Songs for New Year's Eve, No Matter Your Mood

An animated gif with the illustrations from Charlie Brown, two boys lie on the ground with squiggly lines indicating pain above their heads and the text says "Happy New Year Charlie Brown"

What are you doing New Year's Eve? I live alone, so I'll be... alone! In my apartment! What a glorious bummer but also perfectly fine turn of events.

I suspect we're all experiencing a pretty wild ride of moods as we exit 2020 and enter a new year (where not much has changed but maybe it will get better), so I've curated a collection of songs you can choose from to ring in the new year based on your emotional world.

If You're Kinda Bummed But Okay With It: The New Year by Death Cab for Cutie

The opening lines, "So this is the new year and I don't feel any different" made this my go-to New Year's Day song for years. I loved embracing the morose vibe of waking up a day that was supposed to mark a change and feeling the same. It seems pretty on point for this year, too.

"So this is the new year
And I have no resolutions
For self assigned penance
For problems with easy solutions"

If You're Seeking Blessings: Forever Young by Rod Stewart

This song is basically a New Year's blessing, no matter the version you choose. I chose the Rod Stewart cover, but this song has received so dang many covers that you could just put on a playlist of this song and go on a musical journey for an hour.

"May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,"

If You're Ready to Move On and Embrace Yourself: thank u, next by Ariana Grande

For obvious reasons.

"I've got so much love
Got so much patience
I've learned from the pain
I turned out amazing"

If You Need an Aggressive Dance Out: Raise Your Glass by Pink

It seems like this year humanity was the underdog (although we were also the villain, so... awkward). Sometimes the best thing you can do is throw back an entire glass of champagne in one go and have an aggressive dance party.

"So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways,
All my underdogs"

If You Need a Complicated Dance Out: Dancing By Myself by Robyn

This is the perfect song if you're being safe on your own for the New Year and not really happy about it but also trying to embrace where you are now. It's the "I'm going to rip myself away from an Instagram feed full of people who are somehow not alone before it kills me" dance party.

"I'm just gonna dance all night
I'm all messed up, I'm so outta line
Stilettos on broken bottles
I'm spinning around in circles"

If You Need a Dance Out That's Pure of Heart: Dancing In the Moonlight by Toploader

This is for those of you feeling that Schitt's Creek Season 2 finale vibe. Whether you're "together, apart" with your loved ones or have a household to dance with, you know that around the world (or at least across your time zone), people are dancing in the moonlight. (The original is by King Harvest, which is even more pure of heart, if I do say so myself.)

"Dancing in the moonlight
Everybodys feeling warm and bright
Its such a fine and natural sight
Everybodys dancing in the moonlight"

If You Want to Lie on the Couch and Feel Things: Good Grief by Dessa

For me, this song says, "everything is terrible and I don't know how to make it better but also it seems like there is hope to make it better, we've just got to get there," which may be the perfect fit as you lie on the couch and feel your feelings.

"I want that good grief
The one that heals me
That leaves me clarified by fire
When I'm burned clean
Tempered by light and heat
Ah, by the dead of morning
I'll be better for it
And then fortified I'll rise
Bust the hydrant, let it spray champagne
Wings are broken but I feel no pain
It's real today, I know this feeling, let it rain"

If You're Coming Out Ready to Fight: Stronger by Britney Spears

This is the perfect, "heck yes, I survived and guess what? Now I wear black leather and heavy eyeliner which indicates bad assery" song.

"Stronger than yesterday
Now it's nothing but my way
My loneliness ain't killing me no more
I, I'm stronger"

If You Are In a Very Chill Place: Three Little Birds by Bob Marley

Ready to ride the waves of life with your hands ready and your heart open?

"Don't worry, about a thing
'Cause every little thing, gonna be all right"

If You're Genuinely Feeling Great or Want to Embrace Denial: Happy by Pharrell Williams

Maybe you feel actual joy right now or maybe it feels good to feel good, even if you don't really feel good, you know? Either way, clap your hands with Pharrell.

"Here come bad news, talking this and that (Yeah!)
Well, give me all you got, don't hold it back (Yeah!)
Well, I should probably warn you I'll be just fine (Yeah!)
No offense to you
Don't waste your time"

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I don't know who needs to hear this, but...

... if you have a sexual thought about someone that doesn't automatically make the situation or anything they are doing or wearing sexual.

Believe it or not, your thoughts are not nearly powerful enough to change the entire reality of a situation.

An animated gif of a man tapping his temple and saying "It's all in your head."
Digital Pratik

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Setting Goals for 2021 That Won't Tempt Fate and May Even Be Fun

An animated gif of text that says "#goals" with the text dancing around

Alright folks, the new year is upon us! Time to shape up! Time to snap out of the mulled wine and cookie haze and look at the future! Time to start thinking about GOALS!

Before you get too excited with your "This is Gonna Be My Year" plans, remember: a lot of us walked into 2020 making sweeping declarations about what that year was going to be like and look where that lead us. Maybe part of the lesson of 2020 is to just chill a bit about the grand statements and keep things a little smaller, a little more focused.

If resolutions or goals are your kind of thing (turns out that we humans are basically at our best while we are working towards something, so if they aren't, maybe look into it?), I recently came across a simple, but lovely framework for goal-setting: set a goal for your work, a goal for your life, and a goal for your soul.

That's it!

I came across this idea in October and decided to set goals for November and/or the rest of the year. (I was unsure how long they would take.)

For my soul, I wanted to meditate every day.

For my work, I wanted to actively pursue publication of my writing.

For my life, I wanted to be able to do the splits again.

(If you are into goal-setting, you may not be surprised to learn that the one I have most enthusiastically pursued is doing the splits, since it was the only "SMART" goal that actually involved progressing towards a desired outcome.)

The real beauty of this framework is that it helped me set goals that were small and not all that serious (I really just asked myself what I wanted without getting too deep into it) while still adding to my quality of life and some greater desires for myself.

I'm going to try keeping at this, setting smallish goals for 2-3 month seasons of life with an added category of community, because I also want to spend my life doing things to make my community better.

While these goals certainly can build towards a larger-scale "strategic" goal for my life, I am going to prioritize fun (because I am trying not to forget the lessons from my summer of fun).

Want to join me?

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Join Me In Saying Eff That Noise to 2020

I don't generally go in for the notion that fate or the universe or grander events are in any way tied to our calendar year. It's not like hardship gets an assignment with a due date on New Year's Eve.

Like damn y’all we’re still in a pancreas 🥴

♬ original sound - mark

HOWEVER, I do still see the new year as a great time to make changes or set goals or step into something new. I have also been getting into ceremony and ritual this season, and so I have created a little "Eff That Noise" ritual to say goodbye to 2020. If you want to participate, I would love to have you!

This can be executed anytime between now and midnight New Year's Eve. Heck, you could even do it New Year's Day if you need to shake the dust of 2020 off your feet.

  1. Find or make something that is symbolic of something you want to "leave behind" from the past year. This can be as simple as writing something on a piece of paper, finding an item, a movement/dance, or an elaborate craft. It can be symbolic or literal, personal or general.
  2. Find or make something else that represents something you would like to carry forward. Same rules apply.
  3. Prepare food that you find particularly nourishing or comforting.
  4. Pick a song for the ceremony that seems fitting to you. Suggestions include "The New Year" by Death Cab for Cutie, "This Is My Year" by Woodes, "Forever Young" (whatever version you like), "1999" by Prince, or "thank u, next" by Ariana Grande. Silence is also okay.
The Ritual:
  1. Put the song on & light a candle.
  2. Place the symbol of that which you would like to carry forward next to the candle.
  3. Say something like, "Human calendars don't mean much, but this year held a lot of pain, a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of darkness. There were some lessons I would like to carry forward, but to everything else, I say: Eff. That. Noise."
  4. Destroy the symbol of the noise you would like to have eff off.
  5. Feast.
  6. Document it however you see fit and if you want to, share it directly with me or with an #effthatnoise2020 hashtag.

An animated gif that's a clip from the Beyonce Lemonade video where she is wearing a yellow dress and smashing a car window with a bat

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Is This What it Looks Like When a Weary World Rejoices?

A blue square with the text "a weary world" in it.

I noticed over Christmas, a lot of people posting the lines, "A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices" from the carol "O Holy Night."

It makes sense.

If there is one way to describe the world today, it's weary. (Oh, are we ever weary.)

And, like something out of a children's story, the vaccine has arrived and begun distribution right around Christmas time.

Which leads me to wonder: where was the thrill of hope? Is this what rejoicing feels like?


It was pretty early in the pandemic that I realized hoping for concrete outcomes was a fool's game. People sent out "change the dates" for their weddings, theatres announced 2020-2021 seasons, friends booked tickets for summer travel, and I thought, "I'll believe it when I see it."

This attitude continued as news of the vaccines came out. I didn't really accept it as true until Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC's Chief Medical Health Officer, said that all British Columbians would have access to the vaccine by fall 2021. She is not a politician nor a corporate overlord--she wouldn't give false promises.

So hope did come, not in a "thrill" but a tentative step, one where you reach your toe in front of you and test your weight on a floorboard before daring to take a real step.

And rejoicing? There has been some of that, too.

I lifted a glass (alone in my apartment) to celebrate when my first family member got the vaccine. Entire medical departments made videos dancing after they were transformed into vaccination clinics. In these moments, the joy is real and creates life within us and around us.

And then the moment passed and not much changed. I, happy for my cousin and all that vaccination represents to me, still felt weary. As, I'm sure, did those nurses, doctors, and technicians who then had to continue their work.

As, I'm sure, do you.

After all, our material reality isn't changing anytime soon. We must still follow precautions. We don't know what will come. Will new strains overcome the vaccine? How many will die in the meantime? What of the poorer countries, unable to stockpile doses while the wealthy nations take more than they need? Will our leaders go into hypercapitalist overdrive to make up for the losses of this time or will we create a gentler world out of this?


There is hope, at least in prospect.

We are weary.

In moments, we rejoice.

And we are still weary.

This may not have been what Placide Cappeau imagined when he wrote those words, but here we are.

An animated gif from the TV show Schitt's Creek of David saying "I'm just feeling very apprehensive about the whole thing."

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Embracing a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Christmas Day

A gif of a woman in a beautiful dress, on stage, singing "It's the worst, worst Christmas of our lives"

How are you doing today?

I don't know what December 25th normally looks like for you, but if today is massively different from usual, and not in a way that provides some comfort, I was recently reminded of some advice from Dan Savage about crappy Christmases that might apply to you.

Unfortunately, it's from his podcast and I don't remember when I heard it, so I'm not tracking it down to share the link, but here's the gist:

He shared about a Christmas he had where he was alone. Maybe he was extra alone due to family conflict or maybe he was just a stranger in a new city and didn't have any connections yet. Either way, he felt completely on his own.

A movie theatre was open, so he went to see a movie by himself. The movie wasn't very good and the whole thing was super depressing.

Then suddenly, the situation became hilarious to him. Here he was! Alone on Christmas! Watching a lame movie! Feeling sorry for himself! What a cliche of a lonely soul!

He leaned in. If he was going to have a pathetic Christmas, then by jove, a pathetic Christmas he would have. And there are things to enjoy about a sad holiday, once you stop comparing it to what it could have been. He embraced his morose reality, and it instantly got a lot better.

As I type this, I realize that the advice is basically just, "Hey, look at this from a different perspective! Sure, your Christmas sucks, but maybe you can enjoy just how sucky it is!" For some of you, reading that advice might make you want to throw your computer out the window. If that's the case, sorry, my friend.

But maybe it doesn't. Maybe it's helpful to remember that our interpretation of our circumstances is about as important as our circumstances actually are. Maybe you are sitting alone on your couch, wrapped in a blanket, scrolling through the internet while you watch Arrested Development for the billionth time and it kind of makes sense to lean into--and even enjoy--your lame holiday aesthetic.

Think of the future, when you'll be sharing your pandemic stories with yet-to-be-born grandbabies (yours or someone else's), describing your sadsack Christmas in all it's anti-glory. How saving lives by staying home felt so lonely and pointless. How angry you felt seeing your friends who were lucky enough to live with family or (even worse) broke the rules to gather anyways. How vindicated you felt, knowing you would not be the instrument of your aunt's death.

Today, I wish you all the blessings imaginable. For peace and quiet, for cacophonous joy, for much-needed distractions, for dance parties, for thoughtful text message greetings, for excellent Chinese takeout, for deep contemplation, for simple pleasures, for an ironically bad Christmas, and for contentment, today and beyond.

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The Greatest Christmas Lights of All Time

The village of Newburgh in Scotland made the greatest choice of all time for their civic holiday decorations. They had children's pictures turned into light displays! Originally posted on Twitter by resident Poppy.

A photo of a city's Christmas lights on a light pole, in the shape of a child's drawing of an angel

A photo of a city's Christmas lights on a light pole, in the shape of a child's drawing of a reindeer

A photo of a city's Christmas lights on a light pole, in the shape of a child's drawing of a turkey

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and to those that don't, I wish you a peaceful winter day.

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Why Are We So Excited to Hack Happiness in Our Brains and So Unexcited to Just Be Happy?

I've seen this image float around my social media feeds for the past couple of months.

For the first little while, I thought it was neat. Oh! Here's how I can try to boost my various happiness hormones. What fun!

Then I became indifferent to it. Oh hey, this again.

Then I became suspicious of it.

What is happening in our world that we now have to manipulate our brains into producing happiness chemicals? What does this say about us that we need to "hack" feeling good? Why is this need so dang prevalent that it keeps getting posted and reposted and posted again on social media?

I get it. I have a list on the wall in my apartment literally titled, "Things That Feel Good" because when I am bored or feeling junky, it's hard to remember that I can do things to feel better instead of just sinking into my couch. And the list of activities in this post are actually really beneficial: get some physical activity, hug someone, do something to make yourself laugh. These "hacks" are really just actual healthy behaviour.

But that almost makes it worse: are we (myself included!) so lost that instead of realizing that we could use a laugh or a hug or a walk, we have to see it on a list of brain hacks? We have to think we're doing it to trick our brains into being happier instead of just doing things because we know they make us happier?

I may be completely overreacting here, but after seeing it passed around so many times, this post has gone from charmingly useful to tragic for me.

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Silvia Levenson's Strange Little Girls

Artist Silvia Levenson's sculpture series called Strange Little Girls is the perfect mix of creepy and lovely. She seems to have a pretty diverse body of work, some sculpture, some photography, and it's all worth checking out!

A black sculpture of a little girl with feathery wings and the head of a bird.

A photo of a sculpture, it looks at first like a little girl with a fox head, but then you realize that perhaps that body is also a furry fox body, but standing like a girl.

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We've Made it to the Shortest, Darkest Day of a Dark Year

An animated gif illustration of a lit candle bouncing up and down in the darkness, like the light is trying to escape or grow.

It's Winter Solstice! The shortest, darkest day of the year! From this point forward, the light will grow (until, of course, it starts shrinking again, but let's live in the now, shall we?)

Last year, for the first time, I did a ceremony with a friend to let go of the darkness of the previous year and usher in the light. At that time, just facing my deepest hopes for the year to come was a scary endeavour. Not only was I admitting my core needs and desires, but I was taking action to symbolically invite them into my life. Terrifying.

Well, don't worry, none of the specifics I was thinking about in that ceremony happened, although if you open up your heart (and definitions) then yes, I may have found what I sought, in a broader sense.

As with everything, I blame COVID.

I also blame COVID for the fact that I don't really know what my hopes are for this new cycle of light and darkness. This year I learned not to get too into plans or hopes or visions for what's to come because truly anything can happen.

Maybe that's good enough? To walk into the growing light with my hands open, ready to give or receive, come what may. (Although knowing what direction I am walking, at least to start, might be nice!)

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Entitlement Versus a Decent Sense of Self-Worth

An attitude of entitlement doesn’t increase the chances you’ll get what you want.
And it ruins the joy of the things you do get.
Win or lose, you lose.
-Seth Godin

Is it weird that my first thought (after agreeing with Mr. Godin's point) was to wonder about the difference between being entitled versus feeling you deserve goodness in an "I have enough self-worth to believe that I deserve good things"-type way?

Here's the result of my pondering:

At first blush, yes, they are similar because they both think you are somehow inherently deserving of... well, anything.


Entitlement thinks you deserve things because you are soooooo great. You're so much more rich or important or beautiful or smart than others and therefore should have whatever the heck you want.

Self-worth believes you are deserving too, but in a "just as much as anyone else because I'm as worthy as they are"-type way. You aren't better than other people, but dangit, you are as valuable of a human as any of them! It's usually more about rejecting poor treatment than demanding nice things.

And yes, feeling you already deserve all the nice things does kind of ruin them if they come your way. Where's the joy in that?

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Let's Take a Dive Into Ashley Avery's Paintings

Ooooh, couldn't you go swimming in American painter Ashley Avery's world? The life! The colour! The luscious foliage!

A large watercolour painting that depicts an abstract landscape - sky, mountains, water, and under the line of the water we see lots of life.

A watercolour painting called "tumbling waterfalls" that shows an abstract sense of the side of a mountain with lots of colourful foliage and many small waterfalls tumbling down amongst the plant life. It's vibrant.

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Speaking of 2020... What Are Some of Our Lessons, Big and Small?

An animated gif of Kim Kardashian saying "we've learned a huge lesson."

2020 is almost over. Time to start thinking about our lessons from the past year!

I have learned that I will truly always gravitate towards rewatching a show I've already seen over watching something new if left to my own devices--even when I've been left to those devices for a very long time. I need other people to help me branch out!


When life gets really shaken up I get much better at paying attention to my needs and taking care of myself.

Even during a pandemic when everything is shut down, I will find a way to feel too busy and stressed out about meeting all my obligations.

We truly cannot predict the future, and yet we all have to move forward as if we have some influence over what might happen next.

Sometimes you don't know how unhappy you are until something changes and you feel the joy you've been missing.

The things people care most about come to the surface when the busy life distractions are taken away. (Some go to a protest to try to save lives and others to protect their personal freedom.)

It can be shocking to see how different people in your circle do or don't take things seriously.

The degree to which people don't feel like something is real until it personally impacts them is astounding, as demonstrated by the sheer number of, "this thing is for real" posts after someone they knew got COVID.

What about you? What did you learn about yourself? About your friends? About the world?

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Can I Really Become Friends With My Body?

"And I said to my body, softly, 'I want to be your friend.' It took a long breath and replied, 'I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.'"
-Oge Agibe

What a dream, am I right? Just the thought of being friends with my body feels like a huge sigh of relief.

I've come to realize lately that, while I am all about body acceptance in the general sense, my acceptance of my own body is entirely conditional. I fully love and accept my body, so long as it stays within a tiny range of criteria. Which is, of course, is not really how we treat things we love.

But what about how we treat friends? Friends are people who we care about and love in a whole range of circumstances. We want to get to know them and spend time with them and check in on them. Sometimes they annoy us, sometimes they surprise us, sometimes they spontaneously do something that makes us feel so loved we cry.

Imagine, treating our bodies like that. Like whole beings that matter and are worth getting to know, all on their own.

An animated gif illustration of a woman kissing both of her shoulders
Laura Salaberry

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The Wounded

"If you're a stranger to your own wound, then you're gonna be tempted to despise the wounded." 
- Father Gregory Boyle

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Believe It Or Not, There is Still Joy to be Had in Retrospecting 2020

An animated gif illustration of a dumpster in an alley that is burning, but it's all very cute

Usually, I get really excited about year-end roundups every December. I love lists! What's better than a season of LISTS???

This year seems a weird one for that, and I'm sure magazine editors spent the last month freaking out about how they would do year-in-review listicles without bumming everyone out, but there are already three that have come out.

Some of it's a real bummer, which is to be expected, but there are some funny, quirky little news stories that I had completely forgotten about (or not noticed). Like Dr. Phil's mansion that "looks like it was decorated by a teenage energy drink tycoon" and the deadline for which George R.R. Martin said he could be imprisoned if he hadn't finished his recent book passing, with the man still walking free.

This one features popular books with their titles adapted to become relevant to the year that's passed: Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere is now Enormous Fires Everywhere, Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude is One Hundred Beers in Solitude. It's a real hoot. I would probably buy a notebook set with these faux book covers.

Three: Tom Whitwall's 52 Things I Learned in 2020

Mr. Whitwall publishes a list every year of 52 things he learned that year. It's always got some delights and deeply interesting facts in it. Like the different ways emojis are perceived across cultures, the fact that the inventor of the pixel has always regretted making them square, and in 2017, researchers turned dragonflies into human-controlled drones.

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Nothing Ends, Not Even COVID

An animated gif illustration showing a line drawing of the infinity symbol that twists and transforms and then takes its shape again

Nothing ever ends.

That’s what they tell me, at least. The scientists, about nature. Things don't end, they change. They transform. It is, as they say, the circle of life.

Does this mean COVID will never end?

Yes, I guess so.

I mean, it really only exists (as we know it) thanks to a whole host of other transformations. It has continued to change, in tiny ways, since we got to know it on such a personal level, and perhaps one day it will change so much it doesn't even recognize itself.

Our medical interventions transform. We've developed a treatment that does whatever treatments do - the molecular version of dismantling the virus and selling it for parts? Kneecapping it so that it's rendered ineffective? Making our bodies into bad hosts so that it has to transform into something else in order to stay alive?

At some point, too, the public health restrictions we are living under will change. One day, officials will stand before us at a specially-scheduled press conference. They will try to contain themselves, but smiles will take over their faces (can you IMAGINE how they will feel on that day?) and their message will have changed completely. The records of the restrictions will be filed away. The webpages will be edited or archived. The social media posts will go stale. They will be replaced with new papers, new webpages, new posts.

Our behaviour will transform. We will hug. We will go to brunch indoors. We will attend concerts and stand right next to strangers. We will hopefully never shake hands again because that is now a repulsive and unnecessary act.

Our boredom and anger and isolation will transform into--well, they won't. We will still feel bored, angry, and isolated, although perhaps less often. We will feel those things while we host dinner parties and crowd into movie theatres and wonder if a stranger in a bar is looking at us and stand in line right next to each other and completely forget where we put our homemade masks.

Meanwhile, the virus will still exist, floating around us. Or maybe it will transform into something else, without 7.5 billion human bodies as nice, squishy hosts?

The only thing that ends is our perception of things. We decide, once this, now nothing. Once we had COVID, then we didn’t. Once we had love, now we don’t. Once we had life, now we won’t. But really, it didn't end, it just changed enough that we gave it a new label.

There is a forever-ness to life that doesn't quite make sense because eventually, we transform enough that our bodies don't work and our consciousness doesn't exist anymore. Or it changes. Into what?

Nothing ever ends. (That’s what they tell me.)

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Sarah Khan's Out of a Book

Painter Sarah Khan really has it going on. And hey! She's Vancouver-based.

A watercolour painting by Sarah Khan that is a person wearing a skirt with a big, flowery sweater, and some kind of antelope head.

A watercolour painting by Sarah Khan showing a person who is pregnant - you can see a little world in their belly - they have a beard.

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The Discipline of Hope and Also Being Very Cynical

Do you ever read an interview with an artist or otherwise known person (known enough to get interviewed, I suppose) and think, "Wow, I like how this person's mind works and also I want to be best friends with them."

This is what happened to me with an interview with writer Jia Tolentino in Interview Magazine. She has this practical cynicism that is deeply pervasive and yet doesn't seem to strip away her hope. I really identify with that.

Some quotes:

"I don’t know if a country founded on the narrative of liberty and the practice of racist exploitation can remake itself in the however many years we have left before humans are burned off the Earth."

Ooooooof and also yeah. I often find myself having to hold back my predictions of when and how humanity will be, as she says, "burned off the Earth." It's not going to be a pretty process and the Powers That Be are clearly uninterested in actually stopping it, so... here we go.

"I’ve also been really sick of my own brain for a while now."

Want to trade?

"Reading more Black writers isn’t like taking medicine. People ought to seek out the genuine pleasure of decentering themselves."

This is so true! I genuinely love watching movies or plays where there is a joke or reference that isn't for me or another language spoken without translation. There is something really wonderful about that experience.

"I don’t feel that I have the right to consider giving up hope. To do so would mean abandoning or failing to recognize the work that’s being done."

Wrapping it all up with a bow. Yes, injustice is everywhere and not stopping. Yes, disruptive climate change is, at this point, inevitable (due to human choices, not because it wasn't completely and easily preventable). But giving up hope, in the sense of giving up and just watching it all unfold around me? Not an option.

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I Don't Know Who Needs to Hear This But....

... asking a woman's permission to masturbate to her regular-life, non-sex-worker social media posts is not a nice way to respect her right to consent. It's some kind of gross harassment.

An animated gif of Paris Hilton making a grossed-out face

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Life-Changing Advice From a 90's Woman's Magazine That I Can't Forget Even When I Try

A yellow square with the word "never" in large type
Photo by Chris Piascik on / CC BY-NC-ND

When I was a kid, I used to read my mom's lady magazines. (Wait, that makes it sound like they were scandalous. What I mean is, my mom got Ladies' Home Journal. It has "lady" in the title. Officially a lady magazine.)

One of my favourite columns was called "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" Couples would write in with their issues, each taking a turn to describe the problem from their perspective, and then a therapist would give their take. (Yes, as a child I was reading couple's therapy columns for fun. Feel free to decide what that means about me.)

In it, I got an incredible piece of advice that has stuck with me to this day: strike the words "always" and "never" from your vocabulary when talking about another person. 

People are just not that consistent. We may do something a LOT or hardly EVER, but the fact is that there are always exceptions. And so guess what happens when you claim an absolute? Those exceptions pop into the other person's head and BAM! The opposition intensifies. 

Basically, our nevers and alwayses will always (ha!) be wrong, and not only that, they'll put the other person on the defensive and drive the argument towards nitpicking statistics of activity instead of whatever it's actually about.

As an extension of this, I am automatically suspicious of anyone who claims "always" or "never" status for themselves.

I am sharing this with you because:

a) I think it's good advice that everyone could use, and

b) I truly don't understand how some snippets of information we receive stick with us so effectively while others are completely lost. Why did this thing I read ONCE as a young little thing get ingrained so deep in my psyche it actually permanently changed the way I argue and yet it takes ongoing effort to remember to look at my to-do list?

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Ummmmmm... Did You Know You Can Show Love for Yourself Using Your LOVE LANGUAGES???

My friend shared this on Instagram and my eyes basically bugged right out of my head.

My people! A part of loving yourself is SHOWING love to yourself and you can do that using your LOVE LANGUAGES.



If you can't read the images or are averse to clicking through:

Slide 1: "I don't know who needs to hear this but practice your love languages on yourself."

Slide 2: "Gifts: I buy myself fresh flowers every week or buy yourself something you've always wanted."

Slide 3: "Physical Touch: love your body and take your time moisturizing your skin every morning."

Slide 4: "Quality Time: Take yourself out on a date. Pull out a journal and write a letter to your younger or future self. Meditate or do yoga."

Slide 5: "Acts of service: Give yourself a break and do something nice for yourself or clean your room/get organized."

Slide 6: "Words of affirmation: Say nice things to yourself like 'I'm proud of you.' 'You are the best.' 'You are so beautiful!'"

Slide 7: "In other words, don't wait for someone else to offer you the love you want and deserve. Start being intentional and actionable about how you love yourself. It makes all the difference."


What are your top love languages?

My number one is definitely touch and then I can never decide between acts of service and gifts (maybe I'm just extra needy). I never would have even THOUGHT that I could give MYSELF love through touch (okay that sounds very dirty, but you know what I mean), but maybe this is part of why taking my physical comfort seriously has been so helpful this year?

An animated gif illustration of a woman looking in the mirror, her reflection comes out of the mirror and hugs her.
Patrick Smith

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Your Big, Beautiful Life

A nice moment of perspective thanks to Stephanie Chinn.

An illustration of a night sky with a rectangle drawn around it indicating that whole area as "your big, beautiful life" and then one little star/dot as "this moment."


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When You're Definitely Not Okay But You're Trying to Dance Anyway

This tweet is (obviously) from the pre-US-election days, but I still think about the girl in this video. She's out dancing and trying to have a good time but is also so sad and her friends just don't even seem to notice? The one is having a great time and another is like, "Hey it's PICTURE TIME!" and she is literally wiping tears off her face!

What's the story here? Is she trying to get over a breakup? Is this song some kind of sadness trigger for her? Is she a party hostage? Did her and her friends agree before the party started that she would be weepy but she didn't want them to acknowledge it? WHAT IS HAPPENING???

And what about the rest of us? What is our version of "I'm really not okay but I'm trying to be okay so I'm going to go through some motions but it's really, incredibly obvious that I'm definitely not okay."

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Stretch Your Way Through Zoom Calls

An animated gif of a football player sitting on the field doing a forward fold stretch, he's pulling his feet back one at a time so it almost looks like a dance

I recently discovered the BEST way to keep engaged through long Zoom calls: STRETCHING!

Zoom fatigue isn't just mental, y'all. It's PHYSICAL. And because our bodies are wild little ecosystems, the physical and the mental impact one another in a big ol' way.

Depending on the type of call you're on, this may be easier or harder. Obviously, if you can turn your camera off you're free to stretch however you want, but I have even done it with my camera on without really being noticed. Just set your laptop up on a coffee table or chair so that you can sit on the ground while being face-level to the camera and stretch away!

The only real downside I have found is that I wind up having to flip my self-view back on quite a bit to make sure I'm still in the frame and looking reasonable.

Bonus: I genuinely believe that when our bodies are more flexible, our minds are too (it's the wild little ecosystem at work), so maybe you'll come up with better ideas if you stretch while you talk.

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Shocking Discovery: It Feels Good to Feel Good

An animated gif illustration of a cat sitting on a comfy chair beside a fire reading a book.

BREAKING: Did you know that making sure you are physically comfortable is an important part of being content???

This includes:

- Making sure I am warm enough (or not too warm) and comfortable in my clothes.

- Eating when I am hungry.

- Going to the bathroom when I have to go to the bathroom.

- Stretching/varying my body positions so I don't slowly solidify into one, compact, shape.

As per my earlier post about embracing (or at least accepting) fall for what it is, I have been really leaning into physical comfort this season, and WOW! I really feel like it's making a huge difference in my overall mood and experience of life!

Like, I feel better when I feel better! Say wha???

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