My “chill out maddy” Spotify playlist didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.

I spent the weekend trying to relax.

I didn’t go for any long bike rides or runs; instead, I went for short walks and took naps. I read an entire book. No, wait – two books. I made a playlist called “chill out maddy” and listened to it for a few hours. I meditated. I painted:

Manifesting my dream home in the Cotswolds, inspired by a photo Leslie took a few months ago.

Suffice it to say I was disappointed when I woke up at 4:13am this Monday morning with painful stomach cramps (diagnosed thus far as anxiety-related).

I’m not here to complain, though. I did have a relaxing weekend. I basked in the hot sun (but not in the red flag warnings reminding us that another fire season is on our heels). I made a picnic for me and Thomas which we enjoyed with a fancy bottle of rosé we purchased a few weeks ago in Mendocino as the sun set on Saturday night. I called my mom and spoke with some friends. My life is good; I am blessed in many ways.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how much I love California. I spend a lot of time thinking about that, actually. I browsed thrift store clothing racks in Oakland and imagined myself as a fashionable woman who put thought and intention into each of her outfits. I rolled my eyes at the obscenely long lines outside of “trendy” East Bay bakeries. I watched the first five minutes of four different Netflix shows.

I would also like to share the possibly hot take (given its Goodreads rating of 4.31) that I did not enjoy The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. The premise of the book – a girl named Addie makes a pact with the devil that means she will live forever, but she will be forgotten by everyone – was too obvious of a metaphor for me. Passages and quotes that clearly resonated with many readers (e.g., “Do you think a life has any value if one doesn’t leave some mark upon the world?”) felt…basic and silly. Maybe I’m too cynical but I found myself rolling my eyes frequently as I kept being hit over the head with thinly-veiled metaphors about the meaning of life.

(I did, however, enjoy The Incendiaries, probably because I have a fascination for cults and enjoy mysterious characters.)

As I’ve now successfully wasted these pre-sunrise hours sharing my ramblings, I want to wish each and every one of you a joyous Monday. Since I am now a self-proclaimed “breakfast person,” I am going to make myself some breakfast. And by “make breakfast,” I mean I am going to microwave one of the frozen breakfast sandwiches that I bought in bulk from Safeway. Please comment below with your favorite breakfast and/or a book that I can read so I don’t have to rely on (disappointingly incorrect) Goodreads reviews.

Away From Me

I spent yesterday morning painting. I was trying to paint an image of where I wish I were – in the springtime-green mountains of Colorado – instead of here, inside, sweating, as smoke swirls around us.

I spent yesterday evening reading Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. It has to be more than coincidence that sometimes I pick up a book and read a sentence that seems to have been written for me in that moment:

‘Have you ever made a scene,’ you said, filling in a Thomas Kinkade house, ‘and then put yourself inside it? Have you ever watched yourself from behind, going further and deeper into that landscape, away from you?’

My relationship to art – my need for art – serves a purpose something like that: getting me away from myself.

I’m constantly inundated by thoughts of my worth, my purpose, the impact of my actions, the importance (or lack thereof) of my work. When I’m immersed in art – whether it be experiencing art or creating it – I lose myself. I simultaneously think less of myself and feel more myself.

Art (and nature, of course) are places where I can just be. It doesn’t matter how I feel or how I look because I am nothing more than there in that moment. I become detached from myself in all the ways that are so often harmful.


This morning I finished my painting. I watched Ben Howard perform my favorite songs on YouTube. I read more of my book. I didn’t think once of myself.