Jasmin Savoy Brown Explains Why She And All Her Friends Are Hurting

Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

And also why Nicole Kidman is her Instagram kryptonite

I am living with anxiety and depression. And so, it feels like, are all of my friends. Every person I know—especially those in their 20s—have crumbled drastically in the past two years. There's been: divorce, a broken engagement, time spent in a mental hospital, severe anxiety attacks or manic episodes leading to quitting jobs, the development of anxiety and/or depression, serious contemplation of or even attempted suicide, addiction issues due to a prescription, sex addiction, drug addiction, or alcohol addiction.

These aren't the problems of just a few people; they're the problems of all my friends. It has reached a point where I always expect the phone to ring with bad news. Suicidal thoughts? Fired from your job? Impulsively cheated on your husband and you don't know why? Talk to me, friend, I feel you. These are just the average phone calls between millennials.

It's not a coincidence that these conversations started happening after January 2017, the month of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration. An ugliness was unleashed that day, hindering many people's ability to enjoy life. While it's true that horrible things occurred in this country and around the world prior to Trump's election, it's also true that his election provided a lot of people with a new kind of clarity about the abundance of those things. It was a wake-up call, in the worst possible way. It became a new morning routine to wake up in a lovely mood, smile into my morning cuppa, and then hear on the news that another group of young people was gunned down in school. Or another Black teenager was murdered by the police. Or another minority group was harassed and assaulted by a MAGA-hatted terrorist. Or another woman accused a powerful man of rape, only then to be accused herself of seeking attention. Or the leader of our country made another senseless, inappropriate, degrading remark.

These things bring me down. They knock the wind out of me and make me cry. They do that to a lot of people. And so we joke about growing accustomed to the negativity, saying maybe it won't hurt as much tomorrow, because we'll grow thick skin today, but I don't buy it. Each day it hurts more. But wanting to grow a thick skin is like a hopeful affirmation of what we would like to be: immune. Less empathetic, less human, less vulnerable to pain. But that's not what we are, and so the hurt continues, and the ugliness does too.

In a world in which manifestations of hatred keep popping up, making it clearer every day that the human race is divided, feeling lost and hopeless makes sense. How can I enjoy the privileges of my life when I know that, just a few states away, families are being torn apart from one another?

It appears that I can't, that we can't. Instead, I—we—collapse. We self-medicate. We turn to excessive spending, drugs, and alcohol. All things that only make us feel worse. And then there's my "favorite" vice: social media.

My vice is all about buying into a fantasy; allowing myself an escape from real life. My current Instagram kryptonite is Nicole Kidman. I like to believe that Nicole and her husband Keith Urban are as perfect together as Nicole's Instagram paints them as being. And, while there's no doubt they're in love, I also need to remind myself as I scroll through her posts that they also must get annoyed with each other and have fights and other petty couple things, but I forget all this while I spend time immersed in Instagram. I get obsessed, and I end up convinced that my own relationship is boring and all messed-up.

And suddenly, I'm back where I started. I log off, and the world is still broken. My life is still my life. I still have depression, anxiety, and slightly yellowed teeth. Donald Trump is still the president of the United States, and Black women are still being murdered daily with nothing to show for it on the news.

Are you now thinking: Okay, so what you're telling me is, the world is shit, our lives are shit, and I can't even escape it with a daily dose of Instagram?! No, Karen. Read it again. If we spent 20 minutes a day online, that would be fine. But we don't. We spend hours and hours a day online, and it is only making us feel worse. Social media itself is not the problem. We are the problem. And our problem is a lack of tools. We were never taught self-care. And we are letting our vices stand-in for self-care, often to our own detriment.

And now you're thinking: Silly Jasmin, of course, I self-care! I order a dirty soy chai every day before work and get blackout drunk every Saturday with my friends! NO, Karen! We can't really afford any of that, not to mention caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating. Self-care starts with water, and ends with knowing when to say no to a party, saving money, and sleeping longer instead.

I know that to some of you, self-care sounds like a frou-frou millennial way of avoiding responsibilities, but that is simply untrue. Children naturally self-care. They are so in tune with the wants and needs of their bodies, they do not question their impulses to exercise, eat, hydrate, play, relieve themselves, express emotion, and rest. Their bodies request, and they oblige. We lose touch with our bodies in this way during our adolescence and then into the workforce, and it continues in our lives, especially when building a family. We are trained to work through meals or skip them, drink caffeine to avoid feeling tired, keep our feelings to ourselves, stifle the yearning to play, and so on. We train ourselves away from ourselves. I'm sure prior generations experienced this in their own way, but the world has evolved and we have additional challenges, e.g. social media, constantly distracting us from caring for ourselves.

Self-care is personal, and the more privileged you are, the more time and money you can put into it. I implore you, no matter who you are or what you do, tune in to your body and discover how you can realistically implement self-care into your daily life. Maybe you're a stay-at-home parent and have zero time to yourself? Start with body awareness. How many times a day are you holding your breath? When you notice your breath is held, release it, and then follow with a few deep inhales. Perhaps you commute to work and start the day with business calls on your drive in. Allow the first five minutes of your drive to be silent, just for you. I promise, your boss will never know! If you are fortunate to have more time in your day, perhaps 10 minutes, try taking a walk, or journaling, or reading a chapter of a book. Self-care ranges from properly hydrating (something almost everyone can do!) to visiting the spa on a weekly basis. Be realistic, meet yourself where you are. Just do it. I am certain it will help.

Here are a few ideas for self-care, ranging from five seconds to an hour; all of them have helped me, in one way or another.

  • Take three deep breaths.
  • Put down your phone.
  • Drink a glass of water.
  • Make a cup of tea.
  • Light a candle.
  • Go outside.
  • Put on happy music.
  • Read.
  • Take a nap.
  • Go to bed early.
  • Take a bath.
  • Call your best friend.
  • Call your family. Chosen, blood, or otherwise.
  • Work up a sweat.
  • Shower.
  • Talk with a therapist or counselor.
  • Say no.
  • Avoid sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Have some candy, or a drink, or a latte.
  • Smoke some weed.
  • Care for a plant.
  • Laugh!
  • Keep sacred spaces sacred.
  • Do 10 jumping jacks.
  • Dance your heart out to an entire song.
  • Color in a coloring book.
  • Play with an animal.
  • Do something silly.
  • Clean out your closet and donate to a local homeless shelter.
  • Elect Democrats.

Remember to go easy on yourself. Remember you are not alone. Remember this too shall pass. And remember to be kind. We are all hurting. We are all in this together. We will only make it through if we stick together, and care for ourselves.

Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images

Sounds fake, but okay

In a new interview for Australian Vogue, Kendall Jenner makes the claim that being associated with the Kardashian name was a setback in her modeling career. Hmmm, that's funny, because power and influence usually works in their holder's favor.

In the interview, Jenner addresses skeptics who doubted that she would make it as a professional model. "A lot of people assumed that because I came from a 'name' that it was a lot easier for me to get to where I got, but actually it's the completely opposite," she says.

"I've always been the person to prove [critics] wrong, even when I was younger," she says. "I've always been a hard worker: that's in my blood. My parents raised me and my little sister to be that way and the rest of my sisters, too." In the profile, it's revealed that Jenner used to attend castings "simply as 'K' or 'Kendall' to distinguish herself from her famous family."

But keeping her name off her portfolio wasn't going to fool anyone, really. Her face has been on television for years, and it seems unlikely that a casting agent wouldn't know who she was even if Kendall didn't come out and say it. Perhaps Jenner was more closely examined and more readily criticized by people who doubted her, but I'm not sure I believe that she had a harder time gaining a modeling platform or booking big jobs, even if she didn't use her last name.

After all, Jenner was likely able to get into those big casting rooms right away because of her family's connections, and she was able to devote her time to pursuing that career because of the wealth they have. She would've had a much harder time making a name for herself if she didn't come from an influential family. She probably wouldn't get to be so selective about which shows she walks, and she definitely wouldn't be the highest paid model in the world.

Screenshot via Hulu

Introspection is not a bad thing

In Look Back at It, we revisit pop culture gems of the past and see if they're still relevant and worthy of their designated icon status in our now wildly different world.

"It just seems like you agree to have a certain personality or something, for no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you?"

Iconic '90s show My So-Called Life is filled with existential questions and observations like this, with many, if not all of them, voiced by high school sophomore Angela Chase (Claire Danes). They're delivered with a familiarly annoyed tone, as if Angela can't believe things are the way they are, and that they're unlikely to change.

Angela lives with her parents and sister in a comfortable home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spends her time navigating the social scene of Liberty High School. She's undergoing a big change, having switched friend groups and fallen in with a cooler crew, namely Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer) and Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz). Thanks to them, Angela dyed her hair from blonde to a "Crimson Glow," and is encouraged to indulge in her obsession with Jordan Catalano (a pre-Gucci Jared Leto), the kind of guy who's constantly applying Visine and has a limited chance of actively graduating.

From the first moment of the first episode, Angela's voice is pure, unadulterated teen angst. The melodrama can, when watching as an adult, feel like it's too much. And then there's other times, like when Angela talks about the agony of Sunday evenings, that it feels unnerving to relate so much to a 15-year-old:

"There's something about Sunday night that really makes you want to kill yourself, especially if you've just been totally made a fool of by the only person you'll ever love, and you have a geometry midterm on Monday, which you still haven't studied for because you can't, because Brian Krakow has your textbook, and you're too embarrassed to even deal with it. And your little sister's completely finished with her homework, which is just, like, so simple and mindless a child could do it. And that creepy 60 Minutes watch that sounds like your whole life ticking away."

Angela is nothing if not an over-thinker, preoccupied with very teenage problems like zits and gossip and who to talk to at parties; her thoughts on the most simple of relationships are extreme, like when she thinks about how she felt before she became friends with Rayanne and Rickie: "it seemed like if I didn't, I would die or something."

Sometimes, her melodrama feels suffocating—particularly when related to Jordan Catalano (it's imperative to say both his names). Angela wonders: "Huge events take place on this earth every day. Earthquakes, hurricanes... even glaciers move. So why couldn't he just look at me?"

As an adult, it's easy to think that, of course, Jordan should look at her: She's smart, witty, open-hearted, pretty, has good taste in music. But then, there's no way to make sense of how crushes work. As a sophomore in high school, I also pined after guys who I felt were out of my league, and after the only girls who were out... but who were dating each other. My thoughts probably (definitely) sounded a lot like Angela's, and I was similarly dissatisfied with my life.

At the time, that dissatisfaction felt oppressive—and I wouldn't want to relive it entirely. But that introspection was also what saved me. By questioning what was around me and interrogating how I really felt, I was able to reject the trappings of my conservative town, figure out my own politics, and accept my own queerness. My teenage dissatisfaction with the way things actually are made me grow as a person, and it shaped me into who I am. Thinking about Angela now, and how her angst fueled her, reminds me that I should also let myself indulge in some teen angst—even as an adult.

In one of the show's final episodes, Angela pauses to reflect on the value of her overthinking. She's ringing in the New Year with her friends and decides her resolution could be "to stop getting so caught up in my own thoughts, because I'm like way too introspective… I think." But she decides against that idea, because "what if not thinking turns me into this really shallow person?" Same, Angela. Same.

Courtesy of HBO

Thanks, I hate it

In an interview today with The Cut, Vanderpump Rules star Stassi Schroeder blessed readers with some of her thoughts on HBO's Game of Thrones, and since we can't get enough GoT talk, we were excited to see what Schroeder had to say.

And, in case you're wondering if Schroeder is a fan of GoT, don't: She's actually such a massive fan that she refers to her fans Khaleesis, and they call her Khaleesi right back. So!

Anyway, after the wide range of responses to Daenerys' fiery mayhem in the show's penultimate episode, The Cut wanted to check in to see how Schroeder was faring, and ask what she thought of it all. While Schroeder's opinion on Dany is mixed (she found the Dragon Queen's "crazy" actions to be relatable, but she didn't think it followed Dany's character arc), it wasn't, like, a bad opinion, just a bit muddled, if not so different than those of the majority of viewers.

Schroeder's real hot take, though—what we feel comfortable calling the worst GoT opinion we've heard—is about another character altogether: Arya Stark. Here's what Schroeder had to say about our favorite blacksmith-banging, Night King-killing, proposal-denying assassin in all the Seven Kingdoms: "Arya, I feel like she probably should have just married whats-his-name [Ed. note: Gendry! His name is Gendry!!]. What's wrong with being a lady and a badass at the same time? You don't have to choose just one."

And, like, sure, you don't have to choose just one, but Arya would never choose to be a lady. That's not her! So, if we're still talking about characters behaving inconsistently, Arya saying yes to a proposal (a rushed one at that) would have been absolutely bonkers. Arya's not about to change her entire personality just because some dude drops down on one knee and proposes, and to want her to do so would be like wanting Dany to act like a sheep, instead of a dragon.

All to say, you know nothing, Stassi Schroeder.

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hoto by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group

Our favorite grouchy girl died today

Today is a sad day, because it is the day Grumpy Cat died. Also known as my personal favorite feline celebrity, Grumpy Cat died from complications following a urinary tract infection. The super relatable cat—real name, Tardar Sauce—was only seven years old.

Grumpy Cat was first introduced to the world in 2011, back when LOLcats were everywhere. Grumpy Cat's downturned face (the result of feline dwarfism, according to her owners) was the subject of a huge amount of memes—she was even the 2013 Meme of the Year at the Webby Awards—and was the subject of her own Lifetime movie, in which she was voiced by the Grumpy Cat of actresses, Aubrey Plaza. But, though we loved her for the memes, we loved her even more because we related to her mood.

Grumpy Cat was so relatable because, like us, she was completely over everyone's bullshit. Unlike us, Grumpy Cat didn't hide her feelings with a smile. And while that was because Grumpy Cat literally couldn't do that, we like to think that she also just didn't want to do the emotional labor. Which is why, in honor of Grumpy Cat, have the courage to roll your eyes at someone today, instead of forcing a fake grin. And just think about how Grumpy Cat's probably frowning at us from some sort of kitty afterlife, utterly annoyed that everyone is mourning her death.

Screenshot via YouTube

And I need to see the rest ASAP

As excited as we already are for Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart, to hit theaters next week, we just got even more desperate to see it. Why? Well, the first six minutes of the film were just released, and every minute is incredible.

The film opens on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) meditating and listening to a motivational tape telling her she's better than everyone else, and to "fuck those losers." Her room is decorated with pictures of Michelle Obama and RBG, so we know her head is in the right place. We learn she's the class president when she arrives at school with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).

It's there that we get a glimpse of the social hierarchy in which Molly and Amy exist—but somewhere down near the bottom, way below the popular kids, the theater nerds, the stoners, and even the annoying class clown.

The film officially hits theaters on May 23, but Annapurna Pictures is holding advanced screenings across the country today, May 17—we're actually holding two of them! So, if you're in L.A. or New York, check them out.

But also, you can watch the first six minutes of the film, below, and prepare yourself to watch the whole movie in a week.

BOOKSMART | Uncut First 6 Minutes