From the Editors:


Hi Cropped readers,

Happy May/June! And happy summer to those in the northern hemisphere.

We have some great stories in this issue that will make you think about identity and our expectations for others and for ourselves. I think if there’s a common thread in all of these great stories, it’s the tension between what we want and what others demand from us. Leah’s mom, for example, valued having a slim figure and expected Leah to have the same. Stephanie expected her boyfriend to confront his drinking problems head-on, but she couldn’t force him to do that; only he could recover on his own. Darlene’s family members thought it was a bad idea for her to propose to her boyfriend — so much so that they openly tried to prevent it from happening. And Emily and Mikole were both grappling with expectations for themselves: How long should it take to build community? When is it time to make a change?

These are difficult questions. I (Maria) have been struggling with this recently as well. I’m a little low on money at the moment while I prepare to move from one apartment to another, but I’m still having trouble saying “no” to plans that involve spending money. I’m also in a new relationship, which is exciting, but also involves some adjustment from my old schedule and way of life. I am constantly trying to figure out how to spend my time during the week. What do I want to do, and what are others just expecting of me? 

I’m happy it’s summer here. It’s always been my favorite season because I associate it with a slower pace of life and some much-needed down time. I wish the same relaxation and balance for you, no matter where you’re located.

Maria (and Marina)

P.S. Our newsletter is REALLY finally launching in June. Sorry we got your hopes up prematurely. 




I love the podcast “Death, Sex and Money” (I think a lot of Cropped readers do too; if you haven’t listened yet, check it out!), and recently there have been a few of my favorite episodes ever. The episode “Newlywed and Paralyzed” is about a couple, Rachel and Hiroki, who deal with a tragedy and huge life change shortly after getting married. “Two Wheelchairs and a Baby” is about another couple dealing with physical limitations while building a family. And if celebrity interviews are more your thing, you might like this one with actress Gabourey Sidibe.

One of my college acquaintances, Hanna Bartels, recently wrote an essay called “Water Baby” about having a miscarriage, and it is beautiful. I have thought about it many times since I read it. It will probably both enlighten and upset you. It illuminates a struggle many keep secret, and I highly recommend reading it.


I just watched both seasons one and two of “Master of None” and thoroughly enjoyed them. There are definitely some corny moments, but it's a visually beautiful show about a plethora of relatable topics (remember when Karen mentioned it in her essay way back in Issue 3?), and I love how so many of the episodes feel like their own little films. But what I really like best are the soundtracks. Anyone else? From Townes Van Zandt to Digable Planets to the Italian Mina, they run the gamut. Listen here and here.

"When You Love Your Friend But Hate Her Social-Media Presence." I read this headline and immediately let out an internal YES! I've certainly been there. Haven't we all? This article gives some insights into what it means and how to cope.