Take your medicine with Sugar

18 Sep

If you’ve not been reading Sugar’s advice column at The Rumpus, let me give you some of my own advice: you need to start.

I don’t even like advice columns generally, but this is something different. I’m admittedly not well-versed on advice columns but this seems different than what one would expect in an advice column. I mean, have you ever seen an advice columnist take a question like this:

Dear Sugar,


I’m asking this question as it applies to everything every day.


And turn it into an opportunity to offer up a story of herself, how she was molested by her grandfather as a kid, and return an answer like this to a question that most advice columnists would likely just discard as petulance:

That’s what the fuck it was. The fuck was mine.

And the fuck is yours too, WTF. That question does not apply “to everything every day.” If it does, you’re wasting your life. If it does, you’re a lazy coward and you are not a lazy coward.

Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it.


Or, to a physically deformed man asking whether he should close himself off from ever the possibility of love, she offers this:

You must do everything you can to get what you want and need, to find “that type of love.” It’s there for you. I know it’s arrogant of me to say so, because what the hell do I know about looking like a monster or a beast? Not a thing. But I do know that we are here, all of us — beasts and monsters and beauties and wallflowers alike — to do the best we can. And every last one of us can do better than give up.

Or, to a writer demolishing herself because she’s not the writer she wants to be:

How many of them didn’t collapse in a heap of “I could have been better than this” and instead went right ahead and became better than anyone would have predicted or allowed them to be. The unifying theme is resilience and faith. The unifying theme is being a warrior and a motherfucker. It is not fragility. It’s strength. It’s nerve. And “if your Nerve, deny you –,” as Emily Dickinson wrote, “go above your Nerve.” Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.

She’s up to #51 now, and taking a couple weeks off. So, what better time to get caught up?

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