The title of the collection is No One Asked For This, and I’m wondering if you meant for it to capture your experience of growing up as a child of privilege and celebrity?
I really love the title—it truly applies to everything about the book, and everything I write in it. But yeah, I did not ask for my parents, who worked really hard and became successful, to have sex one night—like, I did not ask for that, and they had me. And it kind of is my overall view on the world and everything we all deal with all the time.
Do you think writing this book helped you work through your insecurities and anxieties?
It’s always cathartic to write about something embarrassing, or something you have a problem with. It allows you to have perspective, and it just becomes smaller when it’s on paper. A lot of what compels people to write is the desire to be understood, and it’s weird that sometimes with that intention, you write about something and can be even more misunderstood than before. It’s very ironic. But I hope that this book helps someone else to feel understood in turn.
You write so candidly about your family,.. Did you ask for permission ahead of time, or did for forgiveness only once the manuscript was with your editor?
I had them all read it when there was still time to change it, in case there was something they didn’t really approve of. But my mom has always put up with my dad writing about her and drawing things from her, because she can be so absurd in the best way. She thinks it’s the greatest compliment, she’s like ‘what would you write about without me? You’d have nothing to write about.’ And I think that for my sister, growing up with that as an influence helped her have a sense of humor about me writing about her. My mother sister thinks it’s the greatest compliment, she’s like ‘what would you write about without me? You’d have nothing to write about.
You write poignantly and in great detail about your breakup with Pete Davidson that you unwillingly shared with the world in real time. Did you feel a sense of redemption in writing about it?
Not really. It was much less that I needed to tell my story than it was, I wrote this when it was happening because that’s what I turned to. I put it in the book because it feels like there’s something in it that someone could find meaningful for their own situation. But it’s not a tell-all. It’s about so much more than this one thing, and it really is just entirely about my own experience. I tried to be as sensitive as possible, and still tell my feelings candidly and honestly. It’s very weird when lines [from the essays] are put on the internet for people who aren’t reading the book. You feel very exposed, which wasn’t the intention. I would never want it to seem like I’m trying to exploit a situation.
Do you think you’ll ever quit social media?
It’s so weird because you get so much anxiety from having social media, but the anxiety I’d get from being ignorant to it would bring me just as much anxiety. When someone texts me ‘Hi,’ I worry like, what the fuck happened? But then they go, ‘nothing,’ and I’m like, ‘ok fuck you for texting me ‘hi’.’ Like what is that about? The phone makes you go to the worst case scenario in your mind, wondering why did this person reach out to me. I actually thought of an idea for the iPhone that I think is genius.
Let’s hear it.
It puts your texts into one of two categories before you send a message, where one is ‘no anxiety, don’t worry i’m just saying hey’ or whatever the category title is, and the other one is ‘bad news, kind of.’ So you know when something is coming in which folder it’s in, and you already know whether to be anxious or not.
Do you pay attention to TikTok?
Yeah. What’s your algorithm on TikTok?
Oh god, Mine is a little of everything. I’m definitely on alt TikTok, the NPR Planet Money guy TikTok, rug making TikTok… I don’t get the dances on mine. What’s on yours?
I really do think the algorhythm shows us who we are. I get people who bring me rage… really vapid celebrities that I hate. I also get a lot of psychology facts, and that’s it. I only look at things that bring me pain. I do wish I was shown things that I don’t look at that often. My sister’s [algorhythm] is so funny. On every social media, it’s legitimately kittens and baking videos, all things that bring her actual joy and soothing in this life. And mine is just a shitshow of a fire dumpster.