TROIS CHOSES: APRIL

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Trois Choses is a monthly series highlighting three things I consumed each month that excited me or had an impact. 

UN: Jane the Virgin

I started watching Jane the Virgin after my friend, Sara, recommended it to me because we were talking about how I felt so stuck as a writer and that I was currently looking for a mentor and felt like I had little to offer. And Jane is a writer too. I had already been recommended the show a few times but never felt inclined to actually give it a try. At that point, everything felt really dull, my senses felt non-existent and I really needed to watch something that was fun and light-hearted, especially since the last thing I watched was  the very cold, very dark Fargo. SO I started watching and I fell in love. It’s almost embarrassing to admit this but I watched all four seasons this whole entire month. I fell in love with (almost) all the characters and was so invested. And it was also encouraging to me as a writer. I wouldn’t say it inspired me but it’s depiction of the writer’s journey and the ups and downs was very comforting in that I was reminded that there is no straight or easy way to being a writer. And one reminder that Jane always got was to BE BRAVE, which has accidentally become on of my affirmations for the rest of the year. An added bonus: Tyler Posey is in the 4th season and I literally grinned through every episode.

Deux: Startup, Season 2

I’ll basically read or watch (or listen to!) anything about starting a business, but often times the material can be more discouraging than encouraging. It focuses on mostly the positives and the ways in which the people who start businesses were built for it, whether they were selling lemonade at 6 or working at Subway and knowing that wasn't their path. Even their challenges felt overly positive and I found it hard to relate to that. That’s what makes Startup so special. Their goal is to give a direct look into the creation of business, the ups and downs, as they're happening. Sometimes it's cringey and uncomfortable, but ultimately it's really encouraging to see people have worries and concerns that I get because it makes me feel less alone, less of an anomaly. Even if starting a business is the last thing on your mind, it’s still a really good listen for anyone that has to work with other people. Season 2 is especially good because compared to Season 1, the drama and the struggle that come with starting a business with other people was off the charts. Season 2 followed Dating Ring, a matchmaking/dating service founded by Lauren Kay and Emma Tessler. It follows the duo through a positive start, losing a teammate and major fights. My favourite episode was the one where they go to visit the CEO Whisperer, which was such an enlightening thing to listen to. At the time of listening I was definitely feeling conflict in my working life, and this season gave me a lot of perspective on what I was dealing with.

Trois: "Every Goodbye Ain't Gone" by James Baldwin

"You drag your past with you everywhere, or it drags you."

This is one of those essays that I ended up reading by accident, but turned out to be exactly perfect for the moment. I feel like this whole month was full of happy accidents. So far 2018 has been pretty tumultuous for me and when I thought I was getting pretty settled in April, everything went topsy-turvy again. And this essay felt like such a comfort. A good essay for me has always been about finding a connection, not feeling alone in the world. And this essay was that and also explored that feeling. That moment when you can recognize that you're not alone, that you can explore and break away from you've known and still find your way back, or find the way to where you're supposed to be. 

February Faves

February was a sort of difficult for me--I felt really untethered and lost, and desperately wanted to drop everything in my life and lay in a bed made of pizza. In an effort to break through the fog, I focused on evaluating what I wanted and how I was going to get it. I had to reevaluate all the things I’ve come to accept as unchangeable. In addition to the conversations I had with myself, I also had a few conversations with people I trusted to be straight with me and who understood what I was going through. 

Here are some of the things that got me thinking this month, that intrigued me, and made me feel that I'm capable of creating my life.

Watch

Mary in Lonely Swim by Greta van der Star (ANYONEGIRL)

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise/Maya Angelou (Netflix)
It doesn't need to be said: Maya Angelou was a phenomenal force of nature. She's always been an inspiration to me, as a writer and as a black woman but there was so much about her I didn't know! This documentary shows how much she loved and was loved, her commitment to activisim and her bravery and resilience. I've been recommending it to everybody. 

Browse

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I'm always looking for book recommendations (even when I still have lots to finish) and Girls at the Library not only provides a cornucopia of book recs but they're also paired with great interviews with amazing women who discuss the importance of books in their lives.

Read

“Let me teach you what the world thinks about us, and let me teach you what we’ve seen the world do to girls who look like us. And let me teach you why they’re wrong.” 
There’s a lot of conversation surrounding #MeToo and from the think pieces to the opinion essays to the open letters, it can get overwhelming. This Guardian profile on Tarana Burke, the founder of Me Too, was one of the best things I’ve consumed on the topic. Burke gets back to the foundation of the movement, what she started it for and what she thinks is the benefit of it. She also recognizes the sensationalization of the movement and how that can divert from the purpose and importance of the movement.

Image by Louisiana Mei Gelpi for Man Repeller

Image by Louisiana Mei Gelpi for Man Repeller

"Sexual violence may not be eliminated by a more nuanced and open conversation around consent, power and pleasure, but that doesn’t mean the conversation isn’t critically important". 
The Conversation I Wish We’d Had After Aziz Ansari

 

Listen

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the New Yorker Festival

Oprah's Super Soul Conversations. This has easily become one of my favourite podcasts, not only for the openness of the guests but for their certainty and their optimism. The interviews with Paulo Coelho, Gretchen Rubin, and Maya Angelou are my favourites.  

My February playlist! I usually make a monthly playlist and listen to it (almost) every day. February was particularly moody with lots of Angel Olsen, Lana del Rey and a track from Mitski.

What I was reading, watching and listening to in January

 

My Favourite Podcasts

Whenever I'm in need of comfort, I turn to a podcast. Whether I'm feeling panicky, exhausted or am just in need of some inspiration, my podcast app gets a pretty good workout. Even better, they're quite informative and therefore are the best party trick known to mankind. I couldn't tell you the number of conversations I've had that started with "I was listening to a podcast that was saying..." 

I feel like it was only a few years ago that podcasts were still a rarity. Even when Serial first came out and it seemed like everyone was listening to it, there weren't podcast networks and people didn’t bond over their favourite podcasts. But with the magic of the Internet and many desperately seeking fresh content, podcasts blew up in a major way. Now it's like everyone has them, from YouTube stars to big name fashion mags. With so many options, it's easy to get overwhelmed. It took me a while to accept the fact that I wasn't going to listen to every podcast someone deemed "interesting" or that had one good episode. Over time, I've really honed it down to a select few that I particularly enjoying listening to and that I get excited to download new episodes for. Here are a few that I enjoy. 

Thirst Aid Kit (Buzzfeed)

Source:  Thirst Aid Kit

Hosted by: Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins
The pod I listen to when I need a good laugh. Hosts Bim and Nichole discuss lust, pop culture and the intersection between the two. From Zaddies to Basic Baes, there's a lust type for everyone. I've actually fallen in lust with various celebrities, including Keanu Reeves, just from listening to Bim and Nichole talk about them. My favourite segment of the show is when they share fanfic drabbles they've written because they're always wild, sexy, and hilarious. 

Girlboss Radio
Hosted by: Sophia Amoruso
On Girlboss Radio, Nasty Gal and Girlboss Media founder Sophia Amoruso talks to women from across many professional fields--sports, music, health--about how they got into their current careers, what they've learnt and what they're still learning. It's really inspiring to hear about these women's various paths and realize that there is no one formulation for success. 

The High Low

Source:  Pandora Sykes

Hosted by: Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton
Inspired by former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown's term "high-low journalism", this podcast covers a range of topics from the latest viral short story to corporate egg-freezing in Australia. Dolly and Pandora are always insightful and listening to the podcast challenges me to think deeply about the news I'm consuming, even if it is just about the latest antics of a KarJenner. 

Shonda Rhime's on Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations (OWN)

Hosted by: Oprah
This is the only episode of SuperSoul Conversations that I've listened to but it was amazing, so I have to share. The things that Shonda Rhimes has achieved and her ability to create characters that we can't help but fall in love with, is so inspiring. Combined with Oprah's naturally motivational spirit, this episode is truly food for the soul. 

Fresh Air (NPR)
Hosted by: Terry Gross
Listening to Fresh Air is a bit nostalgic for me because growing up my dad refused to change the car radio from NPR. While it could be super annoying (I just wanted to listen to Top 40 goddamit!), I eventually came to fall in love with it and hearing Terry Gross' soothing voice will always remind me of driving in my dad's old car. Terry's interview style is inimitable and her excitement about every topic she's discussing gets me excited as well.