It could be the Anniversary Effect

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Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

I’m not really an astro-girl, simply an e-girl, but this week I felt the vibes must be atmospheric. Everything was just slightly more off than usual! I felt slightly more insane, slightly more dissociated, and a million times hungrier. I also started having vivid nightmares again, mirroring ones I had at the beginning of the pandemic, ones I thought I’d shed. While I usually feel hopeful and motivated by the future, I felt horribly pessimistic. Everything seemed pointless.

When I asked around, my friends noted a similar uptick in weird dreams and unease. Some…


A former self wrote this!

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Photo by Simon Boxus on Unsplash

I wrote this essay not long after moving to NYC, when everything was shiny and new and exciting. I’d spent the previous two years living in quiet, remote places; so when I came to New York, all I wanted to do was dance in crowded clubs. And dance, she did! I’m honestly nostalgic for the strobe lights, but more so the novelty, hitting the town and never knowing what would happen. I live for the magical adrenaline that comes with new experiences and new people — relics of a past life, now.

Anyways, I gasped…


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A few weeks ago, I watched a friend scroll Instagram until she settled on a low-gradient image. She stared intently at the photo, eyes wide, one hand over her mouth. “What is it?!” I asked. She passed me the phone. My hand, too, went immediately to my mouth.

The image was her ex at a family island reunion. Each person is swaddled in blindingly neon Lilly Pulitzer. One wears a Bumpit. All of their smiles show both the dental work and smugness of WASPy Connecticut finance folk. …


Reckoning with Abstinence Education’s Shame Culture

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My childhood in a billboard | Photo: Shutterstock

It often feels as if I’ve reverted to my high school self this year, minus the feather hair extensions and Death Cab for Cutie obsession. I’d thought I’d grown out of the angsty, insecure phase of my youth — but when March 2020 came around, and I went back to my Missouri hometown, I felt myself becoming a huge fucking asshole again.

Why couldn’t my parents knock before interrupting Zoom school? Why were mayo and butter piled on literally every food? Never mind the fact my family was generously cooking for me; I grimaced…


And An Ode to the Side Hustle

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my last first day of school!

A few weeks ago I reached out to my school’s career center, looking to polish my resumé as I began my job search (I graduate in May, send help). The advisor looked over my credentials and said, “What about internships? You’ve done none.” He then told me to not even bother applying to fellowship programs, let alone newsroom staff jobs. “Best to get an internship after graduation,” he said. “Then maybe you can apply to fellowships.”

I was absolutely crushed. I’d never had an internship in New York City, not for lack of trying; I applied to anything that paid…


This Year, Dystopian Fiction became my Refuge from Dystopian Reality

I’ve become a masochistic reader — the more fucked up a tale, the better. After a long day of doomscrolling through news outlets, I’d ask myself: Could things get any worse? Then I’d sink into bed and open a new novel of horrors. Yes, I’d sigh in relief. They really could.

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In March, I raced through Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation from my own tiny, windowless apartment in New York City. I savored the book’s claustrophobic vibe, feeling the protagonist’s anxiety as she took prescription meds to…


Yet another bureaucratic fumble by leadership

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Northern Virginia healthcare workers told me their hospitals throw away COVID-19 vaccines at 5 p.m., when the clinics close.

Here’s why.

There are multiple vaccine doses in one refrigerated vial; when a vial thaws, it must be used within a matter of hours. If a clinic has no-shows or scheduling errors, the extra doses end up tossed. Two sources told me they were vaccinated simply for being near hospital premises at closing time. (Wondering if I should tell my elderly nun friends to mill about Walgreens at dusk?).

Another issue:

While staggering target groups according to supposed need seems optimal, this strategy might not…


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Photo: NBC Washington 4

This week’s been bursting with politicians’ tired takes claiming “this isn’t who we are.” Oh, that cliched phrase of American exceptionalism. It seems to surface monthly at this point, so I wonder: if it must be said so frequently, doesn’t it make the opposite true? This is exactly who we are and who a country founded on imperialism has always been.

As white nationalists stormed the hallowed halls of democracy on Wednesday, an act incited by the president who then hid behind his keyboard, the public worried if we should be working during the coup. And noting the fact that…


I seem to be permanently online lately — I type all day in this hellscape, and I also can not and do not want to abstain from memes. So the past year, I’ve worked on making this a more livable space, one that has actually become a place of refuge instead of a necessary evil of the modern world. Here’s my advice if you’re in a similar predicament.

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if you can’t do this, that is

Stop the morning doomscroll.

One way to feel like shit for the entire day is waking up and immediately scrolling through Twitter or Instagram. My apparently-masochistic self made this mistake today (Monday after the holidays). Everyone…


No spoilers here, just vibes

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Hamburg, HBO

Twenty-nine year old Madison Hamburg is the series’ director, documenting his own investigation of his mother’s gruesome murder in an affluent Connecticut suburb. She was killed when he was 18. The murder went unsolved.

This is exactly the kind of thing I wouldn’t watch over the holiday, when I prefer to melt my brain with Parks & Rec reruns. Real life’s been dark enough already that I basically abandoned the true crime scene this year, with the exception of reading Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered (Karen and Georgia, ily). This is all to say…

Meghan Gunn

Meghan Gunn is a writer. https://www.meghangunn.com/ tweeting @95gunn

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