While books have helped me grow and think, other slices of pop culture, daily practices, and mental health care have helped me walk slowly toward goodness, as this blog aims to chronicle.
This is one of the best comedies on television, in my opinion. Each episode has original, hilarious musical numbers. The characters are real and funny. In the current third season, the co-creator, Rachel Bloom (who plays the title character, Rebecca Bunch), dives into the experience and effects of mental illness, suicide, and psychiatric diagnoses on a woman and her circle of friends. It’s been one of the most authentic and interesting ways that I’ve seen a TV show tackle mental health and multidimensional female characters. While this show broke down the “crazy woman” trope in its first 2 seasons, now it looks at the stigmatized use of “crazy” in reference to people living with a mental illness. It’s fascinating. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix. Season 3 airs on the CW.
Vanity Fair published a great piece on the current season (spoiler alert).
Dear Evan Hansen – Original Broadway Cast Recording
The first time I heard “You Will Be Found” I was sitting on a CTA train heading home after a tiring day. I cried as I listened to this song about belonging, asking for help, vulnerability, being yourself. The words are beautiful and relevant. Then I listened to the entire album. Wow. I don’t think there’s any piece of music or drama today that has embodied this sort of affirming, hopeful message while addressing such traumatic experiences and emotional anguish. If anyone wants to take me to the Broadway show, I’m ready.
My sister gave me a yoga mat for my birthday in August. I started doing the Revolution – 31 Days of Yoga series with Adrienne on YouTube. It took me 2 months to get through, but it’s been well worth it. I’m more relaxed, stronger, more flexible, and better at slowing down and breathing. Next up is her 30-day Yoga Camp series.
Gilmore Girls & Gilmore Guys
I began rewatching this series on Netflix a few months ago. As a newly retired pastor, my dad has been watching many of the episodes with me. I think he enjoys it more than he lets on. I’ve been listening to the corresponding episodes of the Gilmore Guys podcast. If you haven’t listened before, you should. Two guys, Kevin and Demi, rehashed every episode, discussed the pop culture references, and gave a fashion report. They also interviewed a lot of the cast and crew members. For the record, I have changed my status from Team Logan (it was solely due to his snarky, blond, bad boy-ness) to Team Jess OR Team No One. Also Rory isn’t all that great. She’s terrible. I said it.
Good Christian Fun podcast
One of the guys from Gilmore Guys, Kevin, gets together with his friend Caroline to discuss the weird world of Christian pop culture every week. They’ve reviewed Left Behind, Michael W. Smith, Jump5, Christian Mingle (the movie), and have an upcoming Christmas episode about Amy Grant’s Christmas album. Whether you’ve grown up in American Christian church culture or are unfamiliar, this is a hilarious podcast. They “Godsplain” Christianese terms, have an ongoing “Hunt for the Worst Christian Song” segment, and “lift up” their social media accounts. Praises be.
Sleep – Lavender & Cedarwood Body Cream (from Bath & Body Works)
I had trouble falling asleep for several weeks. This lotion became part of my nightly routine: reading, lotion, tea. It smells fantastic, and I got it 50% off. Score.
Credit goes to my friend Tracy for introducing me to the world of bullet journaling. It can be a pretty intense Pinterest/Instagram rabbit hole if you get too far in, beware. Tracy gave me advice on what bullet journal to get and sent me rolls on rolls of Washi tape from China. I have pages for each month, each week, lists of things to do, prayers, self-care strategies, a habit tracker, spending log, and a Christmas gift list. I’m finding that the process of devising each page and adding to it is a combination of creative and organizational practice – two areas that don’t always mesh. I love the colored pens, the pretty tape, the trifold purpose of planner/journal/to-do list.
I started seeing my therapist in July. It took at least a month for me to feel comfortable with her and to trust the process. We started with an overwhelming number of goals, and 4 months later, they’re nearly all met! Therapy isn’t a quick fix. Like all worthwhile things, it takes time. It’s a form of self-care, to take an hour every week or every other week to talk, process, and move forward. In an unexpected twist, my crummy new insurance plan has covered nearly all of my session costs! Check with your insurance; mental health care may be covered. Speaking of which, call and write your representatives in Congress about the importance of mental health provisions for national health care.