Episode 27 Transcript- Self Love During the Holigays

Megan: Welcome to Queers Next Door
Leigh: with your hosts Leigh and Megan.

M: We take the topics you care about:
L: sex, relationships, feminism, kink, social justice, and entertainment,
M: and look at them through a queer as fuck lens.
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M: and make sure to follow the blog at queersnextdoor.com.

L: Cheers, queers!
M: Okay, we’re recording. Hi!
L: Yay! Hi!
M: So Leigh, what have you been doing to take care of yourself this week?
L: I have, well I got myself a Christmas tree, which just felt like a really nice like, both self-care and like, bring joy to my house. I had a really big fake tree at my last place because I had high ceilings and it was like, that belonged to like, a co-worker of my ex and they ended up not wanting it. So ya know, kind of like, connected to that relationship and to my last place.
M: Mmhm.
L: So I was thinking of getting a real tree this year. And then I was like, well, that’s bonkers ’cause real trees are really expensive and then you throw them away. (laughs)
M: Yeah.

L: And like, fake trees are also really expensive but then you can use them again next year. So I decided that I did not want a green tree and I got a silver tinsel tree.
M: Cute.
L: And put like, sparkle lights on it and it’s making me so happy.
M: That sounds so cute. I remember your old tree you had in your place.
L: Yeah! And it was really nice. It was just like, way too much. It was like, ten feet tall. So this one is six feet. It’s much more reasonable. Yeah. So Megan, what have you been doing to take care of yourself this week?
M: Well, (laughs) I’ve been listening to “River” by Joni Mitchell on repeat. That has been my self-care.
L: Oh my god. I love that song.
M: Oh, the other thing that I did, oh I went on a trip to North Carolina and I brought a bunch of stuff with me, like journals, books, nail strips. ‘Cause I’m super into these nail strips now.
L: Awesome.
M: I use Color Street nail strips and that feels like a treat every time I do it. It’s like getting your nails done but I do it myself and it’s much cheaper. So that was a fun little self-care thing that I did. And my trip was nice. Of course, I didn’t use the books and journals like I thought I would. But I did do some tarot and did a lot of resting. So it was a pretty restful week. But yeah, my first answer is just listening to Joni Mitchell on repeat has been very soothing for me. (laughs)
L: I love that.
M: Yeah.
L: Do you know the Indigo Girls version of that song?
M: No.
L: Yeah.
M: I have to look that up.
L: I think it’s the same. It’s like the, “I wish I had a river so wide. Teach these fears…” whatever. Right? It’s that one.
M: Joni says, “I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”
L: Yes.
M: Yes.
L: Yeah. They-
M: I just wrote that down so I can look that up after this and I’ll probably be obsessed with that one too.
L: Oh my god. Do you want to hear a whole story about the Indigo Girls?
M: Yes.
L: So, well first of all, I’m a big Indigo Girls fan, obviously. (laughs) Based on my age and my gayness. So I’ve been listening, which, this will segway into what have you been listening to and watching and doing. I’ve been listening to Tig Notaro’s new podcast.
M: Mmhm.
L: Actually, both of her podcasts. Do you know her? Right?
M: No.
L: You don’t know Tig Notaro?
M: I never know anything cool that you talk about. (laughs)
L: Oh my god. No. This is exciting ’cause then… Okay, so Tig Notaro. Comedian, lesbian, she had a big health thing where she had like a double masectomy ’cause she had cancer and she told people about it during a standup special, which was very like, kind of awesome and shocking but whatever. She’s great. Highly recommend all of her stuff. But she had a podcast called Don’t Ask Tig, where she and like, a guest, usually a comedian, answer advice questions from the listeners. And so, she’s a big Indigo Girls fan. And she had the Indigo Girls on. And I was listening to it in the car. And it was just delightful. So as soon as it was over, I was like, oh I have to listen to the Indigo Girls song, “Galileo,” ’cause it’s my favorite.
M: Uh huh.
L: So I listened to that. And as I was listening to it, I was thinking that I really need to tell- So my friend Sam has been doing this akashic records coaching for me as I’ve been writing a book. And so I feel like this is gonna be a really long story that’s gonna be really interesting or not at all. So we’ll see what happens.
M: (laughs)
L: But in the whole akachic records coaching we’ve been talking about like, you know, like what the records want for my book. Like, crows have been a big symbol.
M: Uh huh.
L: And so as I was listening to this song, I was like, “You know what. I bet Sam would really like this song. I should see if she’s heard it.” And then I was like, “Oh, wait a second. We talked about me having like, a playlist for my book.” And I know that’s something that you’ve been doing. And so I was like, “I’m gonna have a playlist. This is the perfect first song.” And so I, you know, I hit the little thing on Spotify to save it for a playlist. And then right as that happened, I looked up and a crow flew across, like right in front of my car.
M: How cool.
L: I know!
M: So do you take that like, as a sign that like-
L: That that was the right way to go. Yeah.
M: Yeah.
L: Yeah. It’s like a right track kind of thing. So I thought that was kind of lovely. And there was also, funny enough, there was a question on the podcast that they answered about someone, it was like a funnier question about someone who had the same song stuck in their head all the time before they go to bed.
M: Uh huh.
L: And so the kind of jokey answer to stop that was to listen to the Indigo Girls before you go to bed. But that’s what I did my entire freshman year of college ’cause I couldn’t deal with all the noise in my dorm.
M: Mmhm.
L: And I’d never been a person that fell asleep to music and I’m not these days. But there’s a live album called, I think it’s called 10,000 Car Keys. And so I listened to that like, on repeat every night for like, my entire freshman year of college. And so like, I would fall asleep at the same part every night and like,
M: Awwww.
L: because it’s a live album
M: (laughs)
L: I would remember like, their banter and have that all memorized too. Yeah. That’s my story.
M: That’s very sweet. I was falling asleep to Joni last night. I usually don’t do that ’cause my PTSD gets bad with headphones and stuff.
L: Sure.
M: Some nights I just love listening to music to go to sleep.
L: Yeah.
M: Or watching like a YouTube video and falling asleep and then I wake up hours later and my ears feel like they’re on fire from the headphones so that’s fun.
L: So I never fall asleep with headphones. As I’ve been having some insomnia lately, I have been watching things right before bed. But my girlfriend sleeps with TV on.
M: Mmhm.
L: And movies on. And like, it’s been a thing to get used to.
M: Yeah.
L: But she does it pretty low. It’s like a background kind of thing. So I do okay and I fall asleep. But what that means is I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and just like, like in the middle of a dream cycle with some like, random movie on. And that’s not a thing I’m used to. And I’m also like I have very very poor vision. So I can’t see it. So I often spend like, like a half an hour in the middle of the night when I sleep at her place just like, squint-watching some movie.
M: (laughs)
L: Last night it was National Treasure. (laughs)
M: Oh my goodness.
L: So like, that’s a whole thing too.
Both: (laugh)
M: I used to fall asleep with the TV on but I don’t anymore.
L: Yeah. What do you want to talk about today?
M: So I was thinking we could talk about self-love, because I don’t know if you consider yourself to be like, a self-love expert. But I think both of us are pretty good at it. And the holidays are coming. I was thinking we could do like, a holigay special
L: I love it.
M: about self-love. And I mean, I feel like it’s something that we see on Instagram all the time and it’s like, love yourself and all this positivity all the time. But I know it’s a lot harder. People are like, “But how do you start?” And like, “What are some ways?” And I just think that’s really interesting.
L: I love it. I think that’s great. Yeah, as we’re recording this, we’re in the middle of Hanukkah. For those who celebrate, happy Hanukkah. And then we are like, twelve days from Christmas.
M: Which is nuts. I can’t believe it.
L: I know. Even just saying that is like, “What?” So yeah, I think it’s a perfect time for that. So do you want to start with some of your like, either your favorite ways to show yourself love or some things that like, you’ve adopted like, over the years that have been really helpful
M: Yeah. So I made a list in my true typical fashion. Beforehand I made a little list of stuff.
L: Perfect.
M: So I’ll just start with like, the last thing I wrote was to touch yourself.
L: Mmhm.
M: So I like to do like, coconut oil or lotion. And every morning I use that as like, a time when I’m rubbing the stuff on myskin, I’ll like tell myself how much I love myself and how my body’s okay enough.
L: Aw, I love that.
M: Yeah. So that’s one way that’s pretty easy to do. It’s easy to do physically but sometimes not emotionally like, if you don’t have a good relationship with your body. And sometimes I definitely don’t. And as someone who has struggled with eating disorders and stuff like that, I just feel like that’s such a good way for me to start my day.
L: Yeah.
M: And it’s like, kind of like a meditation or like mindfulness, you know, reminding myself that my body is okay as it is and I don’t have to be- I feel like I’ve spent so much time waiting. Like, one day I’ll lose, you know, 15 pounds and then I’m gonna like, wear these clothes that I love and then I’m gonna like, look amazing and take pictures. And then I’m gonna do all these things. And so I like to remind myself that I am okay as I am and you know, put some intention in like, choosing my outfit. I know that that’s not how everyone would choose to show themself love. But for me, I like putting on lipstick and doing my nails and stuff like that. It like, starts my day off in the right way and makes me feel better the whole day.
L: That’s awesome.
M: So it all starts for me with like, getting out of the shower and putting my lotion on or my coconut oil and loving myself that way.
L: I love that. It’s also such a good time of year to be putting on things like coconut oil but my skin is like, the second I turn the heat on in the house
M: Mmhm.
L: my skin just gets so dry. And so like, remembering to do that is awesome.
M: Yeah.
L: Very cool. I like to do, I’m more, as we know, I’m more of a bath person.
M: Mmhm.
L: So that’s been a really good one. If you’re a person who does want to like, bring more touch into your life like, self-touch but maybe you don’t have the best relationship to your body. If like, looking at your body and touching your body doesn’t always feel good, sometimes a bath can be nice, even a bubble bath, where like, you’re like, you’re fully in your body but you’re not maybe connected in the same way if you’re still working on that relationship. Also just like, giving yourself a hug and squeezing yourself seems kind of silly but I think is as effective as something like, you know, taking a few deep breaths or whatever, just in like, bringing calm to you. Also like hugging or cuddling with somebody, if you have that option. Obviously we’re in month 75 of this pandemic still.
M: Yeah. (laughs)
L: If that’s not an option, it can self-touch or if you have an animal that you can snuggle with or even like a soft pillow or blanket or stuffed animal. That can be really good too.
M: Yeah. On this trip, I hate being in the car. It gives me really bad anxiety.
L: Yeah.
M: And I always bring my blankie and my teddy bear with me and I feel ridiculous for being a 33 year old woman who like, will carry these things around with her. (laughs)
L: No, don’t.
M: It brings me so much comfort. And it makes me so happy because I used to like, after my mom passed away, I was 18 years old and I used to go to therapy and they would try to tell me to do things like getting a stuffed animal and becoming attached to it or getting a blanket. And I used to be so opposed to it. I was like, “No. That’s ridiculous.That’s not gonna help me at all.”
L: Yeah.
M: I think that I just wasn’t ready for it.
L: Sure.
M: And so now that I like those things and it brings me so much comfort, I can’t explain it. I feel like it’s kind of like connecting to my inner child and stuff. You know how they’re like, your love language is the way you receive love, the way you give love and stuff?
L: Yeah. Of course.
M: Touch is not like, even in the top three. It’s like one of the last ones for me.
L: Okay.
M: But for self-love, I think it’s interesting that I’m attached to blankets and cuddling a teddy bear and stuff like that. So it’s like, it’s so different so how you can receive love and give love and then also your self-love languages.
L: Yeah. I think they really are. I would say the same. Touch is definitely, it’s probably in my top three but it’s definitely not my number one for how I give and receive love. But yeah, we just looked at one of these quizzes for what your self-love language is and that was, touch was number one for me. And it actually makes sense because I’m very sensitive to like, any kind of sensory stuff. So like, I really need to feel like, cozy and comfy. I got myself a- So the way my new house is my bedroom was an addition, so it doesn’t have the same insulation as the rest of the house. You know, the attic isn’t above my room but it’s above the rest of the house. So it gets a little hotter in here in the summer and a little colder in the winter. And I was trying to figure out what to do about that ’cause I also run hot. So I don’t want to be freezing or unable to get out of bed in the morning. I want to go to sleep and feel comfortable. But I also can’t have, you know, like a heating blanket or something ’cause I would just burn up. So I got just like, a tiny little space heater that I just turn on for a few minutes to get the chill out and then turn it back off. I’ll tell you, very very worth it. So if you need that like, I mean, not to be all, “What are the things you can buy?” But if you need that like, warm up kind of, cozy feeling.
M: Or a heating pad. I used to love sleeping with a heating pad.
L: You shouldn’t sleep-
M: Do you like heating pads?
L: I do. And I do use one. You shouldn’t sleep with one though.
M: I know. I’ve always heard that I shouldn’t. But I would fall asleep with it anyways and then I would end up, it like, turns off by itself.
L: Totally.
M: But I don’t have one anymore. So I’m not sleeping with one anymore. (laughs) So at least there’s that.
L: (laughs) It’s so funny. ‘Cause I’m about to be like, “You should get one.” But I don’t know. Not if you sleep with one. No, I’ve definitely fallen asleep with one. And I do use a heating pad both for like, back pain and just like, to feel cozy.
M: Yeah. I’m gonna have to buy one.
L: Do it.
M: This is my first like, winter, or coming on winter on the east coast.
L: That’s right.
M: I went, in North Carolina, one day it snowed a little bit. And me and my dog were both losing our mind. We were like, “What do we do? It’s so cold.” (laughs)
L: It’s crazy to be used to the co- So how cold is it where you are now?
M: I think it’s like 50 right now. It’s not bad.
L: Okay.
M: But it does go down sometimes, like it’s already been down to 27 in the middle of the night before, here.
L: Oh my god. That’s wild.
M: I know. It’s so different.
L: ‘Cause like, I come from a place where it was cold too. So this is like, not totally foreign to me. But I’ve been in LA for 15 years.
M: I forget you ever lived anywhere else.
L: I know.
M: Like I always just think of you as being from there.
L: I know, right? But like, no, I grew up in, so I lived in St. Louis and in Pittsburgh as a kid. Both are cold. And my family’s from Ohio. That’s where I was born. Also cold. So like, I’m looking at the 10 day forecast here and reminding myself, oh wait, it’s like, mid-December. It’s like, winter. And the lowest it’s gonna get here is like, 43.
M: Okay. That’s so cold though, for there.
L: It is cold. But that’s like winter, middle of the night.
M: Yeah.
L: You know?
M: Yeah. (laughs)
L: But during the day like, for the next ten days, it’s gonna be between 64 and 73, which is perfect. This is my absolute favorite weather. I wish it didn’t get dark so early.
M: Yeah.
L: But I love like, I don’t know. I mean, you grew up here. I feel so spoiled to be like, “Yeah. It’s December and it’s 71.” (laughs)
M: Yeah.
L: It’s so good.
M: That is good. I miss it. We’ll see how it goes here.
L: Yeah.
M: (laughs)
L: Are you liking it?
M: Yeah.
L: Good.
M: I like it a lot.
L: Good. I’m glad. It’s gotta be weird to be doing anything right now, like getting used to a new place.
M:  Yeah.
L: Or I guess a new city, not a new place. Just being in a new city and not having the same level of getting to explore
M: Mmhm.
L: ’cause of the pandemic. What are some other things that you do for self-love/self-care?
M: Well I wrote down, I’ll go with the second one on my list, vision board.
L: Okay.
M: So, for me, I love vision boards. I made one. I left it where I used to live, which sucks because I love them so much. But it was very inexpensive. But I went to Michael’s or something and I got like a board and I got big washi tape and covered it all.
L: Nice.
M: And I started with the Sylvia Plath quote, “I am, I am, I am.”
L: Yeah.
M: And I put it in the center. And I just put like, all these pictures of things that reminded me of self-love and things that I want to do and just stuff like that. And every time I would look at it, it was really good reminder to like, focus on those things, you know.
L: Yeah.
M: ‘Cause with anxiety and everything, my brain tends to go to like the bad places all the time. And I think, I don’t always like, agree with, you know, with things like The Secret, like, manifesting stuff. I have mixed feelings about it.
L: Yeah, same.
M: But it’s like, might as well think about those things versus something bad and something that my anxiety just runs with. So I really like having a vision board. I don’t have one now. Like I said, I left it there. It’s on my list of things to do for self-love. ‘Cause I really have been struggling lately with that a little bit. So I think I’m gonna do that, a vision board.
L: Nice. I like that. I’ve been really doing like, I ordered some postcards to color
M: Mmhm.
L: as my Christmas/holiday cards this year.
M: I got yours and I love it. I’m gonna send you one too.
L: Oh. Yay! I’m glad. And like, that was a really nice way to combine like, getting into, you know, getting into the holiday spirit but also something that’s really good for calming my brain.
M: Mmhm.
L: I also like, bought myself some new jelly pens, lil gel pens. Because there’s one, I have a ton but they run out. So the ones that I like the most, I got myself some more. And so just like, coloring and making things and I know this is something you but you do like, the big planner thing. And I also like, I have a planner, where I just, you know, it’s like a basic… It’s broken down by hour though so it’s really nice.
M: Mmhm.
L: It’s like there’s plenty of room to set up my day like, to really schedule my day if I want. But the other thing, it’s such a simple thing but like, I do it in pretty colors and any time I have a schedule change where I have to cross something out, I put a sticker over that.
M: Mmhm.
L: It just like, visually, it’s just visually appealing, you know. No one’s ever going to see it and it’s not really much more than like a little list.
M: Mmhm.
L: But there’s just something about having, I don’t know, having something you’ve like touched and made yourself
M: Mmhm.
L: to kind of get ready for the week.
M: I love that. And you have really pretty writing.
L: Thank you.
M: (laughs) I have the planners. I have like three of ’em. And I still only use one all the time. And mine has the hourly thing too.
L: Mmhm.
M: But I write really messy. And that’s been something I’ve had to just give myself permission to do.
L: Of course.
M: ‘Cause I don’t get that same like, nice feeling when I look at it and think like, “Oh my gosh. Look how cute this is.” (laughs) But when I do my like, Erin Condren planners, I’ll actually try to write really nice and I’ll put stickers and everything and I love that. But it’s like, I have to have the energy to do that.
L: Sure.
M: So in my every day planner, I just give myself permission to like, write messy. And I think another thing on my list, I’ll just go ahead and say it now, is journaling.
L: Mmhm.
M: And I think I have so many journals and I will not write in them because I don’t like my writing. Isn’t that nuts?
L: I wonder what you could do about that. ‘Cause I hear you on that. Yes, I have really nice handwriting but I always have. Like I don’t, you know- And I don’t think you have bad handwriting. But I know what you’re saying. Is there something you could, where you just write in your normal handwriting but you just like, decorate the edges. You know what I mean? Or just like, use fun pens or like, even little things like, yeah like things like stickers, where you don’t have to have any kind of like, drawing ability. ‘Cause like I can’t draw either.
M: Yeah. I have so many stickers and I rarely use them.
L: So that was a big thing for me. It seems silly but to not be too precious about things like that. Am I’m like, “Wait. Why am I not using any of my stickers.”
M: Yeah. I do the same thing.
L: So then I just got more so that now I don’t feel like I need to like, save them. And I just put stickers on things. Like I definitely, I worry that I’m gonna come off in a kind of like, “Here’s different consumer things that make me happy.” But I know you love subscription boxes and I was thinking that like, I never do any of those. But I do have a sticker subscription. (laughs)
M: You do?
L: Yes. And it’s cheap. It’s like 12 bucks. I got the like, small one. It’s Pipsticks.
M: Uh huh.
L: Yeah. And it comes once a month. And like, I think it is one of those things where like, yes you don’t need to buy anything. But if you are thinking about how to spend money on yourself, like it doesn’t need to be prac- Like, there’s nothing less practical than like, a 41 year old me getting a pack of stickers every month. (laughs)
M: No, but it’s so cute.
L: But it brings me a lot of joy.
M: Yeah.
L: Exactly. And it’s such a surprise. Because you don’t see what it’s gonna look like ahead of time.
M: Mmhm. Oh, that’s why I love subscription boxes.
L: Right. And so yeah. Just like, I don’t know. I think it comes back to like, I think a lot of self-love and practice comes back to like, giving yourself permission to enjoy what you enjoy.
M: Mmhm.
L: Literally doesn’t matter. Like there’s no age to things like stuffed animals or blankets or stickers. And I don’t know. There’s no, I read an interesting Instagram thread that one of my friends posted about like, folks who are autistics.
M: Mmhm.
L: And like, finding comfort in repetitive actions or like repetitive habits. I feel bad ’cause I’m not quoting it correctly. But the idea was that’s an idea that’s pretty common with autistic folks
M: Mmhm.
L: but like, when it comes to the holidays like, you know, neurotypical people also have like, get really attached to traditions and repeated habits.
M: Mmhm.
L: And so kind of like the idea of like, sometimes we’ll get into the zone of like, I should really be reading like, it’s the shoulds.
M: Yeah.
L: Like I should really be reading good books. Or like, there’s all these new movies and all these TV shows that everyone keeps talking about that I really want to watch and I really should but instead I’m gonna watch, you know, Schitt’s Creek
M: Yeah.
L: for the fifth time through. And then people have shame around that. And like, so I think again, like you know, you don’t have to prove to anyone that like, your entertainment, I don’t know, reaches some level of anything. Like you can just do things because you like them.
M: Yeah. I have been really bad with like, spending. But I’ve always been. And I think since my diagnosis of bipolar makes a lot of sense. And like, doing it during certain cycles and stuff.
L: Sure.
M: But I think too on my self-love language, giving myself gifts is like, a big one for me.
L: Yes. Me too.
M: And I hate to be, you know, that typical consumer person as well. But I think we have to like, do things that work for us. So like me, I can afford to- I’ll try a subscription box and I like to do a YouTube video about it but then I’ll cancel it. But what I’ve learned that I can do, is like, I can go to the Dollar Tree. And I know people hate that store. And I get it. But it’s like, it really works for me, my need to like, shop and give myself gifts. ‘Cause I can just be like, “I’m gonna spend $20 here.” And you come out with so much stuff. And I know that that could be seen as bad.
L: No, I don’t think so.
M: But it feels like really good self-care for me. And works with my budget. And so my partner and I- ‘Cause she’ll be like, “You wonder why you’re in credit card debt but like, look at all this stuff you’ve got.” And I’m like, “I know.” And so that’s one of the ways I’ve like, compromised with myself. I’ve like, “Okay. I can treat myself to things like, at the dollar and still do like YouTube hauls and stuff with that.” But giving myself gifts is a big one. And I don’t know why. I don’t know when that started. It feels like the last few years has been really me wanting to treat myself with gifts and stuff. (laughs) But it’s a big one for me.
L: You know, I think that’s awesome. That was a big one for me like, after my divorce. Not that I ever felt like, in my marriage there was particular focus on like, money, like how we spent money or anything like that. But there was like, a thing just about being like quote, on my own, that I was like, “Yeah. I’m gonna treat myself.” And I do think especially during the pandemic, where like, the things we can do, the more like, outward things we can do to show ourselves love are limited,
M: Mmhm.
L: that like buying stuff makes a lof of sense. Like, it’s safe, you know.
M: Yeah.
L: It’s so easy to order things online and it’s safe. But like, I love that’s you’re like, “What’s a way I can do this that like, makes, you know, budgetary sense?”
M: Mmhm.
L: So I love the dollar store. Mine is I’m part of like, my neighborhoods Buy Nothing group, where it’s just people giving things away.
M: That’s so cool.
L: It’s so cool. They have them in every city possible. So like, if  you’re looking for like, a Facebook focused thrift store, look up Buy Nothing group for your neighborhood. And it’s kind of awesome ’cause it feels like shopping.
M: Yeah.
L: And because it’s like hyperlocal, if you go pick things up from people, people mostly just leave them on their porch,
M: Yeah.
L: you know? So like, I don’t interact with people, totally safe, but it’s also never more than like a four or five minute drive. So that’s fun if I feel like, if I’m where I am right now. Like I’m way over budget for this month ’cause holidays. But if I like, feel like shopping or like, I want to treat myself, that’s a nice way to do that.
M: That is nice. I’ll have to look that up.
L: Yeah. I could almost guarantee they’ll have one where you are. They’re like pretty much everywhere.
M: You’re much more connected like, on Facebook and using groups and stuff. I think that’s amazing. I only ever use Facebook for work so I don’t spend time there like outside of that.
L: Yep.
M: But I want to. ‘Cause I know there’s so many groups and so many ways to be connected and so much cool stuff that you can do with Facebook groups.
L: You know, I got tired of using Facebook like, in a posting statuses social way, like if I’m sharing my personal stuff, I use Instagram. I like the platform better. I like that way of communicating and with like, I don’t know, like that way of sort of being like personal or confessional. I don’t really do a lot of that on Facebook. But I’m still on it and I still check it. So yeah, groups was a nice way to make Facebook like, kind of fun again. (laughs)
M: Yeah.
L: Yeah. I mean I’m mostly just in groups around like, arts and crafts and podcasts I like and snails.
M: (laughs)
L: Snails. Snail group. What else? Or even, I guess as we’re talking like, sort of social media and things like that, like maybe media in general. What have you been like, watching and listening to lately and what goes into like, what brings you comfort with that?
M: Oh, I’m still watching my same things, 90 Day Fiance, everything on TLC.
L: Amazing.
M: My friend Dawn, who I miss so much, I used to sleep over at her house every week. That was a great form of self-care. But anyways, she gave me her TLC Go log in.
L: Right.
M: ‘Cause she knows how much I love TLC shows.
L: Mmhm.
M: So I just sit at my laptop and that’s what I’ll do for my break in between work is catch up on shows. And it’s like that whole network is all like, reality TV most of it. Or all of it.
L: Yeah. I think so.
M: And so I’ll find something new to watch there. I’m like, scaring myself ’cause I’m almost at the point where I’ve watched everything. And I’m like, “What am I gonna do next?” I have to wait for the shows as they come on instead of watching them all, you know, binge watching. But I watched Smothered, which is, I thought I was gonna hate it but I ended up loving it, about moms and daughters who are super, super close,
L: Oh no. (laughs)
M: sometimes to the point of like, being toxic and other times it’s sweet and cute. But I ended up loving the show so I binge-watched that. And I’m still on 90 Day Fiance. There’s a new one that just started last week. So that’s, I think it’s on right now. So after we’re done it’s gonna be my bedtime. But I might stay up and watch that ’cause I just love that show so much. And listening to? Again, I’m just gonna say Joni Mitchell. I don’t know. I only ever listen to the same music that I’ve been listening to since like, 2005.
L: I mean, yeah. Same on that.
M: (laughs) Or I’ve been listening to a lot of ’90s. Like I’ll look at ’90s playlists and just play that and that’s been bringing me a lot of comfort. A lot of times I’ll hear songs and I’ll remember being in my mom’s car listening to them with her. And it’s very sweet. ‘Cause before I think like, years ago, with my grief, I wouldn’t have been able to handle that.
L: Yeah.
M: And now it feels like, comforting and I like it and I miss those times and I’m able to think about them. Oh my gosh. I just read a book. That counts as what I’ve been consuming. (laughs) Right?
L: Of course.
M: It was by Danielle Steel. And it’s about her son who had bipolar. And he ended up passing away. I don’t know how you say it. Like, he…
L: Oh. Did he die by suicide?
M: Yes.
L: Yeah.
M: So died by suicide. That’s how you say it.
L: Mmhm.
M: And it was a really beautifully written but very sad book. And I didn’t realize. Like, I’ve seen statistics about it and stuff. But it really brought it home for me that how many people die by suicide who are bipolar. And how many, there’s like such a big percent that will attempt and then still a big percentage that will actually die by suicide. And I was like, that’s so sad. And I have definitely felt those really low feelings before. But anyways, where I was going with this, is it goes back to grief. She said in the book, “One day you will learn to think of them as someone who lived instead of someone who died.” And that just like, it was really, it was like a profound moment for me. I think now it’s been almost 15 years or 14 years since my mom’s murder. And I’m finally seeing her as a person who lived.
L: That’s really beautiful.
M: And so now I think what reminded me of all that is listening to music that I used to listen to in her car. And so I love that. I don’t know if that all can tie back to self-care of not but… (laughs)
L: I mean, I think it does. You know, this is interesting. And like, I know your relationship to things around like, murder and crime
M: Mmhm.
L: has like, changed over the years.
M: Oh yeah.
L: Where are you? Like, do you watch any true crime type stuff these days?
M: I will.
L: Or do you mostly avoid it?
M: I’ll get into the mood to watch something and then I’ll like, binge watch it on YouTube or something. But I don’t watch it all the time. It’s like, I have to be in the mood for it. And then I’ll get really bad anxiety and like, really triggered and stuff.
L: Of course.
M: And then I’ll have to write about it or figure out ways to like, help myself through it. But I do watch it.
L: Can I like, recommend something to you with reservations? (laughs)
M: Of course.
L: I watched something recently and I mean, and I, you know, it very much will depend what mood you’re in, but it did make me think of you. It’s a little different. It’s called Murder on Middle Beach.
M: Mmhm.
L: And it’s on HBO. It’s a four part documentary series. But it especially made me think of you because the whole film is done by the son.
M: Mmhm.
L: And his mother was murdered when he was
M: Oh wow.
L: 18. And…
M: Twins.
L: Yeah.
M: (laughs)
L: So like, it is… I mean, I won’t give anything away, but the point is that like, while it is about like, not knowing… It was unsolved. So it
M: Mmhm.
L: is about trying to figure out what happened. But like, he made the film over like, eight years. So it’s about her death, right? And it’s about the murder. But it’s also very much about like, trying to figure out who his mother was as a person and like, what her life was because it is- I’m sure there’s something very, there’s something about being that age, I’m sure. I mean, you could talk about this forever.
M: Mmhm.
L: Like, where you’re like you’re an adult but just barely.
M: Yeah.
L: I mean, you’re so, how you…
M: But you feel like such an adult.
L: Yeah, sure.
M: And then as time passes, you realize how much you were not an adult. (laughs)
L: Mmhm. Yeah. So it was, I mean I would recommend it to most people. It’s obviously, you know, it’s obviously subject matter in that it is about a murder. It isn’t graphic. It isn’t something that has like, 911 calls or crime scene photos or anything like that, which I think is, you know, helpful for some people
M: Yeah.
L: who might be interested in the story but want to avoid things like that.
M: I would love to watch that. I wrote it down.
L: Nice.
M: What about you? What have you been watching and listening to and reading or anything you’ve been doing like that?
L: Yeah. So I, you know, I’ve still been on the podcast train pretty hard. (laughs)
M: Mmhm.
L: And have still not really been reading, kind of got off that a little while ago. But my like, before bed brain thing is that I’ve been doing New York Times crossword puzzles on my phone,
M: Uh huh.
L: which is, I feel like, a nice like, I’m doing something good for my brain but also like, relaxing.
M: Mmhm.
L: And I also just feel like I’ve reached like, peak old person because I get a little notification whenever the puzzle for the next day is ready.
M: Oh my god.
L: And I’m like, “Yes!”
M: (laughs) I love that.
L: Yeah. It comes the night before at 7 o’clock. So every night at 7:00 it’s like, “Oooh. There’s a puzzle ready.”
M: (laughs)
L: I have been, yeah. I have been alternating between watching that HBO thing, like, newer things that come out and then I always have a comfort show and so like I said before, I was watching all of The West Wing. So I finished that. I watched every episode of The West Wing. And I realized that I watched it years and years ago but I never watched the second half of the last season.
M: Mmhm.
L: Because the last season’s not as good. But it also brings a lot of like, it ties a lot of things together/ That was just like, a nice… I don’t know. It felt nice to actually watch it all the way though. And so now I am watching Schitt’s Creek all the way through again. I’m on my second pandemic viewing,
Both: (laugh)
L: which is only my second ever. I only watched it for the first time like at the beginning of this. So you have or haven’t seen it?
M: I have.
L: Okay.
M: But I haven’t finished it yet.
L: It’s so good. It’s just been really, again it’s like, it’s comforting.
M: Yes.
L: I like to have something that I can kind of have on while I’m like, coloring or making dinner or, you know, doing something.
M: Mmhm.
L: So yeah, that’s continued to be like, my comfort. Oh, and then, I don’t think I talked about this last time. Have I talked about the show We are the Champions?
M: No.
L: Okay. I recommend this one for you. You’d like this I think. So it’s a Netflix show. There’s six or seven episodes. They/re standalone episodes, like mini documentaries.
M: Mmhm.
L: And they’re about, it’s like a reality competition. But each episode is about a different competition that happens in a different city that’s like, really weird and wacky. So Rainn Wilson, you know, from The Office, Dwight from The Office
M: Yeah.
L: is the narrator. And he has, just a kind of great voice.
M: He does.
L: And so it was really fun. The first one is about cheese rolling.
M: Mmhm.
L: ‘Cause there’s this like
M: (laughs)
L: town in Britain where they roll a like, wheel of cheese – the cheese doesn’t have much to do with it, but this is what it’s called – down this hill that’s like, straight down and then people run after it. And like, there’s one that’s like who can eat the hottest chilis. And there’s one that’s dog dancing. It’s a delight.
M: (laughs)
L: Like, I can’t explain how fucking delightful it is. Also pretty kid friendly. There’s like, a little bit of language, which some people might care about, but I don’t. But like, my daughter watched it all with me too. We watched it with… Me and my brother and my kiddo watched it, and it was so fun.
M: That sounds like a lot of fun.
L: So highly recommend that. I’ve also been watching Nailed It with my daughter.
M: Love that show.
L: Love it too. We’ve just been watching the holiday episodes and so that’s really fun.
M: You have to watch the ones in Spanish after. They are even more funny. I don’t know why. You can watch it with the subtitles on, or like, the English caption.
L: Wait, are they different one-  The same show in Spanish? Or a different show?
M: Nailed It, yeah. There’s a Spanish version.
L: Oh, there is a Spanish version. Okay.
M: Yes. (laughs) It’s really good.
L: Is it on Netflix?
M: Yes.
L: Oh. Wonderful.
M: Yeah. (laughs) So when you’re done you can watch that version as well.
L: Oh my god. Totally.
M:  So how do you like to have fun by yourself? I know you mentioned you color and do puzzles and stuff. But that was something that I learned after my divoce, like how to have fun by myself. It was really challenging at first.
L: Yeah. It was challenging for me for awhile too. And now like, I don’t know. I like, legitimately enjoy being by myself.
M: Mmhm.
L: I miss people when I don’t see them and like, it’s very important for me to have social interaction. But like, I just, I don’t know. I was saying this to my daughter the other day because obviously she’s eight so she doesn’t understand this concept. But I was like, I’m never bored. She was saying she was bored.
M: Yeah.
L: And I’m like, “I’m never bored.” And she’s like, “Adults don’t get bored.” And I’m like, “Oh, plenty of adults get bored. I just don’t get bored.” And I don’t think it’s because I’m this overly like, interesting person. I just can relax easily. And so, yeah, I mean. I think it’s like the ways I have are like, listening to music I like and like, making myself something delicious and like, I don’t know. Yeah, I mean, coloring, puzzles, things like that. I mean I dropped my kiddo off on Thursday with her dad this week and was like, really psyched about cleaning my house.
M: Mmhm. (laughs)
L: So I mean, I don’t know. This is who I am as a person. I made myself a pie like, last week.
M: That sounds fun.
L: Yeah. So things like that. And then, I don’t even know. Like, it’s not that I can’t think of things. It’s that none of them, they all seem very just like, basic things. But it’s nice. Oh, and I’ve been like, I have a hummingbird feeder outside.
M: Mmhm.
L: I think I mentioned. So just like, sitting outside and just like, looking at things is really fun too. I’m just like, basically 90 years old.
M: (laughs)
L: That’s what we’re getting at.
M: I should sit outside more. It’s really pretty outside. We have a huge yard.
L: Oh nice.
M: But I just don’t really enjoy it for some reason. I want to.
L: Do you ever like, do you still drink? Are you drinking coffee these days?
M: Yes.
L: Where do you sit with your coffee like, in the morning?
M: At my desk usually.
L: Yeah. That could be a good- I mean, you know, obviously if it’s not a thing you’re into, it doesn’t have to be. I feel like that can be a good time to do it,
M: Yeah.
L: is like, sit outside with your coffee
M: Yeah. I should try it.
L: Yeah. But it’s also very cold there.
M: (laughs)
L: So you’ll need like, a blanket.
M: Yeah, that would be nice though. I always want to be an outdoor person but I’m just not.
L: I get that. I’m not as much of an outdoors person as a lot of people are and that is something that like, I will see things where people are like doing these big hikes and whatever and be like, “I wish that was fun to me.”
M: Yeah. Me too.
L: It’s not really.
M: Self-care envy.
L: Yes!
M: I’m like, “I wish that that was my self-care.”
L: Yeah!
M: But it’s not.
L: Right. Like, it’s not even that you can’t do it but you’re not drawn to it. I 100% get that.
M: I would just be there with anxiety and I would just be like, this is not fun at all. (laughs)
L: Totally. That’s okay. Well, also I guess like, as we’re talking like, holidays, holigays. What are you doing for the holidays?
M: This is gonna be my first year that I’m not with my family.
L: Okay. How does that feel?
M: It feels really sad.
L: Yeah.
M: I actually miss California so much right now. And I went through a long period, however long I’ve been here. What, since August?
L: Mmhm.
M: Or no, September, of being like, “I don’t miss it at all. Everything’s great.” But my nana sent me a picture of her tree and I’m like, “Oh my gosh. I’m not gonna see it in person this year.”
L: Yeah.
M: And so that was sad. And my partner’s mom passed away in May and she loves Christmas so much. Her mom does or did I mean.
L: Okay, yeah.
M: And so they have Christmas stuff in their house all year long. But I can feel that grief, you know, like, that fresh grief.
L: Sure.
M: And so that’s really hard and sad as well. But I think we’re just gonna be home of course. And have like, the immediate family over or maybe even not that, just who we live with. But there’s a new baby in the family and that has been cheering everyone up and it will be his first Christmas. And so we’re gonna buy him lots of gifts. And we’re doing a secret Santa so we only have to buy one gift. But then everyone’s gonna be buying the baby stuff and that’s really fun. I love buying baby stuff.
L: Oh, that’s awesome.
M: For Thanksgiving, this was my first year not being there for Thanksgiving too. I sent flowers for my nana, which was like, a way of me connecting with her. And I’ll probably do that for Christmas too.
L: Oh, that’s really nice.
M: And I think that’s just a nice thing to do ’cause I can’t be there.
L: Yeah. That’s really sweet.
M: Yeah.
L: I’m totally blanking ’cause time has no meaning. Were you with your partner last year at Christmas? When did-
M: Yes.
L: Okay.
M: Mmhm.
L: Did you start any like, do you have any like, new traditions or anything like that? The two of you?
M: No.
L: Yeah.
M: We’re buying each other gifts but we always buy gifts like, we choose them and then buy them. So it’s not a surprise.
L: Okay.
M: So we’re looking forward to that as well. I already ordered her gift and she’s- (laughs) It’s like, we tell each other exactly what we want and we get super excited about that. (laughs)
L: Nice. I love that.
M: Yeah. What about you? What are you gonna do? ‘Cause this is your first Christmas with your partner, right?
L: It is.
M: Even though you knew her years ago.
L: Right. I knew her years ago but not over like, the holiday- I mean, you know, I knew her for a few years. But we were not like, super close until like, a pretty short period of time and then not at all for like, 11 years. So yes. So it’s interesting because what I’m going to do this year… So every other year I have my daughter for Christmas. I alternate with her dad and stepmom between Christmas and Thanksgiving. So this year I had her for Thanksgiving. So we did Thanksgiving with my parents. My parents and my brother are in our pod. And my girlfriend has not met my parents yet because… So I guess I haven’t talked about this on here yet but you do know this. So my girlfriend’s pregnant. She- Not to like, get way into her personal business. But she had been planning this right around the time we got together. So I knew that she was trying to have a baby. So she is due in May. And she’s gonna meet my family over Thanksgiving but she was having, she’s been having a pretty rough pregnancy.
M: Mmhm.
L: So she wasn’t up for it. So she spend- I’m figuring it out right now. Trying to do the like, how do I shift things.  And who sees who and who does what. And I think what I’ve come up with is, since my kiddo’s gonna be with her dad and stepmom on actual like, Chirstmas, I think they’ll have her the first week of Christmas break and I’ll have her the second.
M: Mmhm.
L: And so at some point we will go see my parents, probably… But my girlfriend will come too. So like, we’ll go and spend a few days in the desert and just, you know, do Christmas a few days after Christmas.
M: Mmhm.
L: My girlfriend’s very close to her parents and so she’ll be doing like, Chirstmas Eve/Christmas Day with them.
M: Mmhm.
L: So I was actually just thinking about this today. And like, kind of like, okay. So if I’m not seeing my kiddo or my girlfriend on Christmas Eve/Christmas, I know that like, I’ll be celebrating with them and things are really good this year but I also know how I am about like, specific dates.
M: Mmhm.
L: And I’m like, I don’t wanna- I’m like, “Oh my god. If I wake up by myself though, I’m gonna feel super sad.” So anyway, I have a very, very close who is basically like, hasn’t seen anyone. She recently broke up with a partner and has been otherwise like, by herself. And so we’re gonna like get tested and add her to the pod.
M: Oh okay.
L: And so I have invited- So we’re gonna have a Christmas Eve slumber party. (laughs)
M: That’s so sweet.
L: Yeah. ‘Cause she, like I said, just recently broke up with someone and her family’s all out of state. So we’re gonna do just like, a movies and whatever.
M: That would be so nice.
L: Yeah. So, you know, I know everyone’s taking different covid precautions. Hopefully everyone’s taking them though. But like, yeah, you know. I recommend that if folks are alone this year that they schedule something,
M: Mmhm.
L: whether it’s like a socially distanced hang outside with a friend or like a drive by someone’s house or a Zoom. Like, if the holidays matter to you, even if this year feels like, okay this is very different, which it is,
M: Mmhm.
L: still like, allow yourself to have feelings about it and like, set up anything, even like a Zoom game night with some friends or with your family like, if you’re close with your family, if your family’s in your life or if it’s just like, chosen family. Yeah.
M: Yeah. That’s nice. That would- I want to do something like that on Zoom with friends from California.
L: Yeah.
M: That would be nice.
L: We shoudl do that sometime.
M: Yeah.
L: You haven’t met my girlfriend. And I mean, I see your face every now and then when we do these things, but like, we should set up a Zoom.
M: Yeah. That would be fun.
L: Yeah. We do, actually last night we did- So one of my girlfriend’s friends does this monthly trivia, a Zoom trivia.
M: Mmhm.
L: And so we did that. And like, my brother joined last month and this month. And then the friend I’m talking about also joined last night. And it’s only a Zoom thing. It’s not like a thing that was once in person and like, moved to Zoom. It’s something that they like, started doing during the pandemic. And like, it’s so fun. Like, it’s basically like one of my girlfirend’s close friends and her husband are the ones who run it.
M: Mmhm.
L: So it’s like, their extended family and there’s like 10 teams I think. So there’s a ton of people that do it. But it’s once a month and like, you know, whatever thing like that, I think, that you can set up or plan for, just to like- It’s not just that it’s fun. Because it is. I love trivia. It’s also I’ve noticed something that’s really hard about all of this is not having like, specific things to look forward to.
M: Mmhm.
L: And I don’t mean like, in a hopeless way, just in a very like, I don’t know, when like people used to go. It’d be like, “Oh. There’s gonna be, you know, go get coffee at Cutie’s this weekend.” Or whatever the thing is.
M: Yeah.
L: Like there’s just none of that now. So I really really love the trivia just because it’s on the same day every month. And like, that feels like keeping some normalcy.
M: Yeah. That’s really nice.
L: Yeah. Do you get to see or talk to any of your girlfriend’s friends. ‘Cause you’re where she grew up, right?
M: Yes. We did for awhile but now that eveyrthing is getting, you know, we’re going back to more restrictions and stuff, we haven’t been. But I did get to meet some of her friends.
L: That’s nice.
M: ‘Cause for awhile everything was more open and we thought like, “Okay, everything’s getting back to normal a little bit.” But definitely is not now. (laughs)
L: It’s not. But the vaccines coming so it will be. I think, like, you know, not as soon as we want but at least it’s on the horizon.
M: Yeah.
L: Do you buy yourself a Christmas present?
M: I buy myself so many presents that I guess-
L: I mean, I do too. I guess, rephrase. Do you every like, wrap yourself a present?
M: No. But I should this year. That would be really fun.
L: Right? Same. I was just thinking about that. ‘Cause I was like, “Okay. We’re probably finished up soon. What else is on the list?”
M: Mmhm.
L: Like, self-care but also holiday related and like, yeah. I get myself things too but I never- The first year that I was divorced I bought myself something. Because, you know, I’d been in a marriage for a long time so I was used to someone buying my gifts.
M: Yeah.
L: And my daughter was only two and half that first so like, I mean, listen she’s almost nine, she still doesn’t buy me anything. So she definitely didn’t buy me anything thing. So I got myself like, a really nice bag. And like, wrapped it and gave it to myself like, from my daughter.
M: Aww.
L: Yeah. And so I don’t really, you know, obviously don’t do that anymore but I suggest, that’s another thing where like, we’re talking about, if you’re doing nice things for yourself, whether you’re getting something for free or you’re buying something or you’re getting something at the dollar or you’v even pulling out something that you haven’t like, maybe you’re like, “Yeah, I wanna start doing puzzles and I have puzzles in a drawer.” I don’t know. Wrap some shit for yourself and put it anywhere. If you have a tree, put it under the tree. If you celebrate Hanukkah, give yourself a little gift every night. Like, I don’t know. I think that’s a nice idea.
M: Yeah. That is a nice idea. And this is our third year doing a podcast for Christmas. ‘Cause I remember for two years, right, we did #queerfortheholidays stuff.
L: Yes! And like, we can still people to tag queer- I know that we can’t like, everyone’s not out doing as much this year. But whether, if you’re a new listener or whatever, we usually tell people to like, tell us what they’re doing for the holidays and hashtag it #queerfortheholidays or #queerfortheholigays.
M: (laughs) Yeah.
L: Maybe we should say that. I don’t know why we didn’t do that.
M: I know!
L: So yeah. If you are, however you’re celebrating and however you’re taking care of yourself, tag us, post it on Instagram. We’d love to see what you’re doing.
M: Yeah. That would be so fun.
L: Yeah. And then we’re gonna have- Our next episode will be another Patreon only Queer Cuts, right?
M: Mmhm.
L: So keep an eye. I don’t know exactly what day we’re doing that. But keep an eye on the Instagram and if you have not yet joined our Patreon. For as little as $1 a month, you can get access to our extra content. We have mini episodes called Queer Cuts. And we had our first streaming one, like, livestream recently. And I think we want to keep doing that.
M: Yeah. That was fun.
L: It was super fun! And we’d love to have people join, which just means like, you get to see us while we’re talking and you can like-
M: Chat with us!
L: You can chat with us and ask us questions in real time and we would super love that. So to join our Patreon, just go to supportqnd, like Queers Next Door, Q-N-D. Dot com.
M: Yes. We would love to have you. That would be so much fun to have more people join in on those and we’ll keep doing them. So you can look forward to that. Come hang out with us. Ask us questions or tell us what’s going on in your world.
L: Absolutely. And also, if you join our Patreon, besides the extra content, I will send you a little packet of like, a few things, with like a handmade card. And now you know I have all these kickass stickers so…
M: And you’ll get to see her lovely handwriting.
L: You will. So don’t miss out on that. (laughs) Yeah. I think we’re- We’ve been going for-
M: Yeah, for awhile.
L: For awhile. I think we’re probably. I think we’re done.
M: We’re doone! Alright, well, I hope everyone’s taking good care of themselves during the holigays.
L: Yes.
M: Let us know what you’re doing. Tag us. Tag #queerfortheholidays or #queerfortheholigays so we can see.
L: Absolutely. And yeah, take care of yourself. Get your social needs met but don’t go do something stupid. Don’t have a party. Keep your mask on.
M: Yeah. Please.
L: Please. Be nicer than I am. Also fuck the police.
M: Yeah. Love when you say that.
L: I know.
Both: (laugh)
L: And we love you.
M: We love you.
L: Stay safe.
M: We will see you, or talk to you, (laughs) next time. Byyye.
L: Thanks for listening to Queers Next Door. We hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to follow, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts.
M: If you like what we’re doing, join the Queers Next Door fan club at patreon.com/queersnextdoor to receive all of our exclusive content, and we’ll mail you a fun little surprise. You can find the link on our blog queersnextdoor.com. Cheers, queers!

About Queers Next Door

we take the topics you care about - sex, feminism, kink, social justice, and entertainment - and look at them through a queer AF lens. Cheers, queers! <3

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