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12 YouTube videos I watch for self-care

Words by Sasha Gattermayr

No ASMR here.

The crush of my existential pain is nauseatingly present in my downtime and has been a constant throughout my early 20s. I wish I wasn’t so neurotic but I am, and I wish I wasn’t so pitiful as to vent such predictable teen angst on the Internet.

But, like the cliche of the burnt-out millennial who allays her attention economy-induced anxiety with multi-stimuli bliss that I am, I fill that nihilistic void with YouTube videos. In the interest of maybe helping others with my weird Internet habits, I will share my go-to videos here with you.

Because sometimes, you just need to feel something.

1. J. K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech

There was a point during my final year of university where I genuinely felt hopeless. I wasn’t smart enough, efficient enough, original enough, organised enough. It was the first time in my life I had felt as though everyone in the room was smarter than me. So I did what any good millennial uni student with the privilege of a HECS debt and a hundred more important things would do, I sat on YouTube. Rowling gives a speech about the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination, and it honestly inspired me. Not because she helped me revise the entire structure of my dissertation, but because she reminded me that there is more rock-bottom than where I was. And delivering me the important aphorism that if you live an entire life without failure, then you fail by default.

2. The outdoor disco scene in Call Me By Your Name

Nothing makes me happier than watching Timothée Chalamet’s tortured sexual awakening play out in this scene. The emotional trajectory of this movie is so confused in the most relatable adolescent way, and this scene is the first time the pent up tension and energy is released physically. It’s pure joy.

3. Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech

Every six months I sit on my bed and watch this speech. I cry nearly every time. There’s a reason I return to it, there’s a reason it was beamed around the world, there’s a reason Malcolm Gladwell used it as the catalyst for the first episode of his insanely successful podcast Revisionist History. Someone had to break the glass ceiling for the rest of us, and for that, we thank you J-Gil.

4. Kristen Scott Thomas’ monologue in Fleabag

There are few people I aspire to be more than Kristen Scott Thomas. Her cover interview on The Happy Reader, her entire aesthetic in Gosford Park, her aristocratic melancholy fuelled by unrequited love in Four Weddings and a FuneralYes, she is my idol and this bar-side speech about female pain in Fleabag is bookmarked to my homepage. Delivered with enviable sophistication and a bored British indifference, she emanates the kind of world-weariness I hope to one day embody.

5. Oprah at the 2018 Golden Globes

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the swathe of awards ceremonies and red carpets that followed were flooded with anti-Trump acceptance speeches and #MeToo activism. In amongst all of this, Oprah Winfrey was the first black woman to win the Cecil B. de Mille Award. She then makes a speech, about women in hardship, which sparked the Oprah2020 Internet rally for Ms Winfrey to run for President.

6. Hannah Horvath performing at The Moth in the Season 5 finale of Girls

There’s a big theme of young, precocious women making humbling realisations here so clearly know the kinds of heroines I identify with. This is the moment Hannah stopped aligning her identity with her up-and-down relationship status with Adam and after five long seasons of excruciating self-absorption, the slow zoom encapsulates a welcome release for the highly-strung and highly narcissistic main character. It’s the point where she finally begins to grow up.

7. The dance sequence from The Skeleton Twins

SNL alumni Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig play estranged twins who both attempt suicide on the same day. It sounds much more morbid than it actually is as they are reunited by their parallel mental illnesses, resulting in a great impromptu lip-sync duet to this Starship banger. Also Luke Wilson.

8. Tim Minchin’s graduation speech

The great Australian ginger cat, Tim Minchin, addresses the University of Western Australia graduating class of 2013 with nine life lessons. Including, “respect people with less power than you”, “define yourself by what you love,” not what you are in opposition to, and “be a teacher”. “You don’t need to know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life,” he muses, and, as someone who feels a constant pressure to know what I’m doing with the rest of my life, this assertion is a great source of comfort.

9. The final scene of Ladybird

Anything with Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan in it was bound to be here at some point. Even though this movie doesn’t reflect my relationship with my mother, the ache for home and tenderness is familiar, and the sudden realisation and appreciation of a love you’ve always had is a sobering kind of crushing elation.

10. Adele performing Someone Like You at the 2011 Brit Awards

“If you’ve ever had a broken heart, you’re about to remember it now,” said James Corden said when he introduced Adele before this performance. At the time, she was number one in 17 countries. Then she cried while she sang and everyone lost their minds. Seeing someone else be physically affected by their own art blew my emotional range wide open.

11. Michelle Obama’s “When They Go Low, We Go High” speech

We all know she was talking about Trump, but her anti-bullying speech never mentioned politics. Michelle knows what the people need from real leadership, and delivered a motto for the

12. When Miley reveals she is Hannah Montana to all of Tennessee

And then sings ‘The Climb’. I was probably too old to see Hannah Montana: The  Movie when it came out but I definitely did anyway. The key change in the bridge is second only to the key changes in Love on Top, and is nothing short of inspirational.

Thank you for touring my subconscious, you’re welcome to come again.

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