't know how to direct them properly. There are resources for abandonment and bonding.
People need to cry for several different reasons, which match the different types of tears. Crying very hard for a long time can run through enough water (and energy) for people to feel dehydrated, so drinking water afterwards is prudent. Everyone cries sometimes. It's not a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of; it's an important emotional skill.
Chinese Lamb Hot Pot is among the favorite comfort foods listed by Chinese people. You can make a Chinese hot pot at home. There are slightly different versions for Sichuan and Mongolian. I couldn't find a slow cooker recipe for lamb, but here is one for beef hot pot. Not eating for a long time runs down the blood sugar, which can make people feel tired or woozy. Warm, nourishing food is a good way to revive after stress.