Photo taken in West Marin, 35mm film

Welcome to Human Stuff, a weekly-ish newsletter with over 28,000 readers that began as an experiment and has shaped into a writing home, of sorts.

I'm Lisa Olivera — a writer, author of Already Enough, mother, reader, therapist, adoptee, avid photo-taker, and curious human. I'm keenly interested in unanswerable questions, the perpetual in-between, the process of unfurling, and how we can stay with the aches and joys of being human in more generous, open, and connected ways. I live with my husband, our sweet daughter, and our two cats in Sonoma County, California. Writing brings me joy and makes me think — that’s why I do it. Sharing reminds me I’m never the only one and we can find ourselves in one another when we choose to say what we have to say — that’s why I share.

Human Stuff is an ongoing exploration of what it’s like to be human — the sticky, painful parts and the joyous, wild parts and, maybe most of all, the murky in-betweens. I bring a personal, honest, and curious perspective to what I share here; I strive to write my way into both remembrance of what’s true and reverence for all I don’t know. My therapist part will show up here sometimes; so will the parts of me still in therapy and still desperate to Figure It All Out. Oh, and I also love sharing my film photography alongside my words.

You will find essays, missives, lists, links, poetry, resources, questions, reminders, and other forms of writing aimed at taking an honest look at what it means to be alive on this planet at this time. Every(ish) Sunday (I skip here and there, depending on life), you’ll receive a (free) Sunday Letter in your inbox. Once a month, paid subscribers will also receive a monthly post, whether a guide or an insider’s look at my process, that may shift as seasons do.

A taste of some of my most popular letters:
What I Want to Say Most
The Tenderness of Trying
Adjacent to the Edge
Looking Straight at Everything

My hope is that you will find these letters nourishing, supportive, informative, grounding, meditative, thoughtful, connected, and human. I hope it inspires you to take some time for yourself, scroll a little bit less, and just be. I so look forward to showing up here and sharing with you in honest, meaningful ways.

You can find my website here and my Instagram here.

Take good care,


$0/Mo: Weekly Sunday Essay

$6/Mo or $65/year: Extra monthly letter/offering, dependent on the season, capacity, and creative flow

Each month, a portion of the proceeds of my Substack will be donated to an organization of choice.

*Disclaimer: Human Stuff is not therapy or a mental health service, nor is it a substitute for mental health services of any kind. I am not showing up in this space as a therapist — I am showing up here as a writer and fellow human. If you are looking for individualized support or therapy, please consult with your local mental health resources.

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Thanks so much for being here.

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A newsletter that explores the wild terrain of being human: the depths, the joys, and all the in-betweens.


Writer, author of Already Enough, mother, therapist, human. //