Podcast #2: Finding Community with Aimée Lutkin
Today I’m sharing a wonderful conversation I had with author Aimée Lutkin about the loneliness epidemic in our country, the power of community building, and the arduous process of writing a book. I hope you enjoy. (And I promise the audio will get better as I keep going! I’m very sorry I shouted into the microphone for half of this.)
Aimée is an editor at Elle Magazine, and she published her memoir The Lonely Hunter: How Our Search for Love is Broken earlier this year. I thoroughly enjoyed her book, as did Cosmo, Vogue, and Publisher’s Weekly!
Yes, The Lonely Hunter is about romantic relationships, but it’s also a much deeper exploration of loneliness as a cultural phenomenon, and the power of community in combatting it.
I loved the advice for community building Aimée shared in this episode, particularly that when we expand our networks, we must be prepared to try a lot of different things, and to fail.
Sounds simple, but it’s really not! We can be so cruel to ourselves when we perceive ourselves as failing socially. If we expect and embrace it, however, we can release ourselves from some of the pain. I remember feeling like absolutely garbage when I thought I wasn’t fitting in with the ~cool kids~ at UCB (lol). Would I ever succeed if I wasn’t “cool” in this community? Would I ever make new friends? Does anybody like me? Am I worthy of love???! (Newsflash: yes, to everything).
I can’t imagine how much it would’ve opened up my world to reframe it as: This time didn’t work out the way I wanted, oh well! That makes sense. I’m going to try again in a new way.
Beyond community building, we also discuss the writing process, Aimée’s journey to publishing her first book with Penguin Random House, and the nature of “believing in yourself.” I am obsessed with Aimée’s quote: “The reality is I didn’t necessarily [believe in in myself], but until I heard a no I wasn’t going to let go of this opportunity. If you don’t believe in yourself, still don’t give up, what is the point of giving up? There’s no end to life until it’s really over.”
Fake it until you make it. Fake gratitude, fake self-compassion, fake believing in yourself until you can genuinely do it all. Just keep trying. Push past the fear. It doesn’t matter whether or not you think you’re good enough yet. It just matters that you don’t give up.
Here’s a breakdown of what we talk about:
Community is one of the best answers to loneliness, and there are so many places to find it outside of close relationships. Aimée and I both have felt it in UCB and the comedy world, through service work, and in pursing our hobbies.
To expand your network and build your community, embrace failure! You need to try a lot and see what works. Everybody has some form of social anxiety, so don’t beat yourself up.
We discuss finding needs outside of our romantic relationships, whether that means taking solo adventures, polyamory, or investing more in your friendships.
We get a little bit bleak talking about inflation and our current political situation (bleak = just stating facts about our reality), but ultimately, we both have hope!
Aimée talks about the process of writing her first book, walking us through how she got a literary agent, wrote the proposal, sold it to Penguin Random House, and finally — finished writing the damn thing!
We come to the conclusion that you don’t need to believe in yourself to succeed, you just need to keep going despite the doubt. This is my favorite part of this conversation because I find it so relatable and true!
Thoughts? Feelings? Follow up questions for Aimée? Ideas on who I should speak to next? Let me know in the comments or by responding to this email.
Listen to other episodes:
Little Things by Ali Vingiano is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.