Dear Amy Meredith Poehler,
I, too, am big enough to admit that I am often inspired by you. It’s actually quite embarrassing how many times I tagged pictures and gifs of you on tumblr with the tag “wife goals or life goals,” because not only are you everything I want in a woman, but you’re everything I want to be as a woman. Mind you, none of that is meant to be creepy or predatory in anyway; I’m really just appreciative for all you’ve done for me and — frankly — funny, intelligent girls everywhere. Your tireless efforts to promote women taking charge of their voices either behind a microphone or in front of a camera are just truly awe-inspiring. While it sucks that only in recent decades that funny women have started taking the forefront in comedy, I’m comforted in knowing that it’s ladies like you that are leading the pack. For that, honestly, I am truly grateful.
I know that it’s severely unlikely that you’ll be able to see this open letter honoring your greatness, yet I’m not afraid to shout my adoration of you out to the world — I already do on a regular basis whenever I see you grace my television screen as I screech, “QUEEEEEEEEN” a la Ilana Glazer. But on the off-chance you do stumble upon this post, I’d like to apologize here and now for any secondhand embarrassment this may give you because I’m being too damn sappy.
When I discovered Parks and Recreation in my junior year of college, I had no idea of the impact that simple little show would have on my life in the long run. Truth be told, I was mostly drawn in because I loved Aziz Ansari and wanted to see more of him since Human Giant had been off the air for a few years at that point. There was something within that first episode of the second season — the gay penguin wedding — and how you, as Leslie, stood strong to your convictions that penguins getting married is cute, goddamn it that drew me in more than I could imagine. As I got lost more and more within the show (aka binged the fuck out the first three seasons one snowy weekend), I realized that Leslie resonated with me not only in the sense that I’m a loudmouth Potterhead who likes sugar; Leslie and I are the same person. She ranted about the merits of feminism in government! She knew that she had the power within herself to incite change! She loved Belgian waffles with mountains of whipped cream! How did the writers of Parks know that I was going to be reincarnated into a blonde woman from Indiana at some point?
However, I knew there was no possible way than an actress in Leslie’s could not have the same convictions as the character. As everyone does this day and age, I dashed to the internet to learn more about the person that brought my personality doppelganger to life, only to find how wonderful and brilliant you are. You were the one that had my gut busting in 2008 with the Hillary Clinton impersonation on SNL. You were Regina George’s cool, protective mom in Mean Girls. You co-founded an online community called Smart Girls at the Party that focuses solely on promoting the cool, incredible things that girls are achieving across the globe! How could I not want to idolize you?
Okay, maybe idolize is too strong. But I do look up to you. A lot.
Earlier this year, I was going through a rough, arduous battle with major depression that left me without the desire to really do much. I was mentally exhausted from work, my personal life, my financial life — even my body revolted by spiraling me into a high-temperature fever for about four days. When I recovered from the flu, at least, I picked up a copy of Yes Please, just so I could kind of take my mind off of some of the worst things I was facing at the time. I came across this quote and knew things would be just a little bit better, knowing that you’ve been just as down and out as I have:
“When the demon starts to slither my way and say bad shit about me I turn around and say, ‘Hey. Cool it. Amy is my friend. Don’t talk about her like that.’ Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do. Sometimes it works.”
I had my demons, I have my demons that I’m still fighting every single day of my life. But I’m young and I still have my whole life ahead of me. You were just getting started at UCB at my age and hadn’t even reached SNL yet. So while things kind of seem out in the sticks for me right now, I know that I still have so much farther to go in the journey. Amber is my friend and my demons need to not talk about her like that.
So, again I thank you for all you’ve done for me over the past few years, even though you have no idea of the impact you’ve made. I know about the impact, and that’s all that matters.
Love, waffles, and ‘Lil Sebastian,