toxic positivity free zone
we're all just trying our best here
Normally I end each newsletter with a “things that are bringing me joy” section.
Today the whole post is that section. While my last post spoke to the current world situation (*gestures to everything*) it was heavy. I haven’t been feeling like myself for a while, and Dan was also in an emotional funk last week. Could it have something to do with nearly a year of uninterrupted trauma? Probably! 🙃
This is not to say that joy is the only acceptable e•mo•tion I’m channeling. Far from it. I’m over people saying things like, “good vibes only!” because a) don’t tell me what to do and b) I’m allowed to feel everything, good and bad! Bad vibes welcome! Good vibes welcome! Whatever feeling you’re currently feeling is welcome here! Many people have written much more eloquently about toxic positivity, so I won’t try, but below is an *extra special* list of things that are bringing me joy because I’m trying to practice reflecting on gratitude during this Lent. I hope at least one thing on the list makes you smile.
Things That Are Bringing Me Joy
Looking to help Texas more than Ted Cruz? It’s not hard to top him, just don’t travel internationally during a global pandemic while people are quite literally freezing to death! If you feel inclined to give, here is are some mutual aid networks who are doing the work the government won’t do. Screw you, Ted Cruz. (An aside: I saw him once irl at the Capitol and his haircut and beard looked even worse than they look in pictures.)
If you do one pleasant thing for yourself today, let it be using WindowSwap. As I write this I’m looking out Marie’s window in Omsk, Siberia and it looks gorgeous there. No slushy, dirty, city snow in sight, just boats, people biking and walking, and the occasional child’s voice. It’s 100x better than the alley outside my apartment window.
This article on Uyghur culture being kept alive in the US through cuisine. The news around the genocide of the predominantly Muslim Uygur people in China in recent years has been overwhelmingly shocking and sad. I find myself feeling very helpless when I read about international tragedy, so it was a wonderful surprise to read this article that shared the beauty of the Uygur culture. I’m going to have to try out Dolan Uyghur soon!
Lola experiencing snow for the first time. She liked it? It’s hard to tell with her.
I watched Bridgerton and hated it. (Okay, not very joyful I know but it’s my newsletter, dammit.) I spent the majority of my time either yelling at the characters to learn to communicate or groaning at the gratuitous butt shots. I know I’m in the minority, but I couldn’t get into it. Go watch The Great if you want historical fiction with a modern twist. If you’re historical purist but still want romance, I suggest Gentleman Jack. If you want more Nicola Coughlan (the only bright point of the show), watch Derry Girls. Season three can’t come soon enough!
I missed this exhibit the last time I was in Chicago (over a year ago), but I enjoyed looking at some of the pieces online. I miss wandering around art museums so terribly I tear up sometimes just thinking about it.
I am a late bloomer to the Selena fan club. I was four when she was murdered and didn’t listen to her music growing up. I became a fan a few years ago thanks to my friend Emily and haven’t looked back. The podcast Anything for Selena is doing an incredible job breaking down her legacy in a beautiful way that is both intensely personal and global at the same time.
Did anyone else love the absurdity and escapism of Gossip Girl when it was on air? I even owned at Team Chuck and Blair t-shirt (cringe). This article convinced me that I should give it a re-watch. If you liked GG when it was on, check out the Spanish show Elite. Attractive “teens” who are really in their twenties trying to solve a murder? Exactly my brand of trash.
DC friends: give Donut Run a try immediately! They make delicious donuts that also happen to be vegan! They tend to sell out pretty quickly so get there early!
I started an embroidery instagram account to promote (?) my hand embroidery work so if that’s something you’re interested in, check it out.
The movie Minari. I laughed. I cried. I marveled at Steven Yeun’s jawline. It’s a deeply American story in the best way and I haven’t seen anything like it. If you like Wendell Berry, Steinbeck, Terrence Malick’s cinematography, or excellent movie scores, you should watch it. Up next on my recent release list of movies to watch is Nomadland and Promising Young Woman.
This tiktok my sister sent me that I related to so hard I gasped when I watched it.
This Lent I’m trying to focus on the themes of renewal and hope. When I was younger, Lent often became a source of selfish self-betterment (If I give up sugar I’ll probably loose a few pounds too) with a side of Jesus where I reduced Lent to simply removing something from my life for 40 days and calling it a day. As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to create a Lenten practice that is more meaningful and spiritually nourishing. This year I’m not stressing or overthinking it and using the resources below to help guide me.
One Last Thought
Would people want a list of substacks and mailchimps I subscribe to? It’s an eclectic bunch but they all have one thing in common: great writing. Some I’ve been subscribing to for years, some just a few months, but I look forward to reading them all! I got into memoir and personal essay after I graduated college in part because I was tired of reading so many novels (whaddup English degree) but also because I think good personal essays take a certain skill that not every novelist possesses. It exercises a different part of the brain and heart. Let me know if that would be something you’re interested in.
I hope you’re taking care of yourself; however that looks. If you feel so inclined, please share this post with your friends!