Hanging out with Lena Dunham

It was so good to hang out with you today, Lena, and I would like to thank Terry Gross for facilitating the conversation and asking most of the questions I would have asked and some I wouldn’t have thought of but was glad she asked you anyway, snorty laughter notwithstanding.

I am still dancing around in the echo of what you said about how oversharing is a “gendered term.” You said men who share about their experiences are deemed brave, but women are relegated to oversharing. I agree. I’ve sat at plenty of lunchtables with men talking perversion and misogyny and using expletives every other word and I got the impression that I was just supposed to hang. Whereas women asking for a tampon at anything above a whisper is considered gauche. I don’t know if this is a battle we will ever win, dear Lena, the war of who gets permission to share true things, but that reminds me of something else illuminating you said. You explained how Hannah, the character you play in “Girls,” is the one who feels charged with saying all the true things out loud, except she forgets that there are social constructs in place for a reason.

I feel this way.
All the time.

I live in reaction to a very private family. I think my temperament is also pretty no bologna and having spent a decade in New England, I’m wicked blunt. But to my family, I’m all, “Okay, people, I’m calling everyone onto the floor who is still wearing a scrunchie from 1994” and my family is sort of, “Anybody care for some tea?”

So what I’m saying, Lena Dunham, is that I think we get each other. Also, did I say how cute your hair is looking on your Vogue cover? Ah, and by the way, congrazzles on the rave reviews of your book. Michiko Kakutani? Girrrrl.

Full disclosure, though: I couldn’t get into “Girls” and it’s not for the lack of trying on my part or a lack of talent for writing and acting on your part. It was just one of those salt-in-the-wounds reminders of how I sort of forgot to live in New York in my twenties and how I cannot fathom how many sexually transmitted diseases would be involved if life were really like that. That’s where my brain goes. Everybody else is, Look how brave! Look how true! And I am tar-heeled paralyzed in the corner, pondering whether or not all those characters would be filling prescriptions for crabs.

Was that the sound of me oversharing again?

::presses publish because knows Lena Dunham won’t mind::

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RAH RAH REE, Let me see you M-O-V-E!

We are moving around the corner and the process has felt like a long break-up that keeps trying to backpedal and see if there’s anything vestigial from the relationship that can be saved. Like that tinny song: “She said/What about/’Breakfast at Tiffany’s’.” Remember that one? A mutual affection for an Audrey Hepburn film can’t save us. It is time to pack up and move on to the greener pasture.

Moving has been going on for soooo long now, I have given it a new name. Moving, or as I like to call it, Finding all the loose change in your house that was ever minted. Ever. Oh, and also finding: beads, doll shoes, Legos, stickers with dust and dinosaur bits festering on them, and enough hair rubberbands to keep an entire cheerleading squad suspended in mid-air. I am almost persuaded to believe that while I was out, a cheerleading convention took place in my home and they tried to clean up all the hair rubberbands and beads and stickers but they just couldn’t. Spirit sticks are a mess.

spirit stick

***

At a writer’s conference, a woman I’ve never met turns to me, “Oh my gosh girl, you look great. Even for a writer!” I said, “My stars, you do, too! What’s your secret? You must be a writer!”

Laughter.

Then, simultaneously,
She: “No, but I do like your glasses.”
I: “No, but I do love your hair.”

We look at each other’s nametag. We have the same last name.

I: “Are you married to a Korean?”
She: “No. Chinese.”
I: “Did you write a book about it?”
She: “Haven’t written it about surviving that yet…”
I: “Oh. I have a book for you, then.”
Smiles.

***
I went to this poet nerd camp when I was in high school. There was a tandem cheer camp taking place on the same campus. I remember overhearing the cheerleaders, who marched and cheered going to every meal, “Yeah. The writer kids? Like, all I hear they do the whole time is…write?!”

***

I don’t know what day it is lately except today is a day that I am supposed to be moving. Not just moving houses but moving ideologies. I’ve been sulking lately about my book. Have you ever been working so hard on something, just gutting yourself to make it so excellent and then the gal who has more friends and a way cuter haircut does something similar but it’s still a bit pedestrian? Yet everyone around her is RAH-RAH waving their spirit sticks and you just…Yeah. That’s not a good place to set up camp. You’ve got to move on from that jealous onlooking position and find a place where you can be even more excellent and refined and distinct. But it’s tempting, isn’t it? To just begrudge popular girlfriend of her phenomenal blog audience and multiple book deals, even though most of her sentences appear to be bought at a discount on 1-800-CLICHE.COM? It’s altogether seductive to think that such a career blossoms overnight. I know it doesn’t. I also know that my goal with this book is not stardom. It’s to share a message of humor and hope.

Plus, jealousy has a way of painting some pretty ugly lines on our faces. they don’t fade but grow ever deeper with each jealous brushstroke.

bringiton

And let’s be honest. Book deal or not, no author can really afford the Botox.

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What to tell them when they ask you if you have a platform

Do I have an author’s platform? Am I an influencer of the masses such that my book will climb to the NYT best-sellers’ list before I can even take a screenshot of my #1 position?

I’ll let you decide:

My Facebook statuses become cross-stitch patterns that hang in dentists’ waiting rooms. Oprah’s Book Club is taking a sabbatical until my book comes out. Every time I make a purchase, the NASDAQ skyrockets. The rainbow loom was just called “loom” until my YouTube video using multi-colored bands went viral. Jimmy Fallon wrote me a thank you note just for being me. Sometimes I can’t keep track of all the trending hashtags I started. Reality TV called but I was busy shooting a Super Bowl commercial for my non-profit organization. I founded this non-profit when I was 14. We upcycle bottle caps to manufacture sustainable legwarmers for 1%-ers (before upcycling and legwarmers were even a thing!). All proceeds from the legwarmer sales go toward reducing unemployment among mermaids. I gave a TED talk about it and so far the talk has 3 million views, at least 1 million of whom were once unemployed mermaids who have now found meaningful careers! I wrote a screenplay about a den of unemployed mermaids called “Shelling Out.” So far it has raised $50,000 on Kickstarter and we can’t wait to begin filming the pilot webisode. My tumblr posts get shared before I write them. I have more Twitter followers than Lady Gaga. Every time I hiccup, someone retweets it. My blog is so popular it is causing problematic internet traffic jams. Pinterest has asked me to blog less often because they can’t capacitate all the pins that my fabulous DIY photo posts generate. Suri’s Burn Book can’t even find something mean about me to say, I am so favored. Dr. Phil stopped asking me how this all was working out for me, because he already knew the answer.

***

Of course none of the above bears truth. I am a nobody to most Somebodies. The metrics of Somebody-dom are all the stuff of earth. They are merely a chasing after the wind.

God who is impossibly wonderful has set eternity in our hearts, and that any of us are somebody to Him is inconceivable. Only He is worthy to stand on any platform, yet He calls us with our busted rulers and ragged measuring tape worthy still. I am so glad that this nobody can be His somebody. He is everything to me.

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