What I Read And Watch When I Can't Girlboss My Way Out Of Existential Terror

This week, I've had better weeks. These things have been helping take the edge off.

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When the going gets tough, there are a few routines I try to lean on: forcing myself to cook a meal that requires some effort and care. Interacting with friends in-person instead of sinking facedown into my couch. Muttering "oh god" to myself at every slightest inconvenience I encounter. These are activities that help me feel better, even if I'm still pretty far from feeling good. Sometimes, when I'm waiting out difficult times to get to a good place again, that's all I can ask for.

These are the things Incoming readers and I have been using to feel better this week. Hope you enjoy it.


Dear Sugar, the Rumpus Advice Column #98: Monsters and Ghosts.” Been going through a bit of a tough time, and it’s been helpful to start my mornings rereading Cheryl Strayed’s advice for someone who "can’t seem to escape the past and the memories."

While it may seem bizarre to return to the same 2012 article on a daily basis, reading Strayed’s guidance has been an oddly affirming ritual. "While it’s true you’re haunted by your past, it’s truer that you’ve traveled spectacularly far away from it. You swam across a wide and wild sea and you made it all the way to the other side,” Strayed writes. “That it feels different here on this shore than you thought it would does not negate the enormity of the distance you traversed and the strength it took you to do it."


The Abhidhamma. Lately I have been doing a lot of meditation practice and studies of the Abhidhamma (a field within Theravada Buddhism). The meditation practice results in a clear and still mind with a calm body and a deeper knowledge of oneself and how one's own mind works. It benefits me as well as people and animals in the near vicinity, as they'll experience a peaceful and more mindful listener. —Thomas

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"In Ha Mood” by Ice Spice. Dubbed “the people’s princess” in a new Dazed profile, venerated rap rookie Ice Spice told the magazine, “I only keep supportive people around me, motivated people around me.” Thankfully that didn’t stop her from releasing “In Ha Mood,” which contains some of the best burns I’ve heard since Nicki Minaj said “couldn’t get Michael Kors if you was fucking Michael Kors” in 2011.

The whole track is a stunner, but it’s the line “If I was bitches, I’d hate me a lot” that has me ready to pledge my sword to Spice. In a nine-word declaration of confidence wrapped in faux empathy, Spice conveys an ethos I urgently seek to embody. “In Ha Mood” is her umpteenth reminder that she’s not a one-hit wonder, and she’s just getting started. It’s a dismissal of her insecure haters. It’s a whole fucking mood.

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