Bright, Clear, and Loud

This newsletter and the Squirrel Dialogues project are made possible by humans just like you. You can support me on Patreon, via Venmo and other things, and by sharing this newsletter.

I’m checking in with a partly cloudy body. The sky outside is a bright silver gray, which passes for a sunny day in these parts and in this season.

I’m coming out of a low-grade mental health crisis that unfolded in January.  The proximal cause was a relationship with a human person, but the real cause was trauma.

I attempted to connect with a human person, and we did for about a month, and then we fell apart over the course of a few weeks, a painful process for both of us.

On one level it wasn’t a big deal. The story could go: Two ships passed in the night.

But to my body, the story went: Two ships passed AND OH MY GOD WILL I BE ALONE FOREVER?!

As we disentangled, I enacted the two poles of disordered attachment, anxious and avoidant, over the course of a few days. And during that time the connection between me and this person disintegrated, in part due to my attachment push-pull.

I can imagine that being on the receiving end of this was painful for the human person. But part of pushing this person away is that I’m no longer privy to their thoughts and feelings.

For me, the disconnect was shocking to my system. I spiraled into an intolerable, bodily anxiety, a weekslong slow-burn panic attack.

I felt like I was falling into a terrible abyss. I was caught on the way down by two dogs, courtesy of island friends. I’ve been dog sitting for nearly three weeks and I’ve found ground in furry dog bodies, big brown dog eyes, and insistent dog snuggles.

This is not my first ride on the attachment trauma roller coaster. In fact, it’s a deeply ingrained pattern in me, that I make real in my relationships. A subject for an upcoming newsletter.

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Full-Time Squirrel

First, a milestone: In January, Squirrel Dialogues surpassed 10 million views.

The number doesn’t feel real, and I’m inclined to discount it. But a Portland friend recently told me that Squirrel comes up in conversation down there (and he gets to say, “I know him!”) So I’ve begun to suspect Squirrel’s reach is much bigger than I can comprehend.

But we must talk about money. Over the past 21 months and 10 million views, TikTok has paid me about $200. That’s a dollar for every 50,000 views. It’s part of an exploitative scheme on the part of TikTok that writer Cory Doctorow calls the Enshittification.

And I’m in a scary place financially. My part-time job ended in December and I’m making the (foolish?) decision to double down on my vocational work, the healing art.

One the one hand, my finances are in a controlled descent. I’m losing about $30 a day. I’ll be broke in about four months. On the other hand, I’ve heard from so many people (5,768 in the past month) who tell me:

Thank you.

You helped me.

Never stop doing what you’re doing.

There’s no other work I can do that has this impact. So many signs point to this path.

And so I’ve changed the little message at the end of my videos. It now reads:

Help me become a full-time Squirrel.

Because that’s what I want, and what they want.

Right now Squirrel and I are making about $1000 a month, thanks to 82 Patreon backers and 10 to 20 individual supporters on Venmo, etc. Three thousand dollars a month would allow me to survive. At $4000 I’d tip toward thrive (I could afford a dog!) North of that and Squirrel becomes a fuzzy juggernaut on the order of a mini-Sesame Street.

My goal is to get to $3000 a month before I go broke. That would take about 500 Patreon backers, a Mount Everest of a number to me. To aid in this effort, I’m relaunching the Standard Rainbow brand with a line of collectible conversation pieces (you’ll be the first to hear when they launch).

If I sell two a day, I can cover my expenses.

There are now 400 subscribers to this newsletter. Many of you already support me and my work in myriad ways. I’m asking those of you who have the means to help me become a full-time Squirrel.

I don’t know how many entry level jobs I have left in me. I can do this work under a bridge, with a phone and Squirrel, but I don’t think that’s in anybody’s interest.

The best way to support me is by joining my Patreon, those 82 supporters are my rock. [And the best way to support me on Patreon is with the annual payment option].

You can also send support through a variety of payment platforms. And you can support me by subscribing to me on platforms that have better revenue sharing than TikTok, like YouTube and Instagram.

Most of the supportive energy I receive is non-monetary, and no less valuable. You can support me by sharing my work with friends, by letting me know how my work affects you (for instance, by replying to this email), by subscribing to all the things, by showing Squirrel to Oprah…

And you can support me by sharing this newsletter with friends!


I’ll close with a message I wrote down while I was in the abyss this winter, a message that arrived during an encounter with [redacted natural medicine]:

Who am I?

I am the wounded, bruised, battered energy of love everlasting.

In spite of

And yet

I will love.


Believe me I can sing






Dear friends, help me sing.

And Now, Some Squirrel Love

A message I received from a new Patreon subscriber:

Just wanted to say that me and my family watch Squirrel dialogs on TT and we use it to start discussions of the importance of mental self care. Your TT content is so valuable for so many. I wish you the absolute best in your strive to keep doing it fulltime. Warmest wishes, ❤ Elina

And Squirrel has been getting a steady trickle of TikTok Duets, which are fan remixed videos:


#duet with @squirrel_dialogues haha yeah what if 🥹

♬ original sound – Squirrel

And here’s Squirrel’s first fan remix, which bears re-sharing.


please watch original video, its longer than what I was allowed 2 film. tiktok makes us feel a sense of comfort but at what cost?#getoutside #anxiety

♬ original sound – Squirrel

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