I’m sure people will appreciate it. This is very self-serving of me, but Paola asked what your favorite Rookie articles have been.
Oh my gosh, I feel like I’ve just read so much over the years. That’s one thing I wanted to ask before: Have you guys ever repeated a theme?
No. I don’t know when that day will come. I do worry about what will happen when we run out.
’Cause they’re all so wide but also so specific, and the second you say the theme I know exactly what you’ll write about. I love them, they’re so good.
That makes me so happy.
I feel like I might’ve read too much Rookie to have a favorite article. I read all the fiction, and I love it. I really love the pieces about…I can’t remember what you call them, but there was one about M.I.A. and I think one about Billie Jean King?
Yeah! But I also like the ones about, like, how to do eyeliner. And your editor’s letters. I feel like at some point you didn’t have time to write them—you copy-and-pasted the emails that you sent out [to the staff]. I was like, Aw, Tavi must have a crazy workload right now.
That happened, for sure. I like introducing the month with those emails, ’cause that’s what I send to our staffers when we start working on the theme, but it does happen in a last-minute moment of [fake cries and types].
When you write an actual letter, like the one you wrote for December—I was like, Ahhh, Tavi, you’re killin’ me!
Aw, thank you, Ella! Haley asked, ‘Is notes from my admirers fill my dashboard’ a Tumblr reference?”
Don’t share your secret if you don’t want to!
It’s like, it’s so obvious. That’s such a corny reference.
I hadn’t thought of it! For some reason I just imagined a car with stuff piled up in the dashboard.
Well, see, it actually kind of came out of that, with the car, but then I ended up working with it a little bit to make a more self-conscious internet connection. But, yeah, that’s so lame, and I never talk about it, because I’m like [cringes]. I look back on that and I’m like, Oh god.
No, don’t! It’s great! Don’t cringe! All right, Eugenia asked, “What relieves you when you’re sad?”
I live by the beach near a mountain, and if you walk around the side of the mountain, there are lots of succulents and kind of aqueous plants that grow on the rock base and they all drift in the water, and there’s always sound there but it’s also always quiet. Walking along the beach over a bunch of rocks and just hanging out there is really nice for me. I walk heaps and heaps and heaps, and sometimes just a good two-hour walk through my neighborhood listening to some rollicking music will make me feel happy. But often if you feel like crap you’re just gonna feel like crap, and you have to write it out sometimes. Yeah, being creative is a good way to fight those blues. Do you like these like super-corny ’70s-dad ways of talking about sadness?
What about you? I’m curious. ’Cause I definitely overthink a lot of stuff and living up in your head can make you hold on to stuff a lot more than you should.
There are a lot of different kinds of sadness, but the two broadest categories are the kind that can be beautiful and cathartic and you’re crying and listening to music and it feels kind of good actually, and the kind where it just sucks and you don’t want to get out of bed and you feel completely trapped. And my methods for both are different. For the beautiful one I just try to see it for what it is, and use it to get out a good cry and enjoy an album or whatever, or spoon with a friend. And with the other kind…the good thing is that these days, nothing feels like the end of the world anymore, whereas in the earlier years of high school, and throughout middle school—and elementary school, actually—that stuff was really hard. But I think I’m just better now at being like, “I’m having a bad day. I’ll FaceTime with my friend. It’s fine.” And sometimes I’m able to be creative, but usually the worst feeling is ’cause I’m not able to be creative.
I totally relate with that. It happens to me all the time and I’m like, “I can’t even get a good song out of it!”
Then it makes you feel like the experience was not worth it or something.
I can’t write when I’m angry or sad. I have to detach myself from the emotion and talk about it later. I have had this really bad habit recently of being in a shitty mood on a plane and then watching, like, Never Let Me Go, and I just start bawling on the plane or in the airport. I’m just like, Why am I doing this to myself? [Laughs]
But also, there’s less oxygen on planes, so all your emotions are heightened!
The thing I find so funny about planes is everyone being on the same level of completely primitive disgustingness. You see people snoring with their mouths open and waiting in line for the toilet in their socks. Everyone looks at each other like, You can’t judge me on what you saw in this 12-hour slot. It’s so funny.
I have one last question from Twitter. One girl asked for advice on not caring what people think. Which, no pressure, even though it’s advice.
Oh, man. I mean, I don’t wanna be unhelpful, but this is something that I still totally struggle with to this day. Throughout my high school years and my intermediate school experience—which is like the two years before high school—everyone would tease me for wearing weird clothes and reading weird books and liking stuff that other people didn’t like, and that was hard for me, but I also had this attitude of, like, “I’m above these people.” [Laughs] But I’ve also had trouble with it with music. Just the other day this guy who I don’t know but who I have mutual friends with posted a photo of James and me at the beach. This guy is quite famous on Facebook and Tumblr and stuff, and suddenly there were like hundreds of people from my city looking at my picture and making fun of me [in the comments]. That affected me much more than it should have, because I was transported back to high school, when you get to school and everyone has been talking about something that happened to you maybe the night before or whatever, and straightaway you feel like you’re on the outside of something. I surprised myself at how stressed out I was about it. OK, sorry, that was totally like the opposite of what you asked…
No, I think it’s helpful to hear that you feel that way.
It’s so hard, especially when you put yourself out there creatively. Just take pride in what you do. Take photos of yourself wearing super weird clothes and love how it looks and be happy with that and be happy if other people hate them, ’cause sometimes there’s some fun in that too. [Laughs] But that’s a hard one, and everyone deals with it on some level.
When I was more interested in fashion and wore weird stuff to school, I had to resist the urge to feel trumped by people by taking delight in wearing stuff that looks like dead Muppets, you know? It’s like this appreciation for more exciting and interesting and less boring things that makes it easier to go with yourself.
Yeah, and knowing that that’s what you want—what the you, the inner you, really wants. And the outer you being true to inner you—there’s something kinda cool about that.
Plus, now the stuff that they were making fun of you for has really worked in your favor.
I used to get called “monobrow.” I still get stressed out about that. I was always like, “Guys! Frida!” ♦