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Happy (very belated) new year! I hope you have all found some moments of joy in the new year already. So much to say, so many things I want to update on!
Wow! So, obviously we took a little hiatus from sending out this newsletter. I missed y’all so much! What has happened in the past couple months since we’ve talked..hmmmmm….
In the past…6 months since I’ve been here…I’ll just give my brief updates through pictures.
-I applied to law school (again). These selfies I compiled of me on my computer pretty much encapsulate what I’ve been doing when I’m not working in the past 6 months.
Lol, the only photos I have that documented the process were of me procrastinating and taking selfies on my phone to send to people. Anyways that brings me to my only other big update…
-I adopted my fuzzy SON, Spiderman!!!! : - D I’m obsessed with him and he’s bigger now but here are a couple shots from his life so far.
I’ve been listening to songs from broadway musicals….hmmm…more random pics…this is all I have to show for myself!
Not much else really happened, I feel like I’ve been hibernating, reading, working and trying to enjoy life amidst everything going on around me. I have been drinking a lot of caffeine…and honestly, going on a lot of dates. Which is what I want to talk about this week!
In an effort to be more vulnerable and honest in this newsletter, to write yet another personal essay, and to pick up on writing something I am actively learning about through experiencing; I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept of dating. Maybe this was sparked in part by my endless scrolling in the past week of my covid-isolation, voraciously reading the west-elm caleb discourse that has taken over my Tik Tok feed, which TL;DR is not worth your time.
In lieu of past relationships being the result of what I’d like to coin the “meet-cute to-serious relationship-pipeline”, (i.e. not really dating so much as landing on a person→thinking it kismet→jumping into a relationship) for the first time, I wanted to try and play the field, as they say. I wanted to actually experience going on a lot of dates with different people, ask questions, have awkward moments, and feel like I’m actively seeking out a situation rather than letting it simply fall into my lap, or worse, settling for one. I know there’s supposedly no right or wrong way to date, or, as my therapist might say, experience another person. I guess I’ve always self-identified as a late-bloomer, in that growing up, I felt like someone Gasp! *noticing me* and sweeping me off my feet would be the logical catalyst to all of my first “real” romantic moments. I also felt awkward and had low self-esteem in high school, as many people do. Oh, and my first kiss was a stage kiss. Just wanted to set the scene for y’all!
edit: writing this sent me into a deep-dive of my dark, dark theater past (jk)…in which I found a video someone uploaded of the entire play I was in in high-school, including the aforementioned kiss (I skipped that part, couldn’t do it). LOL..here’s some photo evidence for your enjoyment.
Whew! Theater digression oops!
So, to address my point of view, identifying as a woman who has mostly dated men, I come to this perspective primarily being force-fed media narratives growing up of the woman who meets the one, the guy at the party who sees her for who she really is, who “understands” her, chooses her, even. Even writing this makes me cringe, and I wonder if others have come up against this overplayed sentiment with the media they consumed, too. In particular, I remember loving movies like “Like Crazy”, “Crazy, Stupid, Love”, and perhaps most regrettably, even “500 Days of Summer”. Crazy crazy crazy!! Talk about manic pixie dream girls! And, notably, all very straight, white narratives; movies in which the artsy/quirky/beautiful girl ends up with the seemingly unattainable, smooth, attractive man and it was all perfect happenstance!
I guess my issue with consuming these homogenous narratives would be my wholehearted belief firstly, that the concept of the existence of a singular “soulmate”, is total bullshit. There’s definitely LOTS of people out there who we all might be compatible with, for so so many different reasons. To pretend otherwise, quite honestly, makes me feel pressured and nervous, personally. In doing some reading on the concept of dating, I found some interesting thoughts. An article entailing the “drudgery” of dating delves into a book written on the concept itself, by Ph.D candidate Moira Weigel. She wrote a book called “Labor of Love”, and is interested in the history of dating in America.
“...Weigel reaches two main conclusions. The first is that though dating is passed off as a leisure activity, it really is a lot of work, particularly for women. It requires physical effort—all that primping, exercising, shopping, and grooming—as well as sizable investments of time, money, and emotion. In our consumer society, love is perpetually for sale; dating is what it takes to close the deal.”
Personally, what hit me so succinctly about this passage is how it characterizes love as being perpetually for sale. In considering this concept, it’s not, for me, so much the experience of being single amongst those who seem happily in love (even though, often I know this isn’t always the case–after all, you never know what goes on in others’ relationships) and it’s also not to be cynical about falling in love, which I think is both magical and amazing!!! I think it’s that being single as a young woman has come with a full gradient of complexities that I’ve internalized and am just now getting around to processing, through actually “putting myself out there” (and here’s another ceremonial cringe for that cliched sentiment!) Partially, I have to admit it also feels unexpectedly somewhat shameful to talk about for me, which I’ve had to confront in writing this essay.
I know it’s not shameful or weird or anything to be single and looking, single and NOT looking, and all the other non-positions that exist…but honestly, when you’re not actively in it, love can often feel like an unattainable good, something that others are able to access and you somehow can’t. I know I’m not alone in experiencing this feeling. Not to mention how often it feels like it’s something that can be commodified through using things like dating apps, which I participate in but do not feel any need whatsoever to add to the discourse here. There’s already enough! …or lastly, the way that a good 50% of my Tik Tok feed now consists of dating tips, because everyone’s got soooo many golden rules to share which only adds to the gatekeep-y ways people talk about dating. (It’ll happen when you least expect it to!! Make sure to do/not do this when you first start dating someone!!). I want to also separate this and say that this does not even begin to take into account the rich, full feeling of participating in life I have fully apart from romantic love, with my friends and family.
I guess I’m ruminating on the concept in a moment where I feel further from desperation to check a box, to have experiences, longing to be noticed or chosen, as I have when I was younger, and moreso closer to curiosity and excitement about what it is to be single and exploring what I’m interested in, what I’m surprised by, how do I feel around different types of people? What feels bad or good? Also, whenever I’m on a first date, I have this somewhat embarrassed feeling inside like I’m the only person in the entire world on a first date (which I know I’m not) and that the waiter is listening to my conversation. Look, I know I’m not a main character, but I feel put on display in the moment.
As far as my actual experiences in the past months of actively meeting people, So far there’s been nothing to write home about, mostly funny, some kind moments that have actually made me feel proud of myself and shifted my perspective on dating itself. Although, someone did mansplain Covid transmission rates to me and later text me to tell me I “seemed nervous”. Lol all the weird moments, if anyone was even interested, would be material for another day. I’m still here for them though. Bring em’ on!!! Let’s gooooo! No rules no expectations other than being myself!!
One of my favorite genres has always been coming of age, and in this moment, I can feel it happening in my life, in what I hope is the least-cringey way possible, though that’s not possible to avoid. It feels like having these moments are helping me learn who people are and what they’re like and more honestly, about myself, as cliche as that is. I’m comforted and inspired by shows about dating and love (recommend both seasons of Love Life— esp Season 2!) and newsletters like hotsingles.nyc (I think they’re charming) Hearing about cool apps like Lex which feel genuinely interesting and progressive to me.
I liked the ending of the series Insecure, in which the main character, Issa, goes through many ups and downs in her career, friendships and love life, only (no spoilers) in the end to find true happiness in each realm. Most importantly, fulfillment through her deep friendships are emphasized. The series finale did make me cry btw. Oh, and lastly, plug our ~vintage~ newsletter on friendship love!!!!
In past relationships, I’ve caught myself viewing my relationship as the actualization of something I had been searching for, and since I finally attained it, it became the missing puzzle piece that somehow makes me better than I already am. Look, I know in saying this it’s flawed. Every single tinybuddha article I’ve ever anxiety-read has told me that you don’t look to your relationships to complete you, but instead, to add to your life. But I do think I’ve had to experience this first-hand to really feel it, to let go of the trophy-ism of having a partner: something my friend Cecil mentions so acutely in this interview on ~romance~ by Corner Office.
Adele: In hindsight, I realize that a lot of previous relations that I’ve been in seem to be about this trophyism of the term boyfriend. That there was some pride in being able to say that I had a boyfriend, as if I was deserving of this merit-based love.
Cecil: Yeah, I’m guilty of the conquest thing. There’s part of me that’s trying to explore whether I can win that approval from people. But it’s not something that I actively want to sustain after winning it.
Ava: It’s like that phrase or concept or whatever: the chase is always more fun than the catch.
Lately more than ever, of course I have my doubts and my off days, but I’m finding myself turning inward for that satisfying feeling more than I ever remember doing so in the past. And that feels like growth to me!
So, I’m still sorting it all out. What do you all think about all of this? Am I being too cynical? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, by email, by text. Love talking about this!
Cheers! Love you all!
P.s. if anyone on here uses Goodreads, please follow me! I’ll follow you back! I love to connect on there and see what people in my community are reading! <3
What have I been consuming?
Hanya’s Boys - This one might be specific but for anyone who has read Hanya Yanagihara’s books/A Little Life, I found this story which reviews the book/talks about the author herself SO well written!! Good read!!
The Abortion I Didn’t Have - Really interesting first-view perspective that sheds some light on an experience not often talked about. Important read esp in light of Supreme Court Texas abortion ruling. : - (
Nut Thins as a snack. Lol idk why but I’m so obsessed with these and I’ve tried every flavor. I go through a box every couple days. Pecan is best flavor btw
Wordle every day lmao send me your results if you play I’d genuinely love to be in the know
This is my power song lately and it makes me feel so happy!
Hi everyone and ⁎̩͙ ⁑̩͙̩͙ ⁂̩̩͙͙ʰᵃᵖᵖʸ ⁿᵉʷ ʸᵉᵃʳ⁎̩͙ ⁑̩͙̩͙ ⁂̩̩͙͙ !!!
It’s Sunday morning and Sophie and I presently sit on the couch in a position most akin to the grandparents in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Today is the first Sunday since re-upping my newspaper subscription that I’ve had the luxury of immediately sitting and reading through its contents and in doing so I have transcended to the next level of True Lounging!!
As Sophie has already expressed, we’re really excited to be writing this newsletter again. It’s easy to mark our last edition in my mental timeline since it was about us moving to our new apartment, and the months that have subsequently passed feel like they’ve flown by only to come to a halt in January, which seems to be creeping along steadily… the two of us are currently in our second period of isolation—I had Covid from Christmas through the new year, Sophie has it now—and the time I’ve spent inside the walls of our living room has greatly exceeded anything else.
So many thoughts about thoughts and YOUR dating thoughts, Sophie, and in perpetual admiration of your approach, vested in your adventures forever. I have something to say about the trophyism, because I’ve related to this so hard. One of the books that I always go back to is The Art of Loving, and in it Erich Fromm presents The Problem of Man as one of separateness…not from romantic love but from nature and connection. Presently we seek out romantic love as a solution to this feeling of isolation, which in truth and purity can only be resolved through all-encompassing love (so he says):
One can often find two people “in love” with each other who feel no love for anybody else. Their love is, in fact, an egotism à deux; they are two people who identify themselves with each other, and who solve the problem of separateness by enlarging the singular individual into two. They have the experience of overcoming aloneness, yet, since they are separated from the rest of mankind, they remain separated from each other and alienated from themselves; their experience of union is an illusion. Erotic love is exclusive, but it loves in the other person all of mankind, all that is alive.
I digress, but just wanted to share!!
Lately I feel like I’ve been reckless in a new way that feels almost – healthy? The summer return to community that carried through fall had me in constant head high, and time spent with my friends was hitting like never before. The last 6 months have found me consuming more junk and alcohol than I have since my first years in college, thinking less about what I say and do, having the most vivid dreams of my entire life, quitting my job (!!!), the list goes on. During occasional moments of reflection, Sophie and I will echo each other’s sentiments that this recent stretch of life has felt special in a new way; experiences and emotions are heightened and while there are still lows, the highs are really high.
Thinking of this now I don’t know if reckless is the most appropriate word for what I’ve been feeling, and when looking at potential alternatives—rash, incautious, unheeding—I am even more hesitant to use it, especially in a time when caution and thoughtfulness are so essential to the safety of our communities. But its definition (“without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action”) is accurate to my recent state of mind in so many ways. Contemplations of how I have felt in the past bring up long periods of restriction that were based in less-than-great views of myself, and I remember so much of my brain being occupied by fearing what I would become if I don’t follow my own self-imposed rules or what others thought about me. So really the recklessness feels like a healing and disconnection of myself from absolute truths in a way that is so freeing and makes the stuff I used to spiral over less daunting.
I am sure that part of this mentality is due to a combination of the present pandemic and my place in life. Everyone says your twenties are hard and so is worldwide upheaval and I think that the coinciding of these two events has rendered me unable to plan for anything. My future-sight is fully absent, and being asked to conceptualize anything beyond the next two months seems impossible but I honestly do no want to write anything else about fucking covid in this newsletter and I’m gonna stop right now.
I’ve recently learned about the Internal Family Systems Model, which is used in therapy sessions to encourage patients in speaking about their minds as a family unit as opposed to a singular entity. I will not fully go off on this because 1. I don’t really buy it and 2. it’s got plenty of healthy criticism, but I like incorporating the bare bones intentions of it into the understanding of my mental landscape. Do I think that the parts of my mind that hold self-judgement or restriction are gone?? LOLL absolutely not. They are with me now and always will be. But I like to believe that their power has been eclipsed by a growing presence of recklessness and the pursuit of newness, like a huge balloon inflating in the center of a room and pushing all other contents up against the walls. Escaping singular definitions of who I am and always seeking unknown parts of my own being! I am more capable of inspiring myself than ever before!! Let’s GOOOOOOOO!!!
Other Things I’ve Enjoyed Recently
I’ve consumed SO much since our last letter, but here are a few more recent highlights that come to mind:
♙ The Joys (and Challenges) of Sex Over 70, written by Maggie Jones for the New York Times Magazine. This article gives such a special perspective on intimacy and closeness from groups rarely given center-stage in discussions about sex.
♘ A bumper sticker that said “YOU NEED TO STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF”
♕ Amie by Pure Prairie League
♔ Alex Colville paintings!! Also he lived in Nova Scotia and I want to visit so badly!!
♡♡♡ And Finally, Happy Happy Birthday to our Beloved Subscribers ♡♡♡
Ash, Antonio, and Izzy!!
Thank you for subscribing to us! Hope your days were very enjoyable :) We baked you this cake ♡♡♡