Lena Dunham, 34, recalls 'fighting my a** off to stay in the mix' in her 20s

Raechal Shewfelt
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read

Lena Dunham is in a reflective kind of mood.

On Tuesday, the Girls alum said she’s been thinking about the “strength and stability” she feels as she approaches her mid-30s — she turns 35 on May 13 — and “how deeply it contrasts with the flightiness and fragility” on her 20s.

Lena Dunham is relishing her time in quarantine. (Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Lena Dunham is relishing her time in quarantine. (Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

“And it’s funny, because my twenties were much flashier — more outward facing achievement, more dresses and liquid eyeliner and taking my shoes off at parties and being told I was doing a hot job,” Dunham wrote. “But I was fighting my ass off to stay in the mix, for fear of what a moment of quiet might reveal to me — the roaring in my ears, the scraping in my brain.”

Indeed, Dunham spent much of those years being a hit in Hollywood. Her 2010 film Tiny Furniture, which she wrote, directed and starred in during the first half of her third decade, won accolades and propelled her to a deal with HBO. Then she created, wrote, produced, sometimes directed and always starred in the award-winning series Girls, which aired from 2012 to 2017. She was just 30 when it ended.

“The last three years — since Girls ended, since my health and long term [sic] relationship collapsed at once and I had to rebuild myself in a new body and home, since I got sober and learned what it meant to really sit with myself — have been deafeningly quiet,” she wrote. “But in that silence, more has occurred than ever did when I was dancing as fast as I could. I’ve discovered my own values.”

During the past decade, Dunham has been hospitalized multiple times and undergone several surgeries to treat endometrial disease and related issues, including a hysterectomy in 2018. She said in October 2018 that she was six months sober, no longer taking the drug Klonopin, a benzodiazepine she took to stave off panic attacks. Then, in July, Dunham said she’d recovered from COVID-19.

Not to mention that she and musician Jack Antonoff split in January 2018, after five years together.

While the pandemic has brought about its own challenges, Dunham said in her new message that, with the slower pace, she’s “healed.” She made “a glowing recommendation for quiet, in all its forms.”

Dunham had all these thoughts as she was taking a moment ahead of the “most ambitious project” of her career.

Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to reps for Dunham to find out exactly which project she means. According to IMDb, she’ll next write and direct the film adaptation of Karen Cushman’s young adult novel Catherine, Called Birdy.

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