Survival Tip For The Phone-Obsessed: Embrace Imperfection

By Heidi Stevens
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) New York magazine advice columnist Heather Havrilesky has just released a collection of essays titled, “What If This Were Enough?”

Chicago Tribune

To scroll through Heather Havrilesky’s “Ask Polly” columns for The Cut is to peer through a window into a house of pain, marital strife, familial injustices, career disappointments, toxic friendships, childhood trauma revisited.

“I am exhausted, and I feel like everything I do is wrong,” a recent inquiry began.

Havrilesky answers the queries with empathy and nuance and length. Her answers aren’t pithy. They wend and weave and search.

“I want you to stop trying to catch up with that perfect ghost they sing about in your church, and join me here instead,” she answered “All Wrong.” “Let’s be broken and cold and anxious and sarcastic together. … Revel in who you already are, effortlessly, and leave your imaginary impossible self behind forever.”

She’s a beautiful writer, in addition to a thoughtful dispenser of sage advice. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Magazine, among other outlets.

She’s just released a collection of essays, “What If This Were Enough?”

“Since I’ve become an advice columnist, my thoughts are not to just observe the cultural kaleidoscope of poisons we’re ingesting and bringing back into the world with our disordered behavior, but also to try to gesture in the direction of a remedy for that poisoning process,” she told me by phone recently.

Her book taps into the underlying sense of malaise and disconnection that colors so much of our day-to-day interactions with other humans.

“Day in and day out, through aspirational products and heartfelt-seeming commercial messages, in the psychobabble of gurus and the motivational rhythms of Facebook testimonies, between the lines of pop songs and the dialogue of TV comedies, we are taught to communicate triumph while privately experiencing ourselves as inadequate and our lives as disappointing,” she writes. “Day by day, minute by minute, we are robbed of the present.”

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