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Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor 09.21.2021

On loving feelings, begging for your ex to take you back, and Mitski

tantric sex illustration 2
Photo: Isabel Liang

I’ve been listening to a lot of Mitski lately—well, really only the one song. “What do you do with a loving feeling,” it asks. “if the loving feeling makes you all alone?”

It’s a fair question, and one I really don’t know how to answer. My gut reaction has always been to use brute force, with no amount of last–ditch efforts enough to make someone reciprocate. After my first boyfriend and I broke up, I still gave him his Christmas presents—a shaving kit and some luggage accessories for all the traveling he’d do at his shiny new job—in hopes that he’d change his mind. We ended up making out on the edge of his bed. He also told me he needed space.

Even now, I’m still a fan of the winding monologue that begs for forgiveness, for second chances, for us “to stop associating the toughest parts of adult lives with each other” (to quote the most recent triple text I’ve sent). Obviously, none of these pan out great for me. I wouldn’t be writing this if they did. But my penchant for the grand, slightly unhinged gestures reveals a larger truth: After something ends, its energy still lingers like stale perfume.

As much as college is about new beginnings, it’s also about a lot of intangible yet palpable endings, which are the worst to come to terms with. Plenty of friendships will fade with no explanation, and you’ll probably start hating plenty of old passions seemingly out of the blue. There will be at least one morning where you wake up and ask yourself, “How did my life get like this?” The answer is that you grew up, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still crave how things used to be.

It’s okay to want to introduce some of the past to the newer, more fully formed you. But as you decide what stays and what goes, it’s important to remember that nostalgia fades, but your resolve to grow doesn’t. 

This week’s issue is about grappling with that heavy, loving feeling—and how reckoning with loss often means accepting that it will sting in perpetuity. We examine why the end of John Mulaney’s marriage feels so personally terrible, and how remakes of cult classics somehow always suck. More importantly, our feature explores another kind of unshakeable loving feeling: grieving the loss of a parent while at Penn, and the secret community that newfound absence fosters.


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