Tunesday: Finals Study Marathon/Panic/Meltdown Edition

Hi hello. So, if you’re anything like me, your semester is coming to a panicked, chaotic screaming end. God only knows I need endless music to make it though. I thought I’d share some of my favorite study playlists. This isn’t exactly a Tunesday post, but mostly a music dump because I have a LOT of emotions about these tracks. Seemed as good a day as any to make it. This thing is chockfull of hyperlinks and sleep-deprived babbling… enjoy!

1. “Adderallnighter” (from 8tracks)

This is one of my favorite study playlists, and one I’ve revisited often. It has an electronic vibe to it that really helps cut down on outside white noise and chatter. It’s also nearly seven hours long, which lets you zone out into your music rather than constantly changing songs. Also, no ads. 8tracks is your best best friend, in case you were unaware (if you don’t use 8tracks already, you need to seriously reevaluate your music listening avenues.).

Honorable mention: “For very late night revision.” Feel free to check out the other study playlists I’ve dogeared.

2. OMN’s music

Ollie McKendrick-Ness is a person I found through Vine, fell a little bit in love with, then wormhole-d myself to his Soundcloud page. OMN’s stuff is absolutely stunning ambient electronic vibes. Most are original, but there are a few remixes (“Towers,” anyone?). Some have minimal vocals, but it’s nothing too distracting.

(You should really listen to his singing Vines though. The man’s voice is stunning. Examples A, B, C)

3. In Return from ODESZA

That electronic ambient vibe, again, y’all. It’s great. The duo’s most recent album is superb, and I encourage you to check out their previous work as well. Also, they’re coming to Columbia in February so GET HYPED. “Say My Name” is the jam.

4. “Mid-Tempo Indie

Phantogram and London Grammar vibes. Enough said.

5. The Transformers score

Almost all movie scores are a solid bet for very intense study sessions. My favorites are Transformers (Steve Jablonsky), Inception (Hans Zimmer), The Dark Knight (Hans Zimmer), The Fountain (Clint Mansell)

6. “Hell Week Jamz

I think I made this playlist two years ago during finals, but it’s been a staple in my Spotify library ever since. It’s got Daughter, The National, Bon Iver and other favorites of mine. Probably best for essay writing — it has singing, but it’s nothing too in your face or dance-party-inducing. (Also, A List of Voices I Like is sort of a follow-up playlist, if you’re interested.)

7. “Good Things

This is a Spotify playlist of my three current favorite albums: “Islands” from Bear’s Den, “I Forget Where We Were” from Ben Howard and “Dream Your Life Away” from Vance Joy (yes, I’m still listening to them almost exclusively.) This music is obviously not instrumental or no-vocals, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you have to do any particularly deep or thought-consuming reading. But it’s incredibly good music, and can help ease the pain and stress of studying/finals if you just need a breather.

My top picks: Think of England and Elysium by Bear’s Den, Georgia and Mess is Mine by Vance Joy, In Dream and Time is Dancing by Ben Howard.

8. Other albums that deserve a mention because they’re great and you should listen to them during this time of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion:


Remember to drink lots of water with your undoubtedly increased caffeine intake, get some sleep, pet a dog and send your friends encouraging texts. You’re going to make it through and you’re doing a good job. Best of luck to everyone!

Also: comment with your favorite study playlists because sharing is caring.


Filed under Life Events, Motivation and Inspiration, Re: Music, Tunesday

Where I’m at on a Sunday in November

(Note: I haven’t written anything in a while and I’m feeling that Sunday blues sort of thing so I brain-dumped here and then clicked publish. This is the result. Sorry.)


Usually, I’m an over-excitable bumblebee who can’t stop talking about good things and wants to show you this band and this song and oh have you heard this acoustic set and that reminds me of this artist and let me tell you a life story about where I was when I heard this song for the first time.

And then I need to go home and lay in my bed for two days and think about how my voice was too high-pitched when I said that one thing and I sounded too eager and I need to tone it down and oh God why did I say that and maybe I shouldn’t have used that emoji and I wish I talked less but somedays I can’t find my off switch.

I’m like a glitchy flashlight that you just have to let run out of battery and leave in a junk drawer until the power goes out and then you replace the batteries and start over fresh.


The other night, I tripped over an uneven crack in the sidewalk. I instinctively sputtered a “Sorry” to the kid walking toward me, as if my blunder had caused him some sort of discomfort or inconvenience.

When I get really excited about a band or really flustered about a crush or drink too much wine and (heaven forbid) start to cry, I can’t stop saying “I’m sorry.” I apologize for my personality more often than I own it. I try to tone myself down, to dam the tsunami, to tell the high tide in my chest “Hanna, dude, calm down.”

And then it all breaks loose and not even pounding on tables or capslock or canvassing the entire town can adequately express my love.

Speaking of which, have you ever listened to Bear’s Den?


Most days, my body is too big and achey and doesn’t move and bend in the swan-neck-ballet-dancer-I’ve-never-thought-about-it type of way I’ve dreamed of.

Most days, my body carries me and I am grateful.


I miss Paris in the rain every day. I miss Brussels with an ache I never expected. I miss the mountains of Alaska. I miss the river in Austin. I love Columbia with my whole heart, but my body is restless.

I’ve been listening to the same three albums on repeat for weeks now. I’ve imagined you singing them and then I’ve immediately screamed into a pillow. I’ve thought about the man from Leeds who I met in a bar in Brussels every day for the past month. I’ve woken up with butterflies and a goofy grin on my face because my subconscious is a runaway train.

I told myself I would start journaling again.
I haven’t found my journal yet.


It’s officially winter and my bed is an expanse of sheets and laundry and lost socks. Every November, my bed gets too big and it doesn’t shrink again until the snow finally melts. It’s silly and stupid and very noticeable change once the days get shorter.

My sister and I are two sides of the same coin. She puts up walls and can remove her emotions and I can’t figure out how to stem the flow of feelings from my heart. I am a child of the sun and she is a child of water. We are getting matching tattoos in a week. She loves me better that anyone I know.

It is freezing cold and dark in both of our towns right now. We are both messes in our own right, 320 miles apart.

“I hate winter,” she types.
I pause. Stare. Type. Hit enter.
“Me too.”

Winter means buche de Nöel and Christmas lights and endless sweater weather and Bing Crosby and a constant excuse to drink hot chocolate. It also means seasonally affective depression and finals week and dry skin and runny noses.

Winter means my bones ache in their ball-and-socket and synovial joints. Winter means I forget what green grass feels like under my shoes. Winter means December 15th must come again.

Winter can buzz off.


Things aren’t all bad, all stagnant. I am seeing The 1975 for the second time a week from tomorrow. I am seeing Ben Howard in 81 days. I get paid on Friday for 59 hours of burrito rolling.

There are so many good concerts and shoe sales and potential coffee dates in my future. I am going to graduate from college (?!!!?? ?!?!?!?!). I am going to move again (ugh) and start somewhere different (!!!).

I have plenty more chances to listen to my favorite records, to make a fool of myself in front of cute boys, to drink good beer with better friends, to sleep through my alarms, to spend $20 on the perfect shade of lipstick.

Things are gonna be okay.
Winter is always going to end.


Filed under Life Events, Re: Writing

Tunesday: From the Bottom of My Heart, I Love You

So I haven’t posted a Tunesday since … June 17. My bad, y’all. I’m a mess.

As you could probably tell from my last post, life has been a tad rough lately. I don’t exactly know why. I’m trying to roll with it and take things a day at a time. I’m okay, I promise — just a little overwhelmed.

Music has been getting me through more than ever recently, so I thought I’d share some jams for those who may be struggling with university/school/life as well. Feel free to drop me a line through my contact page if you want to talk about anything. I encourage anyone who feel like you’re drowning to seek out resources on campus or in your area; it is the bravest and best thing you can do for your own happiness.

Until then, here are some songs for people coming up for air.

1. Listener performing “You Were a House on Fire” for Cardinal Sessions

You’re burning alive with stress and life
Both hands in flames trying to hold the fire inside
Drop and roll, repeat line for emphasis
I’ll repeat it and repeat it until you believe it
You’re gonna be ok, say it to me

Listener is a lot like spoken word. It is screaming and shaking and powerful and hits you in the heart. I would recommend checking out their entire Wooden Heart record if you like this sort of thing, plus spoken word poet Buddy Wakefield (note to self: blog about spoken word).

2.  Gungor performing “Beautiful Things” for Relevant Studios

I am not a religious person, but this song moved me to near tears the first time I heard it. I can’t really explain it. It is comforting in a way that feels like a good, long, heartfelt hug right when you need it most.

Could all that is lost ever be found/
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

3. Vance Joy performing Mess Is Mine on KROQ

You’re the reason that I feel so strong
The reason that I’m hanging on
You know you gave me all the time
Oh, did I give enough of mine?

I love love love Vance Joy (Riptide, Snaggletooth, From Afar), so when his newest record came out, I was ecstatic. This song is the perfect pick-me-up: it reminds you that life is okay and people care about you and you’re okay the way you are without being aggressively in-your-face sunshine-y (which is the opposite of what I want when I’m in a funk.

Bonus round (because you need more hyperlinks):

(Also: I started a playlist called The Rut for when you feel down. Check it out on Spotify and let me know your recommendations for songs to add.)

(Also also: I’ve been getting better at updating JamsLikeJelly, so check that out if you’re wanting some random jams.)

Foudn on Tumblr. If anyone knows the source, please let me know so I can credit that person!

Foudn on Tumblr. If anyone knows the source, please let me know so I can credit that person!

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Filed under Re: Music, Tunesday

Some Sort of Coping Mechanism

Author’s note: I am beyond tired and stressed and anxious and sad. I found out an hour ago a student at MU died tonight (the second student death this semester). I am Unhappy. I want to smash glass against concrete and then curl into a ball and cry. So I’ve tried to create a space to try to hold onto the capital-I Important dream-like memories sitting in my brain. Thought Stream is exactly that: a stream of consciousness style blog post. Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed or sad or whatever, it’s nice to just dump your brain out.  Here is my first post of this sort; let me know what you think.

1. Singing and dancing to New Slang by The Shins with my brother. We were waiting for our Mac n Cheese to finishing cooking and the entire kitchen was filled with sunlight and we were the only two home. I was coming out of what I called my “funk” and remember feeling so, so blissfully happy. (When I was in high school, I didn’t realize I had anxiety and depression. I thought that’s just how people felt.) I remember that feeling like coming up for air and my brother laughing and both of us trying to out-goof the other. I remember typing a quick post on Tumblr about it, it was so monumental.

2. The moment the sun cut through the clouds at the Columbia River Gorge during sunrise. All of us students, tired and bleary with sleep, writing so frantically that our frozen fingers hurt. I remember actually gasping. I thought nothing would top seeing Yosemite from Glacier Point, but then sunbeams wiggled their ways through the overcast morning and scattered themselves across the river. I want to find my notebook from that summer and reread every little detail. I miss that city and that campus and those people and the endless, endless writing. Now, I couldn’t tell you the names of everyone there with me, nor could I walk you through a day at camp. But I remember these special moments so distinctly it’s as if they happened 20 minutes ago. Discovering trails tucked into campus backwoods. The sound of someone’s voice cracking when he crossed the word “she” in a poem he had written. The boy who played piano for two hours in our common room, bringing us out of our corners like moths to a candle.

3. Coming around the corner of the school building during a gust of crazy Ohio wind and feeling my feet nearly lift off the ground. Kids I had barely spoken to or gotten to know linking arms with me and helping to get me to the playground. All of us, kindergarten-sized sunflowers with way more growing left in us that we could ever guess, knotted together and trudging across the blacktop. What a sight we must have been. My daisy chain scattered when we hit the playground, and I fell back into shyness. But I still can’t forget that feeling of having other humans to tether you at the exact moment you think you might be yanked out of orbit.

4. Crying silently (hopefully) while sitting at a desk in the third floor stacks of Ellis Library because I thought I was never going to feel happy ever again. I was wrong.

5. Laying on my stomach in a field of clovers behind both the small and the big playground with my closest friends laying next to me. Chins resting on our folded hands, watching bees. Following them, soft and quiet as our new white sneakers would  let us, from bud to blossom to bloom. Their fuzzy bodies, their legs capped with small specks of collected pollen, their wings fluttering. My heart, skipping and happy with the work of the bees. Running back to the school doors when the recess whistle blew, all our our footsteps sounding like wild horses over dirt and gravel and wood chips and concrete. Feeling like I understood what it was like to be a smiling, crying, breathing, participating cog in the world — to be alive.

Life gets really, really hard sometimes.
Try this out and let me know when you post so I can read it too.
I love you. Listen to this song. Everything is going to be okay.


Filed under Life Events, Re: Writing, Thought Stream

A Second Try at Anger

I’m sorry I posted about killing men.
I’m sorry for lumping my dad, my brother, my roommate, my friends in to the nameless humans who have caused me to feel unsafe.
I’m sorry I couldn’t find a better way to word what I was feeling,
but I’m not sorry for my feelings.

I was fuming and angry and wanted everyone to know the experiences that women face. Most days it’s manageable, but it’s always there: a never-ending barrage of microaggressions, harassment and unchecked male privilege.

Each “to every man” in a previous post happened to me, personally. Don’t try to tell me I’m unfairly representing men when I have had someone pretend to jerk off on me. Do not try that.

I am a cis white woman, and I know my struggle is not close to women of color, queer women or women with disabilities. I know I have privilege, and I know that means my voice is not shushed as readily as some of my sisters.

Since my last post about dealing with male privilege didn’t go over well, I’m handing over the reins to people who have successfully put into words what I’m feeling. Maybe it’ll help. Maybe not.

  • Trial by Twitter by Ariel Levy (published Aug. 5, 2013 in The New Yorker)
    • “Worldwide, women between fifteen and forty-four are more likely to be injured or die from male violence than from traffic accidents, cancer, malaria, and the effects of war combined. This sustained brutality would be impossible without a culture that enables it: a value system in which women are currency, and sex is something that men get—or take—from them.”
  • Cassandra Among The Creeps by Rebecca Solnit (published Oct. 2014 in Harper’s)
    • “Not uncommonly, when a woman says something that impugns a man, particularly a powerful one (not a black one unless he’s just been nominated for the Supreme Court by a Republican president), or an institution, especially if it has to do with sex, the response will question not just the facts of her assertion but her capacity to speak and her right to do so.”
  • The MRAs Are Outraged by The Frogman (published on his blog after the UCSB shooting)
    • “You say not all men are monsters? Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. 10% of them are poisoned. Go ahead. Eat a handful. Not all M&Ms are poison.”
  • This entire blog:

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 2.45.51 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.38.23 AM

(the above images found on Tumblr)

I’m still not sure if this is the right thing to do. I know there will always be people who dislike having their privilege point out, and I also know I didn’t exactly go about presenting my story and opinions correctly before.

I apologize if my post made you feel angry or uncomfortable or attacked.
I don’t apologize for my feelings.
I don’t apologize for feeling like my only defense these days is to bite back.

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Filed under Social Justice

On Eyeliner and Lipstick and Freckles

Or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Myself.”

(author’s note: I’m not entirely sure if this blog post makes a lot of sense, but I’ve been really wanting to write about it for a while. Here are my thoughts. Let me know what you think.)

There is something very precious and fragile about self-love. I know I’ve written about this before, and you’re probably tired of hearing about how amazed I am with my newfound fascination with my own self. After all, it shouldn’t be this groundbreaking, right? To be okay with yourself? To like the human being you are busy being?

But things shift and change. Delicate little puzzle pieces snap into place of their own accord. Walking into a room full of strangers becomes a less terrifying prospect. If all I needed to do for the past 21 years to feel good about myself was actually care about my eyebrows, I’m a little mad I didn’t start earlier.

If you have told me six months ago that I would be the kind of person to dress up when she isn’t feeling awesome in order to force herself into a better state of mind, I would have laughed in your face. Historically, I have been the person to roll into most social situations in running tights (despite a massive lack of running in my non-existent workout regime), Chacos and an old sweatshirt or Goodwill flannel. If I was feeling anything less than stellar, there was little to no effort put into my appearance. I wouldn’t put on makeup, save keeping any leftover mascara. I wouldn’t touch my hair, except maybe sweeping it into a topknot or hiding it behind a favorite baseball cap.

Then I went to Europe.

Europeans dress better than most Americans. That may be a stereotype in some cases, but believe me when I tell you I actually only saw two hoodies the entire time I was abroad. I knew going in to my summer abroad that I wanted to dress the part; to fake it till I made it, as they say. I packed only one t-shirt. I left my running tights at home. I didn’t bring a single sweatshirt.

Instead, I wore sweaters and skirts. I bought a pair of black ankle boots. I paid attention to what my hair actually looked like. I put makeup on. I learned to appreciate the power of the perfect shade of lipstick.

I know what you’re thinking: didn’t you just describe someone becoming more shallow and obsessed with appearances? I thought about that too. I have to wake up a little earlier every day to give myself a margin of error in case I mess up my eyeliner and have to start over (which happens almost daily). I keep lipstick in my bag. I actually bought a full-length mirror so I can change outfits multiple times before I leave the house.

In other (more frank) words, I started to give a shit.
And when I started to give a shit, life got better.

So yes, I care a lot more about my appearance than I used to.
You want to know why?
Because I care a lot more about my confidence.

Few things make me feel ready to tackle a difficult day like winged eyeliner and a red lip. I rarely feel as prepared to deal with my social anxiety’s whims as when I’m wearing my favorite striped shirt and my oversized Levi’s denim jacket with the sleeves rolled twice. When I know my hair looks good, I feel like I can take over the world. People can tell when you feel good, just as they can tell when you don’t. Confidence is the first thing most strangers will pick up on when you walk into the room, no matter how subtle the changes are.

And that’s completely fine, because the confidence I get from my outfit or a particularly good hair day bleeds into every other area of my life. I put on lipstick to go to the library, and now I am pounding out a blog post I’ve been putting off writing for weeks. I blow-dried my hair yesterday morning and then made huge strides in assignments I’ve been struggling with approaching. I haven’t changed my routines to impress others, but for the immense personal importance.

This doesn’t only happen when I accomplish the perfectly blended smokey eye. When I spend Friday mornings without a speck of makeup on, I feel like I’m glowing. A few months ago, I would have cowered at the thought that I could feel beautiful in my most natural state. Something about feeling good on the outside has wiggled its way inside permanently, and it’s the most wonderful feeling.

It’s hard to change your insides, after all. I have been a procrastinator since the day I was born (my mom likes to say I “took my time” coming into the world), and it’s something I have to actively work on combatting. I am bad at managing money, and my dad has fought tooth and nail to get me to not overdraw my bank account (update: I’m getting better and better).

What I’m thinking — and hear me out — is that sometimes you need to inspire yourself to be better. When I’m wearing ankle boots and have lipstick on, I want to be the kind of person with an organized desk who drinks two cups of coffee every morning and takes time to read the news. People who willingly stand in front of a mirror and painstakingly etch eyeliner that looks the same on both sides are not the kind of people who give up halfway through a busy day.

Does any of this make sense? By caring about what I think about myself and investing time and effort in myself, I have changed my life for the better. By caring about my outsides, I have drastically improved how I feel on the inside. It’s a weird sort of logic that I’m just finding the words to (try to) explain.

My room is an absolute disaster right now. Maybe a new tube of lipstick can remedy that…

This took me entirely too much time to do, but the ripple effect of liking your eyeliner is unbelievable.

This took me entirely too much time to do, but the ripple effect of liking your eyeliner is unbelievable.


Filed under Life Events, Motivation and Inspiration

What I Mean When I Talk About Homicide

“I’m gonna kill all men.”

I said that at least three times Saturday night.

I scream about murder more often than what is probably acceptable, but I don’t mean it. I am not going to act on any of these words. I am not going to kill anyone. I am not even going to throw a punch.

But believe me when I say my teeth are bared.

To every man who has leered at me as I walk to class or work or the mailbox;
who has screamed “Fuck you, fat bitch!” at a friend of mine from car;
who has thrown a tantrum when presented with being “just friends” with a girl.

To the man who left my friends shaking, shivering, sobbing into my shoulder,
scared and confused and angry and destroyed after discovering a violent streak,
one that laid in wait before pouncing, our fragile trust scattered to the wind.

To every man who has stood by and laughed while his friend mimed jerking off
onto my group, who had just asked to be left alone while we were
taking care of a drunk, sick friend past midnight on a Saturday.

To every man who has followed a woman toward her home,
infringing upon the one place she is supposed to feel safe and
free from prying eyes, prying smirks and prying stares.

To every man who has ever hurt a sister of mine,
to every man who has ever hurt me,

I am a step away from violence.
I will hit back.
I will fight fire with fire.

You can bet your ass this is my battle cry.



Filed under Life Events, Social Justice

I’m still alive.

Hi, folks. School has been a mad rush of chapter after chapter of international political economics, brain functions, linguistics and 17th century French theatre. It’s been a weird semester.

What I’m trying to say is with that on my plate, blogging has fallen by the wayside.

Sorry for the absence. I’ll be back soon.

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Filed under Life Events

Un été à Bruxelles: Leaving home for home again

My last two days in Europe were a whirlwind of modes of transportation and praying for wifi and not eating nearly enough and napping with my head down on a table in the cafe of the Louvre. My last meal in Europe was a divine plate of mashed potatoes and duck+mushrooms. My last coffee in Europe was a Starbucks chai latte while hiding out from a homeless Scottish gypsy in the train station.

I came home. My suitcase was lost for 48 hours, then showed up in Kansas City. I opened Vine. I opened Instagram. I packed up all my belongings (of which there are entirely too many) and moved 3.5 miles into my new apartment with my best friends. I turned 21. I went grocery shopping. I repainted my nails.

I stared at my keyboard, willing a post-Brussels blog post to appear, full of insight and jokes and carefully crafted metaphors. It didn’t. I opened Facebook. I opened Twitter. I read about Ferguson with an aching heart. I wrote a post Robin Williams. I ate two bags of Beanitos chipotle bbq chips in one day. I opened up WordPress again.

In all reality, I will never be able to write a wrap-up. The experience was simply too big to encompass in a blog. It needs a memoir (hi, Brussels fam). I don’t know how I managed to sum up my Alaska experience in a blog post (To be fair, Brussels was a lot less of a magical nature haven than Alaska in the summer).

From the outside, my schedule doesn’t seem like it would lead to an amazing summer. I got up every morning around 8:30 (okay…closer to 8:55 on most days). I put on one of five shirts I brought to Brussels (the perils of packing light). I got an Americano. I got on the metro. I went to work. I went to lunch (and ate in the park with Adam).  I went back to work. I got on the metro. I picked up peppers and tomatoes at the veggie stand. I got home. I made dinner. Shannon and I listened to music and discussed our days. We lounged around. I had tea. I went to bed.

It sounds boring when I type it out like that, but there were surprises every day. Sometimes we would go to a bar to catch a World Cup game. Sometimes we went downtown after dinner for waffles in Grand Place. Sometimes we had frites for dinner instead of actual nourishment.

We traveled. We visited Antwerp and Bruges and Ghent and Leuven. I went to Barcelona, napped on the beach, explored the beautiful Park Güell and drank too much wine. I went to Paris, napped next to the Seine, ate delicious sushi and fell in love.

We explored the city of Brussels itself, finding coffee spots and book shops and jewelry stores. We met locals and coworkers, forging friendships in (sometimes broken) French and English. We took naps. We drank beer. We went dancing.

It was such a refreshing change of pace from the madness of the school semester. I was happy and well-adjusted and good. 

I miss Brussels a lot. I am happy to be in my new apartment, happy to see my roommates, happy to reconnect with friends, happy to have phone data — but I know the transition into school in 10 days is going to be a bumpy one. I am going to be fighting to be back at my metro stop or napping in the park with friends.

Brussels was simply better for me. It was life with breathing, even when it took my breath away.

I know this is a cop-out of a blog post. I know it doesn’t reach the big picture of “what Brussels meant to me.” But words just aren’t falling into place. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to write it down.

I can’t type it out, but I can tell you all about it if we sit down for a little while. Do you know anywhere in Columbia that sells frites?


Filed under Life Events, summer 2014, Un été à Bruxelles

O, Captain, Our Captain!

Why did I just cry over a Robin Williams quote someone reblogged on Tumblr? Why does my stomach feel sick, the way it does after you’ve finished a particularly gut-wrenching movie? Important actors, writers and celebrities die every year. Most of them hurt, but some really pack a punch. Maya Angelou, Heath Ledger, Nelson Mandela: I just came to assume they would always be a part of my life, even in the most distant, far out of ways.

My entire Twitter and Facebook is one big outcry of grief right now — posting favorite movie clips, recalling seeing Aladdin in theaters, urging friends with depression to seek help. All my friends are figuring their own ways to grieve and cope. For some, it’s The Birdcage or Mrs. Doubtfire. For me, it’ll probably be crying over Good Will Hunting.

Why did this man mean so much to everyone in my generation?

Because he touched every single one of us.

He was our introduction to belly-laughing comedy, delivered via a blue genie. He was a poetry professor, trying to pull carpe diem out of boarding school students. He was a goofy, ridiculous father who loved his children enough to become their nanny. He was a wise psychologist, reminding us it isn’t our fault.

He saturated our young lives when all we wanted to do was giggle and guffaw and go on adventures. Hook, Jumanji, Flubber, Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire had us in stitches on our living room floors, eager to rewind our VHSs and watch him work his magic again.

When we got older, we found he had a knack for delivering the wisest of life advice. We trusted him, for he was the one who made us laugh when we were young. We listened to Professor Keating and Sean Maguire guide young lost souls like ours into something like self discovery.

Something about him was just so approachable and friendly and warm. If I had come across him in the cereal aisle of my grocery store, I wouldn’t have thought twice about hugging him and saying thank you. My dad loved him, and would have our whole family howling with laughter and singing “ooooooooh fiwah” on road trips.

But mental illness works in terrifying, mysterious ways. As my friend Pat put it on Twitter earlier, “Depression doesn’t just cheat; it fights dirty. Digs a foxhole, bunkers down and fires away at your happiness for years and years.” And he’s so right. It wiggles its way into your cracks and crevices so you can’t reach it even if you try. It sits and it waits. And then it strikes, and the world loses one of its best storytellers.

I feel really conflicted about this blog post and the huge amount of emotion pouring out of me right now. There are so many more important things happening in the world right now that deserve equal (or greater) attention to an actor’s passing: ISIS, Michael Brown, the riots in Ferguson, Mo., Russian-Ukraine relations, the Ebola outbreak and so on.

But right now, in this moment, my heart is aching for a very integral part of my cinematic upbringing. Someone wrenched from the world by a demon I myself am fighting.

I don’t have any good way to sign this off, because anything I write sounds trite and like I’m making a huge hairy deal over an actor’s death. I guess this is as good a space as any to encourage anyone struggling with depression to reach out and ask for help. It’s one of the scariest, bravest and best things you can do for yourself.

We’ll miss you, Robin. Thank you for teaching us to seize the day.


Filed under Life Events, Motivation and Inspiration, Re: Movies and TV