Reaching for more

Before I could talk, my parents taught me the ASL sign for “more.” I brought my hands together again and again, ma ma mar more more moooore! Yams, bananas, peek-a-boo, Raffi songs, dancing, MORE! Ravenous for the world, for taste and song and wind. More, please.

I still find myself reaching, wanting to feel it all. I mourn that I can’t live a thousand lives. I’ll never know what it feels like to grow up in a different country, or be a firefighter, or hitchhike, or be on American Idol, or be in the WNBA. I like that so much is still possible in this life, like running a marathon and learning how to scuba-dive and how to build a table and maybe even being on Broadway. I’m coming to peace with my everlasting desire for more, and focusing on what I do have.

I think about one of my biggest sort-of haves: a sperm donor. I have him and I don’t. We’ve never met, never spoken. I know him through Google searches and a questionnaire from 1996. He’s a name I hold onto, photos I click through, a voice that slips through my fingers. He doesn’t know a thing about me and my quest for more.

When people ask me about my sperm donor, as they often do, wondering if I want something from him, I try to answer. Sometimes I can tell them truthfully that I don’t think of him often. Sometimes I say it with an ache.

In my answer is a sun-lit coffee shop in a state I’ve never visited. I walk to the counter and browse the menu, making small talk with the barista. I buy an expensive mocha and sit in the window, quiet. And then the door swings open and the bell dings and I see him and he recognizes me. We sit and we talk about things we care about and our families and I hear his laugh and something in it is familiar. And maybe we don’t see each other again after that day, or maybe we send long update emails, or maybe he comes to my wedding and I introduce him as a family friend.

Really, the way I think of my sperm donor is just as the best bits of myself. My goofy, wordy sense of humor. My want for justice, my quest to find myself through my writing. My tendency to fall in love swiftly and often. My eyes that squint at the light and slowly open to let it in, when I can. I think he feels like I do, which is to say, I like the way I feel things. I imagine a long rope of light stretching between us, sending heartbeats and breath all day long. And yes, I want to know him more, and yes, I think I know him as well as I know myself.

What I’m reading

Disposable cameras are magic to me. A disgraced influencer makes a bizarre comeback. I can’t stop thinking about this incredibly upsetting example of the violence of our deeply unjust carceral system (major content warning for graphic descriptions of disturbing imagery). Stolen content on TikTok. I LOL’ed @ this piece about Nicki Minaj and bar mitzvahs. “I left with a very specific feeling, a kind of bottomless need that I associated with early adolescence, and which I had not experienced in a long time.” Finding companionship and connection on the border.

What I’m watching and listening to

The soundtrack of Jagged Little Pill, over and over (I haven’t fallen this hard for a musical since Hadestown, which I still weep about on a regular basis). AJR’s “100 Bad Days,” a song for me and everyone else who wishes the band fun. had never broken up. MUNA’s “I Know A Place” — perfect for dancing in front of the mirror. I’m celebrating Jewish resilience and grieving as I look through the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s video archives for a project.


Asking for help. Having a daily hot chocolate (this is what my 2020 looks like). Big plants. Chickpeas as a staple dinner ingredient. Not holding in the tears. Talking yourself up. Letting joy find you, and saying thank you.

This week, ask for more.

Love and heartbeats and breath,