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Love, Book Launches, And What I Wore

24 Jul

Inspired by Love, Loss, and What I Wore, I started drawing some of my memorable outfits and posting them on Instagram under the hashtag (what else?) #lovelossandwhatjillwore


My dress was pink and flowy. The sort of thing you might wear to junior prom with kitten heels and sticky lip gloss.

The fabric had tiny fuzz balls dripping off it, giving it a kind of dizzying effect. 

A dress made for twirling, for special occasions, for me.

A friend said, “Well, that’s the most Jill dress I’ve ever seen.” 

I told Katie that I wasn’t sure if I should wear it, seeing as how it was her book launch and I didn’t want to make this about me. She laughed and pointed to her all-black ensemble, “Yes, I almost wore the exact same thing.”

In the pictures you see this:

Me in my prom dress.

Katie in her jumpsuit and staggering black heels. 

Hilary in jeans and a floral shirt, shoes that she later declared “orthopedic, but still not comfortable enough.”

Us laughing.

But this is not a post about what we wore.

It is, but it isn’t.

Katie had her first book launch this month. It’s an event we had talked about and dreamed of for years. The years where everything was lost, we were working the bad jobs, the dream was so far.

Katie thrived in those years. It’s one of the things I most admire about her.

I am sensitive and fragile, the slightest criticism throws me into a spiral.

Katie is tough and resilient. You criticize her? She is coming back. For BLOOD. (Or at least success.)

She’s the person who wakes up at 5AM to write her book, who takes hits and comes back swinging again and again.

For some reason in my mind I have Rocky Balboa with the battered face, pulling himself up for another.

That’s Katie.

And this summer, at a quaint children’s bookstore in a quaint little town, she got to stand in front of all the people she loves with her arms raised, victorious.


(They actually struck a gong when she walked on stage.)

At the end of the night, I twirled through the quiet streets. Lights twinkled overhead. I spread my arms wide as my dress floated above me.

Katie took off her killer heels, her feet indented from the sacrifice.

Hilary announced she needed flip flops even though her shoes were orthopedic.

(This deserves sharing twice.)

We laughed.

We laughed and we ate chips and salsa outside in the dark.

We laughed and I wore my pink pom pom prom dress, the sort of thing you might wear to junior prom with kitten heels and sticky lip gloss.

A dress made for twirling.

PS: Katie’s book can be found HERE!!

Nora Ephron’s Hot Dog

2 Apr

Hilary visited this weekend.

She told me her stomach hurt all morning and then she realized it was excitement. She was going to see Jill!

I told her I didn’t sleep well the night before and I realized it was excitement. I was going to see Hil!

We tried Nora Ephron’s hot dog which is really just a Nate ‘n Al’s hot dog forever immortalized by Nora.

She said that it was her final meal, the meal she would choose above all else. With it, she issued a warning

When you are actually going to have your last meal, you’ll either be too sick to have it or you aren’t gonna know it’s your last meal and you could squander it on something like a tuna melt and that would be ironic. So it’s important … I feel it’s important to have that last meal today, tomorrow, soon.

We tried Nora Ephron’s hot dog.

The deli itself is straight out of a time warp. Taupe seats. Jello cubes jiggling in a fridge. We ordered the hot dog with pastrami and relish, sauerkraut and mustard.

I burned my tongue.

I’ve been lonely lately.

LA is a lonely place.

People move here from all over, filled with big dreams, and then they leave. Either when the dreams don’t work or they realize they were chasing the wrong thing all along.

LA is transient, and I’ve been here almost seven years. In that time there have been periods where I haven’t even thought about loneliness, where the word felt foreign on my tongue. There have also been periods where it’s felt all-consuming, where the word is tattooed on my brain.

Lonely, lonely, lonely.

We drove to the flower fields on Tuesday, the car thick with Kacey Musgraves.

I read her Tom Hiddleston’s profile in GQ and we talked about Getaway Car and if the journalist was in love with him, and what a celebrity profile!

Has there even been another celebrity profile?

We talked about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry and the intricacies of the British royal family.

I read an article about mediocrity and we parsed through the things that we do for pleasure, for fun.

We stopped well out of our way for sugary drinks. We sang Celine Dion.

And we got to the flower fields, something to behold.

I wished I was Mary Oliver so I could describe it perfectly, to tie it back to God and mysteries and maybe even have the flowers talk to me, but instead I am me and this is my description:

The flower fields were healing. The flower fields were beauty.

We walked around them. We took pictures. Hundreds of pictures with lots of laughter.

Hilary attempted a backbend. She danced with the flowers.

There was a moment where I looked around at the crowds waiting in line to take a picture on the posed benches and I said “We are having more fun than anyone else here.”

I’ve tried various things for my loneliness. I have spearheaded social events. I’ve hung out with all sorts of people, some far outside my comfort zone. I have set goals and met goals, but the truth of the matter is, you can’t set a goal about getting a stomach ache when you see someone.

You can’t try hard enough and then end up with a bosom friend.

Those friends are rare, forged in the fires of time and secrets.

I joke that if you don’t know about the intricacies my trauma, and how my trauma has been passed down to me, what are we doing here?

I joke, but I’m not joking.

Hilary visited this weekend.

We tried Nora Ephron’s hot dog.

We tried to make her proud.

I am




But Then Love

27 Dec

For Christmas this year I got a print of the sky the night of our wedding.

It’s such a perfect Jill gift. It’s romantic and personal. Sentimental and sentimental. There we are, Chequessett Road, Wellfleet, MA, August 18, 2017.

I’m fuzzy thinking about it.

The print allows for words, and instead of “Jill and Rob’s Wedding” or “Wedding Day” it simply says

But then love

Hilary gave a toast at our wedding.

I knew I wanted a few things when I got married.

I wanted flowers of all shapes and sizes and colors.

I wanted a wedding dress that screamed me so loudly you’d hear the echo decades later.

And I wanted toasts.

Lots of them.

From people I love.

Hilary was one of those people.

She got up there with her writerly words and her oversized flower crown and she gave a toast so big, so profound, a year-and-a-half later and people are messaging Hilary to get the exact words for my wedding print.

But then love

(But then the wedding toast)

(By Hilary Miller)

When Rob and Jill first asked me to give a speech, I was super excited because I love attention and because I thought it was the perfect opportunity to do a parody of a song from the hit musical Hamilton.

But a few lines into the song, I realized that I was making it into a joke. And it was going to be terrible. So here we are–going the genuine route.

And what’s more genuine than the Bible? Oh, yeah. We’re going there.

My favorite phrase in the Bible–it’s not even a verse–is


Things can be going terribly, terribly wrong,


steps in and turns our mourning into dancing or makes the embarrassing warts disappear or defeats the Patriots.

Well, the Bible also says GOD IS LOVE,

so really this phrase is


Rob and Jill are the embodiment of this phrase.

Getting to know Rob and getting to know Jill at make-believe school were two very different experiences.

Making friends with Rob is feeling at ease in his presence. It’s going to the beach or getting ready to go to the beach or coming back from just having been at the beach. It’s an open mind, unshakeable loyalty, and unbelievable kindness.

It’s also unbelievable food that he cooks. Fancy food.

Once we took Rob out for his birthday because we thought we’d give him the night off, and the restaurant was so fancy that when I ordered ravioli it arrived and it was a single piece of ravioli.

That was the ravioli of my life, Rob.

Getting to know Jill also involves food

and it comes in the biggest portion sizes Chilis has to offer.

Making friends with Jill means always ordering an appetizer. It’s talking with something to say. It’s nights spent with ice cream and open hearts. It’s using your words to make the other person feel better, feel loved, and feel heard. It’s hair that took years to perfect, and it’s so much laughing.

And then there’s Rob and Jill together–that early friendship full of singing Celine Dion as loud as possible. Rob, I heard those whistle tones. Underappreciated karaoke. Day trips. TV viewing parties with Jill’s apartment and Rob’s food and my… presence? It’s also so much fun.

So much fun that when Jill said she was going to give this strapping young man a chance, I was worried. Worried that it was going to blow up in Rob’s baseball-cap-covered face. The friendship was too good. There was no way it was going to work out!


Love came into the picture, and instead of destroying a friendship, it enriched it.

And love created an ending they never taught us at Pepperdine because it’s too wonderful and simple and sweet to be anything other than the great surprise of life, to be anything other than the real, BUT-THEN-kind of love.

As you continue the story together, I hope that love keeps surprising you. I love you both.

(But then Hilary’s Hamilton rap, which she performed to a mic drop)

For those of you disappointed I didn’t do a parody song, let me convey how bad it was with a little taste:

How did an East Coast,

Line cook,

Son of a banker

And a blogger,

Dropped in the middle of an affluent spot in North L.A. County

So far from Wilbraham and South Jordan

Get hitched,

Like it’s a love liner they’re boardin’?

But then love

But then

But then

But then

but then love

Friendship, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Anne Lamott

21 Oct

IMG_7318 To have a few amazing friends on this side of eternity, this sometimes grotesque amusement park, is the greatest joy. As Saint Bette sang in the bathhouses, “You got to have friends.” We cannot depend solely on spouses to dump on, to share our intimate thoughts with or reveal our deepest truths to. Trust me, they have been through enough just living with us. Our yokes are heavy. Healthy people need to unburden sometimes unpleasant feelings and information, such as hating everything about life and everyone on earth, and hoping the bad people are killed by snakes; or that they just ate all the frosting off a Safeway carrot cake because they were feeling fragile.

Anne Lamott

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

I’m seeing my best friends this week and we’re going to eat an entire pumpkin cheesecake and share our deepest darkests and maybe, if there’s sufficient time and energy, sing along to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

(There’s never enough time.)

I look forward to our elderly years where we live Golden Girls style, loud, and fully ourselves, but until then.

Pumpkin cheesecakes and declarations of ungenerous thoughts.

I Woke Up At Noon

9 Jul


I woke up at noon due to blackout curtains and basement temperatures, but mainly due to insomnia.

I woke up at noon.

My mom and I went to lunch. Over salads and bread bowls we talked about my sister’s wedding and my wedding and how generally I hit the lottery with Rob.

(I really did.)

(I struggle to put it into words sometimes because I really, really did.)

We went shopping for the week and discussed what I want to do to be more environmentally conscious, and what ingredients I like in my smoothies and how the two overlap.

I ran into four people I know. Well three. And one who knew me, and I had no idea who he was all smiles and “Oh my gosh what are you up tos?”

That’s Utah for you.

My mom says when she’s in California it’s kind of nice, she can be anonymous. But in Utah you go out for a few hours and suddenly you’re reconnecting with old neighbors and making plans with friends and there is no anonymity.

There is only you in your mumu and wet hair.

I got myself one of those monster Diet Cokes with all sorts of tasty add-ins.

My parents and I watched the Great British Baking Show and laughed a lot.

It’s hysterical to watch television with my parents. We put on the season finale of the Good Witch together and between my mom’s commentary and my dad’s teasing the whole thing was next-level interactive theater.



Mild conflicts

Some time in the middle of it all, a friend showed up with Mexican food.

 My mom baked us treats, like we were back in middle school.

And soon the kitchen filled with my best friends and we ate and ate and there were cheese puffs and movie theater popcorn and chocolate ganashe and we ate and ate and talked and talked.

We took the enneagram test and marveled at its accuracy.

I mean, the buzz words alone for me





There were shrieks of shock and a moment where we said, “I am understanding you so much more” to a friend and she responded “I am understanding myself so much more.”

And eventually it was late. Way too late, really, and we packed up and I promised to send an article on celebrities having babies in their 50s and I felt so known.

So known and so full.

I woke up noon.

It was a really great day.

Here In Your Pain

7 May


Years ago I went through a breakup.

I should say, years ago I went through many breakups with the same person, a sort of Groundhog Day nightmare I feel lucky to have made it out of partly intact.

But heartbreak it was.

On one of these occasions I showed up at my friend’s house. I had told her what happened and when I arrived she stood at the door with a notebook.

She handed me a pen.

Would you like to talk? was written on the first page.

I checked the box for NO

Would you like food?

I checked the box for YES

And down the flow chart we went. Without saying a word I communicated what I needed right then. We got food. We were there together.

I don’t know what else we did. But I’ll always remember that flow chart. That notebook. That response.

I’m here.

I’m here in your pain.

In the book Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle says

We think our job as humans is to avoid pain, our job as parents is to protect our children from pain, and our job as friends is to fix each other’s pain. Maybe that’s why we all feel like failures so often–because we all have the wrong job description for love. What my friends didn’t know about me and I didn’t know about Amma is that people who are hurting don’t need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witnesses. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpless vigil to our pain.

A couple of months ago my grandfather passed away.

It was sudden and shocking and a very difficult for me. For my family.

The day before my grandfather’s funeral, a friend texted me. “Hey, me and B are coming to the funeral. We’ll watch any young kids so people can be there for the service.”

I didn’t ask them to do this. I didn’t even know they planned on it. They got babysitters for their own kids. They took their personal days off of work for a man they met only briefly.

They did it for me.

After the service I stood with them among wooden blocks and plastic trucks and let some of it out and they listened and they said

No problem

Of course

I’m here in your pain.

I’ve been working on inviting my pain to the table. Witnessing it, if you will.

When I feel something uncomfortable I slow down.

Hello there anger






Come on in. Here’s a seat. What kind of tea would you like?

Would you like to talk? Check for YES

I’m here

I’m here in your pain.

(I’ve learned from the best.)

Five Group Texts That Work In My Life

28 Mar


1. The Family Text

Group name: n/a

Used for: Confirming family dinners, spreading unflattering photos

2. The Writing Group

Group name: FAC (First Authors Club)

Used for: Talking about writing, complaining about writing, discussing writing projects, dreaming

3. The Political Chain

Group name: Stronger Together

Used for: Sharing political articles and ideas, venting, wondering what on earth is wrong with Utah

4. The Friend Group

Group name: Important Things

Used for: Daily texts about all that is going right, daily conversations about all that is going wrong

5. Caitlin + Rob + Me

Group name: n/a

Used for: Cat pictures. Tweets. Pop culture. Laughs.


What group texts work in your life?

Everything happens, we make the reasons

19 Jun


When I was 17 years old I started work on what would be my first adult novel. It was an idea my friends and I came up with and worked on together, in between AP tests and end-of-the-year festivities. It was so much fun, writing and creating with no pressure whatsoever, just for the joy of it.

Over the next 8 (!!) years, that seed of an idea became an actual book. I worked on it through several degrees, a move to a different country, some friends dropping out, and one staying on. In the bitter end it was me and that friend, having gone through our early 20s and the heartbreaks and changes and stresses it caused, this book our ever-constant companion.

I worked on it on many birthdays. She texted me when she found out she was pregnant since we would be writing together day-in and day-out. It was this looming thing, this thing I Had To Finish, and we were both sure when we finally did, the book would Be Something.

I just know in my gut when we finally finish it will be picked up

If I were to die, I would want you to finish it in my stead

There is a particular sort of mental break that occurs when you write a book. I’ve seen it in my life and my friends’ lives. The world has become so small, just those pages and you, and you’ve poured your soul and sacrificed your life.

I’ve had others ask me to finish their books if they were to die.

We are never joking.


When we finally finished our book, years and years later, we were not the same girls we used to be. It was a relief to end that time of our lives, to rid ourselves of a relationship that was past done.

We sent it out with a lot of hope and mania and 2,920 days of dreams and wishes.


It was rejected.


We all knew the end of that story.

I don’t have a published book, this was years ago. And it was rejected.


Every time my writing is rejected it hurts, but this was a special sort of pain. Eight years of my life…for what? Eight years of my life and I wasn’t good enough, this wasn’t good enough.

It seemed a parallel to so many other things happening to me at that time. It seemed like why did we do this?


Years later, with the benefit of perspective and time, I’ve come up with a few reasons why.

Why we did this. Why it was important in my life. Why it happened.

I should clarify though, I’m not an everything happens for a reason person. I believe that a lot of things are simply choices or accidents. That the meaning behind them, the reasons things happen are reasons we create for ourselves. Lessons we learn through these events, if we so choose.

I’ve chosen the following reasons for why I needed to write my first book even though it didn’t bring me fame, fortune and a new life. Even though no one picked it up. I’ve chosen these, but there are others I could have chosen. Other narratives that I could have created.

Instead, this is what I know:

The book bonded me and my friend in a way nothing else will ever bond us. It kept us close through some tumultuous years.

The book kept me writing through my early 20s, a time when I wasn’t officially pursuing writing in the way I am now. It kept me hungry to create.

The book taught me things as a writer. I can see what I would do differently now. How that book was flawed, how it could have been better.

This week I saw a new book that’s being released that has a lot of parallels to my first book. It stung a little, someone else writing the story I wanted to and seeing it published, seeing it receive acclaim.

It stung a little, in a sort of vague way, the way things in your heart ache from years ago.

It stung a little, but not as much as it used to.


You see, everything happens for a reason.

Friendships And Flight

5 Jan



Tonight over burritos with a new friend we talked about old friends. About how difficult it is to live far away from your closest humans, to feel like you are surrounded by mainly acquaintances, to let go of former friends when you’ve both outgrown each other.

She described one friendship in her life as a short flight. From Kansas City to St. Louis. Barely got off the ground before it started to descend again.

When I was younger this concept would have devastated me. I had very permanent ideas about relationships. If you love someone, of course you love them until the day you die. The idea of ever loving anyone else is a betrayal. It couldn’t have been love then!

Friendships were the same. Once a friend, always a friend! Even if you have nothing in common anymore, it’s your job to maintain the dead friendship, otherwise why call it friendship at all!

Adulthood has cured me of that, somewhat.

The first friend I let go of cured me of that, somewhat.

It wasn’t that hard, actually. There was no big falling out, no moment of truth. It was just a gradual moving away from each other until one day I woke up and realized she believes this thing about the world that I don’t and I believe this thing about the world that horrifies her.

And it’s not that you must share all worldviews to be friends, it’s more like

It’s OK.

It’s OK that she was my friend for the time period she was my friend. It’s OK and it was good while it happened and I’m grateful it happened.

And neither of us are terrible people if we just let it go. If we move forward.

The second friend I let go of ended abruptly. Well, it was more like small grievances built up into one terrible, hurtful thing, a thing that still is terrible and hurts me today. It ended poorly and forgiveness will take some more time and that’s OK too.

It’s OK to walk away when it’s not working anymore.

Not all flights take you overseas.

Of course, some friendships you fight for and some are for good–in sickness and in health, till death do you part. I have less than one hand of those and they mean the world to me and there’s no replacing them.

My mom said that once.

After a lifetime of moving and moving and moving again I talked to her about maintaining friends through the moves.

“There’s only one Macey,” she said, referring to her best friend from 17 moves ago.

There’s only one Macey.

And there’s only one Macey and my mom.

And yet, in this hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in a town far from my own, I sat with a girl who became my friend through the internet (of all places) and we discussed writing and day jobs and holidays and mental health.

And yet, you make more friends.

There’s only one Macey, but there’s also only one Hilary.

Or Rebbie.

Or Katie.

Slowly, ever slowly.

We take off again.

Do People Bond Over That?

29 Nov


I got in Friday afternoon around 4:30. Cait was dancing in the doorway waiting for me with a compression hug. “I’m going to pee my pants,” I said.

“Don’t pee your pants!” she said.

We settled onto her couches with cozy blankets. “Rob bought me a mermaid tail blanket for my birthday,” I said. “How is Rob?” she said.

We gabbed and gabbed barely coming up for air. Occasionally one of us got up for another Diet Coke or to go to the bathroom. I changed into pajamas very early.

A couple hours in we moved to the kitchen table with a pile of enchiladas and sour cream, and then it was back to the couches, like a terrible montage showing the passage of time.

We moved to the floor to eat a pizzookie with caramel ice cream. We made a Target run for velvet flare leggings. Finally it was back on the couches and the blankets, TV in the background that we ignored.

After a while our words were slurred and spotty. We were tired and our throats were scratchy.

We should go to bed, we said, over and over.

Eight hours into the conversation we finally did.

It was a testament to friendship and face-to-face interaction. Cait and I have talked since we last saw each other, of course. We’ve shared tough things and real things and trivial things. We know the basics of what’s going on. But nothing can replace in person. Nothing can replace the leaps that happen when you walk through a Target aisle and talk about your evolving style in relation to your evolving personality.

We’re different now.

When we met we bonded over shared sadness and our inability to seem to move on from horrible relationships. We got each other and got that thing, that hopelessness and messed up thing in each other.

Today, if we met, I don’t know that it would even come up. I don’t know that the people and events and things that were Our Whole Lives Our Whole Identities Our Whole Whole when we met even be on the discussion board.

We are healthy now, or healthier, at the very least.

Do people bond over that?