That Time I Met Lena Dunham

Cassidy Gard
Cassidy Gard

I overanalyze everything that happens to me. I second guess everyone’s intentions. I have a case of FOMO — Fear of missing out. Missing out on an opportunity that could shape my future. Fear of screwing up. Anxiety over just what exactly I’m supposed to do post college. I didn’t even just graduate. I graduated 2 years ago. I thought I would have it figured out by now. Didn’t we all?

I wonder what would have happened if I stayed in New York City. I want to move back. I’m plagued by questions but I can’t keep jumping back and forth from coast to coast. I think I need to lay down roots but I don’t want to grow up. At the same time, I do, just so I can stop wondering what it’s going to be like.

Not anymore. Once again, an HBO show has lifted me out of the depths of my despair.

The first time it happened I was 15 years old. I was living in the middle of nowhere in Florida and discovered Sex and The City. I saw a different way to live, a whole culture that existed beyond the closed-minded, straight-laced community that I’d grown up in. I knew I had to be in Manhattan. Suddenly, everything I did had a purpose, I was going to figure out a way to get to NYC. So I did. At 17 years old, after graduating high school early, I moved by myself to emulate my hero.

I am forever grateful for that show because it changed my life. I never would have been exposed to something bigger outside my sheltered existence. I would have been happily content staying in my suffocated hometown, not venturing out into the urban jungle.

Everything is more complex now. I’m exactly where I hoped to be geographically but nothing is going the way I planned. There is a wistfulness and nostalgia for the hopeful, unjaded girl I used to be. I was a lot more naive back then but also a hell of alot happier. You know what makes me happy now?


It came out of nowhere. I had vaguely heard about it in my periphery but never gave it a chance. Finally one evening, in a breakup slump with nothing better to do, I watched the first season. I was hooked. I felt better. You know when you meet a new friend or love and you have everything in common? Over and over you exclaim, “What, you too? No way! I thought only I felt like that.”

That is exactly what happened with Girls. Except I couldn’t actually spoon with Hannah the way Marnie gets to. I fell deeper in love with these girls and what they represented to me. They were the answers to the questions I had been grappling with for months.

They had humor and they didn’t take it all so damn seriously. I fell for Jessa’s flippant regard to anyone that couldn’t hold her attention. One of her best lines is uttered at her dull husband, “I’m embarrassed when we walk down the street because you’re so fucking average. I tell my my friends that you were born a test tube baby just so you have a little edge.” I saw my younger self in Shoshannah. I completely related to Marnie’s Type-A disposition. One of her best lines, “Sometimes being stuck in my own head is so exhausting it makes me want to cry.”

Most of all, I identified with Hannah’s quest to become a happy Somebody.

Hannah Horvath.

One monologue transformed her into my hero. She said everything to Adam that I had never been able to express in my own relationship dramas.

“I don’t think we should see each other anymore. It makes me feel stupid and pathetic to get a picture of your dick that you meant for someone else and I didn’t make you explain because I didn’t make you think you have to explain. I’m not asking for anything. I have never asked you for anything. I don’t even want anything. I don’t even want a boyfriend. I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time and thinks I’m the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me and it makes me feel very stupid to tell you this because it makes me sound like a girl that wants to go to brunch while you sit on the couch while I shop or even meet my friends, I don’t even want that. I also don’t want to share a sex partner with a girl who seems to have asked for a picture of your dick and also, I don’t want a picture of your dick because I live very near you so if you wanted me to look at your dick I could just come over and look at your dick. I don’t really see you hearing me and I don’t really see you changing so…I just summed it up for you and I’m sorry I didn’t figure it out sooner and you must think I’m even stupider than you thought I was already but consider it a testament to your charms because you might not know this but you are very very charming and I really care about you and I don’t want to anymore because it feels too shitty for me.”

This monologue broke down all of the emotions I was swimming in and made me realize exactly what I wanted. I too, just wanted a guy that thinks I’m the best person in the world, wants to hang out all the time, and wants to have sex with only me.

She made it sound so simple. She wasn’t getting what she wanted out of the relationship and she did the exact opposite of what we ladies are conditioned to do. Instead of just pretending like she didn’t give a shit either and forcing herself not to text or call, she laid it all out on the line and expressed her vulnerability in the most beautiful way.

She was vocal and self-assured. Her bravery inspired me to do the same. I wrote an e-mail that laid everything out for my own real life version of Adam. Then, I went to the dogpark to get some fresh air. My little Hazel began playing with a little blonde pup going by the name of Lamby. I did a double take. My heart skipped a couple beats. I recognized this dog. I had seen dozens of photos of this exact dog on Instagram.

On Lena Dunham’s Instagram.

I looked up and there was Hannah. Or rather Lena. Or Hannah. Whatever.

Lena Fucking Dunham.

It was a sign. Lena is the kind of approachable that when you have just spent a solid two days watching her show and she’s suddenly standing right in front of you, it feels like the most natural occurrence in the world. Without hesitation, I rushed up to her. All in one breath, I raved about that monologue and telling her how much I fucking love the shit out of her. The only part I left out is that I think she’s the best person in the world and I want to hang out with her all the time. No, no, that would have gone too far.

But that’s why I love Hannah, because she goes too far so it probably wouldn’t have fazed Lena all that much anyway.

I told her about my breakup and that I had just written an e-mail saying all the things I needed to say. She was genuine and sincere. She didn’t just do the celebrity nod with a half smile and say the obligatory, “Thank you so much for watching” and discreetly step away. Instead she was heartfelt and sweet. It was the absolute highlight in the otherwise dark aftermath of a breakup.

Sometimes events happen in your life that make you feel like it was just meant to be. I met my hero. The voice of my generation that is telling me every Sunday night that it’s okay to make huge mistakes. It’s okay not to know what’s going to happen next. It’s okay to be lonely and not want to do it all alone. It’s okay to make big, giant, messy mistakes and then do it all over again.

These are our 20s.

I’m embracing the unknown and having a whole lot more fun with it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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