My new world

A lot can happen in a month and three days. Since I last wrote, I got really sick — like, “too sick to watch TV” sick — and got better. I stretched, and went to the beach, and played cards, and got happy, and got anxious, and talked about it. Conflict happened, as it always does, and I was reminded that family means choosing each other again and again. I drove around, and ate a lot of burritos, and watched the sky. I thought about writing a newsletter, but didn’t.

The world can make us feel like we should be small, and like maybe writing a newsletter about your life and thoughts is a narcissistic endeavor. And maybe to some people, it is. But in 2020, this year of vision, I’m pushing back on my fear of being too much. I believe that something about my experiences must be universal. One of you must find something of yourself in all this, and come away with more understanding and self-compassion and patience with change. The poet Andrea Gibson writes, “Sometimes the most healing thing we can do is remind ourselves over and over and over, other people feel this way too.” Those words have given me comfort over the past year, from Sebastopol to Oberlin to Chicago to Los Angeles and, finally, to my new home in Berkeley.

Yes, big celebration!! I made a permanent move to Berkeley at the beginning of the month! My partner Joey and I have a sweet one-bedroom apartment near Ashby BART and we’re loving the adventure of creating a life fully on our own terms. Joey is working as a Political Organizer with SEIU 2015, an incredible union for long-term care workers in California. I’m looking for work in journalism, documentary film/TV, consent or sexual health education, and social justice in general. Wish me luck — and if you hear of anything, send it my way! I’m having so much fun exploring the area and drooling over the gorgeous weather. And it’s a treat to live close to my parents after so much time in the Midwest!

It feels good to meet myself in a new context. I visit with old friends in the Bay Area. I make simple dinners that I feel proud of. I stretch, and get happy, and get anxious, and try to talk about it.

I open the curtains at sunset and let the orange-pink light flood the room. That feels like peace.

What I’m reading

Connection across distance through letters, emails, and texts. Finding hope in the kindness of strangers. Fleabag and the “fantasy of intimacy.” That stunning art piece on the US-Mexico border in 2017. Um, gay people are amazing, including Minnesota’s teacher of the year!! Ayanna Pressley goes public. “What was going on then was about making a choice about what ‘feminism’ would be and who would have access to it.” If you don’t know about Moms4Housing, get educated.

What I’m watching and listening to

Encore!, a musical theater reunion show on Disney+ — I cry at every episode. Holmes Holmes on Twitter is my silly 2020 icon. The beautiful “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror was as good as everyone said it would be! The wonder of a snow day. When it comes to love, how do you know? (P.S. YOU on Netflix is actually the worst.)

Recommending…

Spending time with people who think you’re awesome. Twinkly lights. Beyond Brats, if you’re a vegetarian who misses hot dogs as much as I do. Finding free furniture on the sidewalk. TV shows about middle school (PEN15 and Big Mouth were two of my 2019 favorites). Sharing this newsletter with a friend if you’re into it. Embracing the embarrassing music you like. Keeping secrets from social media.

This week, take up space in your life. Be big. The world is opening its arms to you.

Love and blue skies,

Kira