Dear Sweatpants & Coffee family,

Whether you’re new to this blanket fort or you’re a regular, I’m so glad you’re here.

Everywhere you turn, people are scared and tired and yearning for meaningful connection. Sweatpants & Coffee was born of my own desperate desire for comfort. Also – though I didn’t realize it at the time – my loneliness. It’s so strange and hard to make real connections as a nerdy, introverted adult with anxiety who is also an expert at masking. You can’t just walk up to someone and be like, “Hi, I’m not good at this, and at some point in this casual conversation, my body is going to think we are in mortal danger and it will respond by making me sweat profusely, but…I’m also fun and interesting. Do you also enjoy dystopian fiction, quirky sci-fi, and being really snarky? Want to talk about mental health? Recipes? Shower crying? It’s all good.”

It would be much easier if there were some kind of secret handshake, especially these days when so many of us are feeling lost and “other.” There isn’t (I checked), so I did the next best thing and wrote my strange musings out and then chucked them into the vast ocean of the interwebs with the help of an amazing group of like-minded beloveds.. Carrie Fisher says that it creates community when you talk about private things. And I’ve found that she’s right, because when you get vulnerable, you’ve made yourself accessible to other people. You’ve let them into your secret hidey spot, and you’re hoping they won’t knock the place down. But if they stay, and you get comfy together, SWEET.

It’s really scary to send up your personal bat signal. What if no one comes? What if you’re the only one of your kind? What if you find people, but they’re the wrong ones?

What I learned is that everyone worries about that. And none of us are alone, but a lot of us feel that way. ­­So, please – celebrate your weirdness!

Most of the time, when people feel like they’re being weird, it means they’re acting or thinking in a way that falls outside of what they consider normative behavior. Which, first of all – what is normative behavior? And secondly, how freaking BRAVE is that?

What I find is that my weirdness can’t really be contained. It seeps out around the edges, no matter how tightly I think I’ve Ziplocked it. I can’t stop being me. I’m going to like things that no one else understands, and I’ll find my own specific joy in places no one else would think to look. I’m going to suffer personalized burdens that seem handcrafted for me. Artisanal pain.

And that is okay. This is the way it’s supposed to be. We walk around in these bodies, each of us a universe unto ourselves, and we send out messages, bleeping through the endless chaos. We hope that someone, somewhere, hears and understands.

I jokingly talk about oversharing, but the truth is that sharing is sharing. It might be that you’re telling your story in a way that feels too honest to other people because it’s forcing them to confront their own shit. That is also okay. Do not be silenced. Do not conform. Do not seal up your gloopy, lumpy, gloriously individual self in plastic wrap to try and appear normal. It won’t work, and you’ll just suffocate.

Continue to be yourself, in the way that makes the most sense to you, and the world will be better for it.

Thank you for helping to make this the coziest spot on the Internet.

Love,

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