hey friend, i hope this missive finds you well and good inside, or pensive, in recovery, or getting better all the time — i just hope this finds you at all. i believe these are the state we always are in life, we are either pensive, in recovery or both. so i also hope you get something out of reading this, even if you stop reading it now and forget about it all together, i hope you, at least, get some time and space from it — because that’s very valuable too. i thought a lot about what to write for my birthday this year and how to address my first openly honest…and probably last impression on my birthday. but honestly, i still don’t know how and i am not sure anyone would want me to try the plain raw honesty i’d wanted to write this with. my name is sena quashie. i used to want to play a lot of instruments — i play none, but i swing dance and take care of animals when i can. i laugh a lot, and i laugh more deeply on the days when i am saddest — it makes a good veil. i don’t like people to be all up in my business, so i am very open to them. i tell them the things they want to hear, i tell them things that would intrigue them or make them feel better about themselves — over the years, i have learnt that there is no better feeling than feeling you’re better than someone else. i live in my brain — it is the most beautiful and saddest place i know in the world and i wouldn’t trade it for anything else. i wouldn’t even trade it for my dream job, whatever, that is. i am currently working a 9–5 that is really not a 9 to 5 and in between my 9 to 5 and the odd jobs i pick up, i found time to write this in a pretty short time-span, a paragraph each day, 3 days before my birthday. this is different from the things i usually write, it is open, dewy and post-coital. i feel good about this. currently, i am struggling with so many things, but also atrociously aware that everyone else is struggling with so many things. but no one want to share their true struggles, they want to tell a success story devoid of the true darkness that accompanied it. i wish people would talk more about their personal struggles, so here i am, talking about mine. i love emotional honesty and what it brings out in other people — how if i’m honest with someone, it makes them feel a little more like they can be honest with themselves in the morning. and i figured if i could make something like that for other people to read, maybe the people who read it would feel a little more like they could be themselves in the morning, too. like a conversation, hopefully. this year, for the first time in many years, i can safely say I fell in love with someone new — a writer, and i wish i could spend my birthday with her. my last relationship was supposed to be my last relationship, but it ended abruptly before my last birthday — so november is always a time of different emotions. but maybe i am writing more because i am in love with a writer. if you are reading this, i love you and care for you deeply. all my love,sena P S: if you’d like to write me you can send me a message at hello[at]senaquashie.com. if you see me before i die and you want to say hello, i’ll give you a hug. P P S: despite all the aforementioned love, care and honesty, please don’t tell my parents i am planning to quit my 9 to 5 to focus on writing my first novel, it would be better for all parties involved. if this is my ma or dad, please don’t read this — i am okay, i promise that much.