You told me, “I will love you until the end of time… and then a little bit after that.”
“At this moment, the way the world feels, that could very well be tomorrow,” I replied.
BAD AT KEEPING SECRETS is a reader-supported publication. We like having you and want to make things that make you feel comfortable in your humanness.
I don’t believe in silver linings. DON’T stop reading before I can explain. I mean, I don’t believe in forced learning experiences and positive thinking. I am not here to change you or convince you that they don’t exist or are not helpful to you. All I want to offer is that you don’t always have to find the “good” in a shitty situation. That “good” and “bad” are human constructs and you should just do what makes you feel calm and have a sense of abundance. And sometimes, I find relief in just letting things be a shit show.
Hi, I’m Carissa, artist & founder of People I’ve Loved and author of the books I Like You, I Love You; It’s Okay To Feel Things Deeply; and How to Heal From Heartbreak. As of today, it has been just about two years and three (almost four) months since I made my very first post here on Substack. I started writing this in the middle of a global pandemic when I had just had my first child who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, lost two children, and dealt with the realities of partnership (and parenting a child with complex medical needs). This newsletter deals with the uncertain nature of life, the moments that are both unbearably painful and overwhelmingly full of awe. Think of all the things that had to happen just for you to be here. For coffee to exist. For love and kindness and warm baths.
There is one thing that I find that hard times universally offer that I feel is inherently positive: moments of calibration, reflection, and creativity. Pain and suffering can sometimes, somehow transform into beautiful, aching, connective moments through art. Bad At Keeping Secrets is a valiant attempt to deal with the terror of being alive and to honestly explore what being human feels like (mainly for me, because I write it, but in hopes that you are also human and might find some things relatable).
BAKS is also a siren call from my lonely heart to yours. I have spent much of my life masking who I am to fit into situations. To fake it until I make it. And it worked, to some extent, but in a different way, it also created a deep void in my soul that is longing to be loved just as I am. I wanted to let the feelings of loneliness and isolation connect our beings, offering acceptance.
Since the beginning two years ago, there have been so many of you who have joined this newsletter and have sifted through the beautiful emotional mess of life with me (hi, everyone!). You, have made this all possible and allowed me to do something that makes me so happy. Writing here is one of my favorite things to do every week.
One could say that just like life, this newsletter has evolved and grown over time, for better or for worse. I think for better. So, this week, I want to take some time to re-introduce myself and Bad At Keeping Secrets to all of our new humans and all of the friends who have been here from the beginning. Here are some posts that are dear to my heart:
This post was the hardest to write. About losing a wanted child.
This post was the most fun. Trying to decide if I should stay married.
This was one of my favorite interviews. I was so excited to see Katherine’s book on the NYT’s bestsellers list last Sunday.
I also made a list of media for sitting with some moods that I have a hard time with:
If you are feeling sad: On Love by Alain de Botton
If you are longing: The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
If you are feeling like you need a break: Naked by David Sedaris
If you are uncertain about having kids: Motherhood by Sheila Heti
If you want to feel connected: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. His recent interview here I have listened to it six times… “Life is meaningless and also amazing.”
If you are feeling like you need more time: Jenny Odell has a new book that I am slowly working through, Saving Time. It’s been 15 years since Jenny and I graduated together, and I am so amazed by her. I want to exist in a world governed by Jenny’s ideals.
I also wanted to introduce you to someone really special who has been helping me make this whole thing a thing: Stephanie Tsou. Each week, Stephanie and I work together to find people who are doing things that we feel address the nature of being, brainstorm content, ship books to folks, and edit the podcast (yes we have a podcast all thanks to Stephanie!). BAKS would 100% not be a thing without her creative and critical contributions.
Basically, I am thankful for you being here. I need this and you. More than you know. Sending love, Carissa
“There are an infinite variety of secret connections and associations in the vast system of things,” and no one can know what he or she might be able to do sometime in the unforeseeable future.”
― Jennifer Michael Hecht
BAD AT KEEPING SECRETS is a reader-supported publication. If you feel a little less alone, consider supporting us.
I can see why I find your writing relatable, you write from having gone through life & its ups and downs. Survived to tell your story. Glad you're here Carissa.
i'm keeping this one in my archives to reference as needed!! And the photo of you and M is delicious!