About a month ago, my daughter saved a squirrel. She was walking with her friend at her university when she saw the little thing run into traffic and stop big-eyed like squirrels and deer and I tend to do when faced with impending danger. My daughter panicked, then immediately ran into the street with her hands up to stop an oncoming bus.

This is the squirrel.

Later that night, she FaceTimed me to tell me she’d lost two pounds. I gave her a weak thumbs up and a bland smile without teeth, and she frowned at my lack of enthusiasm.

“Weight is such a boring topic,” I said. “You’ve got much better content in you. I mean, you saved a squirrel today. Tell me more about that. Talk to me about your plans for the week. Or your plans for life. Or, like, who’s hooking up with who. Tell me about your pranks…”*

And so she did.

*OMG her pranks are hilarious. One time, she exited a bathroom at a party and told everyone her phone had dropped in the toilet, and then she…as I write out this story, I’m realizing it’s way funnier in my memory and way grosser in real life. The punchline of the prank is her yelling “POOP HANDS!” and then shoving her fingers in her friends’ mouths. Her name is Gracie and if you’re ever around her, you should not be. Run. Especially if she’s smiling. She is always smiling.


I’m a content writer. It’s part of my work to stay current on any topic imaginable that could potentially make my clients more valuable in their particular spaces. If I don’t know about it, I’d better soon. And there’s a lot I don’t know, so it’s stressful work for me.

It was my old job to be prescient on up-and-coming topics women and moms might find valuable. I found people I thought the rest of you might love, and then arranged and deleted their sentences to make sure you did. 

Now, good content is tricky. My posts have to stay close enough to agreeable concepts while subtly introducing new ways to think about things. Low key, I want my stories to be discomfortable, which isn’t a word but it has a good amount of syllables. My goal isn’t to create upsetting content; I hope it simply settles somewhere between your brain and your gut until you’re ready to absorb it or…get rid of it altogether. 

The latter group tends to leave comments that are never published.


One of our family acquaintances early-voted for not-my-choice. Her reason was that she didn’t like “her” voice and couldn’t imagine listening to it for four years. She couldn’t even say her name. Then something about dementia and a crackhead son. She thinks Amy Coney Barrett is brilliant and the right choice at the right time. She believe masks are an infringement on her rights, and COVID-19 is the flu. She RTs QAnon conspiracy theories and thinks Tucker Carlson speaks the truth. And so, I could tell her content was coming from her husband and Fox News.

I wanted to remind her that she kind of has a crackhead son. That wouldn’t be kind. We all tend to view our own content as perfect and complete, don’t we.

But content in real life isn’t supposed to be perfect or complete. I think it’s best when it’s thoughtful and constantly evolving and edited harshly. Content is not meant to be absorbed without question from one source; it’s an active compilation of facts, information, and emotions, a real exertion of effort. You’re supposed to work on it daily, if not hourly. In a perfect world, we’d read the room, see what it’s missing, understand what we’re missing, and adjust accordingly. Content IRL is best when it’s trying. 

Or maybe that’s just at dinner parties.


My oldest, Lillie, has a short FaceTime fuse. If a conversation’s content is not pleasing to her emotionally, informationally, or aesthetically, she’s out.

When she calls, I know she taps on her face and makes it full screen. I know this because the way she looks at herself like she’s the most charming thing this planet has ever seen is not the same level of annoyanceadoration with which she looks at me.

If I sense that she’s feeling less than perfect, I ask if she’s gone on a walk or run that day. The answer is always no. I take that back. The answer is usually a pointed glare, then a hang-up. I get the same response when I ask how her classes are going or if she’s taking care of her body.

“Are you taking care of your body?” That’s a big one with me. It encompasses everything. It has nothing to do with adding or subtracting pounds, but everything to do with drinking less spirits and more water, getting sunshine and sleep, giving away kindness like candy but also not giving away everything you’ve got, asking for what you need, and adding shockingly bold and wild ideas to your brain.

Most calls, I sit and stare at her with a goofy grin on my face. Her content cracks me up. The way she presents ideas and the remains of her days, sometimes in a brash Cockney accent or the da Bears voice of her second high school’s football coach, keeps me entranced.

Entrance. Fill (someone) with wonder and delight, holding their entire attention.

I hope the content I offer the world is half as entrancing as hers is to me.


I am a snowflake. 

Someone I don’t know very well was telling me about her niece, who vocally and vehemently supports Black Lives Matter and Trans Rights and pretty much every other liberty-oriented movement. She said, with rolled eyes, “Does she even know any transgender people? Or have any Black friends?”

It was like she couldn’t imagine expending so much energy on someone she’s never met.

When I offered another idea, one that reminded her of the privilege she and I carry and the responsibility that comes with that privilege, she waved me off with a “You’re such a liberal.” My God, I hope so.

My online pal Katie posted this idea the other day: “Growth requires tension. When you avoid tension, you avoid growth.” I’m trying.

I made this today.

Lately, I’ve been making Korean food twice a week, apologizing to the air when I only add a sixteenth of the gochujang and absolutely zero dried chilis. To me, new tastes bring new understandings. Even if your lips melt off. I’m trying. I see different cultures I don’t recognize on my walks, either via their front door decoration, head coverings, or forehead markings, and race home to Google to learn more about them. I’m trying. I read articles I don’t agree with or find interesting, and highlight the parts I don’t understand. I’m trying. When someone gives me a suggestion, I pay attention and research their idea to determine whether I want to add it to my own cache of ideas or not. And if not, why not? Am I sure? I’m trying. When I am the most comfortable, I look harder for those who are discomfortable. That is still not a word, but I’m trying.

I’m dead sure I’m not doing enough. I’m dead sure none of us are doing enough. If we were, the world wouldn’t be like this.

I am a snowflake. I melt all damn day.


I’m making a new sound these days. It starts out as an “Ohhh!” or an “Awww!” and then tries quickly to disguise itself as a laugh, but tells the truth in the end somewhere deep where chokes and sobs begin.

It comes when I’m reading the news, messaging friends, missing my mom, aching for my real life, sitting in this pause, and at least once every Grey’s Anatomy episode. 

It shocks me every time, and I look around to make sure no one heard. No one hears because no one is here, except for me in this lonely interruption, wishing for a fast-forward button.


I used to appreciate precision and perfection in content. Big sentences set in Times New Roman stone were an architectural accomplishment worthy of marvel. I now gravitate toward imbalanced ideas that lean on each other, ideas that rely on me and those around me to hold them up. I like people who change how they think with new and updated information. I like people who question their belief system and those who instruct them what to believe. I like people who consider the least of us. I like people who mind the gap.

Amanda, another favorite friend I’ve never met, and I DM enthusiastically every time the other one posts a story. To me, she is the epitome of thoughtful, especially if that meant full of thoughts. She leaves space for growth and fury. Does that make sense? In our latest correspondence, she asked, “I wonder if our follow lists on Instagram are mirror feeds?” My God, I hope so. 

I follow a few people on Instagram who openly and regularly dismiss their followers’ ideas and opinions. At least once a week, they reiterate how no one understands their life, their design, or their vision, and no one is allowed to weigh in, and they’re simply not interested in doing this – gestures wildly around their heads – like everyone else. Their content will not change. Not for anyone. 

I also follow people who pretend they’re embracing their followers’ ideas. Wholeheartedly on their feeds and through their stories and in DMs. Oddly, their content gets especially quiet in times when their true opinions would result in a follower drop. They forget that their likes and follower lists are public.

I’m annoyed with the second group.

Dante Alighieri wrote, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” 

I don’t believe in hell at all, but I don’t believe in profitable neutrality anymore, either.


My friend Melissa makes this heart-stopping jewelry.

This is one of my favorites.

Every time she posts a new piece, I zoom in and stare and goosebump at how one-of-a-kind it is. It’s probably not a coincidence that she is first in line to fight for someone else’s rights; her life content, like her artistic talent, seems always at the ready to add another idea to her own collection and fight like mad to keep it safe. 

Anyway. Sometimes you can see her thumbprint in a finished piece. 

It’s so beautiful to me when our content leaves a mark.


  1. Deirdre says:

    More please

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melissa de la Fuente says:

    Oh, my friend……heartbreakingly beautiful and I am honored to be even a little bit mentioned in your words. Your big, beautiful words. Thank you and adore you. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I was creeping to see if you had any book announcements ready yet and discovered I missed this one… which, maybe I didn’t miss it but just found it when I needed it. ❤️


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