Issue #121: How I Moved from "Loneliness" to "Love" in 2023
Not a self help guide, promise.
Morning Person is a weekly newsletter packed with obsessively-curated recommendations and ideas—let’s get to it!
📺 “Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God” on Max: Robin Williams plays a surprisingly large role in this docu-series on a Colorado cult… In it, Amy Carlson fuels her belief that she is “Mother God,” the mother of all Creation, with drugs and a community of people looking for answers, and hoping to find it in her. It’s fascinating, but also sad. It serves as evidence, and a warning signal, of how easy it is to manipulate vulnerable people, especially when money’s involved.
🎧 “Say More with Dr? Sheila” Podcast: “Getting to listen to a random person’s therapy session, I mean, what a dream for you,” Amy Poehler offers in the soft cadence of a self-proclaimed couple’s therapist. Her short episodes poke fun at the recent trend of celebrity therapists a la Dr. Orna and Esther Perel (both of whom I adore), who share real sessions. Poehler, who adopts the persona of “Dr? Sheila,” utilizes theories like “O.J. Simpson’s ‘If I Did It’ method” and “Harry Potter therapy” to address ghosting. The 25-minute episodes are an unexpected, but ideal, medium for Poehler’s skits, that play up all the therapy tropes (like one where she sees her therapist for an emergency session, who sees hers, who sees hers…).
📚 The End of the World is a Cul de Sac by Louise Kennedy: I’ve been on a major short story kick recently, especially those that are dark, as these certainly are. Similar to Claire Keegan’s recent collection, Kennedy’s portrays Irish women whose lives are rife with misogyny and misfortune (but also moments of joy). I also really enjoyed this interview with Kennedy, from when she published her novel Trespasses.
My 2023 began on a dock with my cousins, overlooking fireworks across the Rio Dulce in Guatemala. Being with them always feels like home, but in that moment, I felt so heartbroken, lost, confused, and untethered. I had no compass and no idea what I was doing—only that I had to trust myself.
In anticipation of writing this post, I went through all of my photos from 2023, and realized that every season had a distinct emotion attached to it: Loneliness, Excitement, Abundance, and Love. Sitting here now, in a home of my own at the end of one of my most difficult years to date (second only to 2022…), I feel so much more sure of myself. I still recognize the girl on that dock, but am also amazed at how far I’ve come. This was a hard one, but I’m ending 2023 grateful for its lessons and role in helping me come back to myself. Read on for plenty of photos I’ve never shared and 20 of my most important moments and lessons from 2023…