What Thirst Tells Us
Our “Thirst” issue spotlights a fundamental truth: We all have needs.
When I was diagnosed with heart failure in 2019, my then cardiologist prescribed me a cocktail of medications, but she also restricted my sodium and liquid intake. To maximize the effectiveness of my medications, I would have to limit myself to 68 ounces of liquid daily.
Before then, I’d never considered how much I drink in a given day, or whether I drink more when perspiring in summer than I do when snuggling under covers in winter. But suddenly, I had to measure every ounce going into my body so I wouldn’t exceed the 68-ounce limit—only drinking when I was truly thirsty, rather than absentmindedly sipping water from the glass on my end table while I read or watched television at night. There’s something about having to pay closer attention to your body’s needs that makes you appreciate the importance of your body’s signals.
Ultimately, that’s what thirst is: Your body alerting you to a need. If you choose to ignore that alert, there are consequences—dehydration, disconnection, and disorientation. The global COVID-19 pandemic has served as an alert, a reminder that we need each other, along with organized activism, to overhaul the systems that aren’t meeting our needs. Whether it’s halting student loan repayments or putting a moratorium on evictions, we now know that our world can look different, so how can we achieve the equitable world we desire?
Our “Thirst” issue spotlights that fundamental truth: We all have needs. That’s a baseline characteristic of being human. And yet, we live in a world that shames people, especially those from marginalized communities, for vocalizing their needs and doing whatever’s necessary to meet them. We’re destigmatizing that shame in this issue, whether it’s going into Jackson, Mississippi; Flint, Michigan; and the Navajo Nation to understand the connected crises that rob these communities of access to fresh water or following families in Mexico whose loved ones have disappeared without a trace or explanation.
We’re also exploring what a world where our needs are met could look like. In that world, formerly incarcerated people would be treated with care and respect, and given the resources they need to survive. We’d have a world without police, one that still prioritizes our individual and collective safety. And, beautifully, we’d have the unfettered time to gather at watering holes of all kinds where we can continue to envision this new world and organize around the issues that matter to us. Can you see this world? I can. And I hope that after you read about this world, you’ll be ready to embrace your own thirst for building one that will serve us all better.
YES! Executive Editor