Endpaper


Our Neighbor Totoro

I’ve rewatched the movie countless times over the past decade. If I had a comfort food, it would be this film. But that’s not to say I find it completely comforting. The older I grow, the less I feel like My Neighbor Totoro is a kids’ movie. Its mesmerizing surrealism can no longer hide the profound sadness of two girls missing their mother as they struggle to grow up.


From Me, in Cambridge, with Love

Letters sent by mail are outdated, yes. But they are snapshots of time, the culmination of a friend’s life between the day they mailed their last letter and the moment they sat down to write this new one.


Are We Home Yet?

At the time, everyone thought the virus would pass in two months. I thought I’d get home by July 2020. It’s September 2021, and I haven’t been home for 20 months.


To Love a Stranger

The silence was in no way uncomfortable; most times, it was pleasant, even relaxing. But underneath was a low thrum of pent-up frustration, which I only became aware of every once in a while. There was so much I wanted to tell her — about my high school track meets, the school paper, later my college roommates — and so much I wanted to ask, that I simply could not.


How Things Fall Apart

I left later that night, relieved that I wouldn’t have to see Gayatri until the next winter but also wondering whether I had said too much. And sure enough, that one genuine moment came back to bite me.


book vector graphic

Falling back in love with reading


Mutation

This version of myself looks up and sees my mom’s shoulders heave up and down. I’m looking at my father’s back, and I don’t need to see his face to know that it is tearless, like mine. Only when I read these words does the memory float back to me. I described it as half-grief. Stuck in the wrong places, like sweat.


Adventures on the Rift

We played as the sun set and the sky split into pink and yellow, the room awash in gold. We played as the lamps turned on and the rooms around us quieted down to rest. When I went to bed that night, still giddy, I saw the graphics imprinted behind my eyelids, just as vibrant and animated as they’d been on screen.


League of Legends Graphic

League of Legends Endpaper


Disordered

I’m not alone in this. When I started talking about my recovery journey on Instagram, an astounding number of people reached out to me and told me about their own struggles with food and body image — people who were so gorgeous and kind and wonderful I had no idea they could ever be insecure.


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