Both Ways

Advice from the Help Desk

Enrique Martínez Celaya, The Knitted Fragment. 2014, Oil and wax on canvas, 50 x 56”. Parafin Gallery, London, United Kingdom.

This is the second print installment of Kristin Dombek’s advice column. Questions can be sent to

I used to have a recurring nightmare about a wedding. I walk onto a vast green lawn and see rows of wooden white folding chairs. Suited men clump and scatter across the lawn, and women in taffeta and silk circle up and laugh softly. There are half a dozen bridesmaids in pink dresses puffed by tulle. There are flowers woven cinematically into a fucking white wicker archway. I can feel a hulk of a house off to the right. But I have tunnel vision. I don’t know whose wedding it is, and then I feel a rustle, a soft scratching around my legs, a kind of drag when I walk. I look down and I’m in a white wedding dress. In my mind are sentences so loud they feel physical — how did this happen? How do I get out? — but I cannot say any of them out loud; I cannot speak.

More from Issue 22

Issue 22 Conviction

Fighting for something better was not a matter of taste but of dignity.

Issue 22 Conviction

It seems not to matter to the proliferation of writing about millennials that so much of it has been internally contradictory.

Issue 22 Conviction
On Becoming More Human
Issue 22 Conviction

Police make things visible. They enhance situations, but no one mistakes them for the main show.

Issue 22 Conviction

Playing white is like when animals play dead.

Issue 22 Conviction

Old buddy, he slurred. It’s been so long, so long I can hardly believe. I miss you.

Issue 22 Conviction
Two Stories
Issue 22 Conviction
Dispatches From Guerrero
Issue 22 Conviction

Affect theory does not discover an authentic self buried by oppression; it constructs one anew from the wreckage of defeat.

Issue 22 Conviction

Where do I start and stop, is what I want to know.

Issue 22 Conviction
Those Like Us
Issue 22 Conviction

Fuck George Jefferson, it’s Spike Lee who has moved on up.

More by this Author

July 29, 2014
Bank-robbin' in Brooklyn
August 21, 2013

It breaks my heart to think that you can feel so close to another person, and then suddenly, they’re not in your life anymore.

August 16, 2016
Issue 15 Amnesty
How to Quit
Issue 19 Real Estate
The Help Desk
March 11, 2011

The killer had become obsessed with lucid dreaming, which he called, in one of his videos, “conscience” dreaming.