For Your Consideration: Knowing When It’s Over

Here’s a cliche I’ve never once said about my own writing, because neither part ever applies: I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

This will be the last iteration of For Your Consideration. I started this column almost exactly a year ago and didn’t know what it was I was writing toward at the time. What started as a “recommendations column” celebrating the things I often take for granted turned into a biweekly dispatch on betrayal, relationships, healing, and, well, endings. It was probably always about those things, even as I was pitching the idea to my very patient editors and made a list of potential topics that included folding laundry, junk drawers, Riverdale meme accounts, recipe cards, pasta for breakfast, and a whole lot of other things that seemingly had nothing to do with my personal life.

I had a feeling when I started For Your Consideration. One of those gut feelings that you can’t ignore but also can’t really explain. I knew I had something I wanted (needed) to write, and at first I had to dress it up as a silly-fun recommendations column to safeguard myself against the uglier, messier, harder to unravel shit that I really wanted to write. I got there eventually, and about halfway through, the pieces clicked into place. Ultimately, For Your Consideration tracks the many (nonlinear and often nebulous) stages of grappling with betrayal and heartbreak. You gotta eat about it; you gotta sing about it; you gotta unravel about it; you gotta put a name to it. I was always writing toward something, even before I knew it.

Just like I had a feeling then, I have a feeling now. It’s time to end this little project, at least for now. I’ve never been good at ending things. I hold onto friends who aren’t really friends for too long. I forgive like it’s habit. I lost whole parts of myself over the last year and still waited and waited and waited to end things, continuing to lose bits of me in the process.

You have to know when to end things, and you have to follow through with it. Fear of change is a widespread human affliction, but here’s the thing: often, things change whether we give them permission to or not. Sometimes the things we hold onto for dear life have already changed, weren’t what they were before, and then what are we really holding onto?

Here’s another cliche I’ll hit you with, one I’m learning to embrace: Endings give way to new beginnings. I’m writing this from a city I’ve never been to before, where I’m alone for now, waiting for someone who has changed my life in a very good fucking way. And if I can leave you with one last thing at the end of this wild, chaotic series, it is that you can leave. My life was upended without my permission last year, and now I’m choosing to upend it on my own terms. For Your Consideration is all about agency and choices. To consider is to think purposefully and to move toward something. I feel like I’ve finally arrived somewhere after all the contortions this year and this column have taken. I hope I’ve given you something to consider.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 814 articles for us.


  1. Kayla this was a poignant series that helped me through my own dark journey, so thank you. At some point it all just fell into place and I realized that under the guise of distractions, like museums or karaoke, or even routine activities like breakfast or going for a special meal at that special place, you were actually allowing me to uncover and name some very deep stuff. Now having a few chunky sweaters in my wardrobe, I feel ready for anything.

    For Your Consideration may be over for now, but I’m looking forward to your next adventure, and I hope you take us along.

  2. Thank you for this series, Kayla
    I also have trouble knowing when things are over and holding on for too long after
    I hope everything works out for you

  3. Kayla, it has been a revelatory experience reading this column. You taught me a lot, about writing and about life. And I thank you.

  4. Kayla, I can never express how grateful I am for this column. Even before I knew what it was really about, you gave me the permission I needed to embrace whatever small things made me feel better during an awful, desperate summer and fall. I’m so much better at recognizing what makes me happy, giving myself permission to do it, and not settling for less. And my life is truly brighter for it.

    There have been a lot of weird parallels between your writing and my life, so I guess it’s only appropriate that we’re ending on another one – the last substantive conversation I had with my ex took place exactly a year ago tonight.

    I’m truly glad that you’re doing better and getting to eat clams in all kinds of exciting places with good people.

    • Seconding the strange parallels. (I just passed the same milestone a few days ago without realizing it. I can’t believe it!)

      • Mine is the birthday of the mutual friend who set us up… but I don’t think I would have remembered otherwise. Cheers for growing and moving on!

  5. This is like a perfect ending to a novel, just, that it’s not a novel but a journey, a particular journey of saying goodbye.
    As someone who refrains from truly saying hello in the constant, paralyzing fear of this goodbye, I only have a Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

  6. “My life was upended without my permission last year, and now I’m choosing to upend it on my own terms.”

    There’s so much power in this statement. Thank you so much for every For Your Consideration. I’ve looked forward to every new entry in the series, and while I’m sad to see it go, I’m happy that you’ve gotten to a spot that you feel comfortable ending it.

    • thank you! endings that happen on your own terms are always so much better!

      • Thank you for this series, and for giving us glimpses into something so personal. I’m so glad you wrote it, and I’m glad you have come to a point where you feel like it’s reached a conclusion.

  7. Thank you so much for this series Kayla! It’s been so insightful and I’ve always looked forward to it, and during the past few months I just recently “did the thing” and made a huge move across the country to finally leave my old town and move on from past relationships and people so your words have felt so poignant. I look forward to whatever you decide to write next!!!

  8. Kayla, thank you for this column and for bringing us along on this journey with you. I too have had a tumultuous year after my first real and true heartbreak and while the circumstances are different in my case, I feel like I’ve had a kindred spirit along with me commiserating on my journey of healing and self-discovery. Thanks for putting yourself out there in this way. Speaking for myself but I’m sure others will agree, we needed this as much as you did. <3

  9. A while ago, a girl that I had just started dating texted me a link to a column called “For Your Consideration.” She told me that the author was one of her favorite writers at this magical gay news website that I had never heard of. A couple minutes ago, I sent her a link to this last installment, about 2 weeks out from our one-year anniversary.

    This column will always remind me of how quickly and quietly your life can change in “a very good fucking way.” To echo what everyone else has been saying: thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

  10. Thank you for this series, I learned some very valuable things from you; like it’s okay to want to go to museums weekly for any reason or to just sing at karaoke like it is no one’s business.

  11. aw this was sweet. great column, I learned or identified with things every time. hope to keep reading your writing here!

  12. kayla, i really loved this column! thank you for writing it & i’m excited for what’s to come. :)

  13. Thank you for sharing this journey with us sounds like some corny granola BS but it’s the best I got which is fitting cause this column often left me struggling for words as I related too hard with something.

    Bon voyage.

  14. Wow, this is exactly what I needed to hear. It’s so hard to give yourself permission to leave. I often find that I frantically search for others to give it for me. Thank you for reminding us that we CAN leave. I am currently in a place where my life feels upended without my permission and I’m struggling to find my own terms. So thank you, Kayla <3 .

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