Adjusting your thumbs-up reaction emoji to match your real-life skin tone is a poor facsimile of in-person support and agreement, a Plato’s-cave gesture of a gesture.

And yet.

Zoom baby shower, complete with favors sent by snail-mail to participants across the country

It was early April the first time I attended a Zoom event. In Oregon, we’d been shut in since March 23rd, and the full impact of the pandemic — its long-term implication — was just beginning to press on our shoulders and chests. I was paying half-attention, washing a sinkful of dishes with one eye on my laptop. …


Everything happens for a reason, my mother says. It’s long been her refrain. She means it to take the sting out of a cancelled vacation, cake batter spilled on the floor, a relationship gone awry — but most importantly, she means it.

For most of my life, I’ve been skeptical if not downright dismissive of this claim. Easy for you to say, I’d think, and sometimes still do. …


It happens all the time, but somehow, I never expect it.

I wake up. I go about the normal, shameful, instantly-on-my-screen early morning bullshit. I open a Facebook tab — or just get the notification directly from Google photos the moment I power up my phone.

Here comes my vast digital footprint to tell me that two years ago today, I was still skinny. …


I performed thinness to win the acceptance of men, when all I needed was to accept myself

A photo of a hand against light with another shadow of a hand overlaid on the other side of the window.
A photo of a hand against light with another shadow of a hand overlaid on the other side of the window.
Photo: Carmen Jost/Flickr

The first time I had sex with a girl was in the context of a threesome. I’d met the boy through a dating app, knowing he was polyamorous and partnered, and not an hour into our first date he told me he wanted to introduce us.

Her name was Jamie, too. She was brown-haired and slender and beautiful — far more beautiful than I was or would ever be. She was a scientist and a yoga teacher. That first night the three of us tumbled into bed together, wine-drunk in the wee hours of the morning, she set an alarm…


In the space of three days, I devoured Leslie Jamison’s new memoir, The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath. I’ve been a voracious fan of her voice ever since I read The Empathy Exams, and was even more excited since the release was personally timely: I recently gave up drinking myself.

One good way to redirect compulsion: beach & book

As I covered in my post on the subject, I’m not exactly in recovery; my booze-quitting process was strange and stepwise and evolved out of other behavioral changes. In her memoir, Jamison covers the exquisite pain of her addiction, the white-knuckled fortitude it took to finally give it up after…


I have just returned from a car dealership, where I was attempting to sell my Jeep the day before embarking on a three-month trip via a 16-hour travel day.

That is, I was attempting to engage in a quick and professional transaction while fairly stressed out and under a time crunch.

The rep I worked with — whose name was Paul, which is incidentally my ex’s name, which led me to refer to him in all of my subsequent “dude, really?” …


**2020 UPDATE**

Hi folks reading this post. Thank you for being here. I honestly keep forgtting this story even exists, except for Medium’s emails telling me it still sees a small but steady stream of new reads each week.

I just wanted to let you know that the mess I was figuring out in the text below came to a head not too long after this piece was originally published. By 2018, it was clear I had a full-on eating disorder, which I kind-of-sort-of admitted to myself for this Huffington Post piece, which was written in September of that year…

Jamie Cattanach

Freelance writer, frequent flyer, unabashed nerd. Portland, Oregon.

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