Are conspiracy theorists mentally ill, or just ignorant?

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Like any quarantined, bored adult, I have developed a fascination with conspiracy theories. I may not subscribe to the belief that 9/11 was an inside job or that JFK is living on an island somewhere with Tupac, but I’m intrigued by the passion behind such ideas and the emotional violence that often accompanies them.

Several years ago I was touring the new 9/11 memorial in New York, breathless from the crushing reality of such a devastating loss of life. My heart felt heavy and I felt a strange sense of guilt for being too young to understand the gravity of…

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“Check on your strong friends” isn’t good enough. In fact, it’s making things worse.

“Check on your strong friends.”

In theory, this gentle encouragement can and should be taken at face value. It’s not much more than a reminder that those who put on a brave face are often the ones best suited at hiding their struggles, and are frequently the ones who play mom/therapist/mentor to others who are more vocal about their issues. There’s nothing wrong with reminding ourselves to remember the big picture: that everyone is having a hard time right now, and the world doesn’t revolve around us no matter how small the universe may seem in any given moment. …

Courtney, this one’s for you.

I am still very much a baby. At the tender age of 24 (and a HALF!!), I am painfully aware of how little life I have experienced, particularly in comparison to many of my older friends and coworkers. I am often the youngest person in the room during meetings and networking events, which is partly a product of my inability to allow myself the grace of youth and partly a consequence of my awkwardness around young, hot people. I am by no means an expert in the ways of living.

I am, however, fortunate enough…

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I see sounds.

Music, voices, and ambient noises all manifest in vivid color for me, as though I were viewing them through literal rose-colored glasses. Oftentimes my synesthesia informs how I perceive those around me; for instance, voices that manifest in shades of green sometimes give me a feeling of unease and mistrust. Gold, blue, and purple voices are attractive to me; most of my romantic relationships have been with people whose voices are navy blue and purple.

While speaking to strangers and exchanging sweet nothings with lovers provides me a firework display of rainbow auras and dazzling hues, not every sound/color is…

Part One

The sun hung high in the sky, undisturbed by merciful clouds, like an operating room light above an autopsy table. All around it beat pure blue heatwaves against the lush summer trees, ripe with fruit and pollen. When the air stilled, the weight of July bore down on my shoulders and scalp, making my skin slick with perspiration yet somehow agonizingly dry and itchy. I made a mental note to pick up sunscreen on the way home.

Jenna bounded back to me with chalk in hand, the flakes of pale periwinkle and rose drifting down onto her tan little legs…

All hail.

It is my honor and pleasure to formally welcome you to the Adam Driver Simping Club. If you are just now joining us, chances are you just finished rewatching the Star Wars sequels — alone, this time, so you can fast-forward through any boring bits (read: any scene involving Finn and/or Rose) — and caught some heavy feelings for the man whose beefy, luscious muscles carried the meager remnants of the franchise on His back for three agonizingly long films. You’ve already taken the first step of pausing the movies when there’s a close-up of Kylo Ren’s face, experiencing a…

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It was 6am.

I could hear the early morning traffic gradually wake up the sleepy city, and I watched the late-winter sun creep over the horizon on Lake Michigan. The world seemed to stretch its limbs and wipe the sleep from its eyes, and I heard my roommate’s alarm go off in the next room.

But it had been 36 hours since I’d last slept.

This was day five of my seemingly nocturnal new life. Inexplicably, I’d just…stopped sleeping normally. This wasn’t your typical college-senior “I barely slept last night!” complaint; it was a nightmarish hellscape of insomnia that I couldn’t overcome, no…

Somewhere around my freshman or sophomore year, my high school invited a motivational speaker to present to my class about the dangers of bullying and harassment. The speaker was the father of a young boy who had committed suicide following years of torment from his prepubescent classmates. As a suicide attempt survivor myself, the story deeply impacted me, and before the end of the hour I had been reduced to tears amongst the mixed rows of giggling and sniffling behind me. Admittedly, I was still mildly distracted by thoughts of unfinished Spanish homework and whose table I was going to…

Is 24 too old to have a crush? My mom always calls them my “suitors” or “callers”, even though it’s abundantly clear that I’m the only one doing the calling…and texting…and Snapchatting. Is 24 too old to have a Snapchat?

Though my adult dating experience is relatively limited, I’ve gleaned enough information from recent months and my teenage years to form one finite, unshakeable opinion on the whole shebang:

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Dear Former Sexual Fling,

My parents know you’re a beast in the bedroom. Stay with me here.

After my seven-year relationship ended amicably yet unexpectedly, I found myself in the throes of completely unfamiliar territory: dating as an adult. I hadn’t been single since I was a teenager, and although I’d witnessed friends and family members endure the mental labyrinths of courtship (some of which became marriage and procreation), I felt I was entering uncharted territory. Tinder seemed like my best bet for batting practice. People still use Tinder to find their soulmates, right?

So far, no dice. But in…

Amanda Friedlander

LA reject with a passion for prose and an obsession with compassion. I’m radically transparent about my personal experiences in health and wellness.

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