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Some Good Words: April Edition
Falling in deep platonic love, "Nice Shows," influencer burnout, Gen X, sex therapy, and more!
Happy weekend, WANT fam — We’re back with what I’m currently calling SOME GOOD WORDS!
ICYMI, this is our new monthly post and email dedicated specifically to recommendations OUTSIDE of the WANT universe.
Some of of my favorite newsletters are the ones with robust, on-brand recommendations for things to enjoy both online and off. There’s SO much noise out there when it comes to media to consume — what do I watch? what do I read? — and I always find it so helpful when I’ve got a set of vetted recs to sift through from someone I trust.
I’ve structured this kinda-sorta inspired by the the James Clear 3-2-1 rubric, but with my own spin on it: THREE things to read, TWO things to watch, and ONE thing to hear.
The links, podcasts, shows, books, etc. that I’ll share will span across genres and themes. Some things will be pure fun, some might tug at your heart.
But one thing will remain consistent: everything I share here will be with the intention of helping you move forward fearlessly in your own life by being proactive, not reactive.
I’ve also included A Note From Your Self: This note is meant to be read to you, from you. It’s a reminder of who you are, what’s possible, and what might be worth considering today.
I feel the need to give the disclaimer that I’m still playing with the format of this list, so if you have any suggestions or thoughts, I am all ears! Leave a comment in Substack directly in this post and let me know.
SOME GOOD WORDS
To quote Taylor Swift — are you ready for it?
Here are some links to articles, videos, podcasts, and more that have enriched my life lately — and that I think you’ll love, too.
3 THINGS TO READ:
The Unsung Joy of Falling in Big, Deep Platonic Love via NY Times — I am a BIG proponent of BIG love. And not just love between romantic partners. I love falling in love (and being in love) with my dearest friends.
I’ve always felt this way about “in-love friendships”…and sometimes, this has meant I’ve felt really lonely. I’ve found that the periods of time in which I didn’t feel like I had at least one friend I loved on this deep, profound level were some of my hardest times — even if I had a good deal of friends whose company I enjoyed. Lonely, I’ve come to believe, is love with nowhere to go. And while acquaintances or more superficial relationships are definitely important (even research says so!), I’m someone who needs to have big, deep platonic love in my life.
I also always felt a little weird about this, especially growing up in the 90s/early 2000s when close, effusive friendships (particularly female friendships) were rarely featured let alone celebrated. Was I not supposed to love my friends this much? Was this kind of spark only reserved for romantic partners?
It’s only been in the last decade or so that this kind of love has been talked about in a mainstream way. I loved this article in the New York Times, which profiled four different friend couples, and the moment they knew they had something special. This made my heart swell with joy, and reminded me that falling in love is a privilege we get to experience all throughout our lives. READ IT HERE
Gen X Taste by Lynn Chen on Substack — Speaking of friendship! Lynn is a friend I love dearly, a member of our WANT community (and a former WANTcast guest!), and most notably here, one of my favorite bloggers in the universe. While “blogging” and life online has changed a lot over the last two decades or so, Lynn has consistently been someone I know I can turn to for authentic, funny, smart, insightful, fun, interesting, nourishing moments posted on the internet. I met her via her original blog The Actor’s Diet back in 2009, and I love that even 14 years later, I’m still giddy whenever I receive a notification that she’s posted something new on what’s now her suite of Substacks. Yep, I. said. multiple!
I loooooooove her newest, Gen X Taste, which she describes as “a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog and newsletter for those who still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up (even if they’re over the age of 40).” Even though I’m definitely an Elder Millennial (1986, baby!) and not Gen X, there’s a lot of overlap — and honestly, who can’t relate to not knowing what they want to be when they grow up, even when the world is calling them a “grown-up” ?? The perfect blend of personal moments, product reviews, and pop culture references that I’ve come to expect and love from my friend. SUBSCRIBE HERE
Is There Life After Influencing? via NY Times (again!) — Whewwwwwww THIS ONE. I have so much to say about this.
If I’m being totally honest with you, which I always try to be, reading this article made me feel so much RELIEF that I didn’t lean heavily into a career as an influencer back in the early days of Instagram, when I was pressured to and told it was the only way to “succeed” (we’ll save the conversation about defining success for another day). I know people who did and are flourishing now, however it’s mostly because they’ve found a way to utilize their multiple skillsets — skills like journalism, photography, coaching, etc. that could be and are used beyond the career of “influencing.”
I also know so many people like the ones talked about in this article: people who are burnt out from the constant hustle and engagement, who have spent so long performing a personality and miss being a person, and who are tired of relying on an ever-changing algorithm to work in their favor in order for them to just GET PAID.
Just like many things, I think the career of Influencing(tm) is an AND/BOTH situation, not a BUT/OR. There are people who thrive making this career work for them, AND there are people who choose it and are harmed way more than helped. Honestly, this can apply to SO many jobs.
This article is getting a lot of attention for good reason, and I’m really glad it puts the outdated “influencing is not a real career” myth to rest a bit. It totally is, and as this article points out, it can be as soul-sapping as any job. I do think it’s worth noting that since being a professional influencer is a relatively new career path — and one that many people sought out to get away from other jobs that felt constricting — this conversation is going to feel new as well. IMO, it deserves just as much of a critical-thinking lens as any other career. READ IT HERE
2 THINGS TO WATCH
Tiny Beautiful Things on Hulu — The book Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed is one of my all-time favorites. Like, top-five status. If you’re not familiar, it’s a collection of letters (and her responses to them) from her former advice column on The Rumpus, called Dear, Sugar. I wasn’t quite sure how this would be adapted into a television show, but knowing it was a Hello Sunshine production made me trust that Sugar was in good hands.
I don’t want to give anything away, but this is a truly beautiful, heartbreaking and heart-opening series that makes you think about all the moments that define who you are as an adult, and all the questions you have along the way. Plus, I will watch Kathryn Hahn in literally anything. 5 stars. WATCH HERE
Top Chef World All-Stars on Peacock (or Bravo) — I love what my friend Jessica calls “Nice Shows” — meaning, if I want to watch violence, be frightened, or watch people be assholes to one another without any sort of deeper meaning or redemption, I’ll just do a quick scroll of social media or check the news. Nice Shows are shows where there’s nothing super scary or violent, and the people are just…..nice.
Jeremy and I are huge Top Chef fans to begin with, but this season is really truly a delight. It’s peak Nice Show!! I love how much they all respect and root for one another, and I really love the dynamic of each chef bringing their own local cuisine to the competition. It’s heartwarming and interesting and gripping in all the nicest ways. I wish they could all win! WATCH IT HERE
Sex Talk & That Night in Miami: Sex Therapy with Vanessa Marin AND How Glennon & Abby Learned to Talk Dirty with Vanessa Marin via We Can Do Hard Things Podcast — Ok ok ok so technically this is “2 Things To Hear” because this was a two-part episode. But for consistency’s sake we’re going to batch them into 1 Multifaceted Thing To Hear.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way — it is very rare I listen to a podcast interview multiple times, let alone a two-part podcast interview multiple times. This interview with licensed psychotherapist Vanessa Marin was THAT good. I took notes, I talked about it for weeks, I felt like I was getting my own session by osmosis.
The beauty of this double-header, I think, was the humanity of it all. This conversation was about sex, yes, but if you dissect all the parts, it was about connection, desire, definitions of intimacy, communication, and so much more. Also KUDOS to Glennon, Abby, and Amanda for facing their discomfort and staying curious — listening to them nervously giggle, get vulnerable, open up, and have their own a-ha moments in this episode was such a relatable and inspiring experience.
Reading this and thinking, eh, I’m single, this doesn’t apply to me? Wrong! Oh how I wish I’d had this to listen to back when I was dating and figuring out how to be in romantic relationship with someone else. I can’t recommend this enough to anyone and everyone, whether you’re currently in a long-term partnership, dating, or single. LISTEN HERE
THANKS FOR BEING HERE
I’ll be back with another one of these next month, plus a private email just for our incredible Paid subscribers (thank you for helping to make it possible for WANT to continue thriving!).
Move forward fearlessly, spread the good word, and be the you you know you’re meant to be…
ONE LAST NOTE FROM YOUR SELF…
An assortment of ideas that you might find useful to mull over:
You never get what you never try for.
You never feel what you never open yourself up to in the first place.
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
You just don't know until you just know.
So, all that being said: what will you choose?
Or embarking upon the journey of knowing better?