Archive | July, 2016


18 Jul


Sitting down and writing every day, being creative, is not about discipline it’s about self-forgiveness.


Elizabeth Gilbert said this, or something like it, in her podcast episode with Brene Brown.  It was an important statement, but not the crux of the conversation. A little chocolate nugget sandwiched in to the roast beef and red potatoes.

It’s about self-forgiveness.

As soon as I told this to my writer friends they nodded so hard their heads hurt.  YES they said.

My friend texted me later to tell me during her daily free write she listed all the ways she forgave herself.

“For everything?”

“I didn’t have time for that,” she said.  “Just for the writing things.”

It’s hard to write every day.  I don’t say this in a boohoo poor me way, just in the way that it’s hard to exercise every day.  It takes energy and work.  It’s always easier to eat a sleeve of Nutter Butters and watch Felicity.

I punish myself when I don’t do it. I get upset that I’m simply not disciplined enough, not better.  If I were better I would find the time to do it every single day.  If it was really that important to me, I would be vigilant, dedicated, an army general writer person with 10 more books to my name.

I am a loser.

I am failing.


Does it all come back to that?  Being kind to your body, eating healthier or exercising more comes down to self-forgiveness.  I’ve berated myself for failing at exercise or diet plans, felt like a fraud and a lazy loser, told myself if I just had the discipline then I wouldn’t be in this predicament.

It never worked.

What does work? Radical self-love.

Forgiveness for the days I don’t walk more than a few steps.  Forgiveness for the times I should have had a vegetable but ate a stale bag of pita chips instead.

I’m never getting myself to yoga if I don’t forgive myself for all the times I didn’t go to yoga.

Something like that.

And so today as I sit in my faux-silk nightgown and drink my flat Diet Coke and celebrate the first day I’ve been able to really write in so, so long, I say to myself.

I forgive you.

I forgive you for the days you didn’t have time to write.  I forgive you for the days that you did but you chose Nutter Butters and Felicity.  I forgive you for the crappy stuff you wrote last time and for the crappy stuff you will write today.  I forgive you for not being as good as you want to be.  I forgive you for your unrealistic expectations about how good your writing should be.

I forgive you for the shoulds.

I forgive you for it all.

I forgive you.

Now go write already.

At that Moment Everything Was Truth

17 Jul


There’s an episode of Girls this season where Marnie runs into her ex, Charlie.  Once upon a time Marnie and Charlie were in love, they were together, they were family.  Now Charlie is sitting by the side of the street and Marnie is wearing her sweatpants and it takes them a moment to recognize each other.

What follows is a beautiful sequence in truth and love and the things we let ourselves believe.

Marnie and Charlie spend the night in suspended reality.  Marnie at one point tells Charlie that she wrote half her album about him.  The tension is thick.  They have history.  They love each other.

They love each other?

They get back to Charlie’s apartment.  He has a trash bag over his window, a tattoo on his chest that says something about being “humble” and a false accent as part of his gig as a drug dealer.  Charlie is not what Marnie wants.

Marnie is married.

They talk.  “What am I going to do about you?” Marnie asks.  Charlie suggests they run away the next day.  That they move somewhere and start a general store, somewhere that has a general store.  Marnie smiles, Charlie smiles.  “You were my family,” she says.  He remembers her uncles names, the particulars of her life.

It’s intoxicating.

In the morning Charlie lies to Marnie about his drug use.  It’s the wake up call from the fugue state they’ve been in.  That night wasn’t real.  Well it was real, and the things they were saying were coming from deep places of hurt and loss and sadness and loneliness.  But it also wasn’t real.

It reminds me of a Brothers Karamazov quote a friend sent me years ago.  She’s the type of friend who signs her emails, “light” like I’ve just started signing mine “best.”


“That’s why I loved you, for your magnanimous heart!” escaped suddenly from Katya.  “and you do not need my forgiveness, nor I yours; it’s all the same whether you forgive or not, all my life you will remain a wound in my soul, and I in yours – that’s how it should be…,” she stopped to catch her breath. 

“Why have I come?” she began again, frenziedly and hastily.  “To embrace your feet, to squeeze your hands, like this, till it hurts – remember how I used to squeeze your hands, like this, till it hurts – remember how I used to squeeze them in Moscow? – to say to you that you are my God, my joy, to tell you that I love you madly.”  She nearly groaned from suffering, and suddenly, greedily pressed her lips to his hand.  Tears streamed from her eyes. 

Alyosha stood speechless and embarrassed; he had never expected to see what he was seeing.

“Love is gone Mitya!” Katya began again, “but what is gone is painfully dear to me.  Know that, for all eternity.  But now, for one minute, let it be as it might have been, “ she prattled with a twisted smile, again looking joyfully into his eyes.  “ you now love another, I love another, but still I shall love you eternally, and you me, did you know that?  Love me, do you hear, love me all your life!” she exclaimed with some sort of almost threatening tremor in her voice. 

“I shall love you, and you know, Katya,” Mitya also began to speak catching his breath at each word, “five days ago, that evening, you know, I loved you…when you collapsed, and they carried you out…all my life! It will be so, eternally so…”

Thus they prattled to each other, and their talk was frantic, almost senseless, and perhaps also not even truthful, but at that moment everything was truth, and they both utterly believed what they were saying. 



Their talk was frantic, almost senseless, and perhaps also not even truthful, but at that moment everything was truth, and they both utterly believed what they were saying.


I’ve had a night like this, once, in my own upon a time.  The type of night that sticks with you because it was surreal and yet boundlessly important.  Because you made big decisions without thought and went back on them in the morning. Because it was truth and it was not truth.


Lena Dunham doesn’t always get it, but when she does, she’s freaking Dostoyevsky.

107 Roommates You’ll Have In Your Twenties – Part 2

6 Jul



Parts 1, 3, and 4 

This was also written with Hilary.  She and I have both been many of these roommates, just so we’re clear.


26. The roommate who is like, “You know what would be fun?  Keying my ex’s car.”

27. The roommate starting her own beauty business who pressures you to invest

28. The one upper roommate

29. The roommate with the wild stinky feet

30. The roommate with the wild stinky stink

31. The roommate you never want to speak to

32. The roommate who uses a lot of toilet paper

33. The never-tells-you-your-crack -is-showing -but- will-bring-it-up-a-year-later-in-front -of-all-your-friends roommate

34. The roommate you plan your life around so you aren’t in the kitchen at the same time

34b. The roommate who never leaves the kitchen so you’re forced to eat the whole pint of ice cream now to avoid an awkward run in

35. The roommate who buys a lock for their door

36.  The roommate who marks the milk to see who is drinking it

37. The “let’s sit down and have a roommate meeting about who is buying paper towels” roommate

38. The “I have a spreadsheet of expenses and you should buy more paper towels” roommate

39. The paints an “om” symbol on her door roommate

40. The roommate who makes you pay for everything, but will “get you next time”

41. The homesick roommate

42. The heartsick roommate

43. The long-distance relationship who Skypes in the common area roommate

44. The roommate who doesn’t leave her pajamas

45. The constantly compliments your skin as further efforts to get you to invest in her beauty business roommate

46. The roommate who complains loudly about society’s standards for her body

47. The naked roommate

48. The strong perfume roommate

49.  The roommate obsessed with a show you’ll never watch but refuses to stop talking to you about it. (Years later you’ll watch Lost, but you will not tell her out of spite.)

50. The socially awkward roommate who wants to go on field trips to the grocery store together