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19 Things That Have Got Me Through
So far...because the pandemic is not even close to being over
This piece was inspired by Ian Danskin’s final Co-Vid release, 25 Good things That Got Me Through, which is very good and worth watching. In my case, I’ve chosen one thing for every month since the Pandemic hit the U.S. in March 2020. May some of these things also bring you joy.
1. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE HAVE WATCHED THIS!
This show kept coming up as a recommendation because my Unicorn and I had watched the rebooted She-Ra. We decided to give it a go, not sure what to expect given that it’s a children’s show and we ultimately gave up on She-Ra for being a bit *too* kid oriented for us.
Kipo quickly became our go-to comfort watching for months.
It’s absurd (Timber cats! Mob frogs! A tardigrade called Mulholland!) and it’s heartwarming (Kipo is a Bodhisattva, basically, seeing the capacity for goodness in every being she encounters) and it’s funny (Sometimes I had to pause and skip back because I was laughing so hard I missed a joke or the joke was so good I needed to watch it again RIGHT AWAY.) It also has an unambiguously gay character and strong Found Family themes throughout. HMUFA for Life!
I included Ruth Ozeki as an author worth reading in my annual book wrap-up blog in January, but I want to uplift this book in particular. A Tale for the Time Being made its way to me via the Little Free Library system. It has a great cover and I absolutely judge books by their covers because that’s how marketing works. I had never heard of it before and genuinely didn’t know what to expect, but after I read the back my interest was piqued.
In 2020 in particular, when time was both crawling and speeding past, when calendars seemed pointless, when the uncertainty of what would come day-to-day was vividly present, this book was a gift.
Resistance is one of the greatest podcasts I’ve ever had the joy of listening to. Every episode is a gem, but the second installation of the ‘Fuck Your Water Fountain Hall of Fame’ series within the series about Gloria Richardson is my favourite. Okay, it’s actually tied with Jesus Was an Enemy of the State.
4. Bones by Ivy Sole
This song is the feeling of curling next to my person, limbs entangled, warm, loved and loving. Listening to it on repeat and it never fails to calm my nervous system.
5. Gentleman Jack Crack
BLESS THE PERSON WHO MADE THIS. BLESS THEM 10,000 TIMES OVER!
6. Mean Girls, But Stupid
In September 2020, one of my favourite videoessayists, Lindsay Ellis, released a one hour and four minute long video about an Omegaverse Fanfiction Lawsuit Fiasco. A month later she released another 53 minute long video as a part. 2, having found herself pulled into the legal fiasco because of the first video.
It is absolutely trashy content and for the first time ever I understand the appeal of shows like Real Housewives. I have watched both videos twice and can’t promise I won’t watch them again. 10/10, quality subject matter for escaping existential dread and the crushing fear of late-stage capitalism and the rise of white nationalism.
(CW - R*pe, assault, drug & alcohol use)
There are times when I encounter storytelling that is so incredible, so genius, so absolutely tight, that I squirm with uncontainable appreciation. The first episode of this show, I wasn’t sure what to think, but the hook of the end of the episode had me all in.
Michaela Coel is one of the most skilful screenwriters alive. This show isn’t just about consent. This is a show about accountability, processing trauma, and questioning the expectations we have about the narratives of surviving sexual assault.
1) Imani Barbarin’s handle is Crutches & Spice.
2) Her bio when I started following her was: Rude, for a disabled person.
3) Her hot takes are the intersectional awareness for liberation and justice that we need.
9. Last Week Tonight
Leading up to the 2020 U.S. Election, I found myself going through the back log of Last Week Tonight, AKA “How Deregulation, White Supremacy, Nepotism, and Patriarchy Have Led to the Late Stage Capitalist Climate Disaster Hellscape of the Present.”
There was something strangely comforting about episodes that had aired in 2014 and 2015. Bless John Oliver and bless his writing team for delivering some of the greatest journalism of our time.
This may sound odd, but I began reading Mediocre on January 6th, 2021, and it was a great comfort. Sometimes a book is so damn affirming. The affirmation of this book on that day and in the week following it kept me from collapsing into myself.
In March 2021 I attended my first ever writer’s conference, the 2021 AWP Virtual Conference and Bookfair. A friend sitting on a panel told me about it.
I attended several different panels, but honestly, the one my friend was on would have made the price tag worth it, 100%. It did wonders for my writing at a time when I was questioning the value of writing at all given the State of The World. I wish I could personally thank each panelist for reminding me of the importance of writing the stories you want to read (or wished you could have read growing up) regardless of how “marketable” they may be.
13. The Greatest Coming Out Ever
One day my social media feeds were dominated by photos of this young Black man in the most fabulous and strange costumes. Then they were dominated by screen captures of exchanges between this musician I’d never heard of before and Very Angry White Conservative types. Then they were dominated by Hot Take articles.
I looked up this Lil’Nas X, found the Montero music video, and was enchanted. My Unicorn and I watched it several times in a row, obsessing over the power it held, and celebrating being queer in this day and age. 14 year-old-me would have been so giddy to have such content in 1999.
Waaaaaaay back 417 years ago, I pre-ordered The Galaxy and The Ground Within by Becky Chambers. When it arrived in the post it was a total surprise as I’d entirely forgot about pre-ordering it. I may have danced a jig around the house. I proceeded to read it over the next few days, trying to make it last and failing because it was too good and perfect and impossible to put down. And because I couldn’t make it last and because everything is a dumpster fire, and because it’s the wholesome emotionally aware very queer future I want, I reread the entire series.
A game about death may not seem the coziest thing, but as a Buddhist practitioner who contemplates death regularly, this was an absolute gift. The way Summer munches on her meals. The way Daffodil shoots into the screen like a deflating balloon when we’ve gotten separated and I need help cutting a tree. The way I fell in love with every single character, even Elena, and never wanted the game to end*. I am grateful for every minute of the 50 hours of playtime I spent on it and the way it grounded me over several weeks of intense anxiety.
* Okay, okay, I’ve not finished the game. I’ve done every possible side quest and only have to take myself to the Everdoor but Thunderlotus announced new spirit releases in the Summer and Fall (!) and so I now have Beverly to care for and I am waiting for the arrival of Jackie & Daria before I finish playing.
There is so much joy to be found in someone sharing the thing they are super passionate about. Watching Bernadette Banner thrill over the poofy fluff of some aspect of an Edwardian wardrobe…
…give a solid take down of fast-fashion…
…or express absolute glee over accurate historical dress* in popular media…
…is guaranteed to give me a dopamine hit.
As a bonus, thanks to folks in the comments, I learned of the added layer of delight to be found when one turns on the captions—which often include little jokes and always have correct spelling throughout.
* I may be a little biased on this one in particular given her focus on Gentleman Jack, which is one of the greatest shows I’ve ever watched, as illustrated by the Gentleman Jack Crack included above.
I published a longer blog about my adventures of rereading The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, so I won’t go into detail on that. Basically, I realised Bechdel had a new book out (The Secret to Superhuman Strength) so I bought it and while reading it realised I hadn’t even heard of the book about her mother (Are You My Mother) and if I was going to read that then I may as well reread Fun Home and thus I did a dive into the graphic memoir philosophical reflections and historical documentation of Alison Bechdel and it was Very Good.
18. Season one of Ted Lasso
I admit, I was resistant to this show. I was like, “It’s about a straight white cis dude managing a football team? Pass.” But then all the coolest, loveliest, most interesting people I know kept talking about it. And then the Tumblr queers began memeing it. So I watched it. And I cried during every episode. Because it is the most perfect wholesome goodness that we deserve. Season one is FLAWLESS.*
*Season two is also quite good, but doesn’t have the same flawlessness that happens when a show is a passion project someone has been working on for years. It’s still also very good though (Even if The Dog Dies in season 2, which was a poor choice but season 1 is flawless, don’t @ me).
I may also have the teeniest bit of a crush on Rebecca. She is the embodiment of Dominant Femme Energy.
#IHaveACelebrityType #TheFedoraWreckedMe #LetsInvadeFrance
A queer sci-fi love story? Written and illustrated by Tee Franklin? Funded by community? Including fan additions? And an afterword by Gabby Rivera? I. Am. Here. For. This.
Despite the overall impression that the “pandemic is over”, it very much isn’t and looks like the end is not foreseeable. So please, what is getting YOU through? What are things bringing you delight and joy and a sense of solidarity and possibility?
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