We are living through a giant, steaming, overflowing, completely and utterly heinous bucket of fuck.
And we are trying to share love and trying to battle evil (let’s not mince words — that’s what we’re dealing with, friends) and it gets so overwhelming and you feel spiritually, emotionally, and physically depleted.
I get it. I’m right there with you. Vacillating between rage, exhaustion, depression, worry — so much worry — about those who are are worse off than I am.
But I also know that I’m not doing anybody any good if I don’t engage in self-care and take a breather. We have to do this in shifts, friends. When somebody falters, let them take a break and you fight the good fight. When your tank is empty, back off and get centered again. This is a long-term thing, so make sure you get your self-care in.
With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 fandom-related things (in no particular order) that have helped give me that breathing space I’ve needed.
1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
You guys, why the HELL did it take me this long to engage with this cop sitcom? OMG. It just wrapped up S5 with Fox, which had cancelled it after that back in May, but ABC picked it up the day after the cancellation for a 13-episode S6 (thank GAWD because I need to find out what happens with detective Rosa Diaz, who is bi, and appears to be into a woman). I’ve been bingeing it on Hulu, and I’m halfway through S4 and seriously, it makes me laugh out loud every episode.
Basically, it follows the lives of a group of detectives in Brooklyn’s 99th Precinct, and it’s at turns lovable and hilarious. It’s also a classic sitcom formula, in which episodes are a tight 22 minutes long on Hulu without commercials. Diverse cast, goofy situations, bromance, romance, LGBTQ rep…it’s giving me life, y’all.
2. One Day at a Time
I’ve talked about this before, but here it is again. This is the Netflix reboot of the classic ODAAT (1970s/early 1980s). In this incarnation, the family is Cuban/Cuban American and addresses issues of immigration, racism, sexism, and coming out as LGBTQ. It’s heartwarming and hilarious (another series that makes me laugh out loud every episode) and holy crap Rita Moreno is still fabulous at 86, people. Find it on Netflix.
3. Ocean’s 8
I freaking loved this movie, and not just because I love a good stylish heist flick that is well-written with well-defined characters. I loved it also for the ensemble female cast, the fact that the heist was pulled off with all women, and that they seemed to have the BEST chemistry. I mean, with Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Sarah Paulson bringing in Rihanna, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, and Helena Bonham Carter — you know shit is about to go down and in the best possible way. Also, Anne Hathaway was deliciously good.
Also, I am SO shipping Bullock’s Debbie Ocean and Blanchett’s Lou.
4. The Bold Type
I fangirled over BT’s first season, and S2 just launched on Freeform TV, but I believe you can watch it on Hulu. It follows the lives and careers of three strong and diverse young women in New York City. Two work at a fashion mag and the other is a brand new reporter who used to work with her BFFs but tried to branch out on her own, and that’s one of the stories we’re following this season. One of the women is in a relationship with a lesbian Muslim artist, and it’s so great to see this kind of rep in TV. It has humor, feminism, love, and shows women being supportive of each other even as it addresses serious issues. Well worth your time.
5. Writing fanfic
I think this shit is saving my sanity right now. Seriously. It helps keep me creative and helps me engage with fandoms, which are full of fabulous, beautiful, righteous women and righteous queerfolk. Writing fanfic is an absolute escape for me, because there are no real deadlines. It’ll never be published, never be up for awards, never be available for sale. It’s just for the sheer joy of writing, and I love that I can escape into it without the pressure that comes with writing something for publication.
6. Spirits podcast
Mythology, legends, folklore hosted by two funny women, Julia and Amanda. Every show they mix a drink and talk about a new story or character from a range of eras, places, and cultures. I love this podcast. Check it out.
7. Writing in general
I’m re-doing my sci fi trilogy and I’m working on a couple of secret projects, one paranormal and the other post-apocalyptic. The latter should probably depress me more than it does, but it’s not. So yes, I am writing for publication, which comes with different requirements and expectations than fanfic, but I’m trying to write these projects not because I feel obligated to publish them, but because I want to. That helps motivate me. 🙂
8. My Favorite Murder podcast
This should be one of those things that leaves me more fucked up, but it’s such a joy listening to Karen Kilgariff and co-host Georgia Hardstark do this true crime comedy podcast that you can’t help but come away from each episode feeling like you just spent a couple of hours with your favorite group of women. Kilgariff is a stand-up comedian and TV writer while Hardstark is a writer and host for the Cooking Channel. And somehow, they make a dark, macabre subject work, while also being extremely sensitive to the victims of crime and their families. It’s a difficult line to toe when you’re literally riffing on true crime, but they nail it. Since it launched in 2016, the podcast has taken off, and spawned an avid fanbase (Murderinos). It’s consistently one of the top downloads on iTunes.
Do yourself a favor and listen in.
9. Science Fiction
I’ve been reading a lot more sci fi these days. No doubt looking for an escape that takes me WAY beyond the bounds of this planet. I’m really enjoying finding diverse writers and storylines. And I’m also reading more steampunk and other spec fic (like comics!!!) because, again, ESCAPE if only for a few hours. And it’s extremely important, friends, to maintain your creative energy and imaginations during these times. Art is very, very important, whether you create it or engage with it in other ways.
10. Summer blockbuster movies
If you can afford it/find the time, get a group of friends and go to a matinee of some big, stupid summer blockbuster. Today Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens. Nothing like a bunch of crazy monster mayhem to clear the ol’ head for a couple of hours. Plus, you get to hang out with your peeps, maybe eat some popcorn, and lose yourself for a little bit.
And don’t forget to eat right, exercise, and take time to hang with people you love who love you back.
And then build community locally, spread love, and let go of what you can’t change.
Happy Friday and may The Force be with you.