January 03, 2019
Notes from Jillian: My favorite thing about this newsletter is that every two weeks, a couple of days before we’re supposed to send it, one of us dashes a quick “oh shit, I forgot we have to write a newsletter” text to the other and we scramble to get it together in time to send out. We are very good at this! I’m looking forward to a new year dedicated to never improving this process!
Notes from Summer: Happy New Year! It’s difficult to trust the US Government or feel excited about anything Congress does in any way, but I highly recommend checking out the tag #TweetYourThobe on Twitter. It’s full of Palestinian women wearing traditional Palestinian garb to celebrate the swearing in of the first Palestinian-American congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib! I have a lot of mixed emotions about visibility and representation in a system that has caused us so much harm, but it’s a step in some way, and there’s a lot of joy to go around.
Kara is the absolute queen of spreadsheets, and my Virgo Rising envies her for it. Her latest masterpiece is this 2019 goal tracking spreadsheet. It’s strict and specific enough to be motivating (you too can be the kind of person who reads one book every week!) and flexible enough not to be overwhelming—once you save a copy to your Google Drive, you can customize it however you want. I won’t disclose my own batch of 2019 goals (I need to have secrets) but I will say that doing this newsletter is one of them.
I can trace my current life as a person who is Constantly Online™ to a YouTube ad suggesting that my Club-Penguin-Music-Video-watching-ten-year-old-self tune in to Ouran High School Host Club, fully subbed & dubbed on Funimation’s channel. It lead me to enter fandom in a way I hadn’t yet experienced—sure, I was part of the Disney Channel RPF crew in a way I didn’t fully understand, but I wasn’t truly immersed. And then I found DeviantArt, and role-playing on Formspring, and Tumblr, and I saw that it didn’t have to be anime that you fell so wholeheartedly in love with, it could be anything—Glee, Supernatural, Marvel—there was a niche for love gently holding hands with obsession for any piece of media. It’s been a while since I felt that overwhelming feeling of having to know absolutely everything, experiencing a thing at its absolute core. Even if I thought I felt that way with my favorite shows/movies/books in recent years, I didn’t realize how much I missed this almost hyperfixation. But here it is, again. My Hero Academia combines all of the things I love: teens being teens, people caring deeply about others to the point where it hurts, superpowers, cool battles, the works. It’s been like, two weeks since I watched the first episode of the anime, and a week since I caught up with the manga, and I’ve almost exhausted all of the ways I like to think about a series once I fall: character futures, interviews with the creator, Pokemon teams, etc. etc. This is a super popular anime, and you don’t really need my recommendation. I’m recommending the pure, unadulterated joy of enjoying something so thoroughly, not to the point of escapism, but rather self-reflection. I’m recommending watching something and loving it and thinking about why you love it so much and thinking about all of the parts of yourself that, put together, made you this person, consuming this media, and having fun.
If you are unsure of where to start re: getting your life together in 2019, this twitter thread is full of good ideas. It starts with “get rid of all your uncomfortable underwear and bras in 2019! be free.” and ends with “fresh toothbrush for 2019! it’s the little things that count!” and all of the advice that comes in-between is just as good. Read it through, pick out the gentle instructions you like the most, and pocket them away somewhere for when you have a spare minute.
There’s something so breathtaking about a poem beginning with “and.” I read this poem several weeks ago and am still thinking about the way the second stanza begins, too, with “listen”—we are halfway through, yet the speaker still asks this of us. And so I listen, and so I read again. The Shallow Ends consistently puts out some of my favorite poems by some of my favorite poets, helping me look forward to Thursdays which historically have been some of my most tiring days. I urge you to look through its archives, but spend some extra time with this poem by Ruth Awad.