14 Jul 2011, 1:32am
your beluga best friend


How do I let go of the desire to be “normal”?

Well, first of all, there is no normal.

I mean it. The most normal person you know has moments or hours or days in which all they can see about themselves is their persistent failure to be like everyone else. Our individual quirks and distinctions are inevitable pieces of the human experience.

Normal is a ghost, a hazy intangible terror, a wisp always lingering at the edge of our peripheral vision. No one can conclusively define it; we think we’ll know it when we see it, but normal is also subjective, and what one person sees as normal may be totally freakish to another.

Some folks argue it’s not-normal to be queer, or fat, or to care too much/not care at all about the clothes you wear, or to invest so much of yourself in fictional stories and characters. Some folks argue it’s not-normal to be disabled, or to be neurodivergent, or to have a closer relationship with your cat than you do with your mother. But what the fuck do they know?

If people around you are giving you shit about you being weird? Hang out with different people. Ideally, people who value you just as you are, with all your idiosyncrasies intact. Endeavor to value the weirdness in others, as this will help you accept your own. Understand: none of us is normal.

The longing you feel to be normal is just that standard social pressure to fit in. And yeah, that pressure is often really, really intense. But chasing after normal is chasing after a cultural chimera—-you’ll never catch it, because it doesn’t exist. I have found, in my experience, that it’s far more gratifying to be happy than to be normal, and nobody gets to decide what makes you happy but you.

Love, Your Beluga Best Friend

Awesome BBF drawing courtesy of Hannah, who Tumbls at http://pedanticromantic.tumblr.com/. If you’d like to contribute a drawing of Your Beluga Best Friend, sketch it up and email it to me at lesley at twowholecakes dot com, along with your name and a link to credit. Thanks!

14 Jul 2011, 1:30am
your beluga best friend


Hi friend.

I was thinking today about how those of us who live our lives with conviction are occasionally faced with the necessity of standing up for ourselves.

It’s inevitable. And it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Standing up for yourself often means risking isolation and dismissal because of what you believe. It may mean outing yourself as different, when everyone around you assumed you were just like them, and that you weren’t going to pose a challenge to their comfort.

They might look at you differently, after that.

But sometimes you stand up anyway, because you want to create a world that’s safer for you, and also because you want to create a world that’s safer for everyone else, those who can’t stand up, for one reason or another; those who don’t have the fight yet, and those who don’t have any fight left.

We’re all right there with you. So even if it all goes to hell and people get mad and you feel totally isolated? You’re never alone, not really. Even if we can’t be there to hug you or rub your back or tell you it’ll be okay, always know that there are people out there who understand you, and who value you, just as you are.

Love, Your Beluga Best Friend

(Image source)

14 Jul 2011, 1:24am
your beluga best friend


Dear BBF,

Here’s the thing, BBF. I feel like I’m a cheerful fat — I don’t really feel badly about my body, I think I’m pretty dreamy and adorable on the whole. But I’m 26, and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I did go to a women’s college, so there were no gents to get close to. Now, I wonder if it’s my weight that’s keeping me from finding a gent who likes me. I also worry that my weight will keep me from doing what I really want to do (political press secretary or speechwriter).

Any advice, BBF?

Hi friend! You know, my first reaction to this is to tell you that boyfriends are totally overrated. (And they are.) But I also get that you want to come to this understanding based on your own experience, so I won’t deter you.

Now, being fat certainly may throw some social obstacles in your path. Some folks, including some would-be suitors, will make assumptions about you. But many won’t. And many will find you attractive! No doubt many people already have, but you may just not have been in a mindset to recognize it.

Unfortunately, just worrying about whether the size of your body will stand in the way of your happiness can do exactly that. But that’s not your body’s fault. It’s because you don’t quite believe that you deserve things like an awesome lover, or the job of your dreams. And you do. No matter what size you are, or what you look like, you are worthy of love and positive attention and to have your talents and strengths appreciated and recognized.

There may always be a little voice in the back of your head saying, But you can’t have these things if you’re fat! That voice is hard to shake, because it’s everywhere. But the voice lies. You can have these things; you can have a boyfriend and a big public-facing job and you can be amazing at both. But you have to believe in yourself, and in your value as an individual, and in your particular brand of awesomeness. It’s all there! You just have to find it and let it out.

Love, Your Beluga Best Friend

(Image source)

14 Jul 2011, 1:22am
your beluga best friend


Dear Beluga Best Friend,

I am graduating from college soon and I am very nervous! How can I decide what to do with the rest of my life???

Congrats, friend! Even though you’re probably feeling a lot of pressure to sort out your next step, I have good news: you don’t have to decide what to do with your life in a big rush. You know what you’re probably not doing right now? Whatever you thought you’d grow up to do when you were a kid. And ten years from today, you’ll likely be in another place you couldn’t have predicted.

Life is fickle like that. Get comfortable with change. Make friends with the unknown. Try new things, especially things that are scary to you! Experiment! I encourage life-experimentation at any age, because one of the big secrets nobody tells you is that you’ll probably never feel grown up. There’s no point where you go, Finally! I’m an adult now, and my shit is totally together and I know exactly what I’m doing!

I realize this is probably kind of depressing to a person in their twenties, but it’s actually a good thing. It means we always have new places to go. It means the decisions we make right now, no matter our stage of life, don’t necessarily define the rest of our existence. Growing up is a process and not a destination. Don’t settle, and never stop learning new stuff.

Love, Your Beluga Best Friend

(Image source)

14 Jul 2011, 1:11am
your beluga best friend


I know standing out isn’t always easy. Half my life is spent listening to people go WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT and IT LOOKS LIKE AN ALIEN.

People are rude sometimes, aren’t they? They think I’m strange because they’ve never seen anything that looks like me. But even if I’m unusual, I still exist. And I don’t deserve to be singled out like a giant freak just because I’m a little different. Or a lot different.

The same is true for you, friend. You don’t deserve to be harassed or humiliated for looking or acting or moving differently. You can tell those people, “Hey, shut up,” or “Damn, you guys are jerks,” or you can say nothing, or you can just walk away. But no matter your reaction, always remember that you didn’t deserve it. There’s nothing about how you look that gives anyone the right to harass you. No exceptions.

Love, Your Beluga Best Friend

(Image source)

14 Jul 2011, 1:09am
your beluga best friend



You know what’s awesome?

You are awesome.

Yes, totally. Totally awesome.

I see you sometimes, being all down on yourself. Because your life didn’t turn out like you planned it, or because you thought you’d be somewhere important by now, or that success would have come easier if you just worked hard enough for it.

But the truth is, you’re awesome, because you keep getting up in the morning (or the afternoon, or the evening) and doing what you do and surviving and making stuff happen, even if it’s in a small way. And I know there’s days when you don’t even do that, and that’s okay too. You’re still awesome for trying and struggling. You’re awesome for being yourself when it’s the hardest thing to do.

Beluga Best Friend out.

(Image source)

14 Jul 2011, 1:06am
your beluga best friend





And then we’ll talk about the novel you’re writing

And then I’ll braid your hair

While we watch old episodes of Moonlighting

I am your Beluga best friend.

14 Jul 2011, 1:04am
your beluga best friend

14 Jul 2011, 1:02am
your beluga best friend


Belugas look like they’d give you really great advice to get out of your emotional and creative rut, and then they’d take you out for a friendly drink and regale you with hilarious stories of the epic Narwhal Tournaments they’ve seen. You’d leave feeling recharged, and as your success increased by leaps and bounds following the beluga’s advice, every once in awhile you’d pause and smile, thinking of him or her swimming around in the arctic high-fiving narwhals and bowhead whales and being really cool and smart in a totally approachable way.

That’s what I think belugas look like, anyway.

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