Lessons Learned From Life Lived
‘Cause I Lost Your Questions

March, 2024
Cleo Sood, Blog Correspondent
Cleo Sood is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying philosophy and English literature at the University of Toronto. Sood is a writer with terrible writing habits. Sood’s preferred genre is creative non-fiction/autofiction; she also dabbles in screenplay writing. Follow Cleo Sood on Instagram! (No, seriously, please follow her on Instagram.) @cyborgcleo

Last spring, my peers asked for my advice, and I was delighted to dispense my wisdom. Flowers bloomed, and so did everyone who read my advice column (pls insert link just like this).

 Of course, the only reason my peers asked me to dispense anything is because I asked — no, begged — them first. 

I acquired anonymous questions via the Instagram app NGL, begging/harassing everyone from my little sister to random Tinder matches. My persistence proved productive; I received too many questions to address at once.

Listen. I know using NGL app is a little ridiculous, but it’s mostly just clever. If someone were to ask, “What’s a straightforward, accessible way to receive anonymous inquiries digitally?” I’d have the exact correct answer. And I’d warn them about the “offload unused apps” setting on their phone. “If you aren’t careful of this setting, you could lose all those anon inquiries in a flash!”

Boys are only interested in one thing, and it’s not my advice column.

The plan was to deliver a standard Q&A advice column containing the rest of your Qs. But then my NGL data disappeared along with my access to your dilemmas and those plans to share my As, which wouldn’t have happened if I had someone to warn me.


  1. Thank you for asking my advice via the NGL app. I am so sorry for losing your questions. 
  2. I won’t force you to ask me anything again. I don’t deserve your cooperation (Which also means It’s safe to follow me on IG: @cyborgcleo — I’m apologetic and shameless).
  3. This whole incident serves as a moral on the importance of physical media. 

Allow me to make it up to you with tips and takes on all your favourite topics:

  • Love/Sex/Boys 
  • Confidence
  • Friendship 
  • Etc! 

Nobody’s ever sought my financial advice or tech support  — for good reason. But they do come to me lovelorn, sobbing about a boy, a betrayal by their bestie, or their inability to be bold. And I don’t need prompts to steer you in the best direction regarding those topics.

It’s not the advice you asked for; it’s the advice you didn’t know you needed. I’m the Godmother, and this is that rare case of a sequel superseding a masterpiece. It’s the second advent of Ask Cleo, and it’s worth the wait. You oughta print a few copies or scribe it word for word by hand because you don’t want to risk losing the wisdom that’s about to be dispensed.


Don’t try to force a relationship with a man you want to sleep with. Just sleep with him. The relationship won’t happen. And one day, you’ll be traumatized by flashbacks of your “situationship.” You’ll remember how you went crazy, crying 20 times daily over a guy who never cared once. You weren’t a siren nor a maneater; you were bedridden for months after he cut you loose. I know you don’t want that. You want to reminisce on your youth and think, “I was a badass babe.” You want to recollect erotic adventures with that hot hunk whose shirtless picture you saved as a souvenir. You cannot be cool tomorrow if you’re cringe today. So accept that some men serve only some purpose in your life. Some are an epic love story, and some should stay a sexy, tear-free memory. 

Trust. I understand the allure of an agonizing affair. I often date men whose affections I have to earn, whose attention I have to capture – which is not something I advise you to do!!  And in my years as a masochistic romantic, I’ve learned that blonde hair has (white) men in a chokehold. I’ve also learned not to let this bother me. When I date a man whose exes bear little resemblance to me outside of being alive and having fingernails, I don’t fret over not being his “type.” I just assume he’s finally come to his senses, and I reward him for making good choices. And the best choice is always me. (Y/N). 

If you’re in your 20s and you’re in a relationship, be mindful of how much time you dedicate to someone else’s dream, someone else’s friends, and someone else’s destiny. Just because the man you love is in a band doesn’t mean you should sit through every practice with him. You’re not his shadow. Pick up a tambourine, start your girl group, and go on to win several Grammys (sidenote: imagine that on a fortune cookie). Actualize your potential while your boy toy learns the basics of bass guitar and ponders his mediocrity. 

That said, never apologize for being a lover. I allow myself to love so big again and again, through disastrous disappointment, moving past endless heartbreak. I belt out every line in Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” with the fiery passion of a thousand suns like a Hunger Games tribute singing to win over Capitol residents. Let yourself love. Let yourself get carried away, do stupid things like sew the holes in a man’s socks and speak to him with the same gentle cadence people use on babies and animals. Love another without losing yourself, without losing sight of the big picture. Save your love for those who deserve it. 

Bonus Tip: At the start of every school year, Google “UofT baseball roster,” “UofT football roster,” etc., find your favourite boy and search for him on Instagram. Find another if the first one does you dirty. There are about 50 guys on just one football team. And there are so many sports to go through. I’m in my final year of university and wish I’d thought to do this earlier. I’m devastated. I hope a literary weirdo, a young woman of colour — someone a little like myself — takes this bonus tip and runs with it. Score! Touchdown! 4th base! Homerun! 


I believe in earning confidence. An unshakable form of self-confidence comes from having a strong sense of personal identity. The more you develop yourself, the more you care for the person you are. And when you truly care for the person you are, you’re less likely to let someone else’s perception of you determine how you see yourself.

Let yourself expand in a thousand directions. Take risks. Fail. Try again. And you’ll have confidence knowing you’re capable and resilient. 

Learn your shit. Hone your craft. Get good. I am terrified whenever I get on a stage to do stand-up comedy. But I know I’ve developed my comedic voice. I know I’ve been doing the work as a writer. And as the host calls out my name, I tell myself, “Go up there and show them how good you are.” 

When you’re good, everyone knows it. You know it, and they know it, and it’s hard not to be confident. I know this advice sounds very #girlboss — because it can be — but it can also apply to superficial concerns. For instance, you’re less worried about looking perfect when you know you’re a phenomenal sexual partner. You gotta love yourself when you make love so good. Even though I wish my hips were smaller, I’m more interested in showing my lover the incredible way I move them. 

In short, be a brilliant person and an even better lay. ‘Cause that’s confidence. 


Be a fabulous friend. Celebrate your friends’ successes. Show up as often as you can. Command the same respect and support back from your friends. They’ll deliver because few can afford to lose a fabulous friend in this economy. Fabulous friends are a luxury. 

Conflicts can change a friendship, but a conflict doesn’t have to usher the demise of that friendship. Instead of cutting communication and calling it quits, consider taking time apart —  demote this friend from being the person you’d call in case of arrest to being a casual brunch friend. Feel free to resume your best-friendship once you’ve forgotten why you ever fought in the first place. 

Several of my friends are in a totally different stage of life than me. I have friends with grown-up jobs who are getting engaged. I also have friends who work retail and date addicts. I don’t belong to either party. I could provide you with a very detailed list of everything I want from my life — which is truly everything. I am nowhere close to having everything. I’d go as far as to say I have nothing. That’s okay. It’s okay to be on your own path — to move slower or in an opposite direction. Own it. Your journey doesn’t have to separate you from the people you love. 


Leave your house. I know this sounds like something Jordan Peterson would preach to a very sad man: “Make your bed.” “Clean your ass.” “Leave your house.” It might even be a direct JP quote. I have no idea. 

All I know is that if you want something to happen to you — if you want to fall in love or make a friend or do something exciting or see something unexpected— leaving your house increases the odds of something happening by a million percent. Go for a walk, catch a movie, grab a coffee: those are my rules for life, and I preach them to gorgeous women who have a propensity for living inside their heads. Leave your head/house, and you’ll see that the world shows up for you in a very real way when you’re someone who shows up in the world. 

That’s all for now; till next time. God bless and good luck! 


Cleo S. Slayterson

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