Some questions to consider before having a tough conversation

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

I recently read a 2016 HBR article about when to skip difficult conversations, and it included a checklist of 11 questions to ask yourself that I thought were really smart/helpful. Here are a few of my favorites from the list:

  • What is my “secret agenda” or “hidden hope” for this conversation? (Long-term harmony? Revenge? That they will change?)

  • What’s my contribution to the situation?

  • Do I tend to look for problems with this person or about this issue?

  • How long ago did it arise? Is it a repeat or recurring problem? Could it become one?

  • How committed am I to being “right”?

  • What reasonable, actionable solution can I offer?

  • Is this the right person to talk to about this issue?

It’s so easy to come up with excuses to justify skipping a tough conversation (“it doesn’t really matter, they won’t change anyway”)…or to make something your problem when it’s actually not just because you’re horny for conflict and justice. These questions are a good way to step outside some of those feelings and get a clearer sense of the best way to proceed.

P.S. Some related reading: tips to keep in mind if you want to be a better conversationalist + just a bunch of good things to read if you want to be a better manager. 💬

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Rosé + Spindrift is my go-to drink for summer 2019

Image of bottle of rosé and can of Spindrift on red wooden table on sunny rooftop with patio furniture and string lights

Last month, I came across this tweet from Maris Kreizman: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but Raspberry Lime Spindrift mixed with rosé is the ideal summer spritzer.”

Reader, it is good. I don’t actually love Spindrift, rosé, or lime flavoring alone, but the combination just works. I’ve brought it to a few parties and it’s been a hit every time! Highly recommend. ✨

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Just Good Shit: 07.07.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

This week, I was still really sick with an upper respiratory tract infection. I actually spent several days with no voice. I’ve never lost my voice before, and I found the experience pretty surreal and unpleasant. But I wrote 21,226 words in my manuscript this week (an all-time high for me!) and I’ve finally stopped coughing violently, so I’m feeling pretty OK at the moment!


Here’s what else I had going on…

On the blog

Reading

Perversion of Justice, the Miami Herald’s three-part story on Jeffrey Epstein.

Politics Is Changing; Why Aren’t the Pundits Who Cover It?, The Cut.

He Cyberstalked Teen Girls for Years—Then They Fought Back, Wired.

The Obvious Value of Communication is Perhaps Not So Obvious, Cal Newport.
“When I encounter a typical knowledge economy office, with its hive mind buzz of constant unstructured conversation, I don’t see a super-connected, fast-moving and agile organization — I instead see a poorly designed distributed system.”

Get To Know The 2019 U.S. Women’s National Team, FiveThirtyEight.

Convicted of assault and accused of rape, star player received raft of second chances, Seattle Times.
Watching the World Cup today made me think of Hope Solo, which then led me to re-read this 2008 Seattle Times longread about her husband, Jerramy Stevens. It is…a lot.

The Problematic Past and Enduring Appeal of Dr. Seuss, MEL Magazine.

How to Make the Most of Summer Without Feeling the *Pressure*, Man Repeller.

So Your Friends Had a Kid. Here's How to Hang Out With Them Even If They Eat Dinner at 5 p.m., Bon Appétit.

A Genius Packing Tip for Your Honeymoon, A Cup of Jo.
This is a pretty old post, but I really love the red item tip! (Also, it’s not just for honeymoons.)

So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend, The Players Tribune.
Ahhh, this whole thing is a goddamn delight.

Extremely into

@DiscoCubes on Instagram.

Live-action references (which is a thing I’d never heard of, but makes perfect sense once you see it) for Disney movies! Check out Hercules and The Little Mermaid.

The fact that a human uterus is so much smaller than I thought?!?!? (Note: that picture is of a human organ so it’s a bit gory!)

I Love Hue, a gentle, dreamy phone game that looks like “San Junipero” and “Nosedive” had a baby, and that a blog reader recommended to me! If you’ve ever thought “What if Tiles got hot???” this is the game for you.

Buying

A denim jacket! I never bother with the J. Crew sale rack, but the other day, I was moved to…and then came upon this jacket — in a color that I, for no real reason, always think of as “I’m baby purple” — that happened to be an extra 50% off the sale price. (So, $45.) I’ve never been a jean jacket person, but I really like this! (Note: it runs a bit big; I bought an XS.)

Have a great Sunday! ⚽️

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Just Good Bops: July

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Happy 4th of July, everyone! When I think of the 4th of July, I think of barbecuing. And when I think of barbecuing, I don’t actually think of “manning the grill” — I think of three to four friends hovering around the host’s grill, offering vague suggestions for how to get the coals going (is that even a thing??? I’m my own friend and I’m offering myself useless lighter fluid “advice”) while everyone else drinks beers and melts in the 88 degree heat. Which is all to say: when I think of July, I think of mellow time spent with friends. And because indie rock pairs nicely with low-key hangs, I used it as a jumping off point for this playlist.

Once you’re on Spotify, you should really click through and listen to these albums in full:

Hurry on Home, Sleater Kinney

Ok, so this isn’t technically an album (it’s just a single), but I wanted to call it out because not only is it the riot grrrl band’s first new song since their 2015 album No Cities To Love, it’s also an Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, collaboration. Obviously I’m living for the ~ drama ~ of Carrie Brownstein working with her ex, but St. Vincent is an unbelievably talented guitarist who mixes jazz and prog rock into songs that slap. I’m also a big Talking Heads fan, so the 2012 joint St. Vincent and David Byrne album, Love This Giant, is a personal favorite of mine, but I digress. More important: this gives me an opportunity to share the best Portlandia sketch.


Fucking Money Man, Rosalía

This also isn’t an album; it’s two tracks that Rosalía released as bundle yesterday. She took out a full page ad in the business section (!!!) of the Spanish newspaper, El País, that says “Fucking Money Man.” Between this ad, the album cover art, and the daytime game show inspired music video for “Milionària”, everything about this release has been a delight. I’m in awe of Rosalía and her ability to release absolute bangers on such a consistent basis.

And here’s the usual disclaimer! I’ve never been good at curating a playlist that ebbs and flows in just the right way, so just throw this shit on shuffle and have a good time. 🎧

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Notes on Camp (Pride)

camp pride party.jpg

A couple weeks ago, my girlfriend and I threw a Pride party. Pride means something different to every queer person; this year, she and I were both in need of community, friendship, joy, humor, creativity, and something public(ish), and that’s exactly what we got. The party was affirming and special and lovely and fun, and I’m so glad we did it.

So that is what the party was about, but that’s not what Pride as a whole is about (read more on that topic in the New York Times here and here), and it’s not what this post is about! This post is about cute enamel pins, delicious jello shots, and tips for assembling beaded friendship bracelets when you’ve consumed several of said jello shots and are sitting on a very windy roof. I actually wasn’t planning to write about the party at all, but after I got some questions about it on Instagram, I decided to share some details about the DIY projects, the relevant shopping links*, and my thoughts on what worked well. But I don’t want to give the impression that that’s all that this party (or Pride in general) meant to me.


*If this post happens to generate any affiliate revenue, I’m planning to donate it to the Audre Lorde project.

Cool? Cool. Onto the party!

camp pride party.jpg

The theme

We started planning this party right after the Met Gala, so when the topic of theme came up, I was like, “Literal camp? Please, I’m begging you????” (I’ve always just loved summer camp shit.) The camp theme worked out well — it’s summery, it’s equal parts wholesome and horny, and it’s really practical/inexpensive to pull off. (Like, most of what we needed could be found at any party store/craft store/big-box store.) Plus, allies could easily dress on theme without worrying about being appropriative.

The week leading up to the party felt like a combination of Halloween, school plays, and summer camp, and I was living for it. It’s been a while since I got to do a big burst of arts and crafts like this, and it felt great.

The refreshments

We didn’t do anything too special in this regard, but we did make these cherry lemonade jello shots. I tend to hate the taste of jello shots but these did not taste like vodka at all. Definitely recommend! I also made French onion dip using the classic Lipton mix because it never fails, and I believe in giving people what they want!

camp pride party.jpg

The decorations

We kept the decor very low-key overall, and bought everything from Michaels and Party City. Early on, we talked about doing more in terms of decor, but it wasn’t logistically possible and it wouldn’t have been worth it anyway. As someone who always wants to do The Most (I take after my mom in this regard!), it was nice to give myself permission to just…not.

We did spend a not-insignificant amount of time at Party City on 14th Street trying to figure out the exact right combination of colored cups for our rainbow. (They stock…way more options than you might think?!) I think every single color was in our cart briefly at some point, but honestly, it was worth it. And the coral cups we found on a Pantone Color of the Year display at the last minute really pulled their weight. Also, the Pendleton-knockoff blanket my girlfriend found in the back of her closet two days before the party made a great second tablecloth. We also bought glow sticks and bubbles, and asked a friend to bring her Instax camera.

camp pride party.jpg

The pennants

My girlfriend suggested we make collegiate-style pennants as part of the decor, and I had made some in the past and thought it would be a good low-lift option for this party! This project was mostly just a treat for me, and an excuse to dust off my beloved Cricut (gifted to me years ago). The pennant slogans were Gal Pals, Gay!, Bottoms, We’re Tops!, Both Teams, Pride, and Horny. And you might not be able to tell from the photos, but the lettering was glittery/holographic. 

pronoun coozies.jpg

The pronoun koozies

I decided to buy a set of 12 solid colored koozies on Amazon during one of our big party purchases, thinking they’d be cute/colorful/festive, and that maybe I could add some fun text onto them. The colors were a bit disappointing IRL — like, a third of them were really muddy — so I decided to buy a second 12-pack of all lavender koozies, which were perfect, especially alongside the brighter colors. I really wanted to Cricut some kind of word or phrase onto them, but I knew whatever I went with would have to be really short to fit/be legible. Meanwhile, we’d had a difficult time finding pronoun stickers or temporary tattoos in time for the party. It was my girlfriend’s idea to just put the pronouns on the koozies, and it felt like a win-win. (I also left several blank so there were options.)

For reasons too boring and complicated to get into here, I had a bunch of unexpected trouble with the iron-on vinyl at first, so these projects could have looked a lot better, but I think they still looked pretty OK! The rainbow holographic vinyl is really special and looked so beautiful on the koozies IRL, and I’m excited to use it on other projects! (Oh, and if you’re wondering, that font is Corben Bold.)

pronoun coozies.jpg
Photo Jun 22, 6 47 42 PM.jpg

The friendship bracelets

This was also my girlfriend’s idea, and I was all for it, as I love friendship bracelets. I’m also a big fan of having some sort of activity at every party that’s neither drinking nor dancing. We had a bunch of embroidery floss for braided bracelets at the ready, but — perhaps unsurprisingly — everyone wanted to make letter bead bracelets that said things like “horny” and “butthole” and “Kirstie Alley” instead.


Here’s what I will say: I spent my evenings the week leading up to the party making beaded bracelets for my girlfriend and I and for some of my close friends, because I wanted to get good at it before we unleashed them on the world. And it turns out, this was the right move — letter bead bracelets are surprisingly fussy! For starters, you can’t put most letter beads on embroidery floss (it’s too thick), and working with the elastic cord definitely takes some getting used to. And you need to have some kind of stopper on the string when you are adding the beads so they don’t fall off. Also, if people fuck up when tying a completed bead bracelet, it’ll break. They’ll have wasted all that time and energy making a bracelet, and you’ll end up with beads everywhere, which no one wants. In our case, I ended up printing out a bunch of tips for making the beaded bracelets + an image of how to tie them in case I wasn’t around to do it, which felt a tiny bit extra but turned out to be a good idea. Another tip: keep all of the supplies on large tray to help avoid a major bead incident and to make cleanup easier. (The tray was also very helpful when I was working on the bracelets in the apartment.) And don’t ignore the advice to pre-stretch the cord, and to reinforce the knot with super glue.


That said, it was completely worth the effort because the bracelets were cute and funny and fun and very photogenic. And a lot more people than I was expecting to made bracelets, which made me happy! But it’s not the kind of thing we could have just decided to do a day before and had it work.

Tutorials I used:

Shopping list:

camp pride party.jpg

The outfits

Our guests showed up in a range of great on-theme looks that included “slutty Boy Scout,” a Smokey Bear–style uniform and hat, and an extremely minor character in The Parent Trap. There were also lots of good neckerchiefs and accessories, and everyone looked so summery and cute! (We also bought a pack of 12 neckerchiefs in solid colors in case anyone was feeling stressed about what to wear.) 


For our part, my girlfriend and I decided to bring Big Camp Counselor Energy. (TBH, I think I bring that energy…most days.)


I wore a light blue ringer tee, mustard yellow dolphin shorts with a pastel rainbow patch, a rainbow striped bandanna, my sparkle emoji pin, and my National Parks–inspired rainbow pin that says “This land was made for you and me.” (This pin makes me and also everyone who reads it surprisingly emotional???) And I wore striped camp socks and my blue Crocinstocks from Freedom Moses. My girlfriend’s outfit was essentially the same, but she had a mustard yellow ringer tee, lavender shorts, lavender slides, and her own enamel pins. And we both had gold whistles, plus friendship bracelets we made ourselves that matched our own personal aesthetics.

camp pride party.jpg

I also went to Sephora for a makeup mini the day of, which is a free thing anyone can do! You just have to book ahead (go here, and then filter by “services”) and they’ll do a 15-minute makeup application of your choosing (so, in my case, eye makeup and fake lashes). It was nice to not have to worry about it, and meant I didn’t have to buy the incredibly beautiful $40 Tarte palette for just a single use of that amazing gold glittery shadow.

Shopping list: 

One final thing…

I’ve written before about how much I love The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker, and once again, it really came in handy! We put so much of the advice from the book into practice for this party, including pre-game your guests, don’t be a chill host, and don’t end a funeral with logistics. But the tip that really served us was setting a purpose for the gathering. Doing that back in May was really helpful, and it meant we knew exactly what a “good” party would feel like. It was just a great night all around, and everyone who came really showed up for us. It was all really special, and I just feel so happy and grateful right now! ☀️

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Just Good Shit: 06.30.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Good evening and happy Pride! This post is limping across the finish line because I have been so sick with a terrible summer cough for the past week/all weekend. (I’ve also completely lost my voice, which is pretty homophobic, given that it’s World Pride.)

Here’s what else I’ve got for you this week…

On the blog

Showing Up

I'm currently seeking stories for my book about times people REALLY showed up for a friend! If someone showed up for you in a particularly thoughtful/remarkable/creative way (big or small!) and you'd like to tell me about it, you can fill out this form.

Annnnd (OR!) if you have more general tips for supporting a friend in a difficult situation that you've personally experienced and you'd like to share those tips with me, this other form is for you!

Reading

The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps, The New Yorker.

Bodies in Seats, The Verge.

The Wild Ride at Babe.Net, The Cut.

The Most Fabulous Old Folks Home, The New York Times.

Happy Pride From AT&T and the $1.8 Million It Gave to Anti-LGBTQ+ and Republican Candidates, Jezebel.

Megan Rapinoe isn’t here to make you comfortable, The Washington Post.

How E-Commerce Sites Manipulate You Into Buying Things You May Not Want, The New York Times.

Co–Star Rising, Vanity Fair.

Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children, The Atlantic.

How a Brand Name Becomes Generic, The New York Times.
I love this as a trivia topic and I learned several new ones from this article!

‘Not Great, Bob!’: The Making of Mad Men’s Greatest Meme, Vulture.

"Their Handsome Father, Ned Wakefield", Shatner Chatner.
For the Sweet Valley fans.

Which U.S. Presidents Were Wife Guys? An Investigation, The Cut.

P.S. Reading list: Pride edition

Have a great Sunday! 🏳️‍🌈

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Alanis Morissette's "four boundaries" are so good

Image: Steph Wilson /  SELF

Image: Steph Wilson / SELF

I read the new SELF profile of Alanis Morissette yesterday, and Alanis’s four boundaries are, hands down, my favorite part. Here’s what she said:

“I talk about this with my kids a lot, the four boundaries being: You can't tell me what I'm thinking, you can't tell me what I'm feeling, you can't fucking touch my body/you can't do anything with my body, and don't touch my stuff.”

Damn. It really does come down to that, doesn’t it? ✨

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I just love these Hanes tees

Hanes ComfortWash tshirts.jpg

Earlier this month, I bought a long-sleeved T-shirt from the Brooklyn Museum gift shop. I like the design of the shirt just fine (it’s purple with bright orange text on the sleeves and back), but I love the shirt itself. It’s soft and lightweight and so comfortable; even when it was brand-new, it felt broken in. It’s the perfect weight for summer (particularly summer evenings, and/or when the AC is a tad too cold).

The Brooklyn Museum tee

The Brooklyn Museum tee

After wearing it constantly for a few weeks, I decided to see who made it because I was hoping to buy some plain ones in other colors. I was expecting it to be from some bougie wholesale T-shirt brand, but it turns out, it’s just a Hanes!

More specifically, it’s a Hanes ComfortWash, and it’s available in a bunch of different shirt styles and colors, and sizes S-5XL. I immediately ordered a bunch of the long-sleeved tees (regularly $18, but they have been on sale for $9 for the past week or so) and a couple of short-sleeved tees (regularly $14, currently on sale for $7, but $4 when I bought mine). You can also sign up for Hanes emails and receive a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase, bringing the total price down even further.

I bought white, soothing blue, saltwater, and summer squash, and my girlfriend got lavender, black, white, and cypress green, and we both opted for size small. (By the way, the colors are considerably softer and more muted IRL than they look in these photos — the green, yellow, and blues are extremely “your Real Simple–reading mom’s living room decorated via the beach/boat aisle at Home Goods,” which is obviously a good thing.)

ACS_0242.jpg

The shirts are so comfy and easy (and 100% cotton!), the fit is nice without being, like, T-shirts—For Her™ (you know what I mean???), and the colors are lovely. If you need a grown-ass T-shirt to wear with your grown-ass shorts, I highly recommend! ✨

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Two cheap and easy ways to upgrade your phone charger

ACS_0230.jpg

Here are two phone-related tips that I’ve found helpful in general, but especially during group trip season.

1. Get a 6-foot phone charger.

A long charger is just nice to have, but it’s particularly useful when you’re traveling, and may not be staying somewhere that has outlets near the bed/couch/whatever.

Buy a single 6-foot charger from Amazon for $7.99, or get a two-pack (which is what I did) for $15.98.

2. Label your charger/cord with washi tape.

When you have several people with iPhones staying in the same place, it’s natural that chargers will get shared or lent out from time to time. Instead of attempting returning chargers to their rightful owners based on whose is frayed in a particular way, you can just label yours with washi tape so you can easily spot it at a glance. (I also found it helpful to do this with my work laptop charger and the phone charger I kept at my desk!)

You can get a roll of washi tape in the scrapbook section at Target or Michaels for a couple dollars, or get a beautiful set of 28 rolls from Amazon for $14.99. 📱

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Just Good Shit: 06.23.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Hi! This week, I was busy working on my manuscript and prepping for the Pride party my gf and I hosted last night. Here’s what else I had going on…

On the blog

Elsewhere

I’m writing a new column for SELF Magazine called A Little Better, and my first one went live this week: Not Great, Bob! The Case for Actually Being Honest When People Ask How You Are.

And I recently chatted with Brittany Luse of The Nod podcast; you can listen to the episode here: How to Show Up.


Reading

The Youngest Child Separated From His Family at the Border Was 4 Months Old, The New York Times.

Taylor Swift's 'You Need to Calm Down' Video Is Strangely Both Gay and Sexless, Esquire.
“The song and the video are a vague call for tolerance, conflating gayness with glitter and gowns, woven into a meditation on how Taylor Swift gets no respect, worded in such a way that if you—as the person whose culture is being co-opted for it—has a criticism, it is because you are being obsessive and hysterical. That’s quite a racket she’s got going there.”

No Shade, But There’s a Wrong Way to Make a Gay Anthem, Esquire.

Being Transgender at Goldman Sachs, The New York Times.

How I lost my legs and gained... you want me to say something inspiring here, The Outline.

Elin Hilderbrand Doesn’t Mind That You Call Her Books ‘Beach Reads’, The Cut.

The Case for Boring Office Clothes, The Atlantic.

Why so many beers have retro-looking cans, Vox.

I’m the boss who’s always late, Ask a Manager.

King Princess: Free to Be, them.

The Chicago Harp That Rules the World, Chicago Magazine.

The American Dreamsicle, Topic.
“In the mid-’20s, the Popsicle Corporation and Harry B. Burt, the inventor of the Good Humor bar, went to court over patents and eventually settled on an uneasy truce, wherein Good Humor bars would keep their square shape and ice-cream base, while Popsicles would have exclusive rights to the method that produced their more tubular form and would freeze only syrup, water, or sherbet on a stick.”

How “soccer girl” became the indisputably coolest look, Vox.

I loved this!

Watching

Rachel, the jaw-droppingly awkward 10-minute film (based on a true story!!!!!) from John Early and Kate Berlant which I want everyone to watch. (Once you watch, read this interview about it.) Also: Seth Meyers and Rihanna day drinking and Troop Beverly Hills (for the first time ever).

Have a great Sunday! 🍦

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Two tips to keep in mind if you want to be a better conversationalist

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

I recently read We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter by Celeste Headlee, which I really liked. The book has a lot of great, practical tips for being a better listener and better speaker — based in scientific research, and Headlee’s career as a radio host.

Since I’m sure none of us want to turn into the living embodiment of “I am feel uncomfortable when we are not about me?”, I thought I’d share two of my favorite tips for talking a little less (or just a bit more effectively) from the book here.

01. Stay out of the weeds

Getting into the weeds when you’re talking means you’ve lost the main path of a story, and are instead “wandering aimlessly in a field of trivial details.” Here’s more from Headlee:

“Getting into the weeds often sounds like this: ‘We went to Italy in 2006. No, was it 2007? Wait, it must have been 2005 because it was just after I took that job in Boston. I think that’s right. Sharon would know for sure.’ By the time you get back to the real story, your friend is staring at you with glassy eyes and considering making a break for it to get a latte.

The business psychiatrist Mark Goulston says we only have about 40 seconds to speak during a conversation before we run the risk of dominating the exchange. He describes the first 20 seconds as the green light, when the other person likes you and is enjoying what you have to say. The next 20 seconds are the yellow light, when ‘the other person is beginning to lose interest or think you’re long-winded.’ At 40 seconds, Goulston says, the light turns read and it’s time to stop talking.

Take a moment to gauge just how long 40 seconds is. Look at the second hand on your clock or watch, start to tell a story, and stop when you’ve hit 40 seconds. That’s not a lot of time! If you waste it with superfluous detail, you’ll never get to the meat of your message.”

FORTY SECONDS!!! That is…not very many seconds! Here’s Headlee again:

“We can also end up there when we feel compelled to correct the fine print of someone else’s story. Imagine a friend is telling you about a scary skiing accident. He says that after he was airlifted to the nearest hospital, he received an emergency MRI to see if his ribs were broken. You jump in and say, ‘Well actually, the MRI wouldn’t show your ribs. An MRI only shows soft tissues. Are you sure it wasn’t an X-ray?’ You have just steered a conversation (and possibly a friendship) into the weeds.

The onus is on you to determine what information is essential and what is unnecessary. That can be difficult sometimes. But if you’re thinking about it, you’re already making progress. All too often, we continue to spout information without consciously considering if we should.

The next time you find yourself providing a lot of detail about a personal matter, take a close look at the other person’s face. Are they looking at something else besides you? Are they stifling a yawn? If so, they might be trying to escape. Forget about what year you bought your first Toyota, and move the story along. Your friends, family, coworkers, baristas, and cashiers will thank you.”

02. No repeats

I once had a boss tell me, “Take yes for an answer.” He was basically saying, I agree with you, you’ve won me over — why are you still talking about it? The comment made me a lot more aware of the ways I might be repeating myself in conversations, regardless of whether the other person is saying yes, no, or something else entirely.

Here’s Headlee on this topic (Italics mine):

“Repetition is the conversational equivalent of marching in place. It’s not interesting and it doesn’t move the conversation forward. We sometimes assume repeating information helps drill it into someone’s head. After all, we’re taught from a young age to repeat the information we want to learn. … These types of repetition [e.g, flash cards, repeating dates in your head] help you to retain new types of learning for one key reason: you’re the one repeating the information. Research shows that when we repeat something multiple times, it ups our chances of remembering it. The benefit increases if we repeat that information to another person, but the benefit isn’t shared with the person listening. So if you’re in a meeting and you repeat a deadline to your team four times, you’ll probably remember it well but your team members are no more likely to retain it than if you’d mentioned it only once.”

Basically: if you’re repeating yourself because you don’t feel like you’re being heard, well…you’re probably not doing yourself any favors. “Often, when someone hears the same thing for a second and third time, they think, ‘I already know this,’ and they stop listening,” Headlee says. So, why do we do keep doing it? Headlee says it’s often the result of wanting to keep a conversation going, but having nothing new to add.

Repetition is particularly noxious when you’re repeating negative statements. If you’re upset with someone and just keep saying, “You fucked up and I feel away about it” over and over again, they are likely going to get frustrated and tune you out — not suddenly have a light bulb moment and apologize the fifth time you say it.

And it doesn’t even have to be direct criticism to make the other person feel bad; even if you’re not saying “you, personally, fucked up,” repeating a negative comment about a situation can still bring the other person down. For example, if your friend selected a restaurant for lunch and then the server was rude, your order came out cold, and they forgot to bring you the refill you asked for…and you just keep repeating “ugh, this sucks” and “I’m so disappointed” and “I can’t believe how terrible that service was” over and over again…it can start to feel like criticism to your friend, who feels responsible for your displeasure, even if it’s clearly not their fault.

Here’s Headlee again:

“Try to become aware of how often you repeat yourself, and think about what might be prompting you to do it. Do you feel like you’re not getting the acknowledgement you need from the other person? Has he or she failed to follow through on things in the past? Are there too many distractions present when you’re trying to have a conversation (i.e., saying something important while your kid is playing a video game might not be a good idea)? Are you prone to ramble in your conversations?

Over the next few weeks, get into the habit of pausing for a couple of seconds before you respond to someone. Before you repeat yourself, take a moment to find something new to say. You can even ask your friends to tell you when you’re repeating something. I had my son say ‘echo’ every time I started repeating things, and after hearing it a few dozen times, I began to break the habit.”


The whole book is very good; I really recommend it, especially if you’re a manager! You might also want to check out Celeste Headlee’s TED Talk: 10 ways to have a better conversation. ✨

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Just Good Shit: 06.16.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Hello! Here’s what I was up to this week…

On the blog

Reading

The Invisible Victims, Marie Claire.

You saw me covered in blood on a bus. But do you get outraged about all homophobia?, The Guardian.

The Pink, n+1.
“The situation of the vagina in feminist politics today is, even by optimistic standards, hairy.”

Dear Therapist: It’s Hard to Accept Being Single, The Atlantic.

They Gave America 13 Goals—And Got a Lecture in Return, The Atlantic.

Track Star Gabriele Grunewald Couldn’t Win This Race, The New York Times.
“She died on Tuesday at 32 and left a husband, Justin Grunewald, for whom she was everything.”

This Book About Apologies Changed My Life, The Cut.
I bought/read the book after reading this post, and I thought it was great.

The $500m smiley face business, The Hustle.

Booksmart flips the script on the typical teen comedy. Same goes for its costumes., Vox.

The Real Dog Moms of New York City, The New York Times.
I want a movie inspired by this immediately.

Keanu Reeves Keeps His Hands to Himself, Kottke.
Manner hands!!!

Great tweets

“My dad died. Classic start to a funny story. He was buried in a small village in Sussex. I was really close to my dad so I visited his grave a lot. I still do. [DON’T WORRY, IT GETS FUNNIER.]”
I gasped at the end of this!

“The story of a modern London cafe...”

“this artist remembered that there are boy-chickens and girl-chickens but let their guard down with the lions i fear”

“I can’t believe this but #Lover leaked.”

“Just a quick sniff”

“Welcome to physical therapy.”

Fun stuff

The Times has a new puzzle game: Tiles. It took me a little while to understand how to clear the board/actually complete a game, but now that I’ve figured it out, I’m hooked!

Shopping

I am currently obsessed with Freedom Moses knockoff Birks ($45), which come in basically every color, and every color is made in men, women, and children’s sizes. I bought the Lagoon because the Tropicool was/is sold out, but I love the Capri and Baby options, and the Fuji and Parma are very pretty IRL. (Also, they were three pairs for $99 when I bought mine and it looks like that is still the case.)

NYC

If you enjoyed the recent “nuns and nones” NYT article, you might be interested in the fact that Mariandale in Ossining is hosting a daylong version, which sounds lovely. I won’t be able to make it, but I’ve had nothing but great experiences at Mariandale.

In other news, I took the Rockaway Ferry line from Wall Street to the beach this weekend and it was great — highly recommend it as a way of traveling to Rockaway Beach/Ft. Tilden/Jacob Riis.

Have a great Sunday! 🌊

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Just Good Bops: June

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

June’s here! It’s hot! It’s time to go outside and show the world your legs and arms and feet! With that in mind, I tried to make this month’s playlist broad so that it can cover any number of outdoor/outdoor-adjacent summer activities of varying energy levels — from laid-back beach days (surreptitiously drinking wine spritzes out of view of the lifeguards) to raucous weddings (hitting the dance floor with your drunk extended family members).

And once you’re on Spotify, you should really click through and listen to these albums in full:

Hot Chip, Why Make Sense?

Hot Chip consistently makes excellent pop music with R&B and house undertones. Their dance songs are fun (funny, even!) and their sweet songs are romantic, lush, and wistful. I included a song from their 2015 album, Why Make Sense?, which Pitchfork aptly described as, “probably the fourth-best Hot Chip album. But that’s not necessarily a knock, because their fourth-best album is still a very good album.” Give this album a listen, and make sure you carve out time for songs like “Boy From School,” “Over and Over,” “Ready For The Floor,” and “Look At Where We Are.”

D’Angelo / The Vanguard, Black Messiah

D’Angelo hadn’t released an album in 14 years and then, with no warning, he decided to pull the biggest flex and released an unbelievable album that spoke to the national unrest sparked by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. If you like blues, funk, soul, or R&B, then you’ll like Black Messiah. It’s weary and funky. Make sure you listen to “Sugah Daddy” and “Another Life.”

Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory

If you’re like me and you want your club bangers to come with a side of commentary on class and entitlement, then look no further than Big Fish Theory. The songs are explosive and manic in the best way possible. And I know that this is meant to be a music recommendation blog post, but Vince Staples is also an extremely good Twitter follow (but he has a habit of deleting his best tweets).


And here’s the usual disclaimer! I’ve never been good at curating a playlist that ebbs and flows in just the right way, so just throw this shit on shuffle and have a good time. 🎧

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Should you happen to find yourself spinning out, try cleaning your bathroom

Image: Bernard Hermant / Unsplash

Image: Bernard Hermant / Unsplash

Whenever I find myself pacing around my apartment and kind of spiraling, dealing with a brain-on-fire situation — when I’m overwhelmed and I know I should do something but I can’t decide what it should be so I’m doing nothing and everything all at once — I’ve gotten in the habit of just…cleaning my bathroom. Like, I don’t overthink it; I just go and do it. And 15-20 minutes later (which is about how long it takes me to clean my bathroom, despite what I might tell myself when I’m avoiding doing it), my sink is sparkling and I feel so much better.

Why is cleaning the bathroom the perfect activity in these moments? I think it’s because it tends to be a relatively quick and contained chore — unlike, say, cleaning your closet, which you’ll start with the best of intentions and then somehow spend $75 ordering hangers online before falling asleep on piles of clothes — BUT it’s just long enough to distract you and redirect your energy, to get the headspace required to make a decision, to gain a sense of accomplishment, and to basically press the reset button in a panic moment. And because it’s one area of your home that could pretty much always benefit from a little cleaning! 🛁

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The lemon butter pasta recipe I make all the time

Image: Julia Gartland /  Food52

Image: Julia Gartland / Food52

I tend to roll my eyes at recipes that claim you can make them with “pantry staples,” a phrase that feels very similar to “day to night look!” in that it’s something that’s mentioned a lot in magazines that never *really* happens IRL. Like, you don’t know my pantry OR my life, Bon Appètit!

That said, this lemon butter pasta recipe is the closest thing I’ve found to being a recipe that you can make with pantry staples — if you stock your pantry with the things you need to make it, which is what I do now because I like the recipe so much. Though literally nothing about it is French, I sort of think of it as the ~French girl~ version of boxed mac and cheese.

The ingredients list is very short: angel hair pasta, butter, chicken broth, a lemon, and salt and pepper. (I don’t consider lemon a pantry staple because lemons can go bad, but I now just buy a few lemons every week.) You can add Parmesan cheese or some fresh or dried herbs if you have them, but you honestly don’t need any of that. You can also easily double the recipe to serve two people, though I appreciate that it’s a dish for one because those are kind of rare.

Bonus tips: I always use Better Than Bouillon when a recipe calls for broth because my former coworker Erin told me that they did a big broth taste test at Good Housekeeping (where she used to work) and BTB was the winner by a mile. I also find it more convenient and more eco-friendly than canned/boxed broth and the individually wrapped cubes. And instead of using regular salt to finish off this recipe, I use Maldon sea salt, which I’m a big fan of, and which is definitely a pantry staple of mine.

Anyway, it’s rare to find a dish that comes together in less than 20 minutes, tastes delicious, and looks/feels elevated. It’s also pretty rich (thanks to the butter), so it ends up being way more filling than I expect. And the cleanup is minimal, which is important! On nights when I don’t have it in me to fuck with chickpea pasta, this is what I make.

Get the recipe: Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta, Food 52. 👩🏽‍🍳

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Just Good Shit: 06.09.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Hello! Here’s what I’ve got for you this week…

On the blog

Reading

Brendan Fraser’s #MeToo Story Is Why More Male Victims Don’t Speak Out, MEL Magazine.

Gay couple beaten for refusing to kiss on London bus, BBC.
This is so upsetting, and something I worry about…not infrequently. It also reminded me of this (much lighter!) Sara Benincasa essay.

The Catastrophist, or: On coming out as trans at 37, Vox.
“My name is Emily VanDerWerff. I fought hard for that name, as hard as I’ve ever fought for anything in my life. Now that I have it, I’m so scared of losing it, so I’m telling you in hopes you will bear it forward and carry it in your heart.”

Why People Hide Their Disabilities at Work, HBR.

I’m A Feminist Killjoy—And My Husband Loves it, A Practical Wedding.

Teens Taking AP Exams Are Battling for Their Right to Meme, MEL Magazine.

Too Many People Want to Travel, The Atlantic.

How to be a library archive tourist, Tiny Subversions.
This is so cute! I loved visiting special collections at MSU!

Four Steps to the Perfect Smoky Eye, Strange Horizons.
I spotted this short story in a Captain Awkward post this week and thought it was great. (Note: it deals with domestic violence/violence against women.)

How could The Overstory be considered a book of the year?, The Guardian.
I finished The Overstory this week (finally!) and this review perfectly sums up how I felt about it. I loved the idea of it, but I just couldn’t ever really connect with the characters. I wanted this concept, but in the hands of a different author (like Min Jin Lee). That said, a lot of people loved it, so what do I know???

Laura Everett and Abbi Holt: United by Love and Religion, The New York Times.

How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To, HBR.

The rise of granny panties, Vox / The Goods.

Unconventional Life Hack: Always Say Yes to a Glass of Water, Man Repeller.

Actually, Phone Calls Are Good, The Cut.

How to Draw a Horse, The New Yorker.

Great tweets

“Some are born a peacock, some have to work a little harder to achieve their peacockness.”

“Happy Pride to my favorite exchange in SVU history.”

“Grandpa’s comin.”

Shopping

On Saturday, I spotted these extremely fratty sherbet-colored Polo pants in the men’s department at Urban Outfitters and my entire body lit up? I tried them on and it was obvious — I could not let them get away. Happy Father’s Day to me!

NYC

I had drinks/dinner at The Springs in Greenpoint on Friday night and it was delightful. The backyard is huge and so well-manicured, and the Aperol spritz slushy was SO good (better than a regular Aperol spritz). And it didn’t hurt that the sunset on Friday night was truly magical.

Have a great Sunday!🍹


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Reading list: Pride edition

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

In honor of Pride Month, I put together this list of the best and most memorable content about the many shades of LGBTQ2IA identity, lived experience, and history that I’ve read over the past several years. It’s a mix (in no particular order!) of moving, funny, sweet, sad, infuriating, and informative content, and is meant for both queer folks and allies.

First person/essays

“You Girls Having Fun?”, Eater.

A Modest Proposal, David Sedaris for The New Yorker.

Planning For A Future We Can Actually Imagine, BuzzFeed.

The Catastrophist, or: On coming out as trans at 37, Vox.

My Wife and I Are (Both) Pregnant + A Year Ago I Had a Baby. So Did My Wife., New York Magazine.

Introducing My Parents To My Boyfriend Meant Introducing Them To Me, BuzzFeed.

I Fell In Love With The First Girl I Dated After Coming Out, BuzzFeed.

Harry Potter and the Secret Gay Love Story, The Paris Review.

The best $6,250 I ever spent: top surgery, Vox.

No, We Won’t Sandwich the Bride: On Handling Gay Tokenism, The Toast.

My Queer Skincare Secrets, Gay Magazine.

Being Queer Means I’ll Never Stop Coming Out, BuzzFeed.

I Got Kicked Out Of A YMCA Locker Room — Twice — Because I’m Trans, BuzzFeed.

I Thought My Immigrant Mother Would Never Accept My Queerness. I Was Wrong., Bitch.

Falling in Love with My Transgender Husband, Marie Claire.

I Dress ‘Straight’ to Protect My Clients, Racked.

How I Divorced My Husband of 5 Years, Came Out at 28, and Married a Woman, A Practical Wedding.

This Is What It’s Like When Your Dad Comes Out To You, BuzzFeed.

When I couldn’t tell the world I wanted to transition, I went to Dressbarn, Vox.

Now We Have Seen The Epitome of Anti-Gay Hatred, Gawker.

Please Don’t Stop the Music, The Nation.

Only When I’m Dancing Can I Feel This Free, MTV.

After Transitioning, No One Calls Me Fat Anymore, BuzzFeed.

Could The Baby-Sitters Club Have Been More Gay?, The Paris Review.

A Love Letter To All My Gay Firsts, BuzzFeed.

‘Mallory Is Not Gone’: Daniel Mallory Ortberg on Coming Out As Trans, The Cut.

How I Learned the Craft of Going on Dates with Girls, Catapult.

How to Draw a Horse, The New Yorker.

Advice & service

‘My Parents Still Won’t Accept That I’m Gay!’, The Cut.

Ask Polly: Why Do People Always Think I'm Gay?, The Awl.

#1194: “I’m moving in with my girlfriend and now my homophobic parents want to disown me.”, Captain Awkward.

Coming Out As Gay In Elementary School, BuzzFeed.

I Don’t Know What My ‘Label’ Is. Can I Be in the LGBTQ+ Community?, Out.

19 Insanely Useful Makeup Tips For Trans Women, BuzzFeed.

Incomplete list of books by black trans women, Queer Book Club.

55 Things That Helped LGBT People When They Were Coming Out, BuzzFeed.

Navigating LGBTQ issues at work: an open thread, Ask a Manager.

100 Easy Ways to Make the World Better for Trans People, Vice.

#453: Guest Post: How Do I Come Out to My Mom?, Captain Awkward.

#978: “If you were a ten-year-old boy who just told your mom you’re gay, what would you want her to say?”, Captain Awkward.

The BuzzFeed Style Guide LGBT section.

News, culture, and history

The Woman Who Cared for Hundreds of Abandoned Gay Men Dying of AIDS, Out.

When Brooklyn Was Queer: A History by Hugh Ryan (available from Amazon and through local bookstores via IndieBound).

Black, queer, feminist, erased from history: Meet the most important legal scholar you've likely never heard of, Salon.

How an Ad Campaign Made Lesbians Fall in Love with Subaru, Priceonomics.

The Bittersweet Beauty of Adam Rippon, Vanity Fair.

No, Queer Women Aren't "Just Experimenting", BuzzFeed.

The Complicated Appeal Of Celesbian Gossip, BuzzFeed.

Who’s Afraid of Gender-Neutral Bathrooms?, The New Yorker.

Queer Eye’s “Black Girl Magic” Is the Blackest, Gayest, Most Moving TV Episode of 2019, Autostraddle.

Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Boy Problems' Is a Beautiful Gay Song of Discovery, Jezebel.

“This Is Us” Breaks New Ground With Tess Pearson’s Coming Out Storyline, Autostraddle.

Beyond The Favourite: The Royal Family's Very Queer History, Town & Country.

How—and Why—Did Fruitcake Become a Slur?, Food52.

Podcast episodes

The Pentagon's Secret Gaggle of Gays, Nancy.

Return to Ring of Keys, Nancy.

Bi Bi Bi, Call Your Girlfriend.

(Both of those Nancy eps made me weep, BTW!)

Fun shit

16 Vintage “Gay” Advertisements That Are Funny Now That “Gay” Means “GAY”, Autostraddle.

An Important Look At Gal Pals Throughout History, BuzzFeed.

21 Pure Tumblr Posts About How Beautiful Women Are, BuzzFeed.

The Internet Has Made The Babadook Our New Queer Icon And Just, Yes, BuzzFeed.

34 Times Tumblr Taught You Everything You Need To Know About Bisexuality, BuzzFeed.

Space Is Gay And I Will Prove It With Science, BuzzFeed.

Baby-Sitters Club Creator Ann M. Martin is Queer, How Did I Not Know This, Autostraddle.

American Girl Dolls Ranked In Order of Gayness, The Niche.

Everyone Wants Rachel Weisz to Dominate Them, The Cut.

“Snesbians”.


Happy reading! 🌈

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Very good beach shit

summer beach gear.png

Last summer, I — after a lifetime of being Not Really A Beach Person — became a person who genuinely enjoys a day at the beach! The trick? Good gear. (Turns out, the secret to everything is just…having money.) In my experience, the beach isn’t a particularly comfortable place to be, and you really do need gear to offset that. Like, I can only sit on a towel reading — in direct sunlight!! — for so long before my body starts aching, you know? Having better gear made a world of difference; I was cool and comfortable and able to stay out for hours last year. And those beach days made me feel relaxed, happy, and whole, so I really am glad I found a way to make them happen.

Here’s the beach gear I love and recommend:

The Chair

Image:  Amazon

Image: Amazon

I love Rio Brands Deluxe Aluminum Backpack Chair ($42.96 on Amazon). Fun fact: I liked this chair so much after sitting in one at my friend Alanna’s parents’ house that, two years later, I dug up the photos I took of it at the time so I could figure out what the brand was and order one of my own! It’s so good: comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, lightweight. I love the adjustable pillow and the fact that you can wear it like a backpack when you’re walking to the beach. (Also, the cupholder is very handy!) I really don’t think I could do a long beach day without a good chair! I have it blue, but the blue one is inexplicably $70 at the moment, so maybe go with the red?

If you want a less expensive but still great chair, I ordered the Rio Gear Original Steel Backpack Chair ($25.97 on Amazon) and had it shipped to my mom’s house before my family’s trip to Saugatuck last summer, and it was also great. I’ll be using it again when we head to Saugatuck this summer! And if you want something similar to these two but a little roomier, this Tommy Bahama chair ($54.09 on Amazon) has a bigger seat and a maximum weight of 300 lbs.

What I really want is the white (!!!) “Rolls-Royce of beach chairs” ($141 on Amazon) with its matching canopy ($44.95 on Amazon). It’s pricey but it’s apparently built to last a decade. Someday!

The Tent

I’m obsessed with my Lovin' Summer Beach Tent ($150) and recommend it to everyone. I received mine as a PR gift back in 2015 and I love it. Every time I take it to the beach, multiple people come by to ask me where I got it; it's beautiful and just really unique looking. It's also just so practical; it provides a truly impressive amount of shade, but still allows for a wonderful breeze flow through. It's really easy to enter and exit, and it's super stable. It's also very lightweight and packs down in a bag that's similar in size to a yoga bag, so I can store it under my bed. If you go to the beach a few times a year, or if you are planning a days-long beach vacation, I think it's completely worth it.

My only caveat is that you should watch the video of how to set it up before you take it to the beach; the instructions are very confusingly written, and while the setup isn’t hard at all, it’s also not intuitive. (That said, the first time I ever took it out, I wasn't nearby when my friends set it up. When I got back to our area, it was fully assembled and they all said it was very easy!)

Anyway, because you may not get good cell service on the beach, you should watch that setup video and save some photos of how it looks when assembled to your camera roll before you head out. Once we figured out a couple crucial details, it came together really easily and quickly. (The setup and breakdown takes about 10 minutes.) You also could also easily string some battery-operated twinkle lights on the interior bar for evenings on the beach or for backyard camping type activities!

The Hat

Image:  Amazon

Image: Amazon

My current summer hat is a wide brim sun visor/hat ($12.99 on Amazon, available in 10 colors). For years, I wanted a good visor; my goal was "Offred, but make it summer." I mainly wanted something that would keep the sun off my face while I'm walking to and from the train every day — so I didn't want anything overly sporty/beachy. After discovering that most cute visors cost $150 (?!), I finally found what I was looking for in this visor. This visor completely keeps the sun off my face (and means I don't have to fuck with sunglasses / can wear my glasses to the beach). Also, the bow detail in the back is really cute! But, full disclosure: by September, it was falling apart, so I will be buying another one this summer.

Some other good beach shit:



The Cooler

I bought a cooler bag ($38.95 on Amazon) for picnics and the beach a few weeks ago but haven’t taken it out yet. But it looks/seems great!

The Towel

Last summer, I started using a beach towel from The Beach People ($49.50+). This was a PR gift and it's really lovely. (The exact one I have isn't on their site at the moment.) I don't think you need a fancy towel to enjoy the beach...but as someone who loves soft things and great towels, having a big blanket-like towel (seriously, it’s so blush) that matches my general aesthetic made me pretty happy. 

The Shoes

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, the Hurricane Drift Tevas ($40 from Zappos) are great, and are perfect for the beach. If you want to get them in white, my friend Marisa recommends cleaning them with a Magic Eraser, which is genius.

I’m also super curious about these Sea Star Beachwear waterproof espadrilles ($89), because I’m always on the lookout for closed-toe beach/summer shoes. (Terri also pointed out that they might be good for rainy summer days when it’s too warm to wear boots.)

The Beach

It’s Jacob Riis Beach for me! ⛱

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How to be laid off

Folks, Terri is back! Today she’s here to offer some good practical advice for surviving a layoff. —Rachel ✨

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Back in January, I got laid off from my job along with Rachel, our entire team, and 200 or so other coworkers. I’ve been working in media for the past seven years and have watched the industry shift and shrink. I’ve witnessed layoffs happen around me, both at work and to my close friends, and yet when it happened to me, I was completely floored. As in, on the floor crying in shock.

I don’t know if anything could’ve prepared me for the sting and multiple stages of grief that accompanied losing my job — the numbness, the confusion, the anger, the hurt, the bargaining, the desperation — but I do know that being laid off is an incredibly specific state of being. It’s also probably different for everyone who experiences it. Some people are relieved, some quickly pivot to the next thing, some people have had something like this happen to them many times before and already have their go-bag packed. But for me, and a lot of people I’ve talked to (turns out, LOTS of people I know have been in similar situations, especially in the past six months), the experience of being laid off and the time that ensues generally follow the same outline.

So, should you find yourself in that boat, here are some tips that helped me survive my layoff:

  1. Take time to absorb the shock.
    Even if your layoff wasn’t unexpected, moving from a reliable schedule of spending most days feeling productive with the same people to...not...is a major life change. I tried to fend off the Bads by networking and setting up freelance opportunities literally the day after getting laid off. A week later, I had a full-on meltdown right in front of CVS because I was feeling like a part of my identity was gone. I’d loved my job. I led with it during small talk; I cherished the work I did and still look back on it with pride. Instead of gradually acknowledging this truth by letting it seep into my consciousness, I’d try to shoo it away. As a result, had a big old “Come to Jesus” cry on the phone with my mom in public that, blessedly, the citizens of New York let me carry on in peace. (I do love New Yorkers.) After that, I gave myself a weeklong break from any kind of work/job searching, which helped a lot.

  2. Also, unfollow/mute/cut your former employer out of your life if you need to.
    Losing your job is like going through a breakup! Especially if you worked somewhere that has a big social media presence! Seeing them continue on as normal can infect still-fresh wounds, so just block them out for a while. You can always re-follow later, or ask trusted friends to give you only the most important highlights. After a while, you might realize you don’t even care about them anyway.

  3. Realize that you will probably deal with constant guilt.
    I was not prepared for the crushing waves of guilt that happened every time I stopped doing anything job-related. With a lot more “free” time, it’s easy to feel like you need to spend all of it looking for and applying to jobs, networking, doing side gigs to scrape together money… anything that feels “productive.” And yes, job hunting really is a full-time job. But! You still need to, like, clean your home and bathe and maybe even go read a book for pleasure in a coffee shop. There is literally nothing wrong with doing any of those things, even though it feels like a violation of some kind of rule. Not being on a regular work schedule means you can very easily do worky-type things all day, but if the circumstances allow, try to avoid that. Because I was lucky to have a good enough savings and severance to augment job-related stuff with more less goal-oriented tasks, I was able to create some rules and guidelines to free myself of guilt. Maybe for you, that means you get one (1) matinee movie for every three jobs you apply to, or maybe that means carving out nap time every day because you need it. The guilt of not doing “enough” never truly goes away, but accepting it and telling it that it doesn’t need to define your laid-off self helps.

  4. Start making a daily schedule.
    You’ll be doing a lot of the same things over and over: You’ll send a lot of introductory emails, spend an equal amount of time willing certain emails to pop up in your inbox, wash endless dishes, spend countless hours alone (a nightmare for an extrovert like me), and become invested in the personal lives of daytime TV personalities. A schedule helps with the monotony and with the guilt.

  5. Figure out your lunches.
    One of the most thoughtful things someone asked me after I got laid off was, “What have you been eating?” Turns out, feeding your stupid body thrice a day is really annoying! At least when I was working, lunch was provided twice a week, and on the others, I could run out and buy something. But alone in my apartment without a steady income, I had to...make?? Food?? I’m not a great cook and I have a tiny-ass kitchen, and every time my stomach grumbled at 1 p.m. I cursed the human digestive system (and my former employer lolololol). I ended up making a lot of toast. There were many fried eggs in there, too, along with many bowls of Corn Flakes and simple dishes like chickpea pasta and lemon butter pasta. I usually love eating, but during the long, lonely days, food was sustenance, and comforting meals like these were manageable and filling. All you need is a few go-to meals to make lunchtime a little less awful.

  6. Accept that paperwork for health insurance and unemployment fucking sucks.
    Figuring this out was so stress-inducing that I asked my friend at one point if it was even worth collecting unemployment (it is, but getting money has hardly ever been less fun). Don’t beat yourself up if your heart is racing and you feel sweaty by the time you’re done with these tasks.

  7. Don’t be afraid to tell your loved ones what you need.
    When I’m struggling, I need to talk and let it out and just be with people. Pretty much everyone in my family and friend groups showed up for me in a massive way after my layoff, presenting their shoulders to me when I hadn’t even asked for one to cry on. But some people thought I needed space or that I didn’t want to talk about it or that I was doing fine. I had to say, “I am constantly grieving, but this is what I need from you if you want to be there for me.” And you know what? That’s OK! Some people needed the nudge and were relieved to be told what to do in a weird and awkward time. It’s an incredibly vulnerable, raw thing, but I’ve felt closer to my friends and family than ever since getting laid off because I was open with them.

  8. Lean into activities, if you can manage them.
    Since getting laid off, I’ve become obsessed with crosswords and the New York Times’s Spelling Bee game, tracked my Jeopardy! Coryat score, and done many jigsaw puzzles. I have not, however, become a gym rat or a master baker like I said I would. I only had the bandwidth to do so much, and I’m happy I was able to hone a few new activities during this shitty time. (Related: A case for having activities instead of hobbies.)

  9. Lean into the good things that accompany being laid off that you might miss when it’s over.
    Since being laid off, I’ve had weekday lunches at hard-to-get-into restaurants and spent quality time with friends who’d also lost their jobs. I’ve easily scheduled midday doctors appointments. I’m a terrible sleeper, and my new loosey-goosey schedule has been so generous to my restless nights. I’ve seen my parents a lot more than usual, and forgotten about Sunday Scaries (although they’ve been replaced by constant existential ennui, so…). I’ve gotten to spend some gorgeous spring days outside while people with jobs are stuck at their desks. I watched all of Fleabag and rewatched many old episodes of The Real Housewives of New York. I’ve traveled and felt more spontaneous than I did on a constricted, 10-6 schedule. Being laid off isn’t all bad, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy to enjoy these perks unreservedly (see: guilt). I know that when I start working a regular job again, I’ll wistfully remember that chunk of time when I didn’t have to set a morning alarm. But I also know those things are small, cold comforts in an epically terrible time. Know that it’s OK if you can’t summon much gratitude right now. ✨

Terri Pous is a writer, editor, two-day Jeopardy! champ, and an Aries. She loves abbrevs, reality TV, obscure facts about the US presidents, and the 🥴 emoji. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @terripous, and on sidewalks @ petting every dog.

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Just Good Shit: 06.02.19

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Hello and happy June! ICYMI, I shared some ~ personal news ~ this week in honor of Pride, which felt scary but also good! I really appreciated the genuinely joyful and deeply kind messages I got in response — it really does mean a lot.

The best part — aside from the fact that I can now be unrepentantly queer on the Internet and also stop posting the bulk of my Instagram Stories to “Close Friends” (RIP) — is the number of messages I got from people who had similar experiences to mine. I knew I was far from the only person who had dated or been married to a man and then started dating women. (In fact, knowing I wasn’t the only one was what made it possible for me to follow my heart when I first realized I had a crush last year!) But still. It was lovely and humbling and special to hear it from so many people I “know,” especially on the first day of Pride. I hope we are getting closer to a world in which we are all allowed to be open, to be truly seen, to feel a little less alone, to be a little more OK.

Here’s what else I had going on…

On the blog

Reading

An Alabama Woman Got Pregnant While In Jail. She Has No Memory of Having Sex., The Appeal.

Olivia Wilde, Director: ‘Too Old to Play Dumb Anymore’, The New York Times.

Murder, They Wrote, Bookforum.
My Favorite Murder isn’t personally my cup of tea, but I thought this was a really good and thoughtful article.

Everything you know about hyenas is wrong — these animals are fierce, social and incredibly smart, TED.
Holy shit????

How Beanie Feldstein Made It to the Party, Vulture.

These Millennials Got New Roommates. They’re Nuns., The New York Times.

Nicolás Medina Mora with thoughts on / tips for Americans vacationing in Mexico.

I think my bad personality is sabotaging my good work, Ask a Manager.

Why Are We So Obsessed With Being "Spontaneous"?, Man Repeller.
“Being the purveyor of a good plan brings with it the delectable delight of being able to look forward to things. There’s something tantalizingly pleasing about peeking at your diary and seeing all the treats you have lined up.” It me!

I Can’t Hate My Body if I Love Hers, The New York Times.

Why Tracy Flick Is Still Inescapable, Vanity Fair.

How to Be Happy? A Nearly 90-Year-Old Has Some Advice, Glamour.

What Every Successful Person Knows, But Never Says, James Clear.

IT’S MOTHEREFFING WEDDING SEASON AGAIN, SO LET’S CHAT, Captain Awkward.

Watching

This video of a deeply upsetting police interaction.

Also: Booksmart, which I loved! (Except for the ending to the Jessica Williams storyline, which is so bad, it’s genuinely bizarre? I have SO many questions!!!) Also Election, which I haven’t seen in like a decade, and the first episode of Gentleman Jack on HBO. And the Muses from Hercules.


Buying

Last week, I bought Fenty concealer ($26 at Sephora) — my first-ever Fenty product — and it’s SO GOOD, holy shit? I’m angry I didn’t try it sooner.

NYC

I went to Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturday last night, which was good, wholesome fun. If you get a chance to check out the Stonewall exhibit, do — it’s worth it solely for the centerpiece on Stormé DeLaverie.


Have a great Sunday! 🌈

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