I should note that my introduction to Ask Polly, and to Heather, was earlier last year through one of her columns on The Cut that didn't make it into her book. A letter and response that I am sort of embarrassed to admit I related (still relate?) to. But I can't deny her words helped me put things in perspective and try to get it together.
"You can’t hang out with people and have a good time — as you state is your goal — until you show them respect. That means you have to stop putting yourself at the center of every picture. That means you have to appreciate pictures even when you’re not in them. You don’t need to be everything to everyone. You just have to matter to yourself. Once you care about yourself, you’ll have room to care about other people — as human beings, not as mirrors or escape fantasies or imaginary rivals or ciphers or scapegoats.
I have two daughters, and this, for some reason, is my biggest fear when it comes to them, that they’ll waste their lives chasing men in circles instead of recognizing how much sunshine and genius and expansive, outrageous possibility they carry around with them everywhere they go. But this anxiety of mine isn’t just about young women and their tendency to ignore their own value and worth and potential. It’s also about 30-something men and 40-somethings and 50-somethings and everyone under the goddamned sun. We are all so completely poleaxed by our own longing, by our own magical thinking, by our own physical resistance to hard work. We put our faith in prefabricated fantasies instead of reality; we believe in easy answers and short cuts instead of craft; we admire popularity instead of originality; we find ourselves reaching for shiny dreamworlds and ignoring human beings. The world tells us that we should be disappointed in ourselves, every single day. The best party is across town. The best party is across the universe. We should be fucking a ghost that looks like Chris Hemsworth, gently, in some galaxy far away.
Let’s just be ourselves instead, broken but hopeful, and let’s be right here, right now. Let’s look around and see the scrappy, mediocre, mundane details of our lives and proclaim them exalted and glorious. Imagine for a moment that I can see you clearly for the first time. I can see you clearly, and you are radiating pure, lusty, brilliant grace and divinity. Feel it. Believe it. Carry it with you."
Full letter --> Ask Polly: Why do I always want unavailable men?