Drinking: Honey vanilla chamomile tea. It’s amazing how those words alone feel like a space heater.
Quote of the Week: “The times you are most willing to die are, ironically, the times you are having the most fun.”—Lisa Taddeo, Animal
Animal (currently reading) has a million more compelling quotes, but this one just happened to align with a personal reckoning I’ve had this year. Having experienced a lot of loss, I have an acute sense of mortality. This feeling, like death is only ever an allergic reaction to Brazil nuts away, is always in the driver’s seat of my limbic system. Why isn’t mortality more of a social imperative? I think it’s because it seems too obvious. Too morbid for office banter. Too grand for acts as seemingly trivial as trying a new restaurant alone. But to say, “I did this because I am going to die one day” adds the right kick of drama for me. We need to dramatize things in a sexier way, one that licks its lips in the face of danger because no way can we go on feeling as scared and hysterical as we do. Maybe this is just my personal campaign to bring back “YOLO.” (PS that quote from Animal so aptly fell on page 127. 1/27 is my mom’s birthday, and she is someone who has always been unequivocally down for a Good Time. I also think she’s going to live to 200 on a diet of cigarettes, red wine, and black coffee.)
Excited for: This evening at 6:30, I’ll be sharing some work at the Poet’s Row reading at The Listening Room at LMNO. I’ve never read my work publicly before, so this should be… interesting. I am historically a petrified public speaker with a shaky voice and sweaty hands. Margaritas will be consumed prior. You can join the fun by texting POETS ROW to 215-600-2404.
Currently Watching: White Lotus because who isn’t? I live for these cultural moments when we’re all watching the same thing. It doesn’t happen as much now that no one has cable (and everyone’s too busy to watch TV, working side hustles in the hopes of one day affording cable). I thoroughly enjoyed the first season, but wow, this season is some of my favorite television to date. Jennifer Coolidge continues to nail the emotionally stunted rich person. Bisexual icon Aubrey Plaza merely appears on screen and I’m locked in. The generational trauma of sex and women in Michael Imperioli’s family. Ugh. I’m already mourning the finale.
Loving: Purple. Yeah, just the color. Simple as that. Somehow the history of purple as symbolic of rarity and royalty has snuck into my mind’s eye, so now everything purple holds a certain power. I’ve even been getting it at the nail salon (currently wearing: OPI “One Heckla of a Color!” dip powder). Check out my Pinterest board of purple stuff.
Wanting: More tattoos. I feel like that's a realization I publicly confront like, at least once a year—usually in late fall when the early darkness sets in and the only reasonable escape is to make art of one’s pallid body. I’m not going to lie, this is mainly driven by my disappointment in a piece I got this summer. I’ve been obsessively researching the right artist to cover it up or add to it.
Thinking: Speaking of tattoos, I’ve had conflicting thoughts about my current smattering and desire for more. For how conventional tattoos are now, I struggle to make perfect sense of their place within the larger context of my physical identity. I love beauty and aesthetics and all kinds of fleeting, corporeal affairs. But the dilemma really stems from feeling like I need to have a defined look. The internet tends to present people in these very specific, singular aesthetics. Take balletcore for example (*shudders at use of -core*): there is a whole subset of women devoted to baby pink wrap tops and Lolita and Dasha Nekrasova; everything is soft and cohesive, outfits that take you from the dance studio to rehab. Meanwhile, I weave in and out of different fashion, hair, makeup, etc. This sometimes makes me feel like I don’t have a true “look,” which makes me question my identity, i.e., if I can dress like Jane Birkin one day and Mary-Kate Olsen the next, can I trust my own taste? Am I consistent in my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? It’s one of those bizarre standards I hold myself to that’d never cross my mind with regard to anyone else. Anyway, if I cover myself in tattoos, just know it was a last ditch effort to make getting dressed a little easier.
And on a final note…
After much deliberation, I’ve decided to take a break from the newsletter until the new year. (I personally get bored reading writers whine about their aspirational woes so if you agree, feel free to exit the chat now.)
2022 was busy. I’m talking molto occupato. I gave up an eight-year career in the nonprofit sector at the director level to take an entry level corporate job because I was tired of struggling, and this promised upward mobility. Now I am tired in other ways—spiritually, creatively—and I’m not sure what’s worse. Adapting to the newly hectic pace of my days, I helped my parents raise my nephews upon the death of my brother-in-law. Devoted four months to training and ran a marathon. Took two hours of Italian lessons every Saturday morning. Freelanced. Read 12 books (Sorry, reading goal. I barely knew yee.) Traveled. Spent time with friends. Played a lot of fetch at the dog park. Cooked dinner most nights.
… And published 46 newsletters.
I’m not looking for sympathy or even to impress you because we’re all juggling a laundry list of responsibilities. I just needed to justify a break because I’m not good at giving myself one. My boss actually called me a glutton for punishment yesterday. So, if I can inspire you to take stock of your own insurmountable pile, to rest and recalibrate, then we all win.
I hope to “figure some things out” over the next few weeks. Namely what I want for this newsletter in 2023. I’m expending most of my available energy to write on a consistent basis, so any other goals have grown peripheral. I gained a decent amount of paid subscribers this year, and I lost them all the same. One thing I don’t do is look at the unsub list because that’s between Substack and God. But I watch the number dwindle, week by week, and so fades my dream of going “independent” someday. The Substack model is wonderful in most ways, but it’s also demoralizing for someone like me who already exists in a constant state of wondering what I did wrong.
And so the plan is to do some soul-searching. Weigh my options and do everything in my power to avoid giving up. Every day already feels like the perfect day to vanish into thin air so let the chips fall where they may. As long as I’m writing, I know it’ll all work out.
With that, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. For paying, some of you! It will never not feel insane that anyone takes time out of their day and/or paycheck for my shit. It makes all the corny insecurities worth it.
Have a peaceful, delicious December, friends. Catch you in 2023, one way or another.
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White Lotus is so damn good. It's remarkably clever how they subtly roast everyone just enough to make it appeal to such a range of individuals. Also, post break (enjoy) pls write more about Dasha and Red Scare and the appeal there, the mix of like beauty and politics and other weird internet shit I am new to but find captivating in a can't look away type sense, yet don't quite get it
“I gave up an eight-year career in the nonprofit sector at the director level to take an entry level corporate job because I was tired of struggling...”
Enjoy the rest!