newsletter #25: colombia, cousins, & questions
hello from the void!
Hello, reader. I hope you’re doing well today. I’ve been well, just chugging along in life, attending to my various duties, staying (very) busy. If I could describe how I feel in one word right now, it would be “tired.” (If I had two words, I would add “stressed” in there.) I’ve been writing everyday, but I can feel the exhaustion in my words, in the way I hold my pen. I haven’t had many thoughts I’ve felt were worthy of sharing. Nevertheless, I wanted to write a little life update for you, encompassing that which I’ve been doing lately and what’s been on my (turbulent) mind. I hope you’re entertained.
If you haven’t been informed, know that I took a trip to Colombia with Ale and his family, who are from there. Last time I went we visited the capitol, Bogotá (which I loved), where a lot of Ale’s family lives. This time we took more of a “vacation” to the coast, staying at a hotel in Cartagena alongside Ale’s cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the like. It was certainly one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, with colorful turquoise, pink, and purple homes lining the streets, vibrant wildlife (parrots!), and a warm, calm ocean. (My favorite part was eating salted fresh mango on the beach.)
It was also hot and humid — probably amongst one of the most sweat-inducing places I’ve ever been. If you think I’m being dramatic, I’m sorry. I’m an easily sweaty person. I melt like soft serve ice cream. Ale’s sister enjoyed making fun of how my ass would be physically wet after we walked around exploring. (My worst moment was when I mistakenly wore a gray tank top. It was more black than gray by the end of the day.) Aside from the near constant sweat, I had a lovely time. I always feel relaxed in the heat, or when I’m by a vast expanse of ocean and my ears are attune to crashing waves.
We spent a little over one day in Bogotá, too and stayed with Ale’s grandparents. I was so happy — literally beaming — to return to the lush, cool-tempered city. (For those of you who haven’t been, know that in Bogotá, which sits in between mountains, it is perpetually jeans-and-a-sweatshirt weather, which is perfect to me.) It’s a place I’ve really grown to love; food, people, climate, art, culture, and more. Maybe one day you will find me living there. We shall see.
Among other things, two of my younger cousins, who are in college, visited me in Brooklyn last weekend. One is from Florida, the other Chicago, and neither had ever been to New York before. I was therefore tasked with giving them the tourism-heavy “first-time-in-New-York” experience. We took them everywhere we could in the short three-day time frame allotted: Times Square (I know), the 9/11 Memorial, Washington Square Park, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Dumbo, Williamsburg, the East Village, the Lower East Side, all over our Brooklyn neighborhood, etc., etc., etc. And for as many places as we went, it was still not even close to being enough. New York is so expansive and changes every block, it seems, that I struggled to determine what was even worthy of visitation for younger first time visitors.
“See how great it all is!” I found myself gesturing absurdly, as if I were presenting a sales pitch for why they should drop everything and move here, ASAP. Ultimately, it was a helpful exercise to see the city through the eyes of novelty, of people who had never been. It served as a helpful reminder as to why I’m here in the first place. (To experience things, to create, to meet interesting people, to look at beauty, to give back,..) And honestly, the way my cousins’ eyes twinkled as they took in Times Square (in all its inanity) for the first time might have made me hate it just the tiniest bit less…
For the final section of this newsletter I will be briefly answering some of the questions you sent in. (Though I admittedly do not have the energy to answer all of them… I’m going to save some for next week!)
“Thoughts on the work is life or work is a means to provide for life debate?”
Interesting question. What I think about work right now is that we all exist under a capitalist society which requires that we be exploited for our labor — regardless of our area of work. With this in mind, I try to find a reasonable balance. (Which not everyone has the privilege of doing, I acknowledge). In simple terms, I take on some work that “just pays the bills,” so that I can also have time for the work that really feeds me intellectually and spiritually. (Perhaps I could share more about this at a later date?) Ultimately, because we all live in a fucked up system, I think that the ideal way to go about life is to find what works for you, what you can live with doing without going into depression. (Low bar, I know, but it’s where we’re at.) I’m also a believer that if you have a lot of advantages in life already, you should not do work that actively hurts the livelihoods of others, but everyone interprets “hurts” much differently. At best, I think we should all do our best to take accountability and minimize the harm we do unto others even as we try to survive in this system. I hope that makes sense. Again, it’s just my opinion.
“Thoughts on open relationships?”
Everyone navigates relationships differently, and I think that an open relationship is a perfectly viable way to operate. From my research as a journalist who works a lot in the sex and relationships space, however, I’ve found that open relationships are most successful when the people involved are very transparent about their boundaries, how truly open the relationship is, what they want out of the framework, etc. If anyone involved is hesitant or unsure or feels uncomfortable about it, then it might be indicative of problems to come. If you’re considering opening up your relationship, I would just be completely sure you know what it entails and what your expectations are before you begin. Just to be safe!
Other things of note!
I really want to send a weekly roundup of “good reads” in addition to my regular newsletter. It could be three to five solid articles/stories? I say this because I feel like I read a lot of articles as a chronically-online-person and a media-person, and I would be interested to read comments from you all about the pieces. Or maybe I could send a longer list once per month in lieu of a newsletter? If you have thoughts on this let me know. If not, feel free to ignore.
I loved the latest installment of comedian Catherine Cohen’s advice column in W magazine. (Particularly the answer about why a person lives in New York.)
This interview on Gossamer with Jenny Wichman, founder of Yew Yew smoking essentials. (I love the products and I think Jenny Wichman is cool.)
An essay in The Drift: “The Girlboss and the Anti-Woke Cool Girl.” (It’s a quick but solid read.)
The first two episodes of the new season of Atlanta. So good.
This short story called “Doctor Fuck” by Lisa Taddeo for Playboy.