Dear America,

All I have are words, but they can be powerful when used purposefully.

America, we will get through this.

As humans, we are not without flaws, but some of us have been gifted with the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. I know in my heart that Goodness will eventually prevail. I, and so many other Americans, have finally and reluctantly come face to face with the insidious epidemic in society—close-minded bigotry. I wouldn’t even call it “hate.” These people you call hateful don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t realize that they are part of the greater issue—the systemic issue. They don’t realize that what they believe encourages evil. How can we blame them?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m angry. I WANT to blame them.

But, as I sit at my work desk, listening to the piano music of Helen Jane Long, I can’t help but feel some amount of hope for a country as broken as ours this morning.

If Hillary had won the Presidency, I would have never understood just how much work needs to be done here. I would have never resolved to take a more self-accountable role moving forward. I would have never looked ahead and considered how I, alone, could make a difference. Now, I know I can and SHOULD. I HAVE to. If I want to see change, I have to BE that change. I have to MAKE that change. It’s simple.

I walk away from this election enlightened. Disappointed, yes. But, as they say, life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

As of now, I’m setting a real fire under my butt. I’m not going to hide behind the digital walls of social media as I attempt to make a change. I’m going to step across the threshold, sacrifice my vulnerability, and add my voice to the crowds of people demanding equality, change, love, happiness, freedom, and comradery.

After all, we’re stronger together.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

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Dear the local Chipotle,

I’m going to try to temper my temper here, when I ask: Where the EFF is your drive-thru?

Listen, I only have so much time for lunch before I have to go back to work… I only have so much energy to even attempt to get out of my car once I get into it.

I work eight hours a day, most of which are spent sitting—and I’m keeping it that way. Where do you get off that you want to pit my hunger against 1) my determination and 2) perhaps more importantly, my sloth? Sloth as in the deadly sin, not this.

Yes, my hunger won out yesterday when I parked my car—reluctantly—outside your four walls (your drive-thru-less four walls) and dragged myself inside. It was cold, and people were, like, looking at me as I made my way to the line, where I was forced to stand. Ugh, standing… one of the most overrated pastimes.

Fortunately, the line was short, but that’s your only saving grace. As for redeeming qualities, supply and demand are miles apart on that y-axis.

One would think having a drive-thru would be fiscally lucrative… I can tell you I would visit WAY more often than I already do if I didn’t have to get out of my car or talk to people for my side of guac and chips. In fact, I think my visit yesterday was after a few month’s hiatus—a hiatus that would not have existed had you thought ahead. This is on you, Chipotle.

Look, you don’t even need a drive-thru. It’s easy—set up a service on your app where I can order from my car and you bring me my food. Think of the tips! Yeah, it’s like curbside service. All the cool restaurants are doing it. Outback. Ruby Tuesday’s. Sonic. My mom.

Alright, if you want to brainstorm some of my ideas, leave a comment below and I’d be happy to oblige, especially where guac and chips are involved. That’s really all I need in payment. I’m flexible.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Dear Trump Supporters,

Disclaimer: This letter to you will be laden with more emotion than facts, but as it seems, facts mean nothing to you, so let’s move on…

What the fuck?

I really should quit social media because, every single time I scroll through my Facebook, I lose more and more faith in humanity—in people I once respected. Ultimately, this makes me REALLY sad. Uncles. Aunts. Cousins. My own father.

These aren’t bad people. But hearing “I have no choice but to vote for Trump” come out of their mouths has a real impact on me. My reaction? It’s visceral.

Dad, you told me the other night that you’d probably be voting for Trump because you can’t bring yourself to vote for Hillary. How did I respond? With tears. I had nothing to say. Because, ultimately, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what that PIG of a man says. You’re STILL voting for him… why? HOW?

Women have been demeaned. People of color disrespected. Americans pitted against each other.

Trump is not the man to lead our country.

Trump disgusts me, yes, but it’s the people justifying his words and actions that render me the most disappointed. Many of you are STILL standing behind him despite what he has been  RECORDED saying about women, despite what he has DONE to women, despite how despicable he clearly is. What can I say to you to change your mind?

Because I’m lost. And I don’t even want to talk to you anymore.

Very Sincerely,

Stephanie

Dear the Guy I Can’t Seem To Get Out Of My Head,

I’d really like to be able to forget about you. And ya know, I have come a long way. I don’t think about you as much… but there are times, like now, where my mind wanders to you, to the texts we shared, and the hopes I had of seeing you.

You kind of treated me like shit, ya know. Your behavior resembled that of a complete douche bag, and yet, you aren’t a complete douche bag, so I’m having trouble reconciling the emotions in my head. But when I talk about you to my friends, they’re quick to convince me that you are, in fact, a complete douche bag. I only wish it helped me get over you faster. But for some reason, it’s not.

It doesn’t feel good.

Why the hell can’t I get over you?

I have some theories, one of them being this: Since you live in another state, all I had were your texts and phone calls. While you said some amazing things, I didn’t have the “video” to match the audio, so I used my imagination to fill in the gaps. I pictured us going on dates at the beach, talking in coffee shops, and making out under the covers—and it was PERFECT. You were charming. Your smile beckoned me closer. Your hands were soft. But see, none of that was reality. They were unfounded, scenes made up in my head, of what I considered “perfect.” But had they ever happened? No, and yet, I held them close to my heart, possessively, as if they were a memory, and I still do. I fell in love with you, but only the version of you that I had in my head. Sure, we became close over the phone, but the only foundation we had was an unstable one.

Anyway, I tried to create a healthier foundation for us, but as I’ve said before, you were resistant. Ugh, you had every excuse under the sun, but enough about that…

The truth is… I still haven’t gotten over you, and a part of me hopes I’m not in this boat alone. I hope you still think about me every night before you go to sleep. I hope you think of kissing me and talking about the world with me. I hope you still count the ways in which we seemed compatible. I hope you remember what it felt like to tell me that you loved me… Cause THAT happened…

It’s funny, because as much as I love my mind’s fictional representation of you, a part of me wonders if I’d feel the same way about the “real” you. I used to hope so, but since things have fallen apart, I’m trying to convince myself that the two versions wouldn’t match. Outside of finding you attractive, funny, smart, and family-oriented, I can’t prove that you’re caring, or affectionate, or brave, or gentle, or any of the qualities I once linked with you.

Maybe, in person, you’re really boring, and mean, and uncultured, and impatient. Let’s go with that, because it will make it easier for me to move on.

Oh, and you should know, I have a second date this week! I had written out something really snarky to close this letter, but decided against it. I just really hope this guy puts in the time and effort to sweep me off my feet, because I think I deserve it at this point.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

P.S.

Thanks for the birthday text.

Dear the Uber Driver Who Drove Me Through McDonald’s On the Way Home,

You were my age once. I’m sure you understand what it meant to me to have a large, hot, greasy fry in my stomach after a night of both good and irresponsiblity-inducing spirits, but we don’t need to talk about the latter.

The point is… you came in the night like a knight at the helm of a shiny, grey, armored land-boat… equipped with four doors and air conditioning. It was hot, was it not? My God… why did I even venture from my house? If I wanted to come home as wet (from sweat) as I did, I might as well have dived head first into the James River… that is, if the James River was a sweat river. A river of sweat.

But that’s beside the point.

What I’m trying to say is I was nervous about asking you if you’d mind going through the McDonalds drive-thru. It was 2 a.m. and you had a family to get back to. (Ugh, I hate ending sentences with “to.”) I knew that. My friend, Chris, knew that. And yet, the words came tumbling out of my mouth as if of their own volition. “Do you think we could go through McDonald’s?”

I prepared myself for a firm but respectful negative. But it never came. You were more than happy to find a McDonald’s! Oh, happy day! I’m not sure whether it was the elation or the alcohol, but I believe I offered—no, DEMANDED—to buy you a cup of coffee, as you were up late and clean out of caffeine. Plus, let’s be honest, the life of an Uber driver at 2 a.m. on Sunday mornings must really be something. You just never know what characters will pile into your car next. I’d love to read a book compiled of outrageous stories told by Uber drivers. New York Times’ Bestseller list, here it comes!

Anyway, you may not ever read this, but I wanted to thank you. I also wanted to apologize for forgetting your name. But, let’s be real, the minute I got home and inhaled my fries, I was out. But I thoroughly hope you enjoyed your coffee. It’s the least I could do for someone who managed to save me from a hangover the following morning.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Dear The Webbed Creature Squatting in Our House,

By “webbed creature,” I mean you, bat.

Angie, the young lady you quite nearly made piss herself (she might have) a.k.a. my roommate, has named you Brenda. You don’t deserve it, but she’s too compassionate for her own good. And, if we’re being honest, though I haven’t seen you in person (in bat?), you are pretty cute.

But it doesn’t matter…

You’ve still managed to run my roommates and me out of our house. It’s because of you that poor Wellesley has had to sleep, curled up alone in each of our beds, meowing, eating, biding his time. A tragedy. I hope you’ve, at the very least, befriended him. If nothing else, you’ve spiked his curiosity. What is this winged, hoof-less pig defying gravity? Because apparently our cat is familiar with pigs and the concept of gravity but not bats.

Look, you’re probably dead by now. The animal control guys told us you wouldn’t last more than three days. It’s sad really. We may have saved you had you revealed yourself again, but alas! You granted us one appearance, leaving Angie with nothing but nightmares, moist sheets, and possibly rabies—care to pay for the shots she’s now having to withstand? Did you know she can’t drink alcohol for nine months because of you? Because of your GERMS? Well, if you know Angie like I do, you know she will not abide by that. If something happens to her, we’re suing your corpse.

Listen, by the time I finally get home tonight, you better be gone—dead or alive. Either way, we’re selling your body at our yard sale tomorrow and asking for enough cash to pay for the medical bills. Not to mention, the landlord has been making us pay your rent… You could, at least, pitch in some green. And by “green,” I mean drugs. Just kidding. I don’t do drugs. No, really. I don’t. But do you? Have any on you?

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Dear Cedar Point,

You know how much I love you. I don’t even have to say it. But I want to thank you for having me last weekend… You were just what I needed–what I always need, let’s be real.

It had been six years since I walked your streets last. Six years since your lap bars kept me from falling 400 feet to my death. Six years since I questioned getting on Wicked Twister because the wind was making it wobble. Six years since my adrenalized screams added itself to your symphony of noise.

Look at that thing though…

You are my very favorite place on Earth, you know that? I could talk about you for hours with my friends, which I’ve done before. Because I love metaphors, you’re like a religion and I, your dutiful missionary. I want everyone to know of your Greatness. Okay, I’m done with that…

But seriously, you’re awesome.

Dat sun doe...
Dat sun doe…

18 rollercoasters? Is that how many you have? One that hits 120 mph in four seconds and reaches 410 (or is it 420) feet in the air?

Hell yes you do!
Hell yes you do!

Oh, and you sit on an island surrounded by Lake Erie? Casual.

Don’t worry; I will be back… many, many times. I hope to have my bachelorette party under your metaphorical roof. I hope to bid my single life goodbye whilst free-falling down Power Tower.

I REGRET NOTHING
I REGRET NOTHING

My favorite part about visiting you is how I feel when I’m breathing your salty, lake air. Happy. Content. Excited. Warm. Energized. I don’t know where this comes from, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that, when I finally work up the nerve to sell all my possessions and find a nice, soft place under one of your rollercoasters to live indefinitely, you won’t have your employees kick me out for trespassing.

This will be the view from my bedroom.
This will be the view from my bedroom.

I promise to look as un-homeless as possible.

Sincerely,

Stephanie