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Why Do Onions Make Me Cry?

Why Do Onions Make Me Cry?

Answers to Everyday Science Questions You've Always Wanted to Ask
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
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Shoelaces Are Hard

Shoelaces Are Hard

And Other Thoughtful Scribbles
edition:Hardcover
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Hater

Hater

On the Virtues of Utter Disagreeability
edition:Hardcover
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Nobody Cares
Excerpt

When I first started my weekly newsletter, That’s What She Said, my thirst was palpable. Each instalment included links to my work and not much else, and it existed to prove that I was in demand and busy, and why couldn’t everyone see how important I was? Perhaps understandably, it died very quickly. Partially because nobody gave a shit, but especially because it was very boring to write.

Then in late 2015, I revved it back up again. I wanted to write without worrying about editors’ feedback or about being professional. I wanted to write what I wished someone would say to me when I was in the midst of a misery marathon or taking up residence in the bell jar. I wrote about my fuck-ups, fears, and real, human feelings (gross), and dove into events and experiences that weren’t gold star–worthy. In it, I was vulnerable, angry, and messy AF, but it felt good to write about life as an often-horrifying shitshow instead of what it looked like through an Instagram filter. For the first time since I’d started writing, I stopped trying to show everybody how great I was and focused on the merits of being a person unfinished. I began trying to work out my issues and feelings in real time and chose to learn as I went. Quickly, the newsletter became the place I could be me and sound like me and write like me and share with the world all the very best Leonardo DiCaprio GIFs the internet has to offer. I was finally happy just to be there. And for the first time in years, I didn’t give a shit about being important.

Which is a relief because I’m not. None of us are.

Nobody’s looking at us, nobody cares — everybody’s obsessed with their own Thing. Most of the time we’re all just trying our best. And sometimes we fail and other times we don’t, but we’re sure as shit not better than anybody else before or after the fact. If you can look at your life and feel confident that you’re doing something you love and giving it all you’ve got, I think that’s enough. Especially since not even a tidal wave of third-party congratulations will make you feel better if you don’t already like where you’re at. No amount of RSVPs, no parties, no Cool Guys From Whatever City Is Hip Right Now’s adulations. No book deals. You are always left with yourself.

And it turned out people liked my messy-ass self. Including (and somewhat ironically), two book editors who reached out to my agent. So, I’ve tried to keep toning down my quest to prove how special I am, because I’m not. And to care that much about being famous or world-renowned is exhausting. It’s a waste of time and energy. Yet even while typing that sentence, I know I’m still battling. My tightrope walk between anxiety-fueled work binges and genuine hustle, between thirst and a healthy amount of ambition, is a balance I still navigate— daily. And I’m so used to it at this point, I think I’d miss it if it went.

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