GIVEAWAY: Snag the Second Issue of “Good Company,” Featuring Rhea Butcher, Blair Imani, Desiree Akhavan and More!

Have you heard the good news about Good Company?

We’ve talked about the print magazine before. You’re going to love it, I just know you are. Here’s the best part! Good Company is giving away five issues of their magazine for free to some lucky Straddlers!

Were you one of those teenagers who collected stacks of magazines in their bedroom to read while laying facedown on your bedspread, paint your nails, and listen to emo music? Me, too! Now you can relieve those nostalgic feelings with the help of Good Company. Maybe you’ll want to curl up with the magazine in a big comfy chair and a cup of peppermint tea, on a crisp Sunday morning? Listen, I just want you living your best life.

Grace Bonney, the lesbian founder of Good Company, wanted to create a publication by and about people of color, LGBT folks, women, the disability community, and those living with chronic illness. She told me, “Our goal is to talk about some of the uncomfortable, but real parts of creative life… so that we can find better ways to support each other, understand each other, and share advice that comes from a broad range of life experiences.”

The magazine more than surpasses that bar. The first issue of Good Company featured our own Editor in Chief Riese Bernard and the new issue we’re giving away has so many awesome queer folk inside! I’m talking about: Rhea Butcher, Blair Imani, Desiree Akhavan, and Jacob Tobia! It also features an interview with Wanuri Kahiu, director of the Kenyan LGBTQ film Rafiki, and a profile of my favorite little radical feminist “Girl Scout”-style troop, The Radical Monarchs. On top of all that, it is all soooo pretty!! Design is Grace Bonney’s speciality and let me tell you – it’s on full display. There’s no other way to to put it, the magazine is gorgeous.

Each issue of Good Company is tied around a theme, so now it’s time to talk about something (literally) scary: Fear. They’re using their new issue to intentionally create a safe space “for people to talk about failure, roadblocks – anything vulnerable and transparent, so that we could see that we’re all in the same boat.” It can be difficult to strip down and expose ourselves, but Grace is hopeful that “the more we share our fears and our challenges with each other, the less alone we all feel and the better we are to help through tough times together.”

In that spirit, we’d like to ask you: What do you do to steel yourself and take down fear? What’s your routine? Who do you lean on when your scared as shit and need community? Hit us in the comments with the ways you cope and conquer fear and you could win a free copy of Good Company!


Talking about fear can be sticky, so I’ll start us off. The person I lean on when I’m too scared to take steps by myself? I’d probably say my Mom, but really I think the most honest answer is my best friend of nearly 15 years, Tinbete. He’s held my hand through every new start, every bout of depression, every whispered midnight dream of a future I imagined for myself. My bravery routine? Bubblegum pop “girl power” songs. We’re talking Katy Perry’s “Roar” levels of pop here. The more cheerful the better. Oh and of course lots and lots of Beyoncé (but I guess you probably saw that coming).

Your turn! Every one of your comments is an entry into the lottery, so chat away! I’ll stop by throughout the day to keep you company.

Oh, and just in case you don’t win one of those lucky five copies, you can find Design Sponge at a full range of places to grab a copy on your own.

Carmen is a black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but has left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, MI, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow at night. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 86 articles for us.

49 Comments

  1. And when I’m afraid I might not win a lottery for a magazine issue but every comment is an entry, I separate all my ideas into separate comments to have more entries :p (OK I’ll stop now, have a good day everyone)

  2. Somehow I completely missed the existence of this magazine. I immediately send out an email to my local English bookstore here in The Hague, Netherlands to ask if they have it. I prefer buying it at a local bookstore if possible instead of from Amazon. Just in case I don’t win this giveaway, I hope my bookstore has it or is willing to stock it if they don’t.

    Also, Rhea Butcher.

  3. This looks so awesome. Beautiful design and artwork!

    My current strategy for dealing with fear is to remind myself that things I feared most already happened to me and I survived…which means I can survive (and attempt to thrive) under any circumstances that don’t actually kill me. 🙂

  4. When I get scared I like to think of things that make me smile, my cats, my girlfriend, that blue beanie that always makes me feel too cool for school, milky tea with lots of honey, the smell of freshly cut grass, how the leaves seem to explode with color in the fall. I also feel the earth beneath my feet and remind myself that I am grounded. If I’m home I pet my cats and make some tea and curl up under my favorite fuzzy white blanket. Sometimes I text a friend or curl up with my girlfriend. Sometimes the fear feels too big to do anything but be alone with it. Sometimes in the car I’ll roll the windows up and just scream. Cause sometimes that’s all we can do.

  5. My epic full time dream job used to be teaching kids to learn from their mistakes and failures – Then my dream job failed me. I’m still figuring out how to learn from that failure. Right now when I get scared about putting myself out there to do new things and share my ideas, I try to remind myself that the worst that could happen is that I did something new and even if it doesn’t resonate with anyone else – it worked for me!

    • Yea, I like to view the fact that I tried as a success. I always think about that with online dating, like the more I reach out to people, the more connections I will make, even if they don’t all work out.

  6. Lately I’ve started working out cause my fear/anxiety manifests as nervous energy/twitchiness so I channel that into squats or sit-ups or some other repetitive motion workout.
    My thighs have never looked better.

  7. Also generally I’m a “feel the fear and do it anyway” kind of person because as a queer Jewish first-gen American i basically don’t know what it’s like to not be afraid and have to push through it.

  8. To deal with fear/anxiety I make a conscious effort to work myself through it. I give myself pep talks, or question myself to get to the root of where its coming from. Sometimes that works, other times I give my cat cuddles or eat chocolate.

  9. Sometimes I get stuck feeling anxious about things, especially things I have no control over. When that happens, I try to refocus my brain on things that I can control, and think about things that are going well, even if they’re little things.
    Also, playing music really helps me switch my brain into a different zone. I can’t focus on my fear when I’m trying to learn a new piece of music.
    Also boxing. When I’m feeling scared about the state of the world, it’s nice to punch things.

    • ” I can’t focus on my fear when I’m trying to learn a new piece of music.”

      This is why my therapist got me back doing basic elementary school math to find my way out of panic attacks. Your brain can’t do both at the same time. There’s a lot of math in music, so I really feel this suggestion, you know? (despite the fact that I couldn’t play a chord of music to save my life, haha)

  10. When the fear is about doing something, I usually end up leaning on myself (s/o to social anxiety lmao). My feelings tend to overwhelm me and just make me think “no no run run deal with this later or never aahhh” so taking a more logical approach where I can see things written out (instead of only the anxious thoughts swirling in my head) usually helps me.
    Like, I’ll make a pro and con list of tackling the ~scary thing~, write what’ll happen/how I’ll feel if I confront it or avoid it, and list past experiences where I did something that scared me and what the outcome was. If I’m still feeling bottled up and need a release I’ll just type about it non-stop in some word document and/or walk the dogs!

  11. My first instinct is usually to pretend I’m not afraid, there’s nothing wrong, everything is perfectly fine… until the most unexpected thing hits me in a tender spot and I just start crying. So these days, I’m trying to breathe a little deeper and acknowledge that I’m scared; do a lot of writing and journaling and listening to soothing music; and practicing being honest with friends I trust.

  12. I’ve never conquered fear, but also it was a revelation for me to realize that this isn’t actually a prerequisite for getting things done. What I’ve found necessary instead is to remind myself that my feelings aren’t marching orders. (And—I guess in a larger sense—that a lot of those feelings have been conditioned into me to keep me complicit in unjust norms and hierarchies in thousands of small and ordinary ways.) The way I deal with fear is to ask myself: Am I going to act according to my convictions or am I going to act according to how I feel? How much power do my feelings have over me? What I like about this question is that the answer doesn’t have to be “none at all.” Fear does have a lot of power; it sends electrical and chemical changes barreling through my body with no regard for what I want; it pulls lofty ideas and well-reasoned arguments through the meat grinder until the only message not garbled beyond recognition is turn back, turn back, turn back. The question isn’t *if* fear has power over me, the question is *how much* power. There’s only one answer that I need to have for that: Not quite enough to make me stop.

    • “Fear does have a lot of power; it sends electrical and chemical changes barreling through my body with no regard for what I want; it pulls lofty ideas and well-reasoned arguments through the meat grinder until the only message not garbled beyond recognition is turn back, turn back, turn back. The question isn’t *if* fear has power over me, the question is *how much* power. There’s only one answer that I need to have for that: Not quite enough to make me stop.”

      I can’t get over how much I love this piece of writing! Thank you for sharing your words with us. It definitely inspired me.

  13. Oh, I’ve been looking for this magazine at my local B&N but they don’t have it. I got the Company of Women as soon as it came out.

    I suck at facing my fears, I’d rather distract myself by making myself super-busy!

    I’d say I do a lot of self-talk before the fearful thing, and reward myself after it.

    • I’m so excited that you’ve been looking for this magazine; it seems this giveaway couldn’t have come at a better time!

      For other options outside of B&N that might carry a copy of Good Company, check the link at the end of the article. There might be another shopping option on the list that will work for you, who knows?

      But I hope you win the giveaway anyway! Good luck!

  14. Lots of journalling. All the time, everyday. Therapy. Talking to friends. Taking things one step at a time. Just doing it! Whatever it is. Sometimes, I get to a point where I know nothing is really going to calm me down and it’s important to me to do X thing I’m afraid of so I just need to get it over with.

    • Taking things one step at a time was such a hard, but ultimately life-changing lesson for me. I’m a perfectionist by nature, so it was hard for me to understand at first that “good enough for right now, I can do more later” is perfectly reasonable and better for my mental health.

      I’ve also definitely done the “it’s important for me to do X thing I’m afraid of so I just need to get it over with” thing before. It really does help.

      • I’m also a perfectionist and one of my favorite quotes is “done is better than good.” Words to live by! It can be so true. It really does feel better to me to have something finished than perfect and incomplete.

  15. I’m starting to pay attention more to “what scares me.” When I’ve seen that advice in that past of “do what scares you,” that seemed nebulous and vague. Now I’ve been associating that feeling with something that excites me, but also makes me nervous because it would take me out of my comfort zone…

  16. I’m still working on developing an answer to this question. In fact, this is the sole conversation I’m parsing through in therapy. I’ve been held down depression for the last five or six years. I used to say “You have to want it more than you fear it” which is something I got from one of my heroes. It gave me some room to still have my feelings while giving myself a shove in the direction I wanted to travel. But then my hero got indicted for sexually harassing a lot of women which has changed how I feel about his wisdom. The other thing that pushed me was something I got from an ex: “If you don’t ask, the answer is already no.” I stretched that out beyond forcing myself to ask tough questions, into forcing myself to do things that frightened me.

  17. I was at Grace’s In the Company of Women launch in DC and she signed the book and we have a pic! I hate missing the first issue and even if I don’t win this, I’m grabbing this second one for sure.

    For me it’s a series of mediations I use in my Insight Timer app from Live Awake’s Sara Blondin that I listen too on repeat, especially one she did called When We Must Endure, that speaks to enduring through very fearful situations we can’t always change. I also have developed quiet meditation and I fall into one of my favorite yin poses.

    This and letting myself dream has brought a really wonderful person into my romantic life and I’m now about to use these tactics to re-center my career life.

    • 1. Even though I don’t know you personally, I’m really excited about your whole “signed book” situation.

      2. I’ve been working more seriously on the meditation/ positive thoughts and dream space routine over the last year, and I have to say that despite being originally a skeptic – it’s made major differences in my life. I’m glad to hear that it’s working for you, too!

  18. ~ the giveaway has concluded and the winning emails will be notified in the upcoming days. ~

    I also just wanted to thank everyone for giving so much of yourselves in these comments! I was absolutely, positively blown away once again by how much love and care our community takes in one another. You are all such superstars! Sending you lots of love (and bravery) this weekend.

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