Sometimes life just sucks. You know, like when you get diagnosed with an old person’s disease while still in high school. Or when you graduate college only to realize that you have no clue what to do with yourself, and what exactly is the purpose of life again? Or when you’re blown off by multiple and subsequent specimens of ultimate douchebaggery (wow, do I really suck that bad?).
Life sucks when your good friend jumps off a bridge and leaves you agonizing over why you couldn’t have been there to help him cope. Or when the guy you thought you’d marry shatters your heart like the glass you want to throw at his head and oh my God I’m single at 27? (I know, I know, you don’t feel sorry for me at all… but really, I thought I would have found The Guy by now.) Or maybe for no particular reason at all except that you’re an overemotional basket case (unlikely but possible).
Over the years I’ve discovered some awesome ways to deal with suckiness, most of which do not actually work. Listen and learn: Therese’s top 7 tried-and-failed methods for dealing with all things crappy (plus an eighth one that might actually work).
1. Lock yourself in your room and wallow in your misery like the world’s about to end. Cry like a baby for days. Close all curtains. Lay in bed until you become one with your sheets, turning into a sobbing mummy of shame. Leave your room only when you are absolutely starving; live off crackers and fruit snacks for 2 weeks. Watch the Bachelor alone in a Snuggie and bawl your eyes out. Look in the mirror and wonder, “who is that red-eyed demon chick?” because, seriously, your eyes are really THAT red. Be convinced that you are absolutely, completely, undeniably alone. Honestly believe that you will never, ever, EVER get out of this hole.
2. Get angry. Think about kicking your dog, even though he is a precious puffball of a Pomeranian and you love him to pieces. Proceed to feel like a horrible, horrible person; feed him only hand-cut steaks for the next month in an act of penance. Attempt to punch a hole in the wall; pout when the only thing that ends up punctured is your knuckle. Scream like a girl as the throbbing pain courses through your fist (after all, you are a girl, and how come no one ever taught you how to punch?). Curse loudly at the world.
3. Ignore all suckiness. Plaster a smile on your face and pretend that everything is fine. Go to work or to class and walk through the motions day after day after day. Go home. Plop down on couch. Watch TV. Make toast. Browse Facebook for hours on end. Trade off feeling miserable and angry for feeling numb and lifeless. Tell no one, because there’s no one to tell. Laugh when other people are laughing, even though you feel dead inside.
4. Roll up to liquor store and purchase fifth of shitty vodka. Finish half of it before 8 PM. Stumble into bar and tell your life story to the bartender, being as dramatic as possible. Accept a shot from the guy sitting next to you. Order a beer. Accept a shot from that guy who’s buying rounds for the whole world. Order a screwdriver. Accept a shot from that red-haired guy who’s been standing by the jukebox all night. Order a water, but by now it’s too late. Stumble around with a lifeless stare. Fall over barstools; knock over all bottles in sight. Black the f*** out. Wake up and stare at the ceiling for 3 minutes as you wonder where you are and how exactly you got there. Finally realize that you are on your best friend’s kitchen floor. Refuse to acknowledge that a complete outfit and full makeup are not appropriate sleepwear. Somehow survive the day without hurling. Repeat.
5. Buy Ed Hardy trucker hat (this was 2007, people). Apply eyelash extensions. And hair extensions. And leg extensions (read: high heels). Spend mornings in the gym and afternoons in the tanning bed, all in hopes of looking like a Victoria’s Secret model in (semi) clothing. Look hotttt. Convince yourself that the point of life is to receive attention from all and any specimens of Douchebaggery Homosapien. After all, if you’re getting attention, then you must be worthwhile, right?? (and if you aren’t getting attention, then ohmygosh who am I and maybe a hotter outfit will get them to see my worthiness). Thrive off being wanted. Think that you are hot shit, even though you are hiding the most beautiful parts of yourself— like your intelligence and your ambition and your self-worth. Become offended when douchebaggery ditches you. WTF!!? Prove to him that you are SO much better than him by finding a replacement Douchebaggery Homosapien, one who has a better job and a shinier truck. YOU showed him!
6. Decide to literally run away from your problems. Move to Australia, because you bet you’ll find some answers there. Feel alone even though you’re surrounded by some pretty amazing people. Meet guys– realize that douchebaggery exists on all continents. Experience a bad bout of your old person-itis and take the next plane home just 3 months later. Return without any answers at all and even more confused than when you began.
Later, run away again. Spend all your savings on a 2 week trip to Europe. Cry, even though you’re on a beautiful beach on the Mediterranean Sea. Cry, even though you’re with one of your best friends on the vacation of a lifetime. Cry, even though you’re in a coffee shop in Amsterdam and oh my gosh, that painting is soooo awesome! Realize that no matter how far you run, you can’t get away from anything at all. Come home and realize you paid thousands of dollars for a heartbreak remedy that doesn’t work. Realize you are now broke as shit. (Don’t worry Krystal… it was still 100% worth it!)
7. Go on a drive to gain some clarity; accidentally end up at the mall. Spend way too much money on jeans and that cute dress and, oh hey, I think I need some new underwear… and lip gloss… and, oh hey! Buy 2 get 1 free! And that purse… you have to have that purse! Leave the mall feeling like you’re on top of the WORLD!
That is, until a week later as you proclaim that you have nothing to wear and dangit, this purse doesn’t match any of your outfits at all. Throw prior week’s purchases onto pile of old stuff in the back of your closet; make your way to the mall once again. Repeat cycle. Take a look at your closet one day and realize that although the pile of old crap is growing, your happiness is not. Realize you are broke as shit AGAIN.
8. Think about your life. Realize that nothing you’ve done in the past has actually solved a single one of your problems. Contemplate. Pray. Ask for help. Cry, but don’t wallow. Feel sad, but not numb. Realize you don’t need to escape your feelings. Have a drink, but stop at 2. Meet a guy, but turn him down for incessant douchebaggery. Realize that no one will ever see your worth until you can see it for yourself. Start acting accordingly and stop looking for a guy to define you. Turn off your TV. Hide your credit card. Write. Start giving more to others. F*** up, but not as bad as before. Admit that you’re imperfect. Pick yourself back up and start over again. F*** up again. Learn a little bit more every time. Become OK with where you’re at, even if it’s not quite where you want to be.
Wake up one day and realize that, even though your condition is still not cured and your friend is still gone and your heart is still broken… and even though you still struggle and you’re still single and you still aren’t totally sure what you want to do with your life… you are actually… well, kind of happy.
Laugh. Cry. Smile at the thought of this bittersweet mystery of a life that you’ve been given.
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