An open suitcase with various travel items strewn.
An open suitcase with various travel items strewn.
Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

If I have one superpower, it’s my ability to get shit done.

This first manifested itself in the throes of childhood, in one of the torture prisons known as “Girl Scout camp” where you pack seven outfits but return home wearing the same underwear. All the chatty pre-pubescent girls would gather around the minivans, singing songs about mosquitoes and ill-named, ill-fated children we did not want to become (“she had ten hairs on her head. Five were alive and the other five were dead.”) The caravan would wind its way through the backwoods of Michigan to deposit 20 girls and 30 pounds of trail mix at a shady A-frame cabin filled with cardboard pallets parading as bunk bed mattresses. The troop leaders would dole out acetaminophen for the occasional rash but otherwise retreat to the adult cabin and leave us to fend for ourselves on latrine duty and kitchen cleanup. …


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Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer. My childhood journals are riddled with spelling errors and earnest laments about my dreams of advanced English degrees and published novels. But I’ve got a job and a mortgage and while I’m hustling to do all the good stuff, I’m not naming and claiming or whatever other bullshit I’m supposed to have accomplished by the age of 30. But today I’m giving myself permission to just write and be.

Because I’ve come to realize that yes, you can make money and perhaps even be self-employed as a freelance writer, but sometimes it just feels good to write. And I appreciate and support all the writers out there who have followed their dreams but I’ve done the whole sleeping on a sunporch for $600 a month and surviving on a diet of canned tuna and roommate leftovers and I’m not in the position, or mental space, to hustle until I crack. …


A lighthouse exudes a soft beam as dusk approaches against the backdrop of a dark, rocky ocean.
A lighthouse exudes a soft beam as dusk approaches against the backdrop of a dark, rocky ocean.
Photo by Mitch Mckee on Unsplash

I can’t recall where I first heard the term “lighthouse friend,” but after a decade of toxic relationship management, I am intimately familiar with the telltale signs and real-life angst and damage a lighthouse can cause. As the lost boat in this particular story, I first blamed nature, and then I blamed the friend, but nothing changed until I made the decision to leave the ocean. For while this friendship ebbed and flowed around me like the sun, it was my refusal to cut ties that allowed the poison to seep into my sense of self and wellbeing.

Built on the steady sand blocks of blind roommateship in our first year of college, Annie and I were inseparable. Fun, bubbly, outgoing, and hilarious, Annie attracted people to her like moths to the flame. She was rash and gregarious, I was introverted and thoughtful, but together we stabilized into something magical. Wild weekends roaming fraternity row, quiet evenings watching Gilmore Girls, and gorging on popcorn. We declared the same major, intentionally arranging our schedules to take identical classes, and joined the same sorority (they only wanted Annie but we were a package deal). I realized I was the conduit of relationship building for Annie — girls befriended me to get to her, boys invited me to parties knowing she’d tag along. I never felt jealous; in fact, it filled me with a sense of purpose, importance. Her popularity made me popular. I was the Annie whisperer — I had the keys of friendship to one of the most interesting people on earth. When you are in the beam of the lighthouse, the world is your oyster. The bright light cocoons you in a warm glow and your relationship with that individual becomes the most important, most perfect friendship this side of heaven. That’s how it starts. …


There are moments in retrospect even Hitler had to say, “hmm, perhaps I’ve made a mistake.” From these learning experiences come necessary innovation: Fenced-in yards, childproof locks, sunscreen, condoms. As I emerged from my hellscape two hours later, I reflect: If I could take that back and do literally (literally) anything else (literally- garbage pick through used hypodermic needles, take the SAT three times in a row without bathroom breaks, go on a wilderness family counseling retreat with my idiot brother-in-law) I would say “yes, please, one-hundred times.”

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Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash

I believe Hot Yoga is a sophisticated Japanese torture technique honed during the Qing Dynasty and perfected during the Korean War to undermine/destroy Western civilization. Slowly and methodically they’ve been infiltrating the yuppiest cities in America, integrating into the bullshit narrative of modern health and wellness in partnership with Lululemon, Nike, and Playtex. It’s the best application of nuisance Guerilla warfare and deserves its own chapter in The Art of War; convincing millions of people to lock themselves in a small cinder block room intentionally heated to 116 degrees with 90 percent humidity, holding ridiculous stances at five-minute intervals, coyly and ironically named after peaceful, mundane, even pleasant objects/people/concepts (happy baby, are you kidding me?). On paper- legit torture. Throw in a potted plant and incense? A BUSINESS. Making MONEY. …


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Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

Fear can be an effective motivator. Scene: 2014, Friday happy hour at the local bar, an inspired conversation with a newish coworker who just loves to run which makes me feel both jealous (“I wish I loved to run”), curious (“can I run?”), and powerful (“IM SURE I CAN RUN”). After pulling on my Captain America figurative cape, I find myself punching my credit card digits into an online portal for some future half-marathon benefiting wounded veterans or shelter dogs (or wounded veterans who need access to shelter pets). We exchange a sloppy hug (friends!) …


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Photo by Johannes W on Unsplash

Today is my 30th birthday (I’ll pause while you sing). Culturally, we “make a big deal” out of decade birthdays not because they are inherently more valuable, but because we are looking for milestones that can easily fit into compact boxes labeled “life lessons”. Each decade marks a formative transition from one very distinct educational bracket to another.

From zero to ten, you grow into a human. From a blob of fourth-trimester gunk and uselessness to a full-fledged, bonified person with a name, brain, and the ability to ride a bike and negotiate sleepovers. From ten to twenty you (arguably) become an adult. You navigate (through logic, reason, and social grace) school, relationships, and first jobs. …


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Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

The alarm goes off at 6am every weekday. Even if it was a late night, even if I had three glasses of wine while watching The Bachelor from my cousin’s siphoned Hulu account, the alarm goes off and I get up. I know myself, and I know I must maintain some semblance of a schedule or I’ll hide in a dark, dark corner. I get up, put on my worn exercise clothes, and drive to the gym. The front desk woman has no idea she is a pawn in my morning ritual. If rule #1 is create a schedule, rule #2 is manufacture accountability. …


Step One: You Can’t

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Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Everyone here has their shit together except me.

This is my twice daily thought as I bustle about life. I’m flabbergasted by women who wear high heels for their full eight hour day. Watching them confidentially pound the hard concrete sidewalks of the bustling city, I become bashfully aware of my tennis shoes and pencil skirt getup. There are men in tailored suits who never break a sweat (meanwhile I’m dripping like candlewax the moment summer touches 80 degrees). Everyone on Facebook is simultaneously traveling to Italy and getting promotions. One friend with four cherub blonde children manages to do Crossfit six days a week. I’m happy if I remember to drink water before noon. I feel like I’m walking through life with a low-grade fever of anxiety and shame. …


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Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

The first time my car was ever hit by another car (as opposed to a deer at age eighteen), was in a Trader Joe’s parking lot. I had just returned from my first post-college friend wedding on a miserable 6am flight and was feeling weepy, sleep-deprived, and clinically hungover. …


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Photo by The HK Photo Company on Unsplash

It started with food poisoning. Violent, wretched, thief-in-the-night panic that threw me from the warm cocoon of my bed to the porcelain god at 12:36am Monday morning. Six hours of puke, sleep, repeat until dawn finally released me into a vampiric half-rest that lasted until 8am.

By lunch, I managed half a liter of blue Gatorade (the only kind) and a single Pop-Tart. I watched two Netflix documentaries and an entire season of The Bachelor from 2013, resulting in the significant loss of grey matter and slight scaring on my retinas. I knew I needed calories but everything triggered my gag reflex. …

About

Molly Timkil

I spend most of my days day dreaming about cocktails and red licorice.

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