Dear Emily,

I enjoyed your article tremendously.

My grandmother was fond of saying that nothing is easy except peeing in the shower. (We thoroughly washed her shower’s floor.) I’m 54 years old, cleverly disguised as a responsible adult. I FEEL 12 years old. I love to dispense wisdoms to my children, but when they ask me deep & probing questions, at times I fight a feeling of turning around to see whom exactly they’re asking questions to — surely not this kid! It startles me to look in the mirror at times — where the fuck did all those wrinkles come from? Not my laugh lines around my eyes, those I’ve had since I was 10!

But one thing my age gave me that I love — the ability to say with confidence: Fuck ‘em! No one cares about me except people who love me! Everyone is so wrapped up in their own little lives they don’t give a shit about my little life! My depression, my anxiety, my struggles, they are mine & mine alone. I take full responsibility for them. The person on the bus next to me, my mail person, my favorite (pregnant) waitress at my favorite Mexican joint — everyone is dealing with life the best they know how. They don’t want to change places with my fat ass & I don’t want to trade places with anyone else for all the money in the world! I do my best not to judge & to make life easier, to bring a smile or a kind word to someone’s day. Those who give back with the same, thank you! Those who are miserable fucks, I feel sorry for them & their families. Fuck ‘em! Repeat after me! Fuck ‘em!

As far as money trouble goes — that’s just it. It comes & it goes. I know, I know, it’s easy to say. But I know from what I speaketh! My husband graduated from law school but went into Human Resources. He passed the bar in two states, but still works in HR. It took us two decades to get out from that debt, & that’s with really, really hard work. Still I wouldn’t change a thing! We never starved, we were never homeless, we never had to sell one of the kids to pay for the other one. (Sometimes I wanted to give them away for free, but that’s another story!)

Hang in there. You sound self-aware enough to get help when you need it, surround yourself with people who support & uplift & make you laugh. Write. I cannot wait to see how your life unfolds!

As for everyone else — fuck ‘em!

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.