Claire Mutchnik

This past month, I’ve only thought about myself and my thesis, and because my thesis is about myself, it’s really just another way of thinking about myself. Most of what I write is about myself or a renamed version of myself. This makes me very boring to talk to.

It also makes me so miserable! I am so sad and scared and lonely most of the time! And that’s bad, yeah, but the worst part is the inarticulate-ness. You know when you’re so scared to check-in with yourself, to really understand and describe your feelings with precise words? That’s how I feel, so I usually use three letter words like “sad” or “mad” or “bad.” These words are also funnier and easier to digest with acquaintances on the street.

I think this is a feeling that has been felt by a lot of other people, but I clearly don’t think or care about other people, so I’m incapable of putting it into perspective unless someone confronts me about my selfishness, and that’s really difficult because I self-isolate, and also no one needs to do that kind of emotional labor except maybe my mom. (Recently, she texted me: “You are very clingy for a 21-year-old person.”)

Here is proof of my suffering: From April 8th to the 16th, I’ve cried every single day. Discounting my very early childhood, this has to be an unprecedented streak. It’s turned me into a bona fide tear connoisseur. I’m pretty sure I can taste the differences between a sad cry or a mad cry or a bad cry. Each one has been different, shades of yellow, blue and black. I don’t know what that means, but I think you just have to believe me because have you tasted my tears? Probably not. Which makes me the expert.

Each cry has been different, for different reasons. (Obviously I am a very good writer.) Anyway, some standouts include: Dean Ferentz Lafargue’s office (male authority figures make me cry), Cissy Armstrong’s office, Pierson College (dining hall), Asian American Cultural Center (living room), Asian American Cultural Center (conference room), Jojo’s, Omni Hotel (lobby) and Chaps.

So I’ve definitely had a diverse and qualified pool of applicants! But there can only be one winner; such is life in a regimented hierarchy clothed in pretend “merit.” Anyway, I’m excited to announce that first place goes to the Jonathan Edwards dining hall. The lighting is dim, and at around 5:30 p.m., the background chatter is set at a surprisingly soothing level. Also, when you turn in your plates, sometimes this wonderful woman will gently say, “Have a blessed day.”

It was April 10th. I had agreed to introduce John Johnson’s Mellon Forum, and everything I wrote about him sounded trite and embarrassing. I kept rewriting the first few sentences, something about him being the friend that I never knew I needed. It felt stupid and dumb and disingenuous. Have you ever felt stupid and dumb and disingenuous?

I was drinking dining hall coffee. The cup was hot, and I kept my fingers curled around its body: A painful but controlled burn. I wanted to punish myself.

That sounds a little scary. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m playing it up or down for dramatic effect. But in writing about how much I loved John, I realized in slow motion that I had never been vulnerable in front of him, and then I realized I have never been completely vulnerable in front of anyone! Fuck! It was desperation and shame. That’s what I was feeling.

This is not a topical reference, but I kind of felt like a pumpkin in November? I was fun and flirty for a few weeks, but now my mouth has caved in and my eyeholes are droopy and no one is doing anything about it! My pink, healthy intestines were swapped out for a whole bunch of smelly fungus goop, and I don’t know when it happened?

I actually hate crying in public, and I really, really didn’t want to cry eating dinner by myself. I was also wearing a gray, olive oil-stained sweatshirt, and I really, really did not want to live that visual, and I would have to go to the Mellon Forum with a red face and no explanation, which would be very sad and only a little bit funny.

I put away the introduction; a self-flagellating inner monologue is only interesting for two minutes or about 800 words. I watched a movie while I ate instead.

My diary entry for April 10th, 2019 was a quick movie review. Here is what I wrote:

“THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS MIGHT BE THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE.” Of course female friendships revolve around magical pants that relieve fears of body and beauty and perfection. Of course it’s something you can buy. Of course! But also it’s not corny and actually like really unspeakably beautiful? Flair jeans made me cry today.

It was the pants’ destiny to find them, to connect them and to clothe them. When America Ferrera tried on the jeans, and they fit her, I actually started crying. She belongs, BOOM! A whole, corporeal vein that connects them through time and space! Goosebumps. Through the jeans, they could hold each other! Through the jeans, they sort of knew each other. They wore each other, figuratively, not literally. It’s faith.”

So like if anyone wants to go in on a pair of jeans with me, contact me at

Contact Agnes Enkhtamir at  .