“Learning to Say ‘So What?'” Club

At today’s therapy session with my brain doctor, she tried to “break me down.” I felt like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting in the scene where Robin Williams, as his therapist, repeats “it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault” until he broke down and cried. I didn’t break down and cry because it’s not near the end of the movie for me yet, I’m still in the beginning stages where I stay in control, even in therapy.

Also, my brain doc, wasn’t convincing me it wasn’t my fault (that’s impossible, it’s clearly ALL MY FAULT, because, despite my other insecurities, I think I can somehow control the universe). Instead, she wanted to understand my deepest fears; the same ones which rear their ugly head to cause my pesky panic attacks.

In our first session, she taught me to “say yes” to emotions rather than suppress them or fight them. Don’t try to end the panic attack, ride the wave. Don’t try to get rid of the nauseated sensation, just move on with your day, because no one has ever, and I will not be the first, to die of a panic attack.

In our second session, she wanted me to confront my fear of death and realize “not wanting to” was different from “being afraid” and when I accepted the inevitable, my body would react appropriately and not secrete quite so much ‘fight or flight’ hormone.

Today’s lesson was “so what?” No matter what I said – no matter how extreme – her answer to me was SO WHAT? Being the worst consequence to any scenario for me is death when I finally answered “death,” she said, SO WHAT? This obsessing, worrying, over-dramatizing, over-analyzing and overall desire for perfection causes me secondary suffering, which affects my everyday life and doesn’t need to be there. If my apartment is not immaculate when guests come over? SO WHAT? If my latkes aren’t the best they’ve ever had? SO WHAT? If my present isn’t the one they rave about for years? SO WHAT? If I don’t finish everything? SO WHAT?

The reality is none of the potential hypothetical ramifications I work through in my head are worth the emotional weight I give them. SO WHAT if I’m having a panic attack?  I have to stop trying so hard to make them stop coming. This is just what I get – like eczema and apparently, it’s not so much about eliminating the attacks altogether, it’s about learning not to give them the power to slow me down – or take me down, for that matter.

As I move into 2017, I realize on top of learning to meditate, do yoga, and master the art of doing nothing, I now have added “learn to truly NOT GIVE A SHIT” onto that list. Or at least I have to practice not giving a shit enough for the neurological pathways in my brain to cement themselves into highways which become habits. Until my instincts say “so what” instead of “what if?

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“Join the [Life] Club” Club

I’ve written about “Life Clubs” every day for the last 360 days. While some Life Clubs are joined voluntarily (Marriage Club, Motherhood Club, Tattoo Club), others are more like a military draft and you get inducted into the club whether you like it or not (Alcoholic Mother Club, Aunt Died Club, Apartment Got Flooded Club). The guiding principle for all Life Clubs is you join by overcoming experiences which you can only truly understand after going through them first hand. You imagine what it’s like to have a baby until it’s nothing like that at all. Also, unless you’ve dealt with insurance companies and contractors, you can’t exactly relate. But if you have, you are high-fiving another person who really understands. And while we’re at it, a tattoo is worse than ant bites. Membership to most clubs is irrevocable and permanent.

Life clubs are how we can connect to one another and they transcend sociological, economic, and religious classifications. They are invisible fraternities and there are no pins to wear on our jackets to let others know “hey, we’ve been there…join the club.”

It has always been easy for me to have conversations with strangers; I can find something to discuss with just about anyone. Maybe it’s my college journalism training, or it stems from my innate curiosity of fellow humans but I’ve been fascinated with stories (or gossip) since I was a toddler. I love seeing inside strangers apartments, hearing about their innermost disappointment and heartbreak. We all relate to sad stories and rally around the underdog. I believe our intuitive empathetic tendencies are strong. We read blogs and memoirs of strangers, get wrapped up in their lives all because we can somehow relate. Reading about other tragedies keeps us grateful; at any time, anyone of us is grieving or suffering in some way. We cry at movies not because we mourn the loss of a fictional character, but because we’ve imagined ourselves in that scenario. Seeing a great love story plagued by cancer onscreen makes you hold your loved one that much tighter in bed. We seek validation from others to remind us that we are not alone, that we are OK, and that someone else went through it and came out the other side…Stronger.

At the beginning of my commitment to writing every day, I imagined I’d write about a different club every day, telling the story of my life up until now. What I quickly learned was life dictates stories faster than I can transcribe them. Anything I went through, no matter how frustrating or disappointing, felt different because I knew it was just another club to join – to write about, sure, but more importantly to add it to my roster of things I know about from the inside. 

I was always afraid to take on the title “artist” yet for 360 days this year I became a performance artist putting on a written show for an invisible audience. I created the art and was its subject. I wanted to control it all but instead, it organically took on a life of its own and I had no choice but to smile and join the clubs.

“Learning Relationships From When Harry Met Sally” Club

Last week I watched one of my favorite movies with my son: When Harry Met Sally.

My freshman year of college in 1992, as a journalism major, my first feature article assignment needed to be based on research but I don’t remember any other constricting guidelines. I know that this was pre-Internet so a Twitter poll was not an option, neither was posting something to Facebook for the entire Freshman class to pontificate about or reply with emojis. No, I did this the old fashioned ways, by writing up a questionnaire and printing out flyers, distributing them and then analyzing the results. Brick and mortar reporting, old school.

The topic for my paper was inspired by my favorite movie at the time When Harry Met Sally. It was “Can men and women be friends?” Eighteen-year-olds eagerly filled out the survey. The overwhelming response from my freshman peers was “of course.”

What’s interesting in retrospect, of course, was my collection of data, all segregated to 18 and 19-year-olds, barely “men” and “women” at all. We only understood innocent juvenile friendships. We weren’t even legal yet, we were barely having sex. Grown up friendships are much more complicated with ripples of layers like intestines. We were privileged kids at a private university in a major city lucky enough to write articles on superfluous studies. People our age in other countries were plowing rice fields or building cars or taking care of farms. In retrospect, I laugh at the luxurious life of my freshman year where romantic comedy cinema served as inspiration for academic enhancement.

25 years later I’ve watched this movie countless times. I quote along with it. My husband and I reenact various scenes as we walk along Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I know the outfits Meg Ryan wears in every scene and have always found a kindred spirit in her restaurant ordering. I realize this movie had a substantial impact on setting my relationship precedent; it planted the seeds for how I approached every future male-female relationship. Even if I had a male platonic friend, at the back of my mind I had the Harry Burns’ philosophy: even if you’re not having sex, the man will most likely think about or want to have sex with the woman.

“What if the man doesn’t find the woman attractive?” Sally asks.

“Oh, you pretty much want to sleep with them too,” Harry answers.

I’m sure millennials find this concept outrageous; many of them stylishly tout best friends of the opposite sex. And while I agree these relationships might be exemplary examples of friendships, I’d also wager to bet nature’s biological intervention inadvertently controls our sex hormones -and at one point or another, there will be a sexual thought or consideration or experiment. Sometimes sexual attraction can evolve from the familiarity and comfort of friendship as much as in unpredictable and novelty of a new partner. Friendship leads to love and as those lines blur, so do emotions, which occasionally take on a life of their own.

Ideally, I’ve always wanted to find a best friend who also “gets it off the couch” for me. (Based on Patty Stanger’s philosophy from Millionaire Matchmaker.) I’ve read articles which advised NOT to marry your best friend and others which plead the opposite. While it could be a lot of pressure on your partner to fulfill both jobs as your BFF and fuck buddy, it’s a hell of a lot more convenient.

Last week as I rewatched, this time with my 14-year-old son next to me, the evolution of time seemed more apparent. This movie became my relationship default yet now I wondered if it would feel like an obscure Casablanca reference to my teenager.

Before the Internet and Bluetooth and Instagram, a couple drove across the country together, had a conversation and learned about one another. This couple took risks, formed a sincere friendship, lived a life separate from one another, and came together, growing in love, rather than falling in love when life’s timing was right.

Maybe When Harry Met Sally was from an era before text and FaceTime, but its message is as relevant as ever. Whether it was intended or not, I received a kind of relationship tutorial, planting seeds for future interactions with the opposite sex and inspiring patience for knowing when you’ve found the one “…like you know about a good melon.”

“Not Fearing Death, Just Not Wanting It” Club

“Cowards die many times before their deaths.

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,

It seems to me most strange that men should fear,

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.”

I joke about how this tiny speech from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is the only thing I ever memorized which I still remember. We were required to put this tidbit to memory in Mrs. Feldman’s 7th grade English class, yet in the last 30 years, I’ve recited these 46 words hundreds of times without truly understanding them.

I have been that coward for three decades, wincing in the face of fear, shortchanging myself out of living as fully as I could have.

It wasn’t until this morning, when my brain, subconsciously still processing Tuesday’s therapy session, sent me this bit of Shakespeare as if on a stone tablet from up above. I spent a majority of my hour discussing death with my brain PhD therapist. She wanted me to dive into my fear of death, something that’s plagued me since fourth grade, when I used to be scared of closing my eyes at night, afraid I wouldn’t wake up the next day. The therapist started out by pointing out how death is inevitable and as someone who is even more anxious about wasting time than of imminent death, I had to realize I was wasting time terrorized by the inevitable. This ironic irrationality stopped me in my tracks. If I was terrified of snakes, I could technically avoid them, but there was nowhere I can go where I can avoid death.

I’ve learned the best ammunition we have against the Grim Reaper is to live as hard as we can every fucking day because no matter how cliche, none of us can predict our last day.

After I divulged to the therapist that the pain and suffering associated with death is not what I’m actually nervous about, she asked me what it was and I realized it wasn’t that I was scared; I just didn’t want to. This critical, yet minor differentiation and clarification, alters which hormones my brain secretes in reaction. My brain reacts differently to “I don’t want to leave the party” than it does to “I’m afraid of leaving the party.” There is nothing scary about leaving a party, I just don’t want to miss out. This is called “FOMO: Fear of Missing Out,” and we have scheduled to discuss this in next week’s session.

The clock continues to tick as loudly as ever for me. As the days flip on the calendar, I age, and no matter how much I write, or how successful I am, it feels insufficient. While I’m trying to savor it all, it’s slipping away faster than I can hold onto it. I may be on my way to easing my fear of death, but I can’t imagine ever coming to terms with leaving the party of life. I just don’t want to.

“2016: FOAD, but Thanks for Everything” Club

Eight is my favorite number, yet 2008 wasn’t so great. I had thyroid surgery in January, broke my knee in February, got audited in April, and lost my job in June. During 2016, another multiple of eight, every member of my immediate family landed in the emergency room, my mother was in the hospital twice, our apartment got flooded, a scary clown craze damaged our business, and my husband and I both lost an aunt to ovarian cancer.

This morning over breakfast, I tried a final attempt to lure my artist hubby into a last-minute holiday card. I had a funny idea which I thought might hook him:

“How about a toilet bowl showing 2016 flushing down the drain?”

His eyes looked up and he played along for a second. “Yeah and we can show Prince and David Bowie and Gene Wilder…” His voice trailed off, he looked away.

“No?” I knew he wasn’t biting.

“No,” he said and carried on with the loud chewing of the over toasted sesame bagel.

The other day a friend texted me: “2016: FOAD” (Urban Dictionary.com confirmed the acronym is telling 2016 to F-off and die.) “Amen,” I wrote back.

What a year for everyone. Our country endured a public political showdown which left half of us miserable about the outcome. Some are rallying to come together, some rally to call congress people, and I’m hoping to get through each day alive. 2016 had countless heartbreaking deaths, robbing us of geniuses famous and familiar. There wasn’t a person I met who didn’t have a health crisis, a career transition, or a relationship catastrophe yet somehow we’ve made it out, with a week to go, to read and write about it. Survivors. Collectors of life stories. Joining clubs; laughing and commiserating with fellow humans.

I am filled with gratitude for the year I was given and the stories it allowed me to record for posterity. Here are some of the happy highlights:

“I Don’t Do Holiday Cards” Club

I don’t do holiday cards. I did once. No, twice. I feel the tug, though, as beautiful cards fill my mailbox. I desperately want to be part of the “Holiday Card” club, but find once again, my perfection paralysis prohibits me from playing at all. I’m chock full of ideas, but they usually involve hand making one of a kind cards, which doesn’t work well when the holiday card list includes everyone from the doorman to Aunt Sadie.

The first time I did cards was the year after my son was born. I purchased ice blue high-quality paper which I hand cut with crinkle-cut craft scissors to fit inside the quaint coordinating color (but not size) envelopes. On to each card I adhered a painstakingly, cut-out snowflake (from white vellum paper) with a thin white satin ribbon tied in a perfect bow on the (ruler-measured) top center of the page. Inside I attached my thoughtfully crafted holiday greeting, printed on the translucent white paper with the fancy shears. I hand addressed each envelope and each completed card felt like a piece of artwork. I saved one for myself and recently came across it. My brain had remembered all of the work its creation involved, but the final product felt lackluster. Maybe this is why I never ventured into the holiday card club again. I could never meet my own standards.

The second time I attempted holiday cards was with my husband, the year we moved into our current apartment. This will be the 12th holiday season my husband and I spend as a couple, and we’ve only done the one card. My husband (Christmas Card Scrooge) agreed to do cards because I lured him in with the challenge of using his creative design skills to mastermind a dual function card: part “Happy Holidays,” part “We’ve Moved.” With some graphic design ingenuity, my husband laid out the cards to say Happy Holidays on one side and We Moved when flipped. His inner poet also stepped up to write a clever Dr. Seuss-like poem, creating a relic of holiday card genius. Perhaps this creation has left him feeling insurmountable. I, on the other hand, feel he’s limitless; we can create holiday card gems yearly. Here I sit next to an artistic ball of ideas and talent and he doesn’t want play in the holiday card game.

The truth is writing every day this year has monopolized any free moment, and even bubbled over into non-free moments. Holiday cards are the extra credit I didn’t have time for this year. I’m aware I don’t have to be so extreme about it. I could have settled on a happy medium by sending out purchased cards. Only I’ve never done well with mediocrity, which sounds and feels and awful lot like medium, so I’m an all or nothing kind of girl.

Next year, I have big plans, though. Huge.

“Starting Anew” Club

With the new year upon us, marking another trip around the sun, collectively and symbolically we give ourselves permission to make a fresh start; renewed promises, redefined goals, refreshed perspectives. Somehow seeing the January 1st date, like a blank page, gives us a boost, the momentum we somehow lack the rest of the year.

We can use any day to change our life, change our relationship, change our job, change our habits, change our perceptions. The only difference between talking about doing something and actually doing something is as easy and as hard as just doing it (Nike knew what they were talking about). Every day is a new day, a new month, a new year, a new opportunity. Life is linear; there is no going back to the beginning – we are in constant transition.

My father hates his job and even though he’s 68 he can’t afford to retire (challenges associated with having young children at an older age). He is desperately seeking a new job and lifestyle. My sister wants to alter her geography to be closer to the family. Everyone wants to get healthier. Particularly in an era where our social circles tend to over-share, we’re tempted into a constant re-evaluation of our lives. Are we doing enough? Accomplishing enough? Seeing enough? Having enough fun? Are we happy enough? Maybe it’s just a reminder the clock is ticking loudly … it’s time to get busy living because we can’t help the fact that we’re all actively dyingNO PRESSURE. Tick, tock, tick, tock. 

Before I went to college I spent a day with a cousin I saw rarely because he lived six hours away. I’ll never forget what he told me on that day: “your life drastically changes every six months. Just look back and see how different it was six months ago.” Initially, I dismissed this notion, but every so often I think back six months and note the difference and his comment feels incredibly poignant; even more so since he died unexpectedly two years ago at 45 years young.

I’m no different, I coincided the end of this 365-project with the last day of the year and there will be a huge hole each day after where my project used to reside. I will not stop writing, but I will stop writing in this (lonely) club and begin a new kind of writing. I look forward to embracing the new; bigger projects, looser constraints, armed with the evidence to forever remind me of what I’m capable. (WRITING EVERY SINGLE DAY!)

“I Kept My First Wedding Photos” Club

For years after I got divorced, I didn’t think about the two boxes of wedding photos I left at my ex-husband’s apartment. Last year, a decade after I left the apartment, my Ex moved and asked me if I wanted the photos. One box contains the wedding square-shaped proofs and the other box contains the hand-printed photo album. Instinctively I said I’d take them thinking I always had the option of getting rid of them later. I considered one day our son may want to look through them. I also thought about the people now dead, yet preserved in these photos, from an event which happened, even if the occasion it celebrated has since been rescinded. 

It’s awkward to flip through the photo album and look at me 15 years ago, dressed in a dress which never fit properly, marrying a man I never really matched. We both look younger and more innocent and my eyes dart around the photos searching for clues in the photos. Where is the magic? Where is the spark? Where is the passion?

After the wedding was over, I remember thinking, “That was it?” I had a nervous stomach and diarrhea before they announced us and waited for a euphoric epiphany feeling during our dance. I tried to soak it all in, waiting to be floating in a cloud stamped with “best day of my life” and was grossly disappointed when it never came. I put my black winter parka over my wedding dress and walked the few blocks from the wedding venue, across the street from The Flatiron Building to the W Hotel in Union Square, where we spent the night, overslept, and missed our flight to our honeymoon. We caught a later flight and flew first class. We traveled to three islands and stayed at the Four Seasons in Maui. I had controlled as much as I could to make the nuptial celebration pretty and perfect; what I couldn’t direct was the course of the actual marriage.

It’s easy to analyze this all retroactively; reviewing snapshots with scrutinizing critiques, but in the moment I was clueless, hopeful 26-year-old girl who wanted to be loved so damn badly. I thought I was creating my fairytale, but turns out I was only creating memories. Memories forever immortalized in these two boxes for which I have to find storage in my new house, in my new life, with my new husband.

Incidentally, I am also on the hunt for a photo storage solution for the hundreds of curling black-and-white photos I inherited from my grandmother of my parents’ wedding 43 years ago. They divorced after 25 years and I still look at these photographs longingly, convinced I have never seen either one of my parents as happy or in love as they look in those photos. Also, over 50% of the people in the wedding photos are dead and I feel a sense of responsibility to preserve them as historical artifacts of our ancestry for all future generations.

“It’s Not Always the Worst Case Scenario” Club

Earlier this year I watched a Dr. Oz segment where a psychiatrist suggested coping techniques for those of us who struggle with immediately jumping to Worst Case Scenario explanations. Occasionally I go there too soon, without justified reason and rile myself up unnecessarily. The psychiatrist offered this advice: instead of assuming the worst, think the opposite; assume just as extreme in the best case scenario. For instance, if I haven’t talked to my sister on the phone in a day, don’t assume she crashed her car into a snowy ditch on the roads of Maine; instead, assume she won the lottery and jetted off to Europe real quick (without telling me?!).

This morning my husband drove my daughter to school and forgot his cell phone. Actually, I’ll clarify to say he deliberately chose not to bring it because when my teenage son suggested he bring it, my husband retaliated that he was only traveling a mile away.

It’s an hour later and my husband isn’t home yet. Where can he be? Logically I begin: Maybe he ran into a friend and got into a long conversation about the electoral college? Maybe he decided to grab some bagels on the way home? Only both of those things would still have had him home by now. I review the morning in my head. My husband had mentioned he didn’t feel so great; a little nauseated. He said maybe some fresh air would help. Perhaps he’s standing on a corner deep breathing into his asshole? (His words, not mine.) These are the coherent scenarios I discount immediately.

Of course, it seems absurd to ponder he had a heart attack; he’s a young healthy guy. Yet, I’m staring at the phone waiting for a strange number to reveal itself on the caller ID and it might be a Lieutenant Smith from the Fort Lee police telling me they found my name and number in my husband’s wallet in case of emergency. I hope he moved that card into his new wallet otherwise it’ll be hours before they find me.

My son jokes he’s having a secret affair. I laugh, thinking in the old days my jealous rage would have instantly gone in the cheating direction, but that’s not as scary as dead. Every door slam down the hall makes me crane my neck; my stomach is in a knot. Seriously where is he? I try the extreme good scenarios: maybe he went grocery shopping on his own… or … Nothing. My brain is stuck on dead.

He finally walks in an hour later, hair disheveled (or sexed up) if he’d been sleeping.

“Where have you been?” I ask.

“I just sat in the car in the garage for a few minutes. I told you I didn’t feel good,” he says. He’s looking at me like I’m the asshole.

“You could have come upstairs to sleep,” I say and the lump travels from my stomach to my throat and I burst into tears. “You were missing for over an hour. I was so worried.”

“Sorry,” he says and it doesn’t make me feel any better knowing I’m the type of wife from which a husband has to hide in the car.

Maybe this incident will serve as future evidence to remind me not to jump to worst case scenario; better to assume your husband is being slightly inconsiderate. Only he will plead not guilty, insisting it was not his intention to worry me, and contending he is just the illiterate version of time; the direct opposite of me, the daughter of “the Nazi of time,” who can guess the time accurately within five minutes any time of day.

“Tattoo” Club

When I first got my first tattoo I didn’t have the same thoughts about ink as I have now. I was a carefree 20-something feeling slightly rebellious and wanted in on the “tattoo club.” I didn’t consider what my skin adornment would look like when I turn 50-something, 60-something, 70-something, or beyond if I’m lucky. IF you know me you might be surprised to hear my life motto is: “I’ll deal with the future when I get to it” and I imagine it’s a good problem if you get old enough to be concerned with how a drawing on your skin has aged.

As I’ve experienced the privilege of slowly aging, I’ve witnessed mysterious additions to my skin I didn’t solicit. Freckles, moles, skin tags, wrinkles, sun spots … all in places I didn’t select and permanently on my body. Tattoos are no different from the scars of life: souvenirs of living, a reminder of a moment, a person or pet or symbol. After my thyroid surgery, I had a scar across my neck as if I’d been slashed. After my emergency c-section, I gained a perforated abdomen – all of which I had no control over. Tattoos are everlasting imprints we make to OUR BODIES by choice. (Correlation between tattoo lovers and control freaks?)

Tattoos serve different purposes to different people; fashion, wearable art, self-expression, therapy. Studies have found multiple tattoos can strengthen the immune system. A Harris poll in 2012 found that 21 percent of adults (1 in 5) have at least one tattoo, but there is still plenty of stigma, especially in the conservative corporate world. 

My 40-year-old friend got a tiny heart tattoo on her wrist to commemorate her daughter’s birth. She’s had it for over seven years and she still covers it with a cuff bracelet or a watch whenever she sees her parents or goes to her finance job. I too hid my tattoo from my parents for a few months. The first time my mother saw my lower back piece, a match to the one my sister now also sports on her lower back, we were in our childhood backyard where my mother still lived. We had planned on going swimming and my sister and I both lifted our shirts at once, which added a dramatic flair, apparently so much so, my mother’s heart almost gave out on her when she realized the tattoos were permanent. She threw two glass plates against the deck, shattering them across the entire yard. Heavily buzzed, she began cursing us out. 

I was 24 when I got my first tattoo, the one matching my sister’s. It is a tribal sun with the Chinese symbol for “big sister” in the middle (hers has the symbol for “little sister”) and within the rays of the sun, our initials (G & R) and symbols of our zodiac signs (Leo and Capricorn). We got the tattoo at the shop where my sister’s boyfriend worked as an apprentice so he observed while the lead artist worked on us. This would have been fine, but a second overly chatty apprentice stood over me, incessantly whining and complaining about his girlfriend as I tried to breathe through the pain.

Months before the tattoo I asked anyone I met with a tattoo what it felt like; the same way pregnant people suddenly become interested in everyone’s birth stories. People told me it felt like tiny ants biting or like shots or hits or cuts and none of those explanations turned out to be accurate. It was my sister’s second tattoo so she was more experienced. The tattoo artist insisted I go first and later confessed that he thought if my sister went first and I saw her, I would cop out. I knew, though, once I started, I’d never stop. Also, when I selected the lower back (sexy, hip, trendy) for a tattoo, I never considered which areas of the body hurt less, I simply knew where I wanted it. Turns out, lower back: very painful. Two hours later, though, the euphoria is indescribably addictive, which clearly explains the $2.3 billion revenue of the tattoo industry

My mother has never seen my second tattoo, a tribal heart on my lower abdomen, now intersected by my caesarian section incision; a sliced scar I didn’t choose cutting through my perfect heart.

Before my first tattoo, I said I’d only get the one, but this was before I experienced the adrenaline and the coolness factor of the Tattoo Club. My second tattoo has my son’s initials on it.  It’s been over six years, I have a daughter now and no ink yet branded on skin in her honor.

I’ve promised myself a tattoo as a present to celebrate the end of my 365 project. My writing project has been my marathon achievement and I want to document the accomplishment permanently – only not with numbers because that reminds me of the Holocaust (I don’t want to be the Jew who voluntarily tattoos numbers on her wrist). Lately, I’ve thrown around the idea of a word (duh: writer) and I’m considering “writer” in typewriter font … or else just “breathe.”

I have 14 days left to decide and a lifetime to live with it, love it and look cool doing it.