Friday Open Thread: What’s Motivating You and Getting You Through?

Hello and welcome to your Autostraddle open thread for Friday, June 12! This is a space for y’all to chat with each other about how you are, what you’ve been up to this week, what’s motivating you, what’s getting you through, or just how you’re feeling.

We recently brought back our Friday Open Thread posts, and it feels like we did so (coincidentally) at exactly the right time. I hope we can all use this space to care for each other and continue to build the virtual community that makes Autostraddle a special place on the internet. As we discussed a few weeks ago, staff won’t be guiding discussion on the open thread too much – it’s really just an open room, if you will, for our readers to gather and hang out – but if you need a suggestion about where to start talking this week, I’ll offer this.

As a white person, I am very grateful to everyone on the Autostraddle team who is putting so much work into creating resources specifically to facilitate anti-racist work and unlearning. Some of my favorite articles this week, to that end, include Abeni’s How to Talk to Your White Friends and Family About Racism and KaeLyn’s Raising Anti-Racist Kids: A Guide and Book List for White and Non-Black POC Parents. Maybe you can also share which article resonated most with you this week? Or you can just let us know how you’re doing.

Whatever we end up talking about, I feel confident in speaking for everyone when I say – we’re very glad you’re here.

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  1. Right, it’s Friday! Time is such a blur lately, and I’m going in for surgery today so I’m nervous 😬 but at least I get four weeks off of work! Reeeeally glad I’ll get to skip listening to my ex-cop boss’s opinions on the protests.

  2. Hello! I’m so glad you’re all here. Exactly the right time, just as you say. Today is 11 weeks in lockdown, but I’ve had good news! From next week, I’ll be able to go out for socially distant exercise! I’m absolutely pumped for it. Anyone else got any good news they want to share?

  3. Okay, I’ve started watching the new DC superhero show “Stargirl”, and I think we have a new Supercorp in the brewing.


    Courtney, a new superhero named Stargirl, is trying to recruit someone at her school, Yolanda, to take on the mantle of another superhero. She gives her an outfit to try on. Yolanda changes IN THE CLOSET and won’t come out. Courtney tries to get her to come out by saying things like, “I showed you mine,” “Don’t be shy,” and “There’s nobody home but us.” That goes way beyond subtext into the intentionally putting it there category. Did anybody else see that?

    • Ohh… They actually made Stargirl?!? LOL, I’m so behind in my viewing right now, I completely missed this one. Thanks for letting us in the digital boondocks know that it’s around. Honestly, Lesbian Jesus bless DC TV! It’s one of the few things I look forward to right now, though I’d appreciate if they’d stop stringing us along with Supercorp, the fanfic’s better than the actual show for that one.

  4. Good news: a friend I’m helping has a documentary series about religious leaders and has scored two interviews with different Buddhist sects which somehow feels well-timed. DM if you want info on the series because I don’t want to post an inappropriate promo. I’m very proud of my friend!

    What Has Been Helpful: the resources provided by anti-fascists on digital security, keeping up with the protests happening locally, and giving myself the activation energy to finally make some more masks with the sewing machine I borrowed months ago. I’m so reluctant to join protests because I’m in the social pod of an immunocompromised friend. I have to think of my friend first. But I’m hoping that I can do small things to help like get legal witness training and attend virtual meetings hosted by local organizations that want to abolish policing.

    For anyone in NC, check our Down Home NC to get involved in supporting the most vulnerable rural people through their mutual aid fund and their calls to action.

  5. The internet is getting me through. I am watching videos & reading articles of people being outdoors & away from all the sounds. I am also trying to talk to cute queers to get my mind of everything cause sometimes we need to do that. I have some luck but then last minute they have to cancel & it becomes a ghost town. It’s understandable to some extent.

    My gym opens I think next week, but I am still a little weary of going. Same with salons/barbers, but I’d rather just live with whatever Jewish thing my hair is doing atm than risk getting it or sharing it with people(I work in retail after all). I am still spending as much time outdoors as I can to avoid my phone & computer. From my Sunday adventures.

    Hope you all have a positive & safe weekend! Thank you for reading my viewing my post.

  6. Well, I found out that while I had missed the deadlines for most of the library science grad programs I was hoping to attend in the fall(thanks, 2020, for trying your best to fork up my life), two of my top schools extended their deadlines so I actually have a chance.
    I’ve spent the week writing professors to ask for letters of recommendation, trying to write a personal statement(aka writing 10 words, googing “how do you write a personal statement for grad school”, writing 10 more words, wash, repeat), and drinking way too many pots of jasmine tea.
    I don’t like to set myself up for disappointment so I usually don’t let myself want things too openly, but I WANT this, more than I’ve wanted almost anything. No career has sparked joy in me the way librarianship has and I just want to be on that next step of my journey.
    So yeah. Hope is keeping me going this week. Hope and jasmine tea.

    • Hope and jasmine tea sounds like an excellent title for something. And good luck with the applying and congrats on finding a career that sparks joy. That’s a pretty big deal.

  7. Reading thread? What’s everyone reading?

    I’m going to read White Fragility for a (now virtual) book group that’s mostly queer. It’s our July book and I just checked out the ebook from the library.

    I’m currently reading fluffy fluff.

    Stupid love by Riley Hart – adorable m/m romance between two 20-something frenemies. This was the fluffy, diverse queer romance that I didn’t even know I needed.

    Dropped Stitches by Annabeth Albert – f/f romance short story – high school frenemies reconnect 10 years later. It was cute – not amazing but not a bad way to spend an evening. (hmm – frenemies seems to be a theme).

    Also – if you haven’t read Juliet Takes a Breathe by Gabby Rivera, the ebook is on sale for $2.99 at Kobo and Amazon and probably independent stores as well. It’s a really lovely coming of age story and there’s a good review of it on AS somewhere.

    • Great idea! I’m reading:

      Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, a collection of novellas by the 17th-century Spanish author María de Zayas, who wrote in the prologue that “las almas ni son hombres ni mujeres” (souls are neither men nor women).

      Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World, an anthology gathered by Kathleen Ragan.

      Those are the two that I’m reading most actively at the moment, but in a looser way, I’m also reading Cervantes’s Novelas ejemplares (well, the roughly half of the novellas I haven’t read already) and a handful of other books that I need to unpack now that I’ve returned to my parents’ house for the summer… That, and of course a smattering of Harry Potter fanfiction.

      Yesterday I finished listening to the audiobook of Kai Cheng Thom’s Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir. It was a beautifully poetic book, and I’m glad that I finally got to check out Kai’s work (which I know I’ve seen recommended here on Autostraddle). I listened to it as an audiobook because it was available sooner from the library that way.

      I second the recommendation of Juliet Takes a Breath (I remember chuckling at Juliet’s descriptions of Portland and thinking that the portrayal of Juliet’s bewilderment at all the queer terminology and social norms was quite relatable).

    • Thanks for the book reccs, I’ve got so few go-to authors for the f/f fluffy stuff and right now I’m starved for fluff! I’ve mostly been reading fanfiction (supercorp and Seven of Nine/Raffi) and an old pile of original Nancy Drew books that I found in the crawlspace under my parents house. Is it just me or did the author write George butch? I can’t read the earlier books without thinking that George’s parents sent her cousin along as a chaperone to keep her and Nancy from getting up to shenanigans. I’m just about to read On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden, as I was saving it for a rainy day and it’s been raining buckets, and I’m on an epically long wait list for a copy of Gideon the Ninth through my local library.

  8. The thought of Ibram X. Kendi heading to Boston to launch an Antiracism Research Center is getting me through.

    I’m currently reading his book How To Be an Antiracist, which is incredibly motivating.

  9. It’s a rare thing when I post pictures, so I’m hoping this works. If it does, I come bearing pictures of some seven week old (six weeks at the time) puppies.

    This is John.

    Sir Paul

    Ringo (black collar), Jude (pink collar), and George (yellow collar, not visible)

    The Fab Five asleep after a rambunctious time was had by all.
    Hopefully you’re all doing well.

    • Oh wow, lucky you, you’re obviously in pup heaven! Love the names, classic and classy. I’ll have to see if I have as much luck posting some of my derpy cat pics.

      • Well, these pups were born at the house of a friend of the family. We’ve visited them twice (we first met the Fab Five at just two weeks old just after they had first opened their eyes, sadly I don’t have pictures from that), and I figured with everything that’s going on people could use some puppy pictures that I took last week as part of their self-care.

    • This is bringing me joy, thank you. <3 I rarely remember my dreams since I've stopped keeping a dream journal, but I have had a recurring dream lately that I adopted a puppy and that my dog was the best mom/friend of the puppy.

  10. I’m a little late to this thread but I felt like sharing. I had an interview at a restaurant yesterday and only some of the staff were wearing masks. I said I’d come back today for the working interview but now I’m not so sure. I feel so guilty bc I’m temporarily living in my gf’s friends’ basement and not bringing in any income. However, I’m also immunocompromised bc of the meds for my chronic illness. My gf has been very sweet about it but I still feel guilty and anxious no matter what I do. It feels like I’m walking around in some sort of dystopian novel where the virus is only real to some people some of the time. I’d appreciate thoughts, thanks.

    • I would take care of yourself first, especially if you’re immunocompromised. I’m sure your gf wants you alive more than she wants you to help out with rent (if she doesn’t that’s another story)!

      Restaurants should not even be opening back up yet because even if the staff wear masks, the customers can’t and they spend long periods of time there leading to much higher risk of viral transmission. If you want to work, I would try to find something with lower contact if at all possible; I know it’s not likely though 🙁

      My thoughts are with you no matter what you decide though! Be safe out there.

    • I’m also immunocompromised and I can tell you that far too many people are taking this virus as seriously as it deserves. I’ve found that those of us who have already spent some of our lives dealing with health issues are more aware of the inherent risks associated with the current situation. Those who’ve rarely if ever been ill before are more likely to shrug off concerns and go about their business as usual. Unfortunately that means those of us who are at increased risk have to be even more careful. It’s not fair by any means, but it is what it is.
      Don’t feel guilty for doing what you have to in order to stay well. Personally I’ve found this whole thing very freaky. I’m on day 114 of isolation, I’m self employed in the arts and bringing in no income to speak of, but I am still working in my studio to fill the days. My parents have been incredibly generous, but I still feel the guilt no matter how many times they talk me down.
      The only advice I can think to offer is: find your peace, whatever allows you to feel most yourself, to set aside the guilt for a moment. Then you can start brainstorming ideas for work. Are there job sites listing opportunities for online work? A lot of businesses still have most of their customer service happening virtually, is this something you could get in on? Whatever happens for you, know that there are others in the same boat and willing to talk. Best of luck Morgan, you’ve got this!

  11. Well I’m a day late and covered in topsoil, but it’s the thought that counts, right? At the moment my garden is my salvation. I’ve planted so many vegetables that if they all come up, I’ll probably have to open a market stand. When I caught myself starting 21 heads of winter-harvest cabbage from seed for only three people, I realized I may have overdone things a little. But then again, every family needs nine butternut and acorn squash plants and three hills of potatoes in their garden don’t they? Yikes. Anyone know of a good a gardener’s anonymous support group?

    • I love this, Gemma! I wish for you a bountiful and healthy harvest. It sounds like a great thing to enjoy with your people as well as neighbors and others in your community!

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