A Searing Lesson In Empathy

Upon hearing the news of Kate Spade‘s death earlier this week, I noticed the familiar shift of a conversation steeped with sadness and understanding about loss, to one which emphasized that Kate has “a 13-year-old daughter” and “how could anyone be so selfish?”

Then came the news this morning about Anthony Bourdain, and my heart broke into a thousand pieces.

Two icons. Death by suicide, hanging. Young daughters. Friends and fans mourning around the world. The conversation around mental illness, suicide and its impact has been jump started again and many people, same as last time and every time it seems, have begun distancing themselves publicly from understanding or empathizing with an act which, yes, has a devastating affect on those “left behind.”

As a parent who loves my child more than anything in the world, I also find it difficult to grasp how someone could ever “choose” to “leave” their child, or any loved ones. But, as a person who has for a long time struggled with depression and anxiety, as well as very rare but also very serious suicidal thoughts, I don’t find it difficult at all.

In his 1996 novel, Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace challenges every person’s perception of what could drive another to suicide by encouraging empathy in a poignant and chilling way. He writes:

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. Yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don‘t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

Wallace, as many may already know, lost his own battle with depression and hung himself in 2008. He proves that even an enlightened and rational understanding of the disease doesn’t make it easier to overcome.

I think of this quote every time a high profile person dies from suicide, losing what was likely a long, fraught battle with mental illness — and the world chimes in with lots and lots of things to say about it. It is, arguably, the best description of what it’s like to feel trapped by depression and why it’s so difficult for many to understand.

I, too, have experienced the sting and sear of those flames. I have dear friends who have as well. It’s so much more than sadness; it’s nothing to do with selfishness.

In times like this, empathy matters more than absolutely anything else.

Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto, wrote Terence, the great Roman dramatist. “I am human, therefore nothing human can be alien to me.”

It’s a sentiment I take very much to heart, so much so I have the quote rather conspicuously tattooed on my forearm. Part of having empathy for others, Terence is saying, is understanding that every human being has it within themselves to do all manner of wonderful — and unimaginable — things. We are all human.

So please…

If you are NOT suffering from mental illness: Be kind, be patient, be understanding of the battle others are facing beyond your view. Pay attention for the signs of depression, as your loved one may not be able to open up about it. It is not THEIR responsibility to reach out for help, so don’t put the onus on them. But remember: if someone is brave enough to confide in you their struggles, they don’t want your advice (unless they explicitly ask for it). They don’t want you to panic or chastise or try to deflect. They don’t want you to make their issues about YOU and your issues. They need encouragement, love, and — perhaps — assistance with finding help. (Want more insight? Here’s a more thorough rundown on how you can help someone suffering while also setting boundaries when needed.)

If you are suffering: I get it. Oh boy do I get it and I’m so so sorry. I know as well as anyone how debilitating it can be to take those first steps towards recovery. Please try and find it within you to tell someone you love and trust that you’re afraid or struggling or need help but don’t know how to get it, or that the help you are getting isn’t working. Talk to your therapist if you have one or ask someone you trust to find you a therapist in your area and initiate setting up an appointment. (My best friend, 6 months ago, did this for me, and Jonathan, just recently, did it for me again. I couldn’t be more grateful for it because I simply COULD NOT make it happen for myself.) If you have insurance, chances are very high that the cost will be covered. If you don’t have insurance, or you don’t have anyone you trust who can help you, please call 1-800-273-8255 and someone will be there to listen. Or you can text TALK to 741-741, if you prefer not to speak out loud.

Help is out there and you’re deserving of it. Period.

Be well, friends.

(Photo of Anthony Bourdain by David Scott Holloway via The Daily Beast)

32 Reasons I Love Kimmy

It’s my sister’s and my birthday today, so in honor of the big 3-2, I’ve decided to share 32 reasons why I love and admire Kim so much…

I can tell her literally anything and she’ll never judge or think less of me.

  1. She has super cool tattoos.
  2. She isn’t afraid to do something exciting and new with her hair.
  3. She is a crazy-generous host and house guest.
  4. She throws the best brunches and movie nights; there’s always plenty of food and drinks to go around.
  5. There’s never an awkward (or quiet!) moment when I’m with her.
  6. She has mad dance moves that simply can’t be replicated.
  7. She’s almost always available for a good mid-day G-chat.
  8. She is super supportive of everything I want to do, whether it’s write a blog or get another cat.
  9. She actually trusts and values my recommendations rather than just indulging me.
  10. She’ll sit and Skype with me for hours on the weekend, which makes it feel like we’re really hanging out.
  11. Her enthusiasm for things she loves cannot be matched.
  12. She prioritizes coming to visit me when we live far away from each other (which is always).
  13. When everyone else was caught up in high school friend and boyfriend drama, she was too busy recording old movies on VHS and watching them just so she could check the titles off her Oscar winners and nominees list.
  14. She’s a bad-ass Boss Lady, already, at such a young age.
  15. She keeps me honest — never afraid to challenge or question me.
  16. There are always Q-Tips in her guest bathroom because priorities.
  17. She always finishes what she starts, like her Sunday movie night series of AFI’s Top 100 Best Movies list.
  18. We share a not-even-kinda-guilty love for Keeping Up With the Kardashians. (#TeamKhloe)
  19. She has an amazing memory for random, seemingly useless information, like the numbers and names of every Buffy and The X-Files episode.
  20. She inherited the “Johnstone gene” and tells really good (long) stories.
  21. Her personal style is both trendy and unabashedly original; she doesn’t care what anyone thinks because she likes what she likes.
  22. She has awesome taste in home decor — and she isn’t afraid to pay for it.
  23. When we’re together, she’s always willing to be the one who drives.
  24. We take the same kind of creamer in our coffee, so I never have to worry she won’t have some when I visit.
  25. She loves lady-led, 80s-meets-modern, electro-pop music and always seems to have a new singer or band to tell me about.
  26. We’re so similar and yet very different, and that just happens to be the perfect combination for never running out of new and interesting things to talk about.
  27. Looking at her tiny, hot bod is good diet motivation because then I know exactly what I would look like if I were to lose around 6&y#Q! pounds.
  28. We share a similar obsession with baby names, so I can rest assured #GrandeBabyUno is going to get a good one.
  29. She gives herself (and me!) amaaaaaaazing blow outs. I wish she could live with me and do my hair every day.
  30. For 32 years, she’s been my partner in crime, confidant, and best friend — I can always count on her and she can always count on me.
  31. And finally, she never forgets my birthday! ;-)

Happy Birthday, Kimmy! I wish we were celebrating with one another, but I know we will have wonderful days and weekends apart with our respective people — and then tell each other all about it on Monday so it feels like we experienced it together.

I love you, always, dear twinsie.

x Stacy

Girl Crush

Three years ago, while at a two-day conference for work, I sat next to a pretty girl from Portland, OR. It wasn’t until near the end of our second day there that we struck up a conversation and I found her to be incredibly sweet and interesting; within no time I was feeling that excitement build, the same thing that happens with a romantic crush — so thrilled, in this case, to have made a friend.

After the conference ended, but before our respective flights, we decided to get some snacks and drinks nearby. After several hours of good conversation, we took a cab to the airport together and — despite needing to be in separate terminals — we found a spot near her gate to grab dinner.

I put my number in her phone, she put her number in mine. As we parted ways with an enthusiastic hug, I felt so giddy having connected so quickly with someone — a rare occurrence for an introvert like me. (Making friends is really hard when you spend most of your time at home, it turns out.)

I got settled on the plane and pulled out my phone to send her a brief text, to wish her a safe flight and thank her for being such good company, only to find her number wasn’t there.

Did she forget to click “save” when she entered her phone number? Did she purposefully not put in her number and I just misread all these signs of blossoming friendship? I know I saved mine in her phone — perhaps she would message me?

Three years later, she never has and I still don’t know what happened. Is this was it feels like to be ghosted after a date?


Girl crushes with “real” people are, without question, a bit more emotionally fraught and challenging to navigate because there really is some potential to develop a friendship — and also have your platonic-heart broken.

It’s far safer to crush on celebrities, I say. Currently, for me, it’s all about (Goddess Incarnate) Jessica Chastain, who — aside from being a stunner and Meryl Streep-level actor — loves animals, practices what she preaches, and her Manhattan apartment is to die for. (The fact that she owns decor items once belonging to Lauren Bacall — my sister’s and my earliest girl crush — really solidified our love for her.)

My feelings can easily be summed up as admiration, topped by a twinge of envy — essential components of a good girl crush, wouldn’t you agree?

YouTuber Jenna Marbles kinda nails it when she sums up the “three tiers of girl crushes” straight women commonly have:

First level girl crush is, “I love you” like “I wanna be your best friend.” […]

Second tier girl crush is “I love you a lot” kinda like “I wanna be you.” […]

And the third level of girl crush is “Given the right circumstances, I would make a scissor sandwich with you.”

I’m a solid Tier 1 in my love for Jessica, possibly because I tend to fantasize more about having cool, rich, awesome friends than I do about being cool, rich, and awesome myself. It’s certainly not for lack of wanting to be those things, but rather that I value good, strong female friendships above almost anything else — and who would say no to a few extra perks?

Sure, being Oprah sounds super exciting, but goodness, wouldn’t you rather be Gale — all the benefits but only a fraction of the stress? I know I would!

The New York Times also had an article about the “girl crush” way back in 2005, though even then it was certainly “not a new phenomenon”:

[A] girl crush [is] a phrase that many women in their 20’s and 30’s use in conversation, post on blogs and read in magazines. It refers to that fervent infatuation that one heterosexual woman develops for another woman who may seem impossibly sophisticated, gifted, beautiful or accomplished. And while a girl crush is, by its informal definition, not sexual in nature, the feelings that it triggers — excitement, nervousness, a sense of novelty — are very much like those that accompany a new romance.

In the same NYT article, Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, says:

As I navigate an adulthood where making friends has proven so much more difficult than I could have anticipated it would be while I was still in school, girl crushes have become more prevalent in my day-to-day life — with people I meet or already know — than it ever was before. And since I am happily married and haven’t had a crush on a man in over 8 years, those feelings seem to have funneled exclusively towards women with whom I would just love to be friends.

The brain system for romantic love is associated with intense energy, focused energy, obsessive things — a host of characteristics that you can feel not just toward a mating sweetheart. […] There’s every reason to think that girls can fall in love with other girls without feeling sexual towards them, without the intention to marry them.

Some girls are just so cool, you know?

For now, I’ll focus on the talented, intelligent, beautiful celebrities I’m feeling smitten for these days, who will never have an opportunity to ghost me after a conference in Vegas.

(Jessica Chastain photos by Ioulex for Flaunt Magazine and James White for Piaget)

Heartbroken — and Full of Anger

On Wednesday, at least 17 people — children and adults — were gunned down at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The perpetrator was one man who, it should come as no surprise to mention, was carrying a AR-15-style assault rifle and massive quantities of ammunition.

How can this still be happening?

I don’t know what else to say at this point. I’m heartbroken, but mostly — I’m really fucking mad.

There’s no debate to be had here. On one side there are people who prioritize human life — the lives of innocent children — and who are clamoring for smarter, common-sense gun laws, and on the other side there are those who do not and are not: Those who value the rights of a redneck with a gun fetish over the lives of American children, teachers, people going about their days in peace; those who believe it is more important to preserve the right for a person with a history of violent mental illness to buy an assault rifle without a hassle than it is for parents in the United States of fucking America to drop their kids off at school without having to pray that they will make it home without bullet holes.

I am full of sadness. I am full of piping hot rage. And rage, like dairy, courses through and exits my body as fire.

In the wake of this unconscionable crime — one which a mere ban on useless assault weapons could have prevented (and no, he would not have “found a way” no matter what — check your facts) — there are, of course, important things to remember and consider as we mourn:

Giving thanks to the heroes of Douglas High who saved lives. Taking a moment to consider the words of kids who lived through this terror, some of who’s parents had to experience the abject terror of a text that read “If I don’t make it I love you and I appreciated everything you did for me.”

How can this be happening — again?

I’m furious at every heartless talking head who deflects the immediate need for gun control legislation, particularly when the majority of Americans want it. I want to strangle every person with the power to do something now who says the words “thoughts and prayers” and then does nothing — or has the audacity to blame the victims.

Tom McAllister of The Rumpus speaks my language as he describes with the kind of frankness that comes when there is bile and fire in your throat what to do with his body if he dies in a mass shooting:

Every day, pile more bodies in the halls [of the Capitol] so they can’t go anywhere without stepping over the victims. Force them to look down at a dead body and lift their leg over it as if stepping over a puddle. Don’t join them in their prayers (the god they pray to doesn’t exist). When they step over my dead body, I want them to look down into my vacant eyes and reckon with the way it ended. I want them to be transported into my mind and feel what I felt after being shot. In those final moments—as I bled out onto the tile floor of the mall, or onto the grass outside a summer concert, or in the dirt of the center city beer garden, or in the middle of my fucking classroom—I would be thinking of all the ways my own country has abandoned its people (for profit, for spite, for no reason at all).

This rage, this helplessness, this heartache is exhausting and infuriating. With every life pointlessly lost, it’s impossible not to lose hope that something might finally — at some point — change. I fear Dan Hodges was right years ago, after another mindless string of killings, when he said: “In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

How can we be here?

My father and I hadn’t discussed the event until last night, but when we did, my rage was echoed. I’m not on Facebook anymore, so I hadn’t been privy to the discourse among my friends and family, which no doubt was a veritable mountain of sadness and anger in the face of more tragedy and impossibly stupid clichés like “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” and other such garbage.

My dad did share with me something he wrote with similar blood and tears in his eyes, and I’d like to share it here, with you:

Will our children and grandchildren — will anyone’s children and grandchildren — continue to become statistics in a war upon our society by those using guns to settle a score, or release their hatred, or tap the black vein of racism in their hearts? Unfortunately I think they will. Because we continue to elect people at all levels of government who put their careers, campaign coffers, and comfort ahead of doing their jobs: protecting the people and nation they have sworn to serve.

We know the numbers: 17 in Parkland, Florida; 58 in Las Vegas; 26 at Sandy Hook… In two years of random carnage in America, more men, women and children have been killed than in all the years of the Vietnam War combined (58,220). Just sit back and think of that. Where is The Wall for these victims of gun violence? Where is the slashing black marble slab with the names of the honored and mourned, those innocents now dead? Unfortunately, ‘The Wall’ is carried in too many hearts and memories all across our country. It is an unwelcome visitor that divides what was from what could have been. 17 people (so far) whose parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and brothers and sisters and friends will never see them sit again at their table to eat, never see them grab that diploma and throw their cap in the air, never see them marry or have children or live out their dreams. What kind of country is this? What kind of country are we going to be? Is everyone in the nation going to have to suffer a tragedy in his or her family before something is done? Anything is done?

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of hearing excuses and having our President or Congressional Representatives brush aside even having a civil conversation about what we might do together to save even ONE CHILD! I understand we have elected the spineless and the fearful to office, but is that what we have become as well?

Have you lost someone you love to a normal, peaceful, non-violent death? How did you feel? What was that grief like? Now multiply it 17, 58, 26 times and imagine what the survivors of these mass shootings must feel like. Don’t talk about “thoughts and prayers” when the result is inaction and complacency. The excuses, at this point, make me sick.

Tell those close to you that you love them. Hug your babies and your friends and your parents and your siblings and your pillow, but also:

Call your senators, your representatives, your “not all gun owners” uncle and tell them you are full of sadness and rage too. Tell them it is no longer acceptable that more lives are lost as a result of greed, or because their hobby, somehow, is prioritized over a legitimate threat to actual lives.

And with that, I’ll leave you with this tweet by the wonderful Bess Kalb — which sums up my perspective on assault weapons:

Stay safe, friends. I love you.

Psst… If you’re able, consider donating to Everytown.org as another tangible way to fight against the gun lobby and culture of gun violence in this country.

(Top photo via The Independent)

The Anxiety-Ridden Uncertainty of (Our) Love

On January 14th, Jonathan and I celebrated our 8th anniversary of being together, but we didn’t actually have our first official date until Valentines Day — exactly eight years ago today.

The story of us finally getting together is a weird one, mostly because it took us so damn long. In a way, I see it as a cautionary tale for nervous people, the moral of the story being: Just tell the person you like how you feel. The result could potentially be the best thing that’s ever happened to you…

Jon and me Drama Promo 2008
skinny, drunk dummies mere hours after their first kiss(es), May 2008

It was 2009 and I was living in Seattle (alone and broke); he had returned from an MA program in England and was living with his dad in Santa Barbara. In college, we’d spent a good two years flirting (with many late nights talking about anything and everything) and all that sexual tension culminated in our first kiss (finally!) just 3 weeks before graduating. Our initial thought was this is it — but truth be told, it was a rocky time for us both, and things didn’t end smoothly due to lots and lots of feelings/factors.

Then, I moved home.

It’s funny looking back on that time in our lives, because we really were so silly and foolish and — as my roommates would admit, without much prodding — annoying.

For all intents and purposes, things felt very much over between us, basically before they ever got started. Nevertheless, in 2009, during my first full year in Seattle, Jonathan drove up and visited me three separate times. Each time there was tension and secret thoughts of making something happen again, but each time neither of us did or said a thing.

just two friends, still with lots of feelings, in a Seattle graveyard, November 2009

By this point I had decided I didn’t want to have a relationship with him because we really were such good friends and I simply did not have time for someone not willing to make his feelings known. (Pot, meet Kettle.)

That said, I was still fairly sure he had lingering feelings for me — confirmed by the phone call I got from him as the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve 2010. I was at a concert in Seattle, he was in Las Vegas, both of us were drunk, and he was stumbling through an attempt to find out… basically how I was doing. Even without overtly saying what he wanted, this was easily the most emotionally revealing he had been with me, and I remember turning to my friend and going “Uh oh. What do I do?”

Stacy NYE 210 The Crocodile Seattle
yours truly, resident bonehead, NYE 2010

Then, exactly two weeks later on January 14, 2010, I received a letter from him over Facebook. I say “letter” and not “message” because this was a letter, you know, the kind you can tell was written (and edited, then re-edited) in a Word document first. I saw it in the morning while at work and oouu boy, did it take me by surprise.

I won’t post the whole thing here, because some things are best left private ifyaknowuddamean, but here is the pared down version with all of the super nervous/shy/ultra personal parts (so, like, 87% of it) removed:

I like you. I don’t know why that’s such an awkward thing to say, but it is. I like you, and I’ve liked you for a very long time…

I’ve been thinking about you a lot in the past few months. I called you on new years eve because, honestly, the only person I wanted to be with on new years was you…

I care for you a hell of a lot, and think you are an amazing person who is interesting and funny and creative and beautiful and kind and intelligent — and honestly, no one in my life makes me smile quite like you do.

I want to give being with you a chance, even if it’s not easy. I feel if I don’t at least try I’m going to regret it for the rest of my life.

Fun fact: the same day I received Jonathan’s letter (what is now our official anniversary) I actually had a date with someone else. I could have cancelled it, but in all honesty I didn’t know how I felt or what I really wanted… that is, not until mid-way through my Pad Thai, face-to-face with a very sweet man who, it turns out, I just wasn’t that into because I couldn’t stop thinking about Jonathan and how desperately I wanted this date to end so I could tell him Yes.

That night, immediately after my date, I wrote Jonathan an even longer letter to tell him just that.

It was almost a month before he was able to come and visit me in Seattle. By that point, a thousand texts and dozens of phone calls had taken place. He arrived and we picked up like our relationship had already been established for years.

On Valentine’s Day 2010, Jonathan took me on our first date — Italian food and wine at the delicious and romantic (and, I’m devastated to learn, no longer in business) Brad’s Swingside Cafe in Seattle’s Fremont district.

I knew that night I was in love with him.

Three months later, he moved in with me.

Stacy and Jonathan May 2010 Elsie's Santa Barbara
newly-minted lovebirds in Santa Barbara, May 2010

Jonathan —

Thank you for being the brave one and writing to me all those years ago. In some ways I lament the time we wasted being so dumb, but I know it helped us be as sure as we were about taking that leap beyond friendship.

I’m blessed to be spending our 9th Valentine’s Day together which have more than made up for the 23 previous ones we spent alone. In addition to being the love of my life, you’re my best friend; eight years, lots of furry babies, and one Fayby later, you are still the person I want to spend my time with and talk to above anyone else.

I love you, always, more and more every day. Let’s keep eating pasta, making babies, and living out our dreams together. What do you say?

x Stacy

Why I Broke Up With Facebook After 14 Years

Over the course of the last month, I realized something I think I’ve known deep down for a very long time…

I’m absolutely miserable every second I’m on Facebook. Turns out: it’s rather simple.

At the start of the year, when everyone was making their resolutions for 2018, I saw some clichéd meme floating around social media, the way memes do. It wasn’t particularly insightful, nor did it have anything unique to say. There was no hint as to who said it; the source was everyone and no one in particular. To summarize, it read:

In 2018: unfollow anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself.

Nothing new, but it stuck in my mind nonetheless. I immediately thought of Instagram. Were there people I might benefit from unfollowing there? I do follow a lot of fun, talented, accomplished, beautiful people, I thought… some I know, most I don’t. Don’t I sometimes feel like garbage scrolling through their pictures?

I mean, yes, sure. I follow a model so beautiful, with a body so bangin’, I feel a dip in my self esteem at least once a day. I’m constantly asking myself: why am I not a better, more clever writer? Why can’t I make beautiful art? Why can’t be this confident? Why don’t live in a beautiful tiny cottage in Santa Monica or on a sandy beach in Australia? Why am I not effortlessly chic and cool? Why can’t I jump right into crow??

By all accounts, you’d think my Instagram feed would make me feel like crap. But… it doesn’t. In truth, with the exception of those occasional feelings of jealousy or wanderlust or inadequacy that come with being a human person in this world watching other humans, my Instagram feed actually fills me with joy. Much of the time I’m entertained, most of the time I am inspired, all of the time I feel connected.

Yes, yes, I know: it’s not “real.” People generally show the best parts of their lives, censoring the rest. I get it; I’m not naïve. It’s simply that I’ve come to realize even seeing a curated and refined version of what life can be encourages me to search and push for how to achieve the same things within my own life. Yes, some of it will be fruitless (on my best day I’ll never have hair like this), but much of it — in one form or another — is within my reach.

Which brings me back to Facebook.

IMG_1861 (2)
A selfie because why the fuck not.

In December, for the first time in 18 years of desperately needing it, I visited and spoke with a therapist. (Shout out to my friend Cassie for gently shoving me through that door.)

Finding this doctor and speaking with her candidly is the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. (Depression and anxiety is a conniving, sneaky beast. But that’s another post for another day.)

It’s in these past few weeks of introspection and discussion I realized why and how my depression and anxiety have been slowly worsened and sharpened by the hours upon hours I spend on Facebook. Suddenly I started to ask myself why? Why am I scrolling through this mess? Why am I clicking on these horrible, click-baity articles? Why am I letting myself be visually assaulted by bad memes? Why am I losing myself in these negative, blind-rage comment threads? What am I gaining from being here??

Despite whatever customizations I know are possible and the fact I do have friends who post thoughtful, smart, fun things, my personal Facebook feed (unlike Instagram) is mostly a compulsive, messy, angry cocktail of garbage. Part of it is my own fault; I’m a bait-taker with 20 years of experience typing my opinions away into the void, causing shit and hurling logic every-which-way like it’s a life skill I’m honing; clicking articles and simultaneously thinking “Stacy, this is trash, I’m so disappointed in you”; losing sleep as I drown in combative, anonymous fights.

By way of algorithms too complicated for me to understand, Facebook has become the embodiment of my anxiety, the stoking point for my depression.

Cutting it out will not solve my problems; there is much work to be done. But in stepping back and considering a life without Facebook — something I have utilized daily and depended on as a social tool for a solid 14 years (my entire adulthood!) — I’ve come to see how little I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

I sent a text to my best friends through a thread we all share, telling them of my decision to leave Facebook for my own mental health and emotional wellness and it hit me: Two of them have long since said “goodbye” to the platform, and the other five of them barely post more than the occasional photo or article as it is. Their lives just aren’t splattered online anymore. Perhaps because they’re too busy living?

Completely giving up social media and my presence online sounds appealing to some degree, I admit, but I’m not quite there yet. Instagram is the haven of manageable loveliness and motivational butt-kicking I need on a daily basis. My blog is the writing outlet I need to feel sane and something I’m passionate about doing more, doing better.

Today, Jonathan and I deactivated our Facebook accounts together, and it felt really, really good.

I can’t say I’ll be done with Facebook forever; there may come a time where I feel better emotionally and the lovely connection to my network outweighs the struggles I’ve been facing lately. **

But as it stands now, Facebook and my addiction to it widdled away at my personal sense of value. It gobbled up immeasurable amounts of my time — time better spent diving into the seven books stacked on my bedside table, or devouring the incredible content in the multitude of online magazines I love, or being present and active and truly engaged with my friends, directly. Or, hell, going outside once in a while!

I’m ready for that.

I’m ready for more.

** Editor’s note, 2020: my Facebook is now reactivated, but that’s because I needed a fucking picture of something from college that exists nowhere else, and also because of the treasure trove that is Facebook Marketplace. Luckily, though, this plan worked: it doesn’t even occur to me to go there most weeks, and I consider that a step in the right direction towards a full recalibration of the spirit.

A Wedding Day Soundtrack

It’s been almost two years since Jonathan and I got married, and I’ve recently revisited our wedding day playlist and the nostalgia has been intense.

In the year leading up to our wedding, I spent countless hours discovering songs I’d previously never heard, re-listening to songs I’d always adored, enlisted the help of my music-loving friends, and then vetted my choices endlessly for months on end.

Jonathan was ready to pull his hair out and I couldn’t blame him.

I have no earthly idea why I gave it so much thought, but I felt it was important to get the music—and timing—of the event totally right. Regardless of whether I would make different choices now, listening to it even two years later takes me right back to that year I planned this amazing day.

With innumerable songs to choose from, I relished recommendations from friends and bloggers to try and find the perfect ones. That said, I figured I would share what we chose (really, Jonathan did have a say, I promise!) as our soundtrack of the day. I’ve included a full list with links to the individual songs on YouTube, if you are so inclined to take a listen…


1. If It Kills Me (Casa Nova Sessions) — Jason Mraz
2. I’ve Got This Friend — The Civil Wars
3. I’d Rather Be With You — Joshua Radin
4. Speak Easy — Maria Taylor
5. Simple Life — The Weepies
6. Tatooine — Jeremy Messersmith
7. Holocene — Bon Iver
8. Bloom — The Paper Kites (seating of parents & groom’s processional)
9. We Bought a Zoo — Jónsi (bridal processional)
10. How the Day Sounds — Greg Laswell (recessional)


1. King and Lionheart — Of Monsters and Men
2. Peculiar People — Mutemath
3. I Choose You — Sara Bareilles
4. Lego House — Ed Sheeran
5. Shot Me in the Heart — Christina Perri
6. Movie Loves a Screen — April Smith and the Great Picture Show
7. Do You Love Me? — Guster
8. Uncharted — Sara Bareilles
9. Come Back Down — Greg Laswell feat. Sara Bareilles
10. Mountain Sound — Of Monsters and Men
11. Go Do — Jónsi
12. Drove Me Wild — Tegan and Sara
13. Colors — April Smith and the Great Picture Show
14. Armistice — Mutemath
15. Be My Forever — Christina Perri feat. Ed Sheeran
16. Dragging You Around — Greg Laswell feat. Sia
17. Lost! — Coldplay
18. Dirty Paws — Of Monsters and Men
19. Can’t Find the Time to Tell You — Hootie and the Blowfish


1. Go — Plumb (father/daughter dance)
2. Heavenly Day — Patti Griffin (mother/son dance)
3. The Winemaker’s Love Song — Tyler Lyle (our first dance)
4. Safe and Sound — Capital Cities (dance party begins)

The DJ interjected some classic jazz, per our request, to play quietly over dinner (between the Cocktail Hour and Dance Party), and he filled the evening with loads of dance favorites. (Shout out to my best friend Ken, who spent a solid portion of his twenties as a wedding DJ and was instrumental in getting people on the dance floor at our wedding, plus requesting songs that he knew were crowd pleasers.)

It all worked out really well and, yeah, even though all that hard work most certainly went completely unnoticed by our guests, it was worth it to know that we had hand-picked nearly every song to be a reflection of the year we got married.

Do you think music can make or break the vibe of a wedding, or do you find you hardly ever notice it? What were some of the songs that were really important for you to play at your wedding? Any regrets? I distinctly remember it being really difficult to find an appropriate, not-wildly-out-of-place Mother/Son Dance song… did you find that to be true for your wedding, too? I’d love to know!

(Picture of J and me during our first dance. Still one of my favorite pictures from that day. <3)

One Year Later: Our Wedding Photobooth

In honor of our first anniversary (!!) I am finally posting pictures from our wedding photobooth!

Full disclosure: There were hun. dra. eds. of pictures — so many nearly identical — that I put off sharing them because I couldn’t bring myself to pick only a handful. Well, the time has come; I sucked it up and made it happen: around 40 selects to show just how cute and silly my friends and family are.


The best part is you can see how progressively, er, inebriated some people get. Clearly it was a fun party! ;)

Our Wedding: The Reception


The last post in this wedding series is all about the reception — the big ol’ party we planned especially as a “Thank You” to all of our incredible friends and family who traveled to be with us…

Continue reading “Our Wedding: The Reception”