Hi. I’m Elana. And I’m a manic pixie dream girl.

[A chorus of ethereal voices replies: Hi, Elana.]

OK. Ice breakers… well, this is my first meeting, and my least favorite white male protagonist name is Brad.

Where to start? OK, just to give you an idea of the present, I’m currently $5000 in debt for all the worsted yarn I keep buying, and I’m not even making a profit off the knitted stuffed cats I sell on Etsy. Last month I donated all my floral skirts to Goodwill, and immediately bought them back for double the price. Then, I baked 300 cupcakes for my sister’s birthday. She doesn’t even like cupcakes, but I just couldn’t stop. Worst of all, I almost got mauled by a bear because it seemed kind of blue and I tried singing sweetly to it.

I’ve been a MPDG my whole life. You know how it goes. You wear one sundress for Aunt Ruth Ann’s birthday party and BAM, two years later you have enough to clothe all the Syrian refugees. And I don’t actually own shoes. I have a pair of pleather oxfords, but mostly I just walk barefoot. Except I don’t walk. I frolic or wander. And I haven’t taken this bowler hat off in about fifteen months. I’m terrified that if I take it off, nobody will know how delightfully offbeat I am. Am I even myself if I’m not wearing this bowler hat?

I listen to Belle and Sebastian, The Shins, The Smiths, and the like. Non-acoustic musicians don’t exist to me. Whenever boyfriends bring up Kanye West or Beyoncé I nod my head vacantly. But, then again, I nod my head vacantly to anything boyfriends say to me.

Boys were always there. I have a yen for quiet, skinny, white boys with brown hair and thick glasses who spend Fridays reading Infinite Jest. My mission in life is to rejuvenate these melancholy manchildren with my adorable eccentricities. I believe my ebullience can cure ennui, Weltschmerz, even the common cold. The easiest way to start curing those manchildren is to let them explain Infinite Jest to you. Before long they’re sobbing into your gingham apron about how this cruel world ground their hearts into dust and they just want somebody to make them feel a little less alone.

In fact, there was this one boy in high school…

Actually, you wouldn’t understand. Sigh.

It’s been really difficult for me to find a full-time job. I’ve worked in a number of ice cream shops and antique record stores, but that’s not so good for health insurance or a 401(k). Employers ask me to describe myself, and the only things that come to mind are “quirky,” “bookish,” and “not like other girls.” They ask me to explain, and I just giggle. Not because I want to seem coy, but because I have literally no idea how else to describe myself. I’ve gone so far to legally change the descriptors on my driver’s license. My eyes aren’t brown, they’re “an ineffable shade of hazel.” I’m not white, I’m “ivory.” For weight it reads “slender” and for height “petite and elfin.”

My goals? I guess my goals are to figure out life after this. I want to be something other than a girl; I’m 21, after all. That makes me an adult girl. Is there even a word for that?

But this is my decision. I’m ready for recovery. It’ll be hard, but it’s about the process, not the product.

Anyway, after this meeting I was going to bake scones and listen to Sufjan Stevens, and then I was going to crochet a top hat for my pet hedgehog. Does anyone want to join?