Adulthood, I think, is a matter of learning how to hold truths that contradict one another, because each truth was at one point valid. Every truth, in its own time and its own context, is how you become yourself.
Every so often, I give up on pretending that I have sophisticated taste in music and turn on the kind of thing I used to wallow to in high school. It's a sure ticket to the past, which has been especially welcome lately—nothing like escaping to the good old days when the president was just… Continue reading teenage dream
“Master-planned community”: a euphemism for “white people and expensive trees, arranged along streets that are cleverly named so that a typical set of directions sounds like 'make a right on Timber Rose, then a left on Heirloom Rose, and then another right on Scarlet Rose.'”* This is where I was raised, on a parcel of… Continue reading city mouse, suburb mouse
“An introverted Finn looks at his shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at your shoes.” I traveled recently to Finland, the country that my mother's family left several generations ago. I've never been particularly in tune with my cultural heritage, mostly because I'm not just a mutt but a generic, whiter-than-white-bread mutt:… Continue reading thicker than water
Nothing prepared me for the first time that I tried to walk from one building on Vassar's campus to another alone. It was before smartphones or even the proper signage that the fire department recently forced the college to install. I was hell-bent on finding my own way, no way was I going to ask… Continue reading freshman disorientation
I have thought often since then about where the boundaries lie between what's mine and what's fair for me to talk about and what secrets belong to the people who shape me.
We moved from one house to another, not even two miles away, when I was twelve. On the last night in the old house, I wrote a letter that I've since misplaced to remind myself of who I had been when I lived in that house. (I'm not sure how I drew up quite as… Continue reading all the old familiar places
I had just a few simple dreams when I was a child: to meet the Spice Girls, to buy an entire wardrobe from the Limited Too, and to will myself into having perfect vision so I could cast off my Coke-bottle glasses once and for all. Did you know they make miniature cellos for tiny people… Continue reading eyes on the prize
After college, I landed in an apartment that my father once, memorably, called “a warehouse for twentysomethings.” Warehouse is generous: it was a converted four-bedroom with a single, decrepit bathroom and no air conditioner. I found my room on Craigslist shortly after arriving in New York where I discovered quickly and to my chagrin that,… Continue reading a deluxe apartment in the sky
When I was seventeen, the sleepy-eyed 26-year-old sound engineer who taped a microphone cord to the back of my neck every night before I went onstage as Peggy in 42nd Street fell hard for me. “I shouldn't be telling you this,” he'd start, his thumbs pressing the tape into the back of my neck for… Continue reading ain’t nothin’ but a number