Episode 70: Chosen Family

Published November 25, 2016. 

Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.

Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.

Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.

Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. On the agenda we're talking about Thanksgiving, particularly Thanksgiving with chosen family who we love, Black Friday and workers' rights, and what we're grateful for.

[Theme Song]

(0:42)

Aminatou: Hi Ann Friedman! Happy day after Thanksgiving!

Ann: Happy Thanksgiving.

Aminatou: Thanksgiving's my favorite holiday.

Ann: Tell me why.

Aminatou: Many reasons. Except for Turkey the food is delicious. Turkey is trash. Everything else at Thanksgiving is delicious. But also it's the best holiday because there's no presents and there's no obligations. It's amazing.

Ann: Well, I agree with you. I have taken pains to setup my adult life so that Thanksgiving is a very friend-centric holiday for me. However, I know a lot of people who feel a lot of pressure and obligation around Thanksgiving and their families.

Aminatou: That makes me so sad because it's the best. At least when I was in college I would get really excited about it because it was like your first real break in the fall.

Ann: It's so truth.

Aminatou: I was like oh my god, I need a vacation, and it would come at the right time. But you're right, it's like a lot of people's lives unfortunately revolve around family obligations. It's like you have to go home. The concept of home is not a comforting one for everyone.

Ann: It's true.

Aminatou: So especially after an election like we've had, a bruising election like we've had, I'm sure that for some people this time is more painful than usual.

Ann: It's true. And you know even for people who . . . like I consider myself someone who is on pretty decent terms with my family but one reason I am is because I've set some really clear boundaries. And one of the boundaries I've set is I don't go home for Thanksgiving. So, you know, I have a lot of empathy even for people who are like I am in touch with my family, but seeing them at this particular time of year or going out of my way when maybe the extended family is there is not on the table.

(2:25)

Aminatou: Yeah. Thanksgiving for me is 100% a friend production. You know how some people have Friendsgiving and then they have Thanksgiving? I'm like no, Friendsgiving is the main event.

Ann: 100%. The star of the show is Friendsgiving.

Aminatou: Yeah. I've been celebrating Thanksgiving with the same crew for years. Love them. This year it's a little bit different. I will be celebrating with only one of those people because we're all traveling and it's a little crazy. But, you know, I'm happy. It's like I'm at the pool. I'm enjoying life and I'm really thankful to be here with my friend.

Ann: Yeah. I'm traveling this Thanksgiving so probably won't . . . I'm not even doing the Friendsgiving celebration. I'm basically opting out of Thanksgiving this year altogether which is the first in a really long time for me. I've had really inconsistent Thanksgivings but there is something that is so wonderful about the kind of commitment to this is a holiday and we're all coming together and it's framed . . . I mean not historically obviously, but in the now around gratefulness, that is so . . . it's so lovely to have a holiday where you're acknowledging the primacy of friendship, or like a day.

Aminatou: Yeah. My most trying Thanksgiving was with you. That's my one consistent Thanksgiving in the last decade. [Laughs]

Ann: Shout out to my Thanksgiving warriors. Oh my god, I met someone from Rancho Cucamonga last week and I was like "Do you ever go to that Albertson's? I spent a Thanksgiving in that parking lot once." [Laughs]

(3:55)

Aminatou: It's like every once in a while I'll think about that and I get so angry and I'm like we didn't even have stuffing that day.

Ann: We didn't.

Aminatou: And I get so upset.

Ann: You know, the folly of youth. We chose alcohol and partying over the sort of restorative potential effects of Thanksgiving.

Aminatou: I know.

Ann: We played a short game that year.

Aminatou: At least we had each other.

Ann: It's true.

Aminatou: And if I'm honest the thrifting in Vegas was bomb.com so it all worked out.

Ann: Oh my god, it was so good.

Aminatou: All of my best leather goods come from that trip.

Ann: I have some good leather goods from the Virginia suburbs of D.C. as well but Vegas has never disappointed on fine leather goods.

Aminatou: Yeah. So Thanksgiving, friendship production . . . I don't know. It makes me really happy. I'm just thinking about people who maybe had a hard Thanksgiving and that makes me a little sad, you know? Because there are ways you can make this into, you know, like I don't presume to know everything about everybody's life. But there are ways you can setup some boundaries and make this kind of a not as terrible time of year for yourself.

Ann: I do think that whether or not you attend a more traditional, biological family Thanksgiving, committing to some kind of friend gathering around this time of year is really, really important and great and affirming. To be like, you know, there's a community that maybe you were born into. There's also the community that you build around yourself. And the latter I've found consistently to be more fulfilling than the former.

Aminatou: I know. The people we refer to as our chosen family.

Ann: Oh my god, I love that term so much.

Aminatou: It's true. But you know, like in all things, you have to be really intentional and you have to plan and you have to make a time for each other and you have to prioritize each other. My favorite part of our Friendsgiving Thanksgiving is whenever Phoebe sends us a reminder to get on top of our Thanksgiving Tumblr that we've been doing for like five or six years now.

(6:00)

Ann: The group Thanksgiving Tumblr is totally critical when people are not actually in the same room for Friendsgiving but doing it separately.

Aminatou: Yeah, it started in 2010. Thanks 2010. Every year when she sends that email I'm like yes, thank you for reminding us that this is a special time of the year for us.

Ann: Yeah, and that we have this shared space. Really it's nice too because the low stakes stuff associated with this holiday, i.e. food, you can really . . . I mean yeah, you can't send someone a casserole through the mail, but being like oh, here's the menu I'm planning or here's this recipe I'm using, it's sort of like . . . I mean I know we use Tumblr, not Pinterest, but I feel like it's like the best of Pinterest. This sort of like we're going to connect around what is ultimately a pretty simple pleasure for the day. I love that.

Aminatou: Yeah. I really like that, you know? I think too this element of we have chosen each other and we are making an effort, it's like families have rituals and your chosen family has to have rituals also. And that's something we're pretty good at.

Ann: Yeah. And I think that this is something that even if people don't have a chosen family holiday tradition everyone's always waiting and wanting someone to start it, you know what I mean? I have always found immediate support for any idea related to adapting what is sort of traditionally a family holiday in the most Norman Rockwell of senses or whatever.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: And saying how do we take this and make it ours and commit to it? That idea of an annual ritual, especially as people move or get busier or as their lives change . . . I mean basically all of the same reasons why tradition is important to biological or traditional families. It is, yeah, 100% a thing for friends.

(7:50)

Aminatou: Totally. That's why I get so angry I think whenever, I don't know, right wingers for example try to just shit on the concept of non-traditional families even though I hate that term, non-traditional family. It's this realization that it's like yeah, we're not like fucking animals. [Laughs] We also have structure and we have rituals and we love each other and we're all trying to be better together. Just because we're not bound by blood and biology doesn't mean that we're not a real family.

Ann: It's true. And there is an interesting -- like among people who have a supportive relationship, or at least a cordial and ongoing relationship with their families and who are maybe disdainful of the idea of the non-traditional family, I have always been able to blow their minds if I say something to the effect of like "Well, what I love about my big city life is my community," you know? Because it's something in the values debate or whatever. We are so quick to cede family, tradition, ritual, those things to people who have a pretty narrow view of what those things are. And just expressing I value those things too just in a very different, constructed way than the religion and family I was born into is something I have blown minds with back home. Just being like yeah, totally.

Aminatou: Yeah. And I don't know, in some way for me at least, there's something that's almost sweeter about it because we have chosen each other as opposed to just we're kind of in the same boat and we share the same last name.

Ann: Oh yeah.

Aminatou: That's something for me that has been consistently important in adult life has been those ties of my friends love me and they choose me every day and they choose this life that we're making together for each other.

(9:50)

Ann: And it's true. Especially as you move through your 20s and 30s, so many of the big, ritualistic friend gatherings tend to be around still fairly traditional life milestones. Like I think about the times, outside of maybe a Friendsgiving, that I've gathered with a group of friends. It's like someone's getting married or someone's having a baby or -- you know, it all kind of goes back to something that is fairly traditional, and it's like staking a claim to a holiday that is not revolving around someone's life choices. It's like no, no, we do this every year no matter what everyone's status is or what's happening with them. It feels radical to me too.

Aminatou: Yeah, it does. And I think that it's really important to note that for some people, your biological family, that concept is really hard for you.

Ann: Completely. Completely.

Aminatou: Especially when we're all like city mice [Laughs] and there's a reason that some of us move to big cities and there's a reason that some of us move across countries or across continents, recognizing that it's not all Leave it to Beaver exciting or whatever. It's like some people have that and it's like my god, I'm so happy for you that you have that. But some of us do not. And that doesn't mean that we're less worthy of love or we're less worthy of having community. As you navigate through adult life you just have to recreate those things for yourself.

Ann: Right. And frankly it's still a choice. Like when you decide to attend a gathering of the family you were born into, most of us in adulthood are still choosing to do that. Now there might be like a lot of guilt or other things at play. You know, for me, I think that one reason I was really able to set some boundaries around my family is because I sort of asked questions about who are the people I want shaping my life? And who do I want to celebrate once a year or express gratitude with once a year? And the answer is I want my family to still be part of my life, but that is not my only . . . like far and away it is not my only important holiday space. And I think that too is just seeing it as an alternative that you can choose. I don't know, I wish someone had said that to me when I was younger, like you get to set the terms.

(12:08)

Aminatou: I know. But, you know, it's like even that in and of itself, it's kind of -- to use a Thanksgiving word -- it's kind of a blessing.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: That you're able to realize that. Like family dynamics are really, really complicated. When I am back in my family, no matter how much older I am or however much I've achieved or whatever, in your family everybody still plays the same static roles. And to your parents you're always a kid.

Ann: Oh my god, totally.

Aminatou: Which sometimes is kind of amazing but other times you're like oh my god, I will never grow out of being a teenager. And those are really hard conversations and boundaries to have with parents. As you get older, just real talking, I can't even imagine trying to real talk my dad. Ugh, you know? That sounds . . . and frankly that's why so many people just avoid it altogether. But I think that once you realize that you have agency around that it doesn't have to be as dreadful as you think it is. And if it is, you can also just choose not to engage. There's a world in which you don't have to have painful family interactions.

Ann: Yeah, for sure. I'm curious about what you think about the somewhat common Thanksgiving tradition of everyone saying something they're grateful for.

Aminatou: Oh my god, I love it. Are you kidding me? It's my favorite part.

Ann: I know, it's one of my favs too. I was hoping you would say that. [Laughs]

Aminatou: That's my favorite part. After stuffing that's my favorite part. I like it because it forces everybody to be . . . like it might sound really cheesy but it forces everybody to be really introspective. But I think too the thing that I've always been really surprised by in that time is just how different we all are. And I think that in that moment I'm also reminded of a lot of the tough shit that a lot of my friends have gone through that year.

Ann: Oh my god, completely.

(14:05)

Aminatou: And just really recognizing that. You know, every once in a while you go around the table and you're like this year has been tough but we're still alive and we still love each other and we're still fighting for each other. And I don't know, it reminds me of the resilience of your community and that's something that for me has always . . . it always makes me feel hopeful going into the rest of the year.

Ann: Right, and how much . . . I mean I have totally experienced this as well, of how much the answer to that question of what you're grateful for this year is bound up in almost the worst of the year, or somehow related to the things that if you were to answer the question of "Do I wish this thing had happened?" the answer would be unequivocally no. Also the ability in that space of relative emotional safety, particularly with friends, but also being group interspection is so good for sort of saying this is what I took from that, you know? And what I'm taking forward.

Aminatou: Yeah, totally. And also kind of in a weird, cheesy way, that moment always reminds you how much we don't take enough time to just be together. It's crazy that the thing I feel is the first real break in the year comes in November. [Laughs]

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: The year is almost over. But I know that I'm always struck in that moment of like wow, this is the first like pause on the year that I feel. Sometimes it's really hard to hear but it just reminds you how hard everybody is fighting all the time.

[Music and Ads]

(19:05)

Aminatou: Do you have Thanksgiving-specific traditions?

Ann: Not really. Honestly, besides that friends Tumblr and besides the I don't go home which I think at this point is its own notable tradition . . . you know, I've spent it with a lot of different configurations of friends, frequently people who have actively chosen not to go home that particular year or ever, people who have kind of found themselves financially unable to travel, or in a city where they maybe didn't expect to be. And while I love sort of the consistency of this is an old group of friends and we're very invested in each other, I have also really found a new level of friendship with people who we've been kind of thrown together for Thanksgiving.

Aminatou: Yeah, Thanksgiving orphans.

Ann: I love -- and really, you know, that is something that . . . it's funny, we're having like a mini Thanksgiving right now. I'm like hmm, I don't really reflect on this enough. But how important the act of we're going to share in this or coopt this ritual and perform it together in a pretty accepting way given that we don't know each other all that well yet has led to some really transformative relationships for me.

(20:22)

Aminatou: Ugh, I love hearing that. That's great. That's awesome.

Ann: What are your feelings on . . . I mean so technically today is Black Friday.

Aminatou: Oof.

Ann: I know we did a consumerism episode already but this is also the first day of pre-holiday frenzy I feel like. I don't know, maybe frenzy has been happening. I was weeks ago walking behind Mall Santa so it has been happening.

Aminatou: Oh my god.

Ann: But I'm curious how much you play that game or where you fall. [Laughs]

Aminatou: You know, honestly I really hate Black Friday for many reasons. One of them is that, you know, it's like the day before where we're like here's what I'm thankful for and the next day it's like get more stuff because you don't have enough to be thankful for.

Ann: Oh my god. Capitalism, so fucking tricky. Sneaky.

Aminatou: [Sighs] You know, it's that dichotomy. But also here's the thing that really just annoys me about it too is it means that people who work in retail get zero rest which is really depressing on so many levels. We already don't get enough paid time off in this country as it is. Then it's also the thing where one year I was like you know what? I'm going to save my electronics purchases for this time because I think I needed to buy a TV and I needed a mattress.

Ann: Listen, you're thrifty. It makes sense.

Aminatou: Some real life shit, right? I was like okay, let's see what the deal is. Ann, the deals are not that good.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: I was like you are literally going to maul somebody in a Best Buy over a hundred dollars? No. It's honestly an American thing that annoys me a lot where it's just like savings should be savings, and it's like no, sometimes your dignity and the fact that people are not getting paid time off and the fact that you have to be at the mall at 5 a.m., that's worth more than a couple hundred dollars in the grand scheme of your life. It's just one of those fake frenzies where everybody just hypes themselves up. Really? You're at Express at 6 a.m. to buy pencil skirts? Just look at your life. Look at your choices. This is not okay.

(22:35)

Ann: [Laughs] And it's funny too. You know, there is that purported alternative to Black Friday which is Buy Nothing Day which some people are doing.

Aminatou: Oh, I thought you were going to say Cyber Monday which is the one where all of the stores get . . .

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: Where they do the sales, the Thanksgiving sales later on.

Ann: Okay, setting aside Cyber Monday which has all of the problems of Black Friday, only less stampeding, I've sort of longed for -- and I guess it's on me to do it -- but I've sort of longed for something that is actually an alternative to Black Friday, like that is something related to doing something. You know, it's like Buy Nothing Day is not an action. Like I get it, saying I'm not going to go buy a bunch of stuff. You know what I mean? It's not a thing you can wake up and do as you digest your massive meal.

Aminatou: Totally. There's like a ton of volunteering that you could do. You could turkey trot if you want. So many alternatives to just buying a TV for $59 less.

Ann: It's true. But I guess I feel like I want, in the way that people are trying to make Buy Nothing Day happen and probably have been since the No Logo '90s, like that is old . . .

Aminatou: [Laughs]

(23:45)

Ann: I'm like I want there to be . . .

Aminatou: Throwback.

Ann: I know, right? Naomi Klein '90s throwback. I want there to be, and maybe I need to just do some more research/get a coalition to start it, something that is a specific action or activity. If it were just a given thing that it's not just Buy Nothing Day; it's a day where no one watches TV and they have to talk to people. I don't know. I guess that's sort of Thanksgiving. But you know, just a thing . . .

Aminatou: Are you kidding me? People watch football all day on Thanksgiving.

Ann: Okay, "people." Not people I spend Thanksgiving with, but yeah.

Aminatou: Obviously, civilians.

Ann: Civilians.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Oh my god. Yeah, maybe it should be something about holding the NFL accountable for its various misdeeds. Maybe that's the action on Black Friday.

Aminatou: Honestly for me I feel really strongly about not making people who work retail open a store for you because you couldn't get your fucking life together and buy your air conditioner the week before.

Ann: LOL at people buying air conditioners on Black Friday.

Aminatou: You know, it's just like -- I don't know, there's something so cruel about that because it's not like people who work on holidays are getting paid an insane surcharge, you know what I mean? If it was like you're getting paid three times more, by all means, Black Friday all you want. But when I just think about the kinds of people who hold those kinds of jobs and how hard they're working all year.

Ann: Oh, completely.

Aminatou: And the fact that the one holiday they should have to spend with their family, and God knows that they deserve that holiday more than most of us, and the fact that that is a stressful time for them, you have to clock in earlier then you have to deal with crazy people who are looking for bargains. It really offends me. I really wish that as a country we would reevaluate what we do. And a lot of stores are like "Oh, we're moving our sales to online and whatever." Let's not pretend like those warehouses, it's not Grapes of Wrath in there.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: Is there, in the crazy lives that we lead, is there really not one day of the year that we could give to everyone and just say this is a day to reflect on your year and be with the people you love? It drives me up the wall.

(26:00)

Ann: Maybe because I am pessimistic about the total disappearing of consumerist Black Friday, maybe it's like a national raise the minimum wage day of action or something like that. It's like the day when all of us who don't actually have to work for minimum wage can do or say something. I don't know. I'm into this idea of having a focus that is not just buy nothing, do nothing.

Aminatou: No, you're right. I support this.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: I'm just too busy being angry about how we treat workers in this country.

Ann: Oh my god, yeah, completely.

Aminatou: And I think also I feel, on a personal level, I probably feel guilty about it because it's also a time of the year that reminds me how much I don't really think about it until this particular time of the year.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: You know, obviously I'm aware of minimum wage fights and I support Fight for 15 and all of those things, but this is such a stark reminder of here is how we treat workers.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: And it confronts you with your own privilege on so many levels.

Ann: Right, when it's a day that you take for granted as a day off work.

Aminatou: Totally, yeah. It's like if you have an office job you know you're getting that Thursday off. And also it's so gross because then there's all these media stories about all of the stampedes that are happening. All of it is awful. The content industry around Black Friday is just really disgusting.

Ann: Totally. It's simultaneously being like "Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy" then also really shamey of people who buy that. It's like ugh. Ugh.

Aminatou: It's the same way I feel about President's Day sales and all of that stuff, or Veteran's Day sales. I'm like really? You're going to honor veterans in this country by selling a mattress for 7% off? Really? We do really gross things as a society.

Ann: It's true. I have very strong memories of being a kid and I would read the whole newspaper, even the insert ads for Yonkers and J.C. Penny. What's up, Yonkers? [Laughs]

Aminatou: [Laughs]

(28:00)

Ann: And I have very strong memories of . . . because I don't really come from a line of hard shopping women or anything like that, so it's not like I was going to the department store with my mom on those days. But I have strong memories of looking at the insert ads for those sales and being like Veteran's Day, 20% off bally bras. You know, whatever. It's just like so . . . you're right, it's so incongruous. I mean capitalism, so sneaky. The meme.

Aminatou: No, capitalism is not sneaky at all. It's like very overt. [Laughs] You know what I'm saying? It's like sneaky is making you do a thing that you feel better about. It's like here they're like no, blatant disrespect to people's lives.

Ann: Oh, I don't know. I mean I think if you did a poll and asked people what's happening here, is it capitalism? Like I know you are woke to capitalism's ways but I think that most people who are just like "Shit, 20% off a bally bra? I'm there!" You know?

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: You're right that it's not sneaky. I guess what I mean is it's just so rarely called out as polluting what should be a lovely day of digestion and friends.

Aminatou: Yeah, no, it really is. I really appreciate what you said about the shame aspect of it too because it is also true that I come from a place of more privilege where I can say this sale does not impact me because I don't think that it's good enough. But for a lot of people any break that they can get on things that they need to buy is important for them.

Ann: Totally.

Aminatou: But the fact that it's just tied into this gross holiday mode and nobody can win is . . . [Sighs] It's very depressing and it just taints such a good previous day of celebration.

Ann: Okay, well let's go back and talk about something posi-related to this particular time of the year because we cannot end on our rantings about capitalism.

Aminatou: My Black Friday rage? Yo, we're just becoming worker and worker and worker on this show.

Ann: It's hard!

Aminatou: Listen, if I can stop one person from buying earrings at Forever 21 on Black Friday I feel like my work here is done.

(30:15)

Ann: Great. I hope we get an email to that effect which was "I was about to reach for the earrings at Forever 21 but I bought the bangle instead because I heard . . ."

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: That's how skeptical I am. This is basically just us ranting into the void.

Aminatou: That's because -- okay, well, you know what? Let's do this exercise. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Ann: First and foremost I am just so grateful for my community, particularly the women in my immediate orbit who do so much for me in little ways that are not that little and in big ways that are very, very big. That is my number one, probably this year and always. But I'm really grateful that those women have continued to invest in me, even sometimes when I am not the best friend to them, which is a real thing this year and other years too. It's sort of like the resiliency of friendship I guess is something I'm really grateful for.

Aminatou: That's awesome.

Ann: What about you?

Aminatou: I'm signing off now. [Laughs]

Ann: Aww! [Laughs]

Aminatou: Tricked you. Tricked you.

Ann: Like leaving me gratefulness hanging. Gratitude. Gratefulness is not a word. Listen to me.

Aminatou: I'm thankful for pranks.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: No, same. I'm really thankful for just the people in my life who are consistent about showing me that they know me and they love me and that we all want to be free together. That has been such a theme of the year for me, whether it's getting back together with old friends or even a couple of new friends and just knowing how dedicated they are to the same things that I am has been so heartening. It's made me feel so much better about so many things in the world. And also just knowing the thing that you talked about, the resiliency of friendship. It's like it looks sometimes like your friendships look different and things change, but what is always consistent is the people who show up for you and who love you and who want you to thrive and do well. I've been so, so, so reminded this year and humbled so many times about how many of my friends just want me to do well and how invested they are in my success and how invested they are in my happiness and just how consistent they have been about saying that to me and voicing it out to me. I'm thankful for black women because black women are the future and they're incredible. It's been a hard year for so many things but it's also been a good year to be reminded of just like feeling loved.

(33:00)

Ann: Ugh, I love that. What about something that is like a tiny/not huge gratitude thing, but like -- you know, like an Oprah's favorite things level gratitude, you know what I mean?

Aminatou: [Laughs] A caf gratitude gratitude?

Ann: Exactly, exactly. Like you have something that like this really got me through this year even though it is not something deep and profound and vague.

Aminatou: Group text messages have really gotten me through the year.

Ann: Good one.

Aminatou: All of my group chats are lit. [Laughs] And if you had told me this was the year that I would get back into text messaging I would not have believed you. It's that and watching music videos again. I hadn't watched music videos in forever and music videos are so great right now. All of these new little baby rappers with their different-colored hair, I love those kids. That's my superficial things that have gotten me through the year.

(34:00)

Ann: I mean I think it is like . . . I love the big, deep, this is important gratitude but I also love gratitude for music videos. You know what I mean? It's like sometimes it's like that is what really brings you through.

Aminatou: Yeah, I like rap music again. That was not true this time last year.

Ann: Ugh. Thank you 2016.

Aminatou: Thanks 2016. What's your caf gratitude gratitude?

Ann: That's a good question. I'm really invested in mid-day cooking this year. [Laughs] This is such a weird work from home thing.

Aminatou: This is the most Ann Friedmanish answer and it's why I love you forever.

Ann: I mean just being like no, I'm going to make this recipe that by all rights should be a dinner thing and I'm going to take an hour out in the middle of my day. I am grateful for that. And I think also I've been better this year about asking friends for literally what is sustaining you right now, like send me the recipe. And it has borne so much fruit. So I think that cooking is good for me and therapeutic or whatever for me personally is not new. I mean I do think that permission in the middle of the day has been a real revelation and I've been really grateful for those hour-long breaks from my work to really think about things. And I know this is self-employed work from home privilege for real but it is my honest answer.

Aminatou: Please, listen, working from home is such a gamble so I don't believe that it's a privilege. It's like hi, we're taking a chance on ourselves. [Laughs] It's like the overhead is real so you deserve an hour in the day to cook for yourself.

Ann: Oh my god, I'm also grateful for these men's Athleisure pants that finally fit me and I'm wearing them right now/every other day. Huge point of gratitude for one item this year. It happened.

Aminatou: Okay, I need to directly look into the camera and talk to our listeners about this. So here's the deal with Ann and sweatpants.

Ann: [Laughs]

(35:55)

Aminatou: It has been a decades-long search to find Ann sweatpants that meet all of her criteria. Some of it was very justified tall lady inseam issues but some of it is also just Ann-specific things that's like nothing will do. So we've been on a journey. And the day that I saw her at my door wearing . . . she like wore these sweatpants out of the store.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: I was so happy for her. When somebody that you love has found their pair of sweatpants it's just a day you never forget.

Ann: When I put them on in the dressing room I mouthed into the mirror "You complete me." [Laughs]

Aminatou: [Laughs] I was so happy for you and then you're like running around town wearing sweatpants and I'm like welcome to my life and welcome to the rest of your life.

Ann: Listen, I'm grateful that you showed me the way before I even had access to this lifestyle myself. So more gratitude.

Aminatou: I've been committed to sweatpants our entire friendship, or to soft pants our entire friendship.

Ann: Yeah, you have never not been committed to soft pants I feel.

Aminatou: Oh my god, it's such an important part of my brand. Okay, one cheesy last thing that I am really thankful for and it's too on the nose almost, but I'm really thankful for the Call Your Girlfriend audience who is just so consistently and hilarious and lovely on so many levels and just allows us to keep doing this thing that we love every week.

Ann: And is so understanding of our flaws and inability to answer email. [Laughs]

Aminatou: [Laughs] I know, I love that. And also, you know, I think has challenged us in a real way and has forced us to be consistent and show up.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: It's like I feel a real sense of obligation now in a way that I just did not, and I don't know. You know, that's . . . if you had told me, I don't know, even last year that we would be doing a podcast and doing it regular and consistently for this much of an audience I don't know that I would've believed you. But, you know, it's like every week I learn something new and it's fun.

(38:10)

Ann: I know. And I don't know when it started to feel this way exactly but there has been a change where it felt for a long time that it really was just you and me talking, and at some point -- and maybe it was this year, there was this shift of no, this is a big group conversation. And I think this is the year where I really started to acknowledge that there is this whole community of people who are listening and really thinking about that even as we're recording. Not just like hey it's you and me in our respective closets, but this is a bigger thing. And I don't know. That's been true for a long time, but I think that this is the first year that I really understood it and appreciated it for how wonderful it is and how wonderful everyone who listens is.

Aminatou: Yeah, you know? And just feeling so supported and knowing we can launch a merch store and people will buy out our stuff, or people love to hear what we think about XYZ issues. And I think for me that shift happened fairly recently but it has left me changed so that feels good. You know, but also on another level it's just knowing that there are ladies like us in the world. Many men listen to this show. Thank you for your patronage. You know, but just knowing that there are tens of thousands if not a hundred thousand ladies who talk like us and care about the same things as us and laugh about the same things as we do. That's pretty fucking rad.

Ann: I have nothing to add other than total agreement and maybe we just need to mic drop right now.

[Music]

Aminatou: I know. You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, download it anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts, or on iTunes where we would love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us at @callyrgf or email us at callyrgf@gmail.com. You can also find us on Facebook, look that shit up yourself. [Laughs] Yeah, don't send us a message there. Or on Instagram at callyrgf. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. I am so thankful that this podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.

Ann: So grateful for Gina every day.

Aminatou: Ugh, the best. Okay, boo-boo.

Ann: All right.

Aminatou: I will see you on the Internet!

Ann: See you on the Internet.