A purgatory between grief and hope.

A purgatory between grief and hope.

When Kaia* was a baby, I would put my feet up on the coffee table at my parents’ house with my knees bent and sit her up on my legs facing me. She was only 6 weeks old when one day, I kept staring into her eyes, sticking my tongue out at her over and over again. This went on for several minutes, until all of a sudden, she stuck her tongue back out at me and I was so surprised that I shrieked and started crying and laughing uncontrollably. I could not believe that she was so smart and engaged. And then she smiled and did a little chortle right back at me. She had a sparkle in her eye as she kept sticking her tongue out at me, waiting until I would laugh, and then she would let out her own little laugh. I knew she would be a troublemaker like me. It was the first primal connection that I had ever had in my whole life, other than the ones I do not remember because of death.

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There is a window.

There is a window.

There’s a short window in many young women’s lives—after they are primarily daughters, and before they are primarily wives or partners or mothers. I think about this period of time a lot, maybe with similar fascination that the photographer Sally Mann had with the age of twelve for girls. It’s a transition from one you to another you, and we can learn a lot about womanhood by gazing into this window.

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Failing at my social media break.

Failing at my social media break.

When I said that I was taking a social media break, I didn’t mean it like how normal people regularly take time off from social media to focus on the important things in their lives. I meant it in a way where I realized a while ago that social media engagement and mindless scrolling are specific behaviors that I use to avoid feeling anything, and so I decided to begin a break on a very specific day—a day after the election was over. 

Another reason that I decided I needed a social media break is because I have started to realize that I create a lot of content that people enjoy and find helpful and that it all belongs to someone else and can be taken from me at any time. I learned that lesson when I was randomly—and apparently permanently—suspended from Twitter, without any recourse. There is nothing that you can do to guarantee your access to any platform. You can follow the rules like I did, and you can still be arbitrarily banned.

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