Letter 27

December 05, 2019

On letting go

I’m having a hard time articulating why, but I feel calmer than usual lately. December is a weird month—there’s so much I feel like I need to squeeze in before the holidays come and the year ends, but I don’t feel frantic or anxious about it at all. I sort of feel like, who cares? As I wrote in an email to Summer last week, I just want to do nothing and be comfy until January. I’m ready to hunker down until the new year comes so I can re-emerge and start over, let go of all the things that aren’t working for me, make space for gratitude instead of guilt, etc. etc. etc. I’m trying not to ask too much of myself right now, which probably should not be a December-specific intention, but I’m welcoming it nonetheless.

– Jillian

I’ve discovered I do, in fact, keep grudges. I didn’t super know that about me. I thought I was a cool, chill girl. Nope! The other day I saw a Twitter account of an ex-friend and felt bitter. I saw a different one a few days later and felt the same, then frustrated. We mostly drifted, and yet I was letting the simple act of maybe someone doesn’t love you make me feel just awful. And now I am giving space to that feeling in this letter, and communicating it to all of you—I am very bad at deciding I’m not going to let this bother me and I don’t want to talk about this anymore but actually just, talking about it more, only, exclusively, loudly. I want to learn how to process The Bad. I am lucky to have a lot of people in my life who let me shout and complain and encourage my anger, almost, but I feel like a broken record; I can scream about the same thing forever, over and over, mostly because the things I scream about are linked to Bigger World Injustices (lol) but also I’m not sure how to truly process. Let go. Transform anger or bitterness. I want to figure it out.

– Summer

We recommend

📖 Cordite 94: Bayt

Zeina Hashem Beck curated this incredible issue of writers of Arab heritage for Cordite. There are 42 poems, a mini-chapbook, and a few essays. People I love dearly, dearly, dearly have work in this issue and there is very little I love more than poems & my friends. Check it out here!


✉️ Tiny Spells

Tiny Spells is a short, daily newsletter about self care—and not the use-my-affiliate-link-to-buy-an-essential-oil-diffuser kind of self care. (Valid! But not what we’re talking about here.) Tiny Spells lands in your inbox every day with three small, manageable things you can do to take care of yourself, like “Plan how you’re going to get your water intake up,” “Think about the smells that surround you,” and “Please book that doctor’s appointment you’ve been dodging.” And if you don’t need another newsletter, you can find them on Twitter instead.


🔗 Fargo Tbakhi’s essay “Watching ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ as a Palestinian-American”

I might be double-dipping with the recommendations this week since Fargo also has a poem in the issue above, but listen! My friend is the smartest person in the world. This essay is part of my favorite genre of film writing—review by way of personal essay, a synthesis of all of the things we think about when experiencing something wonderful. He does such an incredible job linking so many different types of texts and relaying both the active experience of watching but also the more ever-present desire to relate, connect, map. It’s a great read regardless of whether or not you’ve seen the movie or whether or not you are Palestinian. Check it out here.


🔗 Haley Houseman’s Tackling 2020 Workbook

I love setting goals, and I love following directions. Naturally, this goal-setting guide by the brilliant Haley Houseman is my new favorite thing. It is extremely thorough, and was made to walk you through the process of reflecting on 2019 and setting yourself up for a good 2020, whatever that means for you. I’ve been slowly making my way through it for a few days, and it’s tough, but it’s eye-opening—in comparing where I was at the beginning of the year to where I am now, I’m starting to see more clearly what’s really important to me, and where my energy will be best spent next year. The workbook is currently on sale for $5, go give Haley your money!