Netflix and puppies.
I'm just gonna be honest - I'm having a hard time dealing with the world right now. It feels like I'm always tired, or cranky, or straight-up terrified, or anxious or defeated or infuriated. It feels like I've aged three years since November 8. And it's hard to write when my mind is completely consumed by all the pardon-my-French fucked up stuff going on out there. These are dark days, and finding the light switch ain't easy. So I've been giving myself permission to escape.
By day, I'm in a job doing work that is directly affected by our political environment, which I've found is a good thing. It's easy to get up and go to work when you know that what you're doing is deeply important and currently threatened. I am privileged in that, in doing my work, I also get to be an activist all week long, and it feels good to know I'm helping even a little bit. But it's exhausting, and so giving myself lots of space and permission to escape is essential. So how have I been hiding from the world? The name of the game is escape.
I'm a pretty big podcast enthusiast these days, and I probably follow more casts now than I do television shows. My playlist has some recurring themes: sex, politics, advice, feminism, storytelling, interviews, true crime. Like many people, I spent a few days this past month totally engrossed in S-Town from the producers of This American Life and Serial. I could go on about it for a while, but for now I'll say just check it out and then let me know if you want to discuss deep-dive journalism and where the ethical line should be in terms of protecting someone's privacy. I also endorse Call Your Girlfriend, Code Switch, Death Sex & Money, Dear Sugar Radio, My Favorite Murder, Blabbermouth, and Modern Love.
One of the promises I made to myself this year was that I would indulge not just in reading a ton of books, but in buying actual, physical books if I wanted to. And I did. I've been buying books and reading them and writing in them and then loaning them to someone else, just like in the good old days! I'm a pretty picky reader - let's be real, I'm picky about just about everything - but I have found some goodies this year so far. I've also invested a lot of time in reading books, fiction and non-fiction, by more diverse authors and trying to learn more about some of the more pressing problems in the world today. A few standouts from the first quarter of 2017 include:
Life's Work: A Moral Argument For Choice by Dr. Willie Parker
The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
Confessions by Kanae Minato
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My Q1 binging has been pretty firmly fixated on the dark and twisty stuff. I am not embarrassed to report that I spent the better part of February down a crazy O.J. Simpson rabbit hole. May I just say, I lived through the O.J. Simpson scandal and I had forgotten just about all of the details save for the insane Bronco chase and the ill-fitting glove that he CLEARLY was pretending wouldn't slip over his hand. So when I started American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, I pretty quickly got totally engrossed. I highly recommend the show if you haven't seen it. Give Sarah Paulson ALL the awards. And THEN I went from there straight into the extremely long Academy Award-winning documentary O.J.: Made In America, which was also incredible. I now feel like I know a lot about O.J. Simpson (spoiler alert: he's totally guilty) but also much more about the racial tensions that led to his acquittal in federal court. If you can't handle that much O.J. but you're still down for some serious drama, I also binged and LOVED Bates Motel. Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore are both outstanding and the show is creepy, atmospheric, hard to predict and very, very well-written. Get thee to Netflix!
I like video games, but I play them very slowly and am never up on the latest thing. I just got an Xbox One around Christmastime, and I bought a ton of new games for it but the only thing I've really played on it so far is Dragon Age Inquisition, which I realize is not new. BUT HEY IT'S REALLY FUN. And if a video game can't distract you from the sentient Cheeto (thanks, Samantha Bee), then I really don't know what will.
Yeah, I know. Some of you people are cat people. Whatever works.