Things That Don’t Suck

Let’s face it. The world really sucks right now if you’re American. 

We’re not going to lie to you and tell you it doesn’t. We’re not going to pretend everything is magic rainbows right now… we kind of wish we could. 

But we can’t. 

We’ve spent a lot of the past week crying, raging, and staring blankly at walls. Feeling like less than a person who, theoretically, has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our stomachs are perpetually filled with (evil) butterflies, and it’s difficult to concentrate on anything without spinning straight into a doom spiral. 

Things are bad, and they’re likely to get worse before they get better. 

But this does not mean that the situation is hopeless. 

We’re working furiously on a bigger response behind the scenes (see the Patreon post we’ll be putting up in a bit if you’d like to weigh in on what we’re doing), but, in the meantime, here’s a list of a few things that don’t suck.

Why?

Because there’s a real risk to being completely overloaded by negative news and content. It can lead to complacency (becoming so used to the avalanche of bad that it all starts to feel normal), paralysis (becoming so overwhelmed that you can’t figure out how to move forward or get unstuck), and damage to your mental and physical health. 

There are many ways to fight this, which we’ll be talking about in much more depth soon, but one component is that you absolutely need to cultivate fun and happiness in your life. In the words of Cindy Otis, who wrote a brilliant Twitter thread about how to cope with the relentless news cycle: “When there is suffering, war, despair, etc. around you, it’s easy to feel guilty when you have fun, feel happy, have a good meal with friends. You NEED these things. You will be better able to do good in the world if you let yourself have these things.”

So, here are some things that are bringing us joy and happiness right now. We hope they bring you some, too.

Things That Don’t Suck:

  • The soundtrack to the new Broadway musical SIX – we saw it when we were in NYC for Shveta’s book launch last week, and we are obsessed. The premise: the six wives of Henry VIII are pop divas competing for the right to headline the band. The outcome is determined by who had to put up with the most crap, conveyed through song. It’s high energy, often hilarious, occasionally devastating, and surprisingly nuanced. Honestly, we’ll probably do a post about this at some point, because we can’t stop thinking about it. We recommend listening to the whole soundtrack from start to finish, but if you just want a teaser, we especially recommend Anne Boleyn’s song “Don’t Lose Ur Head” or Anne of Cleves’ entry “Get Down.”
  • On that note, NYC in general. It’s our favorite place in the world and man, we’re so glad we went. We have been fortified (at least a little.) Can you plan a trip to your favorite place? If travel isn’t on the table, can you go to your favorite, most magical local place? Or watch or read something set in your favorite place?
  • Cats. Obviously. We recommend scritching their tiny chins and their tiny heads.
  • Heather Cox Richardson. Even-keeled, compassionate, brilliant, historically-rooted reporting on current events. This woman deserves a medal.
  • This article: “How Animals See Themselves” from the NY Times.
  • Waffles. Especially Belgian waffles smothered in Nutella. 
  • This totally simple Crome extension called “Tab For A Cause” that gives food to shelter cats every time you open a new tab.
  • That Brittany won a $100 gift card to Weird Sister Strands on Instagram.
  • Mashed Potatoes. No explanation required. 
  • Carousels. Fun fact – did you know that Sara is completely obsessed with carousels? If you’re ever (un)lucky enough to be in her vicinity when she finds one, brace yourself.
  • Contrapoints. Everything she does is brilliant, but we especially recommend her video essays on Men and Beauty if you want something thought provoking and hilarious.
  • The bravery of Cassidy Hutchinson.
  • Our dear friend Shveta Thakrar’s beautiful book The Dream Runners is officially out in the world. Go get a copy and get lost in a world of magic.
  • Magic shows. Seriously, go see a magic show. 
  • Our most tried-and-true comfort shows. Some of our favorites are Over the Garden Wall, xxxHolic, The Good Place, Yuri on Ice, Brooklyn 99, and Friends. Check out some of these or dive back into your own.
  • THIS DONATION WE GOT TO MAKE TO THE ACLU

What doesn’t suck and is bringing you joy? Drop a comment below and tell us about it!

More soon. We’re going to get through this together <3

Comments

  1. Shveta Thakrar

    This is a wonderful list, and I’m so honored my book is on it. 💖💖💖

  2. Janine Bourdo

    Being skilled at something done with your own hands doesn’t suck. In this time I am also experiencing personal tragedy. But I am a wonderful knitter. I’m getting through news and personal stuff stitch by stitch. I think everyone should learn such a skill, something that gives a finished project. Also – mashed potatoes with gravy!

  3. Marsha A. Moore

    Last autumn, I purchased a state park pass, and that has been the best, most uplifting thing I’ve done for self-care in decades. Nature is healing and inspiring.

  4. Leigh

    As a retired clown, I believe in fun protests. Guerilla theater makes a point and gets people laughing. Slavery, because being forced by the state to bear children is just that, is too horrible without sarcasm and satire.
    Things that don’t suck: your favorite music, your favorite authors (with one glaring exception), sunsets, your best friend, and your creativity. Use your imagination to stay sane and fight fascism. To fascists, imagination and the arts are like water to the OG Wicked Witch.

  5. Jeana Jorgensen

    I have spent the last few days on the couch reading, alternating between fiction/fairy-tale retellings and nonfiction works on disability justice. It’s been totally dreamy and restorative.

  6. Erica BARON

    Heartstopper on Netflix doesn’t suck. Sweet queer teenagers in love. I’ve been listening to the back catalog of Levar Burton reads. If you, like me, grew up with Reading Rainbow, you can listen to short stories for grown ups – all genres but lots of fantasy and sci Fi – and get a hit of nostalgia at the same time.

  7. Krista

    Independent bookstores! I spent time in TWO indies today and it totally helped.

    Thank you for this list!

  8. Laura Busheikin

    *read to end for one thing that does not suck but otherwise prepare yourself for a stream of negativity* Right now life isn’t very good. I’m on a long-planned trip to Italy but just tested positive for COVID, so I’m in a little room with one window which opens onto a ventilation shaft, worrying how I’m going to manage things, given that we are supposed to take a train to Prague in three days and fly from Prague back home two days later but how can I do that if I have COVID? But how can I stay here because we have to be out of our Air BnB on Saturday?? And it looks like there’s going to be a big tangle of cancellations and rebooking and provisional arrangements and cancellation of things including me attending and giving a reading at the Denman Island Writers Festival. Plus my husband has COVID too and so we are sharing this little room (thus far it is NOT romantic) and my grown kids are sharing the bigger room next door, and hoping they don’t come down with COVID too but if they do we’ll have to factor that into our plans too. Waaaaaah! Yes, please—do feel sorry for me. Luckily I don’t feel horribly awfully sick and (ok, I’m getting to the “doesn’t suck” part of this) what is totally rocking my world is my big mason jar full of tea!!! It is the nectar of life!

    1. Linda Costelloe

      I’m so sorry you and your husband have COVID. That really sucks! I’m glad that you don’t feel horrible, though, and that you have tea. It truly is a magical elixir! I hope you can stay in your air BnB longer and that your kids don’t get sick. Good luck with everything!

  9. Linda Costelloe

    What I love is going out to eat with my mother and friends, especially going out for tea and scones, or for Italian food. I also love walking in the woods behind my home. I can’t go far, due to a disability, plus I can only walk on my land and one neighbor’s, but I don’t need to go far. I have a chair in a little magical glade and I put out sunflower seeds and peanuts in several spots in the glade then just sit and watch the squirrels, chipmunks, shrews, and birds that come for the goodies. I sing a song and clack two sticks together as I do and the animals hear me and come. It is magical!

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