This summer started out a bummer--I didn’t have a good job, my future was really uncertain and I spent more time worrying than enjoying myself. Eventually things figured themselves out, as they’re wont to do and I started a new job where I’ve met some pretty cool people. Hanging out with them has reminded me of how good it is to just have fun and be open to dancing, whether your drunk or not. That sort of attitude has snuck its way into my summer playlist which, in my opinion, is full of BANGERZ and that I’m pretty much listening to till there’s snow on the ground. One of my faves on here is “Heart to Break” by Kim Petras which is really just the bop of the summer. One thing I’m really embracing this summer is the idea of risking delight. I’m always so cautious, so “practical” and I let that hold me back in a lot of ways. It means a lot of missed experience and a lot of unnecessary regret. This summer, and the rest of this year, is about being open to experience even if it breaks me, even if it makes me cry. With this playlist I’m officially crowning this summer as the summer of dancing your ass off and having one or six martinis. We all deserve it.
TROIS CHOSES is a monthly roundup of three things (books, music, movies, etc.) that I particularly enjoyed or that stood out to me. Read April's here.
UN: The Gentlewoman (Spring&Summer 2018)
The Gentlewoman is one of the magazines that has reinvigorated me both as a writer and as a consumer of culture. My sister and I happened to come upon their Spring&Summer 2018 issue in our local bookstore (which just started selling it) and, in our excitement, had to snatch it up. I didn't have plans for reading it through but that's what I ended up doing. What makes The Gentlewoman stand out is its predilection for following its curiosities and interests. Sure they cover "relevant" topics and individuals, but it's never in a way that feels like just another part of someone's press tour. I loved every interview in this issue, even if I had never heard of the person before, and was so inspired (& motivated) by their "Modern Details" that I've been writing itsy-bitsy devotionals to everything from apple pie to Weleda Skin Food.
Deux: "Depression Takes My Body Away", Arabelle Sicardi for Racked
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our bodies speak for us in ways that we can’t control. How they give away a lot--like how the freshman 15 is tells a story of both immaturity and excessive indulgence. In this piece, Arabelle Sicardi talks about not feeling like they had much control over much--their body, their life, their feelings and impulses--but being able to push against that through fashion or, more specifically, personal style. I remember when I was the biggest Arabelle Sicardi fan so many years ago and how they would talk about fashion as armour. And that always resonated with me, but does so even more today. I’ve never felt less in control than I have in the past few months and despite my various attempts at organization and control--colour coded calendars, to-do lists, daily journal entries--I rarely feel in control. Clothes have not only made me feel more in control, but they have been a way to build a fortress around myself. One that allows me to move in the world and feel protected. This article helped me realize that in a way that all that other stuff--the podcasts, the online guides, the self-help books--didn't.
Trois: Yoga with Adriene
Last summer, in an effort to lose the Freshman 30+, I chose to complete a 60 day detox--no gluten, no dairy, no alcohol--and started Kayla Itsines BBG program. When I first started, I just wanted to lose some weight. I didn't want to become consumed with being a toned, slim Instagram model; I just wanted to fit in my new clothes. Unfortunately, I was soon saving pictures of toned and tight bellies on Instagram and taking daily images of my changing body. I'd convinced myself that I was in a healthy state of mind, but in some ways I was obsessive, and at times punishing. I relished in those days when I felt hungry but stopped myself from eating outside of the allotted amounts of food I had determined. And after the 60 days where over, very few of the habits I had developed stuck--I went back to my usual bread eating, chocolate enjoying self. When this summer came around, I wasn't interested in getting into the gym or going on another restrictive diet (although I did muse over Whole30 until I found out you couldn't eat rice). But I did want to be active and commit to something, so I turned to yoga. I chose Yoga with Adriene because I had seen Estée Lalonde doing the videos on her Instagram, and the fact that the videos were (on avergae) only 25 minutes. I’ve had *experiences* with yoga before--I still have a yoga pass that I never finished using--but it’s never made me feel as good as doing Yoga with Adriene has. I’m currently doing “True: 30 Day Yoga Challenge” and it’s definitely changed things for me. I try and do a video every morning, and it really sets the tone for my day. Adriene is all about throwing away the idea of doing yoga to become trimmed and toned (she says it will happen), and instead focusing on certain themes + non-physical goals. Themes like SURRENDER and SELF-LOVE allow me to use the time on the mat to mediate, or just take a moment to breath. Since I've started, I've noticed how completing a practice every morning makes me feel productive and accomplished. Adriene herself is a little kooky--she makes the most random jokes--but her kookiness is what makes doing her practice so comfortable. There is no pressure to be a perfect yogi, or the most fit person ever. She reminds me that I can just have fun. Maybe at the end of it all I'll have more toned arms, but that's not the goal.
March didn't get off to a great start. The underwater feeling I had felt through most of February still lingered in the first weeks of March. Paired with New York withdrawal symptoms and getting sick, I spent a lot of march feeling worthless and gross. And then school. It's so boring to complain about how shit school can be AND YET! I'm just trying to stay positive but sometimes I find it hard to fight the part of me that just wants to watch Fargo all the time and take 101 baths. However, the past couple of weeks have been a lot better. I'm working to let some things go, vent when I want to (even if it seems petty), and just gripping onto every moment of joy. The other day, I spent the morning listening to the Hairspray soundtrack and dancing my little ass off. I felt amazing pretty much all day. I'm seeing friends and accepting that sometimes I need people to re-energize. That's ok. I'm excited about it. It means I get to go see Ladybird and then obsess about it with other people in real time.
I found myself reading a lot more this month--apart from taking a break from Instagram, I knew that reading for fun had been so beneficial for my mental health in the past couple of months, so I made a conscious effort to do it. That meant sacrificing readings I had to do for class (sorry Ann Radcliffe) but I read some amazing things. My two favourite books I read this month were The Mothers by Brit Bennett and Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine. Out of all four and a half books I read, they're the two that I was immediately captured by and they're the ones that I devoured the fastest. Both authors have their own unique way of capturing humanity--it's intimacies, its let downs, its mistakes, its richness.
I'm always concerned with the difficulty of defining home, especially when the only place I've lived long enough to call home is the last place that I feel 100% at home. So I loved Mitchell Kuga's brilliant piece for Shondaland called "Coming Home", in which he talks about the way we perceive home and the myths we create about it.While Kuga ended up finding home in NYC, this piece reminded me that home doesn't have to be a physical location; it can be a state-of-mind.
Ashley C. Ford has managed to touch a special place in my heart and so everytime I read something she wrote, whether it be a tweet or something longer, I'm deeply moved. She recently wrote a piece for Cup of Jo, about maintaining your relationship with your parents when your live your life in a way that's drastically different from theirs. My favourite part is this reassuring text she sent to her friend who was worrying that she wasn't properly preparing her son for the life ahead of him: "You don’t have to be the best middle-class mother to your middle-class children. You only have to be their truest home. Maybe they’ll experience the world much differently than you did, but they will always know where home is.”
I Think About This A Lot: Mark Cuban Saying 'Right' on Shark Tank. There's a girl in my political science class who ends so many of her sentences in "right" I can't help but twitch every time she says it. And although I've never seen Shark Tank there was something very satisfying about this piece from The Cut.
On My Block (Netflix)
In a move that was detrimental to both my school work and my plan to read more often, I started watching On My Block and maybe finished the whole series in 24 hours (I definitely did). The show is so funny and the characters are all lovable, even the one called Spooky. Clear your schedule for this one--you won't want to stop watching.
Black Girl in Om
I listen to podcasts based on mood, which means I'm always on the lookout for something new that will match my ever changing mood. I started listening to BGIO at the recommendation of my sister, after having one too many crises about work and THE FUTURE. Start with their most recent interview with Yaminah Mayo and then head to Season One to experience the full magic.
I'm not sure why I fell in love with this song but there were days I listened to it about three times and never got sick of it, so obviously it's the bop that we all need.
What were you loving this month? Is there anything you detested?