Friday Four: Re-Watching Gossip Girl, A Concise, Non-Overwhelming and Un-Soul-Crushing Way To Keep Up With 45’s Political Horrors, And A Beautiful Story By Elizabeth Barker

What a rough week! Everyone at home has been sick, including little Budgie. He’s usually a good sleeper, but with second-year molar madness happening and this cold, nights are really long now. I just want to lie in bed and read, but that seems impossible, what with work, family, job and whatever. Here are a few things keeping me afloat, engaged, amused, bemused and bewitched…

+ I think it’s clear to say that for most of us, we live in troubled times. I can’t watch the news these days without having a heart attack. (Seriously, my Fitbit always shows my heart rate is faster than usual!) And being on Facebook is so overwhelming, too. (Though I take consolation in the fact that it’s a sign that people are engaged and fighting!) I want to stay on top of everything and be informed, and I also need to safeguard my mental, physical and emotional health. Instead of getting all my political news on TV or piece-by-distressing-piece as a barrage of articles on social media, I now check Suzan Eraslan’s “List” every day or so — she takes the time to compile in as clear and simple a way possible the doings of 45’s administration, as well as signs of resistance. There are other resources that do this, too: Presterity, for one, is much more exhaustive but sourced by journalists. I’m also super fond of What the Fuck Just Happened Today. But Suzan’s is at a manageable scale for me. It’s not perfect, and she surely will miss stuff — but it’s a way to balance the fires of political engagement with the parts of your life and self that need sheltering, warmth, love and care.

+ All that said, my social media friend Christopher Busch jokingly mentioned on FB he was watching Gossip Girl again as ‘self-care’ — and honestly, I had that soul-zing that means ‘I WANT THAT TOO!’ Because what could be more escapist and mind-diverting than a soap opera about rich NYC teens that wear AMAZING clothes? I’m stopped watching Gossip Girl when it originally was broadcast after Season 1, but I swear to God, I’ma gonna get through all the seasons, as ludicrous as they no doubt are. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes thingie that Leighton Meester did for Seventeen during the first season. Watching Gossip Girl now, it’s so abundantly clear she was the best actor on the show!

+ It’s become increasingly important for me to feed my soul with beauty and good things and positive thoughts — not only for my depression, but just as a person who wants to exist in the world in a certain way but finds herself often depleted and emptied out by life. Elizabeth Barker was, along with Laura Jane Faulds, one of my partners in crime at my old blog NOGOODFORME. They went onto do music blog Strawberry Fields Whatever. Liz was always one of my favorite writers — I have always loved the hazy, sensuous beauty of her writing. And it’s one of my most favorite things about her short story up at WhiskeyPaper, which you should all read, like, RIGHT NOW. NOW!

+ This week I actually made some fashion effort for most of the seven days — although “effort,” of course, is a relative term. (“Effort” now means just taking some time to get out of my home-oriented leggings and a sweatshirt, whereas before having my child, I would’ve actually looked in the mirror multiple times and made adjustments.) My fave outfit this week were my cropped flare jeans, ankle boots, a lace-up black t-shirt and the long navy cardigan I wore to death as part of my winter capsule wardrobe challenge. And a beanie, because I am sooooo overdue for a haircut. It felt modern and grounded but relaxed and quietly bohemian, which feels like a good mix of qualities for me right now.

This was my other favorite outfit this week, because I was like “ARGH SO SICK OF RELENTLESS CLOUDINESS” and needed to wear some color.

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