Thoughts on Life

Letter of Rec #037: 16 good things

by Leandra Medine Cohen
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The topic of victimhood has been on my mind a lot lately. I think one of the core shadow mountains I’ve been up against in my adult life is the inner victim who crept in when I was so young that she feels inextricably linked to my character. Or no, not character, but personality absolutely.

Have you ever considered the difference between personality and character? How like, a person can have a great personality but be pretty shitty in character or the reverse: shitty personality but good person. So interesting that we tie our personalities to our respective senses of self in these ways that feel impossibly consistent when actually, our personalities are, on the soul level, so very irrelevant.

But on the victim thing: Pushing up against mine — like actively choosing another way feels impossible sometimes. I’m not sure if it’s the sensation of indulging the victim that feels so good thus making the reverse seem so hard, or if what I’m talking about really is being swifter about my own energy, and how quickly I can adapt to changing it.

Sticking to the metaphysical plotline is one of the only ways in which I know myself to be stubborn and bullish. Like I have become so conscious of how jarring the jolt from “poor me,” to “I am power!” feels and I don’t think this is the same for everyone — like I’m pretty sure some people can really quickly pick up and change their mood, but somehow I’ve associated this behavior with being sociopathic, or dishonest, or inconsistent. Probably as a way to give it permission to keep festering in my own lifeworld.

It seems so dumb when I say it out loud now because even if those things are true: even if I do come off as inconsistent or sociopathic or even dishonest and whatever, what does it matter when I consider that the inconsistency was actually my jiggling out of a crappy mood into a better one?

If I have an addiction, it is 10/10 to the thrill of intellectually beating the shit out of myself, then blaming everyone around me for my defeat while I lick the wounds of my feeling bad for myself.

But you know what? I had this great moment last week when I was talking to my teacher and it occurred to me that I think I have done all my “healing” available to me for the stage of life that I’m in. Like there is no corner I have not visited, no “limiting belief” I have not tried to challenge.

And if there is anything holding me back at this point, it is absolutely indelibly and indisputably myself.

There has been something calming and freeing and empowering about seeing this. About recognizing that, holy shit, this is my life and it can go a number of ways, and no one else is going to live it. And if I keep trying live in the historical data of what has been and what I have known, I am not ever going to succeed in appealing to my own case of lucky girl syndrome, in living the fuck out of life the way I always thought I would.

A few weeks ago, my friend Jenn hosted a ritual for something like 20 women with some stretching and letter writing and paper burning in honor of the spring equinox and her birthday. It was so beautiful to be part of that, and when we were talking about it afterward, I asked what made her think to do it. You know what she said?

“I had to make my own container. I’m tired of waiting to be picked.”

She interrupted her helplessness, she sprung into action. I felt that so hard that it cracked me half open. And if nothing else on this Friday morning, I hope you feel motivated to disrupt some of your callouses too.

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Now onto the recs! I have so many this week.

1. Shola Branson

Found this jewelry account on Instagram last week and it was the first time in a long time that I started a shopping fund.

Must. Save. Up. For. This.

2. Have also been really into hair things lately.

Maybe as my style becomes more streamlined, or I just know what to expect of it more consistently, I am looking for tiny delights that feel like micro-risks to keep challenging the basic principles of how I know myself to dress. I love these rosettes I saw at Sandy Liang’s store last week.

3. And to the point about knowing what to expect of my style:

Cotton-Twill Straight-Leg Cargo Pants
$383 USD
These pants feel like an end-all, be-all no-brainer for the spring season.

Been wearing a lot of elastic waistbands over flowy pants too —

…Mostly from The Row and Attersee but Matteau is really good right now.

The Row pants; like ‘em in navy

All the credits are right here in this express lane idea

Attersee pants

4. Speaking of Attersee:

New collection launched last week!

I love the pleated dresses. Something is happening with pleats! Saw a bunch at an Hermes appointment last week from the FW23 collection:

And Toteme goes pretty deep on them also. Credit where it is due for Issey Miyake (pleats, please!), but one way I often know that a brand is building cultural relevance is by adding new reference points to a style that has long existed. Attersee is on to something meaningful. I’m here for it.

5. But if what you want is...

To read about the fashion industry in a tone that is clear, knowledgeable, straightforward and fiercely smart in its opinions, don’t come here, go here! To subscribe to Lauren Sherman’s new newsletter with Puck. It’s called Linesheet and her first dispatch, which published on Monday night, was a gorgeous accompaniment to my coffee on Tuesday.

6. Other things getting me excited:

The proposition of a store that I actually want to visit (or, tbh, to found). But for now, there is Maimoun, which has been around a while, but which I also find to be one of the most original places to shop on the internet right now. I miss good stores! The base range pants! The ribbed dress! They have me excited to think about styling myself anew.

7. Also here for this bubblegum pink cable-knit cashmere cardigan with a polo collar

Alex Mill
Mini Cable Cardigan In Lightweight Alpaca
$165 USD
A nice antidote to those Matteau pants if I may.
Alex Mill
Molly Hand-crochet Cardigan
$295 USD
There’s a Bode vibe about this crochet sweater too.

8. Which you might remember...

As having been the source of the rosette lapel pins I mentioned a few weeks ago (not the crochet sweater, just Alex Mill generally — and thank you to Hojita and Zhoutian for sending me to these pages to find exactly what I was looking for), but also, feast your eyes on these pins from the brand, Sleeper.

Poppy Flower Handcrafted Pin Set
$80 USD

9. Now are you familiar with the brand Jigsaw?

Fringed Suede Jacket
$560 USD
I was not, but encountered it last week on account of this jacket.

More yummies include these good “clogs”, fun pumps, this other great jacket, plus another suede thing and more pleats if I piqued your interest with item 4.

10. I’m hopped up on non-jeans these days

But as far as jeans-jeans go, this is the right pair for the new season. I’ve been wearing them a lot with one specific red polo and none other than…a suede fringe jacket.

11. All these clothes, but what about shoes?

Christian Louboutin
Simply Me 70 Metallic Leather Sandals
$795 USD
On the expensive front, these from Christian Louboutin might be the weird contrast every cotton twill bottom is looking for right now.
Eve Mules
$295 USD
And these from Rouje are heaven.
Millie Lattice Flat Sandal
$168 USD
Not no to the strappy sandals from Reformation either. I don’t love a square toe, but it’s narrow enough.
The Row
Leather Slingback Sandals
$626 USD
They remind me a bit of these oldies but goodies from none other than The Row.

12. Also:

A cafe regular, Jen, dropped an outfit into The Dressing Room on Geneva earlier this week featuring a pair of gold Supergas which sent me down a rabbit hole looking for the same ones. Not the more lamé ones, but the mirrored ones. A surprisingly difficult search to have launched. Wish they’d make the classics in black patent leather and/or brown suede…

13. In the realm of jewelry:

Lucien White Sapphire Earrings
$190 USD
Dorsey makes some great antique-looking earrings that give heirloom even though they’re lab-created newbies.

I was just interviewed for an Elle UK story on quiet luxury, so it’s been on my mind and now that we’re here on these earrings, I think they kind of relate. It’s like an old money bougie vibe has come back online but is being manufactured for more broad accessibility. Are you into it?

14. Susan Alexandra launched homeware recently.

How pleasant are these to look at!

15. And on another note completely,

This is the incense they burn at Sky Ting. The smell is faint in a good way and very calming. This is also, btw, not the first time I have directed you to which seems like an important data point to name.

16. To close this in kind of the same place we started,

with the ritual that my friend Jenn hosted, here is this new-tropic (get it? Nootropic?) brand I discovered through her called Noon. I have been using the Renew droplets — just mixing with hot water and drinking and if nothing else, it tastes really yummy, but also, to my previous point re cedar incense, I feel pretty calm, and very focused when I take. I think the theme of my life right now is finding calm. But like, while I’m embracing chaos, because I truly love an out of control theaterical performance of toddler girl feelings too. I don’t even care if the calm feeling placebo. Because whatever it is, it works. Is that a version of my victim melting away? Or mere acceptance of my own predisposition to think magically. I’m good with it either way.

Wishing you rosebuds, fringe and manifold pleats while signing off yours,


Oh! And 10/10, this is the best dip I’ve tried this week.