Once and never again?

Do you re-watch the same television shows? Do you have a certain book that you read every year? Have you got those couple of movies that you’ve seen more times than you count? Are your walks to work dominated by the same few albums? Do you consume media and then consume it again?

I hear some people don’t do that. Who are these people, I wonder? I’m a big re-watcher/reader/listener.

But I’ve been trying to work out why. Because, don’t get me wrong, I love discovering new things. I mean, you’ve heard I like books, right? And I’m always taking Netflix show recommendations from my mate and listening to songs my brother sends me on Spotify and watching, what I can only imagine at this point is, the eighty-seventh Rocky movie with my partner. But I also have personal classics that I’m always coming back to. Or thinking about the next time I get to hang out with them. And that’s when I realised it.

Returning to things makes me feel safe.

I think that’s what it comes down to. I like to feel safe. And comfortable. Like I’m among friends. And they’re helping me with my problems. I like to wrap myself in a big warm cocoon of songs I love and words that make me pause and movies that break my heart or make me laugh so hard I cry.

They’re my history. Each little piece of them tells a tiny tale that all weave together to become the whole of me. I remember sitting cramped around our first family computer on uncomfortable chairs with my siblings watching The Day After Tomorrow. I remember the first music video we ever saw was Murder on the Dancefloor by Sophie Ellis-Bextor (squished around that same computer). I remember making our parents sit painfully though our dance routines to the Vengaboys that we were so proud of. I remember hours of car journeys each getting to choose one CD in turn out of our big black case. Sometimes U2 or Blue or S Club 7 or The Kooks. I remember memorising every line from the movie A Cinderella Story because I watched it every day after school on my portable DVD player that I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to get for Christmas. I remember watching High School Musical in 10 minute snippets on Youtube and feeling exhilarated that I’d cheated the system. I remember discovering streaming sites and watching endless hours of Heroes and Prison Break in my room hoping I didn’t accidentally get a virus on my laptop. I remember the reading group me and my friends had in our ICT classes, constantly swapping around Sarah Dessen books. I remember singing every word to The Scene Aesthetic with my friend during our edgy adolescence. I remember watching The Breakfast Club for the first time in my room because a guy had come around to put new carpet down on our stairs and I was stuck upstairs alone whilst my family all watched Neighbours downstairs. I remember watching Neighbours every day after school with my siblings and my mum. I remember watching What Lies Beneath at a Year 6 sleepover and being absolutely terrified. And I remember night after night working bar in uni listening to the same trashy pop songs every night and rolling my eyes but then shouting the words the next Friday when I was there myself, wasted.

Whilst many of these examples are not my favourite things or ‘safe spaces’ it’s still interesting to recollect. So many moments in my life link back to a book or a band or a movie. And I kind of love that. It’s like sensory memories. And I find those really satisfying. People remember what something tasted like or smelt like. But what were you listening to? What were you reading? What melodies were vibrating through your heart and what words were swirling around your head?

I know that on the beautifully silent, early morning summer paper rounds I discovered and fell in love with Snow Patrol’s album A Hundred Million Suns. I know that when I was home for Christmas from my year abroad in America, Brooklyn Nine-Nine kept me company during my long hours of jet lag. They helped me sleep again a few years later when my mum died. I know that my favourite song from last year (Old Friends – Pinegrove) came from a mixed CD my brother made me and we played on loop whilst we (and my boyfriend) hung out and drunk beer and talked about life. I know that Legally Blonde has got me through just about any bad mood I’ve ever had. All the way back to when I bought the DVD with my teenage part-time job wages and dreaming of the day I’d be as excellent as Elle Woods. I know I spent my childhood quoting School of Rock and Mean Girls endlessly with my siblings and feeling so loved. And I know I sat in a Creative Writing class at uni in America reading Autobiography of Red and Dept. of Speculation and Citizen: An American Lyric and We the Animals and realising that writing could be so much more that I had ever realised. And I don’t know, when I revisit these texts and songs it gives me a floating sense of connectedness. At least, I sense of floating that grounds me.

Do you have moments like that? Are you an avid re-watcher/reader/listener? Or have you just read all that and thought, ‘what the fuck is she talking about’? Either way, thanks for coming on the journey with me! This is what happens when I start writing about something without a clear idea in mind, haha. But what I was thinking about mainly is returning to things now that we know and love. I think it’s a kind way you can support yourself in 2021. It’s respite from the dystopia we’re living in. It’s a good way to feel content. With that said, I’m off to start season three of Grey’s Anatomy (again). Wbu?

Mind Mischief – Tame Impala

Queer Eye

So I really wasn’t kidding about our Friday self-care posts coming back slowly. It’s been like two months since I said that.. But anyway! Beside the point. This week’s task is so enjoyable that you’ll forgive me instantly for keeping you waiting. Everyone drop whatever you’re doing right this second and go do it. Like right now. I don’t care if you’re at work. Say ‘peace out, guys, something I gotta do’. But no seriously, go and watch Queer Eye. If you haven’t seen any of the show then you’re in luck! You get three whole seasons to binge! If you already know about Queer Eye then I’m gonna assume you’ve actually already binged all of the new season. Oh well. Watch it again?

This show has been taking the world by storm since it started it’s reboot last year. And why? Because it is just so heart-warming. Don’t get me wrong, this show will break you. Completely crush you. You’ll be drowning in your own tears. Fair warning. But through all the pain and the discrimination and the lack of self-esteem you get to watch something beautiful. You witness real people completely reinvent themselves. Discover themselves. Learn to love themselves. They put their trust in the Fab 5 to transform them. They want change. They just don’t necessarily know how to do it for themselves. And it’s not just about physical change. A hair cut or a new wardrobe can give people an immediate visible confidence but it’s also about teaching them self-care and giving tips on how to treat themselves well. There’s also lots of focus on why and how they’ve got to where they are at the beginning of the episode and how they can alter their future going forward. God, I’m tearing up just thinking about it!

So who the heck are the Fab 5? They’re a team of guys who use their expertise in different areas to round together the transformation. Each episode features a physical makeover of body and clothes; a healthier look at your diet; a healthier look at your mental health; as well as a reinvention of your living space.

So who have we got?

On Food and Wine we’ve got Antoni. Now there is many memes across the internet that say Antoni can’t actually cook, he just knows how to chop up an avocado. Well, for one, you’re wrong, but also, who doesn’t like avocados? So what are we even moaning about people? Anyway, Antoni believes what you put in your body is a bold statement about what you think you deserve and how you plan to treat yourself. He also thinks cooking a good, wholesome meal for friends and family is a great way of connecting and I’d have to agree.

On Design we have Bobby. What that man can do with an interior space is incredible. Literally breath-taking. He suits it exactly to the person’s style as well as their needs and the spaces are always highly functional. Literally boss.

On Fashion we have Tan. Tan is the master of the French tuck, he also knows how to pronounce squirrel correctly. These are things you’ll understand once you’ve WATCHED THE SHOW. But really, it’s mad how many people are wearing clothes that are far too big for them just because they feel self-conscious or just don’t take the time to take care of themselves. He shows people what clothes fit their body shape and the smile on people’s faces when they look in that mirror is enough to set me off.

On Culture we’ve got Karamo. People are always asking ‘what even is culture? That’s not a thing’. Well I’m here to tell you to dropkick yourself in the face. I debate with friends all the time about who helps the person the most and it’s almost impossible to decide. But I think there’s a lot to be said for Karamo. He’s a trained social worker/psychiatrist so he knows what questions to ask. He knows how to get people to open up about what they’re avoiding. It’s in admitting that and exploring it that you often see the people smash out of their shell. It’s when they realise that they are enough. Exactly how they are.

On Grooming is the one and only JVN (Jonathan Van Ness). JVN is very extrovert and energetic and when I first committed to this journey I wondered if I’d find him annoying. Boy, was I wrong. There is something about that guy. He’s genuine. I completely believe he is always being entirely truthful to himself and that’s pretty inspiring. He is so ready with compliments, personalised to each individual that you just feel like you’re getting showered in them too. He makes me smile and you can see in his face that when someone he is transforming looks more confident in themselves then his job is done.

So basically, Queer Eye is just the greatest show to ever exist. People think it’s just this fluffy, reality, trashy show. And even if it was, why would that matter? But that’s just not actually accurate. It’s very socially conscious. It discusses very relevant topics such as religion, race, police brutality, homophobia and transphobia. It challenges social norms and yet it’s fun. That’s why it will remain popular.

In conclusion, (since this has turned into an essay) just go and watch this show so that we can talk about it! You seriously won’t regret it. I swear.

Peace.

All Things – Betty Who