Discover more from it's steffi
how my friend amy recommends living life
"i’m sorry we had such a deep talk, and now i’m talking about seafood genitals."
Welcome to an it’s steffi interview! Today, I’m here with my friend Amy.
I first met my friend Amy when we were 18 years old and getting ready to go to a rave-themed party. We had our first conversation in the bathroom, adjusting rhinestone stickers and gems on each others’ faces while drinking the kind of vodka that Civil War doctors probably used to clean wounds but we thought made us cool because we were again, literally 18.
That has always been my relationship with Amy — caring for and helping each other feel uniquely sparkly. We don’t fight like sisters; we fight like old maids sleeping foot-to-foot in a twin XL bed, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style. She is a fiercely strong friend with a sharp sense of the world around her. Amy has the unique skill of knowing anything is only as big as she allows it to be, regardless how someone tries to make her feel.
“I’ve made peace with being sad,” she told me once. “It’s inevitable that I’ll feel it at some point. So I don’t want to make choices because I fear experiencing it.”
I write a lot about the ways in which love has been monetized, quantified, digitized. Interpersonally, I talk endlessly about how we deserve big love. Small exchanges of love are easy to come by and just as easy to lose. But I often find myself questioning if I even understand that. I think Amy truly does.
Recently I asked Amy to share some of her worldview with us. I hope you can use it when you’re feeling blue. At her request, I sent her all of the questions ahead of time. Prior to this interview, she brought me ice cream because I had had a rather bad day. This conversation was accompanied by Oatly’s fudge brownie-flavored vegan ice cream and my cold cup of tea.
Thanks for speaking with me.
Why are you scared?
I’ve never been interviewed before and I’m not very good at talking. I’m shy! I’m Shy Guy.
It will be okay. You saw the questions.
That’s why I’m scared.
We can jump in then. Gay son or thot daughter?
I’ve thought a lot about this. Two days ago I said gay son. Today I say thot daughter, because she’s a thot, so I can help her.
(Note: Two days ago I asked her the same question, in which she said “gay son,” then sputtered incoherently after realizing she’d have to raise a man and asked me to circle back on it.)
They have antibiotics now, it would be fine. Why a daughter?
Well, I understand the struggles of being a woman more, and could help her navigate the world maybe a little better. Maybe I wish I had a little more navigation. Not that our parents are naive, but they immigrated here from China, so I think on the cultural end of navigation, they couldn’t really help me or be in the know about certain things. Sometimes I’d make excuses to my mom that could fly, but if I had a thot daughter, I’d be like, “I know what the fuck you’re doing.”
One time my mom was like, “I saw your location was near a lake in a parking lot,” and I was like, “whoa, that’s crazy!” But of course I was hooking up with one of my boyfriends. Still I was like, “yeah, I have no idea why my location is there.” If that was my thot daughter, though, I’d know all her tricks.
So what’s the purpose of life, Amy?
What the fuck, Steffi! What is the purpose of life?
You got the questions ahead of time.
I don’t want to mimic the GQ interview with BTS, but I liked what Yoongi said — I think it’s okay if you don’t have a purpose. Quite frankly, I don’t think I have a purpose. I just live a life where I try to maximize the times and moments where I feel fulfilled, and minimize times and moments of toxicity.
If people feel like they have a purpose, like if they want to help other people, I do really respect that. But I’ve always said that I want to live a life of peace and content. It’s okay to just exist.
What lessons brought you to this place?
There’s always been a lot of external pressure. A lot of people wanted me to be a lot of different things, expected me to be a certain way. But is that what would make me happy? I know it’s a privileged thing to say. If I were in my parents’ shoes, they didn’t have the chance to think about what they wanted. It was do or die. A lot immigrants come here and don’t have the luxury to think this way.
Right, without limits.
Exactly, they just grinded. So I’m already thankful that I get to think about what I want. But going back to the question, I think it’s weird. There’s a lot of people who would say they had one purpose in life. Especially for girls, you’re either a career woman or a family woman. I don’t care to have kids or to be the CEO of something. I want to live life where I can look back and feel glad I did what I did.
You’re one of the people I know who I think understands that idea that happiness takes work as well.
Happiness is interesting. When you sent me the questions, I was thinking about it like, What is happiness? I think there’s two kinds — short-term and long-term happiness. I try to find a balance of both, and separate short-term happiness from instant gratification. Feeling happy in the now can be very helpful, but there’s also some level of danger when you confuse it with instant gratification. Instantly gratifying feelings can be a little toxic. But it’s also not fair to only make decisions for your future self and live miserably in the present. That balance is tough.
Everyone deserves to be happy. Maybe not Nazis, but you know.
How do you know when you’re happy?
I try to think and feel in the present as much as possible. I think it’s why I cut a lot of social media out of my life. When I’m truly happy, I know it because I can almost think, I don’t want this feeling to end. Like I know I would miss how I’m feeling. It’s hard to describe, these physical things that describe something euphoric. But I know I want to remember that feeling. At the same time, I know it will end.
You think of many things in terms of this kind of balance.
Sometimes I think it would be nice to feel happy forever. But it’s just not something you can feel forever. If you were, that would become your normal state, and then that wouldn’t feel like happiness. It’s nice to be able to miss something, even to miss it in that moment.
I think at some point I just learned that I can’t have a healthy relationship with being happy unless I have a healthy relationship with my sadness. So when I experience that pain, I try to accept it as quickly as possible. Amy, you’re sad right now, and here’s why you feel sad.
So what’s hurt, then?
Whenever I’m hurting, you know when you can feel that tightness in your chest? Or you’re about to cry, or it feels like the world stops, even though it doesn’t?
This is just from my own experience, but I think it’s a very brave thing to be able to be sad. I try to remind myself that I need to learn to address and cope with my sadness, because then I won’t know how to be happy in a healthy way.
I like that thought a lot. Why do you think many people don’t have or want a relationship with their sadness?
It sucks! It sucks. I can’t even say I’ve gotten the worst of sadness. But I know sometimes it’s very hard to do anything with it, to get out of bed even. I understand why people want to avoid it. I don’t think, in my opinion, it’s the right thing to do, but I can see why people don’t want to address it, or distract themselves with other things, or run from it. But it’s a short-term way to deal with sadness. I don’t want to quote Human Resources — the Big Mouth spin-off show — but you know the monster that’s a sweater?
Keith from Grief?
Yeah! You know how his whole thing is, “the only way out is through?” It’s kind of true. The sooner you accept your feelings, it’s easier to think of ways to go forward. If you keep running, it’s easier to do in the short-term, but you never get through.
So how do you, Miss Amy, think we should be living life?
She laughs. The ice cream is long gone, by the way.
If anything, I like to think everyone is trying to do their best. And when people are doing their best, they can hurt each other. It doesn’t make the hurt okay. But I think most people go through life without malicious intentions. When I meet someone, I believe in the, “you’re a good person until proven otherwise” mentality.
It’s easy to villainize people when they hurt us in some way. To be like, “they’re terrible” or “they’re trash.” I wish people were more empathetic.
People do love to do that.
Yeah. I mean, life is inherently trauma, right? How you’re raised, how people treat you. I can only imagine what has happened if you believe the inverse, that people are inherently bad or out to get you. I know I’m optimistic in believing people are inherently good. But I also know not everyone will have my best interests at heart.
I also believe what you believe, right? I think a lot of people do. But in practice, when our backs are against the wall, it’s so easy to choose something else that bends our beliefs. We watched me go through it, right?
You stick by your ideals. I think we have grown up a lot over time, too.
That’s very nice. But it’s hard to approach things with head and heart —
— Your head and your heart? (This is a reference to Love Island UK Season 2).
(In Yorkshire accent) I’ve gotta go with my head and my heart —
— (Also in Yorkshire accent) Me head and me heart —
This goes on for longer than I care to admit.
Oh that one was good.
I don’t think we’d recognize the bitches from years ago. I don’t know how it happened.
Give it a shot.
I think I learned these things through observing people and placing myself in peoples’ shoes.
How do you mean?
I’m trying to think of a good way to describe it. You know when people are talking about how someone hurt them, and you think, Oh shit, I’ve done that too? And you realize when you did it, you didn’t have bad intentions and thought you were doing your best at that moment. In those conversations, it’s like, fuck. You can see how the person you’re talking to is hurting.
It’s not an excuse. Jut because someone is trying their best doesn’t mean they don’t need to take responsibility. And some people really are just shitty. But I think most people are doing their best, and they’re not trying to hurt anyone. So even if you hurt me, I don’t think you had the intention to. And I’m also allowed to feel what I feel.
Right. We all commit violence against each other in some way.
Would you ever go vegan?
It’s funny, because I always tell people, “I love my friends but it’s so hard to share a goddamn meal with them. Most vegan substitutes have nuts, and one of my best friends chooses veganism while the other is genetically weak.”
You get a laugh every time you say that, don’t you?
Yeah. Nothing lands with an audience better than making fun of the kid who needs an EpiPen, and the person who wants to make the world a better place, because we’re all fucked.
So you wouldn’t go vegan.
There’s this song on the Spotify RapCaviar playlist, called “Me Or Sum” by Nardo Wick, Future and Lil Baby. And there’s a line that’s like, “all bad bitch eat seafood.” And I was like, [inaudible groaning]. That’s the one reason why I can’t go vegan.
That’s why you can’t go vegan? Because Future said he felt, in his opinion, all the baddest bitches eat seafood?
Right. Tilapia, sea bass, crawfish, shrimp, lobster, octopus.
Amy makes motion of sucking out meat from two separate crab legs.
What is that? What are you doing?
That’s sucking the juices out of the head.
I’m sorry we had such a deep talk, and now I’m talking about seafood genitals. I don’t want to be disrespectful.
We are close to the end. Do you like Shawn Mendes?
Amy is not available on any social media platforms. My Twitter is @stefficao_.