06 / dear Kobie,

I love all dogs, but I hope you knew that you were my favorite. I need you to know how much I loved you and how much I hope you lived a happy life.

To me, you were more than the family dog, and it took you leaving for me to articulate why:

Right after college, I lived at my parents' house for a while because I couldn't afford to live on my own getting paid $100 a week. After months of 12-hour workdays, I felt physically and emotionally burned out. I felt isolated, trapped, and lost. Shortly after, I entered one of the worse periods of depression I've ever felt because of my exhaustion and identity crisis. I was ashamed of feeling depressed. I know I wasn't fun to be around during this time of my life because depression is an endless soundtrack of repetitive dark thoughts. At some point, I was sick of hearing my own voice. There was nothing left to talk about.

At times, all I wanted was to be around you because no matter how pathetically sad I felt about my life, you didn't care! When I met up with friends, I felt the pressure to either pretend I was ok or confess why I wasn't. I'd go over to my cousin's house, and you'd always greet me with your excited, loving, if not somewhat needy, presence. I have no idea why you were always so happy to see me. You were not my dog. I didn't have anything to offer you (except all the belly rubs in the world). Throughout the years, you didn't care about the superficial accolades or milestones I did or didn't achieve. You didn't care if I was riding a high or low wave. In some ways, I felt like you saw through all the bullshit we humans pretend to care so much about. You helped me feel ok about myself without saying anything at all. Your love told me that none of those factors matter because, at the core, I am worthy of love.

My good friend recently told me, "Pets come into our lives to serve us, and when they're done, that's when they leave." My little cousin got you on her 10th birthday, and she just turned 21, so maybe, your purpose was to help her navigate her youth. For me, you taught me that I am enough, regardless of what I do and don't do.

As I scrolled through our family google photo album of you, I felt sad as hell, but also, bittersweet. All of us (my sister and cousins) were entirely different people when you came into our lives eleven years ago. Back then, I avoided my family because I felt like I didn't belong. Now, we're all grown up and pursuing our individual life paths. I'm grateful to say we're all closer than before.

Thank you, Kobie for all the light you brought into our lives. You brought our larger dysfunctional family together. I miss you already, but also, I'm glad that you're not suffering anymore.

Three notes on gratitude

  1. I'm thankful for Kobie. Ever since I was eight, my dream was to have a dog. I made a deal with my mom that if I got all As, she'd get me a dog. That never happened because I sucked at school, but even if I did get all As, I know now my mom would've never really let me. Kobie is the closest I've ever gotten to having a dog and I'm just glad we got to spend time together.

  2. I'm thankful that you (cool person) are still reading my newsletter despite me being totally MIA these past few months. Where have I been? Trying to get my life in order + create The Cosmos Summit art installation before I officially leave America in 56 days (more about this in the next newsletter!).

  3. I'm thankful for my supportive friends, family, and co-workers for being encouraging and patient these last few months as I'm frantically trying to get my life in order. I have a lot of feelings about leaving NYC/America, but mostly, I just feel ready.