Dear Future Self: You Won’t Always Be Alone

Flowers in a mason jar

On a shelf.

Going into my first surgery was scary and lonely, even if it was just to get my tonsils out. I’d been putting it off for months. So, I did what any woman who’d spent her childhood writing in diaries would do: I wrote myself a letter.

My plan was to read it after surgery, when I expected to be blackly depressed from the anesthesia. Remember, this dark feeling won’t last forever. I was a little embarrassed by my sentiment, but I was going into the operation already feeling low. I had just returned from an ill-fated trip to England to see if a friend and I could start a romance. While there, I came down with my umpteenth infection, finally accepted that I needed to have my tonsils cauterized, and painfully absorbed another romantic disappointment.

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Look at the landscape: Evaluating an iffy relationship

The thing about a bad signal is that it’s often about geography. As in, there is a mountain in the way or you’re in the middle of nowhere. But instead of reflecting on the landscape you blame your phone.

The same is true of relationships.

Let’s say the dude you’re dating leaves a voicemail. You’ve been waiting to hear from him for a while. For weeks. But the signal is cut off and all you hear is, “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.”

Before you blame your phone and hyperactively imagine every possible preceding sentence to his send-off, reflect on the landscape. Why did he wait this long to call? Has he done it before? Is he often saying he’s sorry?

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Thank you, Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist, a book of essays by Roxane Gay, appeared at my doorstep magically. Okay, not magically, but as a surprise gift from my friend Cristina. She told me about the book over email and asked me if I was interested in reading it, and having a two-person book club with her. I was. The book appeared a few days later, which I wasn’t expecting.

I didn’t know Roxane’s (if I may) work before finding the book in my hands. Cristina is good at that, introducing websites and authors and shows that are speeding by while I’m looking at hummingbirds out the window or old British crime dramas. I’d like to attribute this to her living in LA and me living in a small town, but even when I lived in LA this was the case. She’s up on it.

Bad Feminist is about as good as it gets for me. It’s one of those reading experiences that says all of the things you’ve been feeling for so long but had either begun to doubt or had given up on putting into words. It’s liberating, it’s comforting, it’s complex. It doesn’t try to solve, but instead, acknowledge. It’s powerful.

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Peanut butter and cheese, please

First, something you must know about me: I will never give up dairy or gluten. Ever. I say this because there are a lot of food movements out there and I’d like to ward off any crazy ideas about what should be in my cupboard. These two food groups bring me such joy that without them, I simply do not feel I could be myself. I would be another, unhappier version of me. Genetically, I was made to run on bread and cheese, like my grandpa’s diesel Mercedes was made to run on, well, diesel.

It was a loud car, but it lasted for decades.

Maybe it’s something about being Danish?

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