Helpful Distractions: Whimsical Things
Do you ever need a healthy distraction? I do, on those overwhelming days, or flare days. You know the ones. That's when I turn my whimsy up to eleven. Happily, this current era of trolling, arguing, and deep divisions also posses powerful tools for building community or finding our own ways through difficulty. The internet and pop culture offer an endless feast of distractions, the key is finding something good for you.
Steve, what are you up to now?
Images of traditional domestic pets are cool. All floof is good floof. But I'm all about the otters of Twitter. Well, let me clarify. I'm referring to pictures and videos of actual otters behaving in an adorable manner.
I'm a creature of Twitter, beginning and ending my day on the platform, regularly exchanging DMs with my inner circle. These days, anybody having a hard time could get a few otter GIFs, videos, or cutesy otter threads dedicated to their struggles.
In Otter News is right in the middle of all this otters business. ION posts combine found videos or pictures of otters exhibiting natural behaviors with humorous captions. ION's primary characters are Steve, Brenda, and Brad. Fitting the Mustelidae reputation, the ION squad are a bunch of naughty scamps. Steve, a sort of Lord of Misrule, is their king. Tweeps are calling just about all otters Steve at this point.
Otters are more than entertainment
Many Twitter users find power in the otter cultural practice of rafting. Sea otters form rafts by holding hands and tying themselves together with kelp. This provides some protection against predators and drifting out into the open ocean, past the point of no return. Culturally, they've become symbolic of the need for or provision of mutual support and community care across health social media, disability spaces, and in the ongoing effort to prevent suicides and self-harm.
Sending Claudia on fan fiction text "missions"
My two closest friends and I have known each other for about twenty years. We grew up in the shadow of the Cold War and they both have cultural ties to the FSU and the surrounding area. It's like The Americans was written just for us. Jill* and I love Claudia, vicious spymaster in a granny package, played by Margo Martindale.
The Americans concluded with season six in 2018. I'm not sure how it happened but I started sending Claudia on missions in our never ending BFFs text chain. I love thinking up things that she might be doing. The classics include: getting banned from a bagel place, big box store, or dry cleaners for getting into fights. Claudia has also been known to go on yoga retreats, build bird houses with scout troops, and sing in a church choir.
What's your favorite healthy distraction?
How long was your longest flare?