The problem is that I’m an addict. I was raised by addicts. I often find myself in the company of fellow addicts. Only my drug of choice is not alcohol, it’s feeling bad about myself — perhaps the most pathetic of habits, but one that is no less real.

My addiction is self-hate and I’m using it to sabotage myself so that I am never, ever happy, because it’s what I feel that I deserve. After all, if I can find a way to view something as always my fault, I am the one who’s actually in control. …


And how to get out from under it.

Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer at LACMA

I used to be a good writer. I don’t know if I really am these days. Sometimes I’m just not so sure. Before it was easy for me to let myself get carried away on a melodic sort of thought or the rhythm of words and feelings coursing within me. I could dig in, get dirty, allow myself to feel their weight as I wandered through the words dizzily floating in my head. I was expertly attuned to figuring out which ones made sense, evoked feeling, maybe made you laugh. …


“IMG_5358” by pockethifi is licensed under CC BY 2.0

2009 was my first full year in New York City. I was working at mtvU, scheduling commercials, living in West Harlem with a bright blue living room. Things felt endless in that way they always do for young people, potential and the unknown pulsating through the street, air, and bones of everyone making their way on their own for the first time. Equipped with degrees, dreams of new beginning and curated adult-seeming activities and tried and true friends. There was no room for nostalgia, only looking forward. …


I’m mad at myself because I keep messing up, even when I try. But don’t worry, this is a happy story. In the end. Mostly. (We’ll get there! I promise!)

Usually, I would tweet about something like this. An impulsive string of words as a means to attempt to connect. A passive toss of a “here’s a thing that’s careening around in my brain, and I feel I need a place for it.” If you notice it and want to engage with it, cool yay hooray, you can. If it’s not too annoying. I hope it’s not too annoying. Oh…


**Warning: this story contains frank discussions of mental health, anxiety, self-hatred, and suicidal ideation. If you or someone you know is struggling, know there is help, and click here for assistance. Don’t listen to your Jeremy.**

— —

There’s a worm inside my head. At least that’s how I’m thinking about it lately. A real friggin’ jerk of a thing it is, too. I’m calling the worm Jeremy, because anthropomorphizing things is cute and we all need a bit more bemused joy in our lives. Plus I don’t think I know anyone named Jeremy so it feels like neutral ground…


Photo via Jnyemb/Flickr

To be honest, you’re not entirely sure about the how. It’s just that, suddenly, every day is like this: you wake up, flustered. Missy Elliott yells in your ear—waaaake up!—from a speaker across the room, because the three alarms on your phone don’t work anymore, when they hardly worked before.

Sleeping is harder, but waking up feels worse.

Every day begins with determination—get up, be on time. Do the minimum human work. You are exhausted, but not in an i-ran-five-miles sorta sitch, or even in an i-worked-for-12-hours-and-now-i-have-6-more-to-go kinda way. This exhaustion sits on your shoulders, banging upon your chest and…


Art by Trey Speegle

This time, I’m giving less. Of myself, of my world, my love, my feelings, my opinions. And I mean it this time. Because I’m tired. I’ve tried—and failed—to internalize this concept for years. I found pride and strength in my idea of perseverance, thinking I was doing some higher bidding, living some better way, by tearing myself up into little pieces for other people. I believed protecting one’s self from the world was a folly of the fearful.

That ends now.

I’ve long believed the idea of protection was a lie. Freak accidents happen. Other people are an unknowable factor…


I’m sick and tired of cool. Cool—as an idea co-opted by the apathetic—isn’t something to which we should all aspire, it’s an idea that should die on the vine. Because to be cool in that context means to be icy, removed, and detached, our feelings pushed deep inside, inexpressible and moot. The air around it, the stench of insecurity writhing within it, the cynicism that feeds cool’s soul robs us of our inherent love and passion for things. Striving for cool makes everything in our world, attainable or otherwise, feel instantly, pathetically uncool.

Cool is apathy’s armor. Cool is an…


Sculpture by Uwe Henneken, Boros Collection (Berlin, Germany). Photo by Alicia Lutes.

Well, first thing’s first: it doesn’t. Not always. Not when you’ve been depressed for two years, medicating for a year of that, and just off a job that—for the last little bit of it—has really pushed you low. Like really low. Like down deep into the worst parts of yourself, triggering every worst reaction, childhood ritual, and mental malfunction you’ve ever had or known. And all of this goes double when you feel some sorta way about it, not wanting to sound petty and spiteful but also maybe that’s exactly what you are. Right now at least.

You weren’t always…


I have loved so many people from afar. Surely, they must have known.

I love, hard. Passionately, obsessively, with a twinkle of excitement dancing ‘round my thoughts. Because other people are magic—I am but a poster child for interpersonal obsession. I want everyone to feel as though they can rely upon and come to me, should they ever need a thing. I crave deep connections and intimate conversations that go off the rails and into the grey. It’s like I want to embrace everyone with my heart and keep them warm with my soul. …

Alicia Lutes

Professional numpty & flibbertigibbet

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