HEY, FRIEND!When I asked a few brilliant minds to read selected sections from this book and send back their critiques, many left comments in the margins that went a lot like: “Holy shit, maybe consider giving people a heads-up that there is some rough stuff in here so they don’t pass out mid-chapter, okay?” That, combined with the fact that I cried all over my keyboard while typing half of this memoir, convinced me that a Hey, I’m writing about real life, and real life can occasionally be difficult, so please be gentle with your heart while flipping through these pages was in order.1So, in the spirit of transparency, I offer you this insider tip: The book you’re holding? It’s basically one long-ass trigger.Tough topics covered that you might want to mentally buckle up for:Self-hatredEating disordersWeight-loss surgeryBedbugs (I’m still trying to emotionally recover) FatphobiaEmbarrassing personal failureDiet-ey diet talk about a lot of dietsI wrote Landwhale for three reasons: 1) I wanted to give these stories a permanent home; 2) I wanted to offer my personal narrative to you in the hope that you might feel a little less alone after turning the last page; and 3) the title was too good to not be on a book cover.With any luck, you’ll find some validation, solidarity, and humor within these pages as well.I will also disclose that some names have been changed, not because I believe that divulging every last detail is a sin, but because many other people in this universe do.You’re holding a story. It’s a sad one. A scary one. A common one. A happy one. A tragic one. A privileged one. An impossible-to-properly-articulate one. A relatable one. An unwelcome one. A lucky one. An alienating one. A confusing one. A brave one. A safe one. A problematic one. An unfinished one. A true one.It is all of these things, but, simply put, it is mine.All of that said, welcome! I’m glad you’re here. So hold on to those britches of yours, because we’re about to talk about some really important shit.Holding your hand (consensually, of course) as we dive in,1. I’m astounded that my keyboard still works after endless months of salty eyeball flooding. Hewlett Packard, keep up the good work.