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Sincere Advice From A Girl Whose Life is a Mess #8 | 3 questions | Kolleen Carney

Kolleen Carney



Dearest Friends,

Everything sure is terrible. Every day the deluge of news from this presidential debacle is way too overwhelming for me to deal with. People are dropping from social media left and right in an effort to save their sanity. AWP is coming up, and I am nervous to be in D.C., even if it is amongst friends (I will be at the Zoetic Press booth, come say hi!). Additionally, a good friend of mine passed away this week after a long battle with cancer, and all in all I want to climb into bed and not emerge for maybe a month.

My point is: I hope you’re doing well, because we all need to be doing better than we are as a collective whole.

I received an onslaught of questions this week, and I am behind in contacting you personally if you sent one in. However, I’m trying to get to them in order of when I received them, so please know I haven’t forgotten and am not ignoring you.  And thank you so much for your often-silly questions; they really help me smile when it is hard to do so. I will answer any question, silly or serious, so feel free to send in anything.


Q: Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you weren’t constantly crippled with depression? I have these brief moments of joy and I wonder what would be if I made decisions in that mind set, but mostly I live my life in fear and anxiety and make decisions accordingly. How do you avoid getting lost in time in the movies that play inside your mind? 

A: Do I ever wonder! Of course I do! I am replaying my entire life in my head at all times. What would life had been like if I hadn’t dated my abusive ex? What if I had waited to get married when I was 21? Would I still be back east if I hadn’t been suicidal that last year I was there? What if I had met my current partner earlier? I worry about things that aren’t even possible!

I moved across the country because of my fears and anxieties. They got so bad I actually ran away (not from them, with them).

Unfortunately, the life I live is one of depression, and I assume you are the same. Those brief moments of joy are such a relief when they shine through, and of course you would want to always be in that mindset and make your decisions based in happiness!

I get stuck in my head all the time; my brain is my biggest enemy. I have found that the two ways that work best for me to distract myself from the constant rerun of the Kolleen Fucks Up show are:

  1. Staying distracted. This could be anything from taking a long walk (often I am so focused on the act of walking that I don’t really think of much else), watching reruns of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Netflix, writing letters to my very favorite people, or, in desperate moments, actually working.
  2. Actively telling myself that the way I am feeling is stupid, that I am allowing my negative thoughts to have power over my happiness. This particularly works when I am feeling jealous, which is unfortunately more often than I’d prefer. I have to tell myself that things are pretty good (even if I really have to wrack my brain for those good things), that I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone else.

Then I watch more Always Sunny.

Depression is the worst. I believe strongly in self- affirmation, therapy, and medication if necessary. I do hope that you are seeing someone or will consider it. Until then, those are the methods I use, and maybe they will work for you.


Q: After having two children, I’ve grown dismayed by the aesthetic changes in my undercarriage (happily, I have no functional complaints). Of particular concern is my butthole, which is no longer as cute as it used to be.

Can you give me any advice on learning to love and accept my depleted treasury?


Battle-Worn in the Netherlands 

A: Dear Battle-Worn:

Never underestimate the power of a good aesthetician. Perhaps your butthole needs a chemical peel or a dermabrasion to restore it to its perky, pre-children glory. However, I feel as though you should leave your poor undercarriage alone! Hasn’t she been through enough? And, since you have no functional complaints (and let’s face it, that would be horrible), I think it’s time to accept its new look in the same way we accept the creations that emerge from Paris and New York during Fashion Week; we may not understand any of it, but there’s something about it that strikes us as strangely beautiful.


Q: What console gaming system would you recommend? 

A: The Atari 7800, so you could play Food Fight. Barring that, the Wii so you can play Animal Crossing. But really, the #1 game of my heart is BurgerTime, so you’ll probably have to go to an arcade. Let me know if you get past the third level!

I publish all questions with a veil of anonymity. I would never want to expose someone, especially if their question is a sensitive one, such as domestic violence, sexuality, and the like. Therefore, I may edit questions down if I feel they are too specific, but please keep in mind that I am considering the whole picture when responding to you.

The advice given is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace the legal, financial, medical, or professional advice of trained specialists.

kolleen carney Kolleen Carney is a Boston- born, Burbank- based poet with a B.A. from Salem State University in Salem, MA, and an MFA in Poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles. She has served on the editorial team for Soundings East, Lunch Ticket, Paper Nautilus, and Zoetic Press. Her poetry and other writings have appeared or will be appearing in Currents, Vision/ Verse, Lunch Ticket,, Golden Walkman, The Watershed Review, Incredible Sestinas, Uno Kudo Vol. 4, A Quiet Courage, Yellow Chair Review, Drunk Monkeys, Odyssey, and Five 2 One. She is obsessed with California, Pez dispensers, and macarons. Her website is