‘Adulting’ Author Kelly Williams Brown’s Open Letters to the Girls of ‘Girls’ on How to Grow Up


Dear Hannah,

First: you have to confront your OCD. You know, and we do too, that it’s not a joke or a punchline or something to keep around so you can write a book about later. It’s something that leaves your ears bleeding, which is to say, something very wrong that you have to take seriously.

Find a psychiatrist you like. If you don’t like the first one, go see another one. See them when you don’t feel like it. It’s easy to pull mental illness up around and over you like a malevolent down blanket, but don’t. You successfully dealt with it before and you can do it again.

And then, when you are well, when you don’t feel the need to cause symmetrical damage to your eardrums? Get outside yourself. Volunteer, join Teach for America, move to North Dakota — anything that takes you out of the tight orbit you’re moving in. It’ll make you a better writer, but more importantly, it will give you some perspective. With a few notable exceptions, we shouldn’t spend our early 20s writing about ourselves. The world is big and interesting; take your considerable talent and go find beautiful things to write about.

Also, while I do applaud your unorthodox fashion choices, it’s pretty important that you choose one of the following each time you leave the house: pants, shorts, skirt, or dress.

You’ll be OK,