There’s a Welsh word that doesn’t translate to English very well: “Hiraeth.” It implies a sense of longing for a place, person or thing that doesn’t exist anymore, or perhaps never existed in the first place. Hiraeth is a deep, soul-sucking desire to be where your “spirit” lives; an unrelenting, inexplicable nostalgia for something one might not even know.

Paralyzed by growing pains combined with a global pandemic, I’ve come to understand the idea of hiraeth in direct relation to becoming an adult. Here’s the thing: I’ve previously misinterpreted my own feelings. I’m not lonely. I am a social being…


It is 1:24 AM and I am awake as fuck writing to no one about eulogies. Please don’t take this the wrong way: I do not mean to raise any eyebrows, moreover, I like to think of those hypothetical words as a way to strip the strongest relationships from any outward facing bullshit down to their truest core. What people would really remember about me, what I would remember about others. What those words would sound like — how maybe they’d be something beyond just speech or song; overcoming the simple annunciation of letters and transforming into palpable emotion. I…


I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I am one for reflection. Contrary to popular belief, 2020 did not begin at the Elk’s Lodge or Continuum Hotel, but rather on March 13th, when my friend Jim (who does not have a television) sat in my living room watching “President” Tr*mp announce the travel ban between Europe and the United States, only further alluding to the increasing worry regarding a new virus we had been subtly joking about just weeks prior. That Sunday, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort announced its closure after some 20 odd inches had fallen over night, due…


I drive a lot. I go to the ATM, the grocery store, the post office. And then I take the “long way home.” I drive east of town, down the refuge road until the landscape opens, the road maintenance ends and the inevitable scatter of dust starts to smell metallic. Then I turn around and drive the other way; down to where the houses start to spread out from the tiny metropolis that is town, sometimes even further. I loop the alleys that pepper my community, looking at hidden houses and wondering what the kitchens look like. I keep my…


Craving salt and desiring anything but a pile of dishes, I picked up the phone for takeout. “What do you want tonight?”

A seemingly simple question, and yet in the year 2020; it felt unnecessarily loaded. What do I want.

I’ll paint a picture:

I want to be in a metaphorical center that could be anywhere but feels like the middle of the damn universe. I want any collective of my dearest friends to walk down an unassuming winding staircase to a dark, busy bar with little exposure to the outside world. It will smell faintly of cigarettes but also…

Jenna Mahaffie

Unapologetically me.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store