Should I Have Another Garlic Knot?

Should I have another garlic knot?
The meeting has only just begun.
I tried to look demure with my one pizza slice
and kept my five garlic knots hidden in a napkin.
But now that they’re gone, I find myself wanting
one more garlic knot, and there are plenty left.
Will I look like a jerk if I get another garlic knot
or will I be a hero for all the others who don’t know
if it’s okay to get up in the middle of the meeting
for another garlic knot, which the host provided?

I scan the room for clues but only find half-asleep faces
and a girl who sat next to the garlic knots and
is casually eating one right off the plate.
Clever bitch. That should’ve been my garlic knot!
How did I not think of that? Will it be weird if I move seats?
I could say there’s a draft; that’s very ladylike,
or I could slowly move down one seat at a time
and convince everyone the prime garlic knot real estate
had been my seat all along. Will they see through me?

Goddammit, this shouldn’t be this hard.
Nobody cares if I have another garlic knot.
The host, so graciously, brought them for us after all.
Wouldn’t it be ruder to not finish the garlic knots?
Or is there some unwritten rule we can’t finish the garlic knots
because the host wants them with their dinner tonight?
So if I get up to get a garlic knot, I will interrupt them
and also rob them of a tasty side dish, and I’ll lose my job
and never be able to find another one because
I’ll be the impatient garlic knot hog.

I think someone may have just asked me a question.
I can’t be sure. I only have the sudden silence in the room
as the foundation for this assumption.
A part of me really hopes the question was,
“Would you like another garlic knot?” After they notice
I was staring at the greasy, buttery treats.
Then I could answer with a resounding, “God, yes!”
and we could move on with our lives. But the rest of me
knows that even if that were the question, I’d say,
“No, I’m okay,” because clearly the root of all my issues
is that I’m worried about being judged for my garlic knot habits.
I’m still unsure of what just happened but the silence continues
so I nod my head as I often do at work when someone asks me
a question but I wasn’t paying attention. 99% of the time,
like this time, it’s good enough, so the host nods back
and continues. I sit back and imagine the taste of garlic on my tongue.

The worst thing is that I’m not even hungry.
I had a slice of pizza and five other garlic knots,
but I know that, like a true American,
I cannot and will not be okay until I have
just…one…more…

The bustle around me must mean the meeting’s adjourned.
People are gathering their bags and leaving, only a small group
remains clustered around the meeting host.  I look over
to the area where lunch had been so carefully assembled
and see that there are still eleven beautiful, glistening garlic knots.
Now is my chance. I’m going for it.

I almost feel as though I’m floating toward the garlic knots
in one majestic alley-oop. I’m soon to be free of my burden.
I roll out my arm to the plate like a flourishing red carpet
and grab a garlic knot. With fervor, I stuff it into my mouth.

I close my eyes as I chew, tasting each delicious morsel,
each delicious crumb. I’m afraid to swallow because I know
life will never be this good again. Nirvana is an extra garlic knot.
When it’s over, I open my eyes slowly to ease myself back.

Why is everyone staring at me? Why is everyone staring at me?
Did I moan with delight? Chew too loudly?
Do I have grease on my face? Did someone have dibs?
Or is a relieved stare? Because they knew my plight.
Is there such thing as a relieved stare?

I begin to back away, attempting to cloak my panic
and self-consciousness. I have to get out of here. Fast.
But before I go, I take one longing look back at the table,
remembering my journey, my ephemeral glory,
when I notice there are still three slices of pizza left.
My stomach makes a yawp of yearning. I stop for a moment.

Should I have another slice of pizza?

My Top 5 Most Awkward Halloweens

I had a lovely post all written out for today, perfectly catered to reflect my awkwardness, and then my work computer crashed and I was told the files were not recoverable. So, alas, here we are. It was important to me to get a post out today since I missed last week, so I guess I’ll just have to wing it.

Halloween has always been such a weird time for me. You’d think it would be my favorite holiday, as it combines two of my favorite activities: being overly theatrical and soliciting candy from strangers. But for whatever reason, Halloween always leaves me with a particular, profound sort of emptiness. Maybe it has never lived up to my expectations. Or maybe I just associate it with less than fond memories.

I’m really looking forward to the weekend ahead of me: I’ll spend time with friends I haven’t seen in a while, I’ll get to sleep next to my boyfriend, I am entirely too proud of my costume. But I have no doubt I will still feel weird and moody and uncomfortable and somehow lonely. Because that is what Halloween does to me.

Anyhow, here are some of my awkward Halloween memories to share with you.

The Time I Thought I Turned My Dog into a Pumpkin

The first Halloween I have committed to memory is when I was three years old. I was dressed as a fairy princess and was upset that I wasn’t accomplishing real magic, despite having a magic wand in my possession. My father, bless his heart, convinced me that if I closed my eyes very tightly, I could turn my dog, Brittany, into a pumpkin. While my eyes were shut, my father very swiftly put Brittany into another room and put a pumpkin in her place. I opened my eyes and my jaw dropped to the floor, but my reaction was not what my father was hoping for. I became grossly upset with myself, worried that my dog was gone for good, that she was trapped in a pumpkin and terrified, and that I had used my powers for evil. Of course, my dog did come back, but I retired my wand that day, and a part of me thinks that the reason I’m so obsessed with dogs is my penance for trapping my dog inside a pumpkin. And my punishment is that they usually ignore me, for I need their love way more than they need mine.

The Time I Learned a Lesson About Society

When I was five or so, I really wanted to be Belle for Halloween. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and liked stories, so we were essentially twins. My mom, at the time, told me that all Halloween stores were out of the costume, but I knew the truth when I saw my skinny cousin wearing the costume a few weeks later: they didn’t make the costume in my size. Chubby girls couldn’t be Belle. I will believe in progress when I see a movie with an overweight woman as a romantic lead, and not a single comment is made about her weight. Dear world, promote health, promote happiness, and stop making women feel like shit about themselves all the time and then telling them their insecurity is unattractive. You’re unattractive, world.

The Time That Somehow, Every Single Year, I Managed to be Either the Only Kid in School Who Wore a Costume, or the Only Kid in School Who Didn’t

Every…damn…time

The Time I Went Trick-or-Treating by Myself

Up until the eighth grade, I only really had one close friend, and we went trick-or-treating together every year. But one year, in the fifth grade, she had pneumonia and couldn’t go. I had two options: I could mooch off of my brothers’ candy, or I could go by myself. Destiny’s Child was big at the time, and so naturally I valued myself as a strong, independent woman, because Beyonce told me to, so I went by myself. I’m not sure if there is a sadder sight than a 10-year-old going door to door, her mom waiting for her at the curb, with her head hung in defeat because she realized this was incredibly boring, miserably asking, “Trick-or-treat?” in her voice that is 50 years ahead of her body, development wise. This is the first time I can recall having the weird Halloween feelings; feelings of overwhelming loneliness that are evoked by the sights and smells of Halloween to this very day.

The Time I Had Alcohol

My first alcohol experience was on Halloween. I had approximately four sips of Kahlua, so naturally I felt wasted. I ended the night eating an entire bag of Oreos and watching Donnie Darko.

So, combine a dog’s soul forever encased inside a vegetable, the denial of my royalty due to unfair discrimination against kids who love to eat, a slew of memories of getting it wrong, a lone trick-or-treating, and the mind-fuck that is Donnie Darko, and you get one awkward time of year.

The 12 Awkwards of Christmas

The first thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

Not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The second thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

Manhattan getting crowded,

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The third thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

Enthusiastic carolers,

Manhattan getting crowded,

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The fourth thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

What if they don’t like it?

Enthusiastic carolers,

Manhattan getting crowded,

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The fifth thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

PANHANDLERS WHO MAKE ME CRY!

What if they don’t like it?

Enthusiastic carolers,

Manhattan getting crowded,

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The sixth thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

Receiving gifts and wishes,

PANHANDLERS WHO MAKE ME CRY!

What if they don’t like it?

Enthusiastic carolers,

Manhattan getting crowded,

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The seventh thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

Pushy salespeople,

Receiving gifts and wishes,

STOP SHAKING YOUR CUP AND TELLING ME YOUR KIDS ARE STARVING!

What if they don’t like it?

Enthusiastic carolers,

Manhattan getting crowded,

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The eighth thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

Scary inflatable snowmen,

Pushy salespeople,

Receiving gifts and wishes,

PANHANDLERS WHO MAKE ME CRY!

What if they don’t like it?

Enthusiastic carolers,

Unfurls chart on how to avoid getting trampled in Rock plaza (chart is blank),

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The ninth thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

The smells make me hungry,

Scary inflatable snowmen,

Pushy salespeople,

Receiving gifts and wishes,

PANHANDLERS WHO MAKE ME CRY!

Maybe I’ll get them 7 backup gifts just incase.

Enthusiastic carolers,

Manhattan getting crowded,

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The tenth thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

People being cheerful,

The smells make me hungry,

It looks like a rapist in my peripherals!

Pushy salespeople,

Receiving gifts and wishes,

PANHANDLERS WHO MAKE ME CRY!

What if they don’t like it?

Enthusiastic carolers,

Manhattan getting crowded,

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The eleventh thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

Work holiday parties,

People being cheerful,

Seriously, how many things can smell like gingerbread?

Scary inflatable snowmen,

Pushy salespeople,

“…thank you.”

PANHANDLERS WHO MAKE ME CRY!

What if they don’t like it?

Enthusiastic carolers,

Manhattan getting crowded,

And not breaking things on the Christmas tree.

 

The twelfth thing with Christmas that’s so awkward for me,

Political correctness,

If I drink, they’ll judge me,

People being cheerful,

The smells make me hungry,

Scary inflatable snowmen,

I came to buy underwear and now I spent 12,000 dollars,

Receiving gifts and wishes,

PANHANDLERS WHO MAKE ME CRY!

What if they don’t like it?

FA-LA-LA OVER THERE, PLEASE!

Manhattan getting crowded,

Who am I kidding? I broke everything.

 

Wishing you and yours the merriest of Christmases/happiest of Hanukkahs/ the kindest of Kwanzas/a magical Merlinpeen/Festivus for the rest of us! I will continue to stay home and shop online and pray it all arrives on time (because not having a gift to present is an awkward category in and of itself).

 

If People Told the Truth on OKCupid

We see the plot line in nearly every TV show or Rom Com that mentions online dating: the main character or the person they’ve been paired with has either playfully or blatantly lied on their profile. Comedy ensues.

I’ve never really tried online dating (I can’t really see it working out well for me), so I can’t speak from experience, but I do know that something joked about this much must be grounded in some sort of reality. Ergo, I decided to look into the standard OKCupid profile and analyze what I would actually say vs. the cold, hard truth.

Whilst none of what I would say would be an outright, tawdry, deplorable lie, I can say that the truth would be…decorated, to say the least.

What I Probably Would Say

My Self-Summary

A little bit wordy and a little bit nerdy, I’m a low maintenance girl who likes to spend the night in ;).

What I’m Doing with My Life

I’m a publishing professional in NYC who spends her days finding innovative ways to introduce great literature to the public. On the side, I’m an aspiring novelist and humor writer.

I’m Really Good At

Zumba, mixology, trivia, and baking.

The First Things People Usually Notice About Me

My quick wit!

Favorite Books, Movies, Shows, Music, and Food

Books: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Huck Finn, Shakespeare. I could go on and on!

Movies: Things by Judd Apatow or things with a lot of explosions

Shows: Arrested Development, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls

Music: I’m a rock ‘n roll gal. I love the Beatles, the Who, the White Stripes, and Matt Nathanson (I know, I know. One of these things is not like the others!).

Food: I’m not picky.

The Six Things I Could Never Do Without

  1. Books
  2. Laughter
  3. TV
  4. Music
  5. Running
  6. Friends and family

I Spend a Lot of Time Thinking About

Why people do the things they do and behave the way they behave, the future, complex philosophical questions such as why did the Sour Patch parents abandon their children, and prior to such a scarring incident, were they just sweet?

On a Typical Friday Night, I am

Kicking back with a pizza, a movie, and a glass of wine.

The Most Private Thing I’m Willing to Admit

I can’t really think of anything. I’m an open book!

I’m Looking For

Someone who will laugh through life with me.

You Should Message Me If

You want to. We’ll go from there.

Last Online: Online Now

Ethnicity: White

Height: 5’6”

Body Type: Fit

Diet: Eclectic

Smokes: No

Drinks: I enjoy a cocktail 😉

Drugs: Nah

Religion: Open to the Idea

Sign: Virgo

Education: Bachelors in Theatre

Job: Operations Management

Income: I live okay.

Children: None

Pets: None, but I love animals.

Speaks: English, French, Pig Latin

 The Truth

 My Self-Summary

I use words like “ergo.” And I don’t really like answering questions about myself.

What I’m Doing With My Life

Thinking about all of the things I’m not doing with my life.

I’m Really Good At

Puns, overthinking, sitting for long periods of time, Googling my problems.

The First Things People Usually Notice About Me

My resting bitch face.

Favorite Books, Movies, Shows, Music, and Food

Books: Things written for 15-year-olds.

Movies: When Harry Met Sally, Dirty Dancing, Grease 2, and other things overlooked by the Academy.

Shows: Things your parents watched.

Music: I know some songs by the Beatles, the Who, and the White Stripes.

Food: I eat anything but will still spend 15 minutes deliberating on what I should eat.

The Six Things I Couldn’t Live Without

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Shelter
  4. Clothing
  5. A brain
  6. Indoor plumbing is nice

I Spend a Lot of Time Thinking About

The histories of certain words and various punctuation marks, if I am truly as awkward as I feel, if it’s all gonna be okay.

On a Typical Friday Night, I Am

Avoiding life.

The Most Private Thing I’m Willing to Admit

 I have trust issues.

I’m Looking For

I don’t know, but I’m not entirely confident I’ll find it here.

You Should Message Me If

You also never know the right thing to say and make jokes at inopportune times. Then this just might work!

Last Online: Always

Ethnicity: The Whitest

Height: 5’5 and ½”

Body Type: Fit…ish

Diet: Never

Smokes: Asthma

Drinks: Alone

Drugs: Bad

Religion: Don’t be a dick to anyone

Sign: Virgo…and everything you’ve ever heard about Virgos applies.

Education: I have a lot of monologues memorized!

Job: I’m honestly not really sure what I do.

Income: Low

Children: None that I know of.

Pets: I can’t have a dog because I’d never be able to leave it.

Speaks: English, French, Quenyan Elvish

So I suppose this is one of those cases where a little embellishment never hurt. I, for one, am a big fan of theatrics, and see no problem with your profile being the program to your one-person show.

Any readers out there on OKCupid or other dating sites? Willing to share any entertaining stories about a less-than-truthful profile? Leave a comment!

Awkward Giving: What I Have to be Thankful For

  1. Smart phones, so that when I arrive somewhere entirely too early, I have something to stare intently at…and thus I will never appear lonely.
  2. Texting, so that I may stare at and study the words I have carefully constructed for at least 10 minutes before pressing Send, and can avoid the horror that is improvised telephone conversation.
  3. People who screen their calls, thank you. You are too kind to let me leave the message I have scripted and rehearsed 7 times before dialing.
  4. Technology in general, for making everything less personal.
  5. Caution: Wet Floor signs, so that when I do slip, I know I’m slipping on something normal people slip on.
  6. All the air I haven’t tripped over, thank you. Don’t let the bully air get you down.
  7. Blinds and darkness, so that no one will ever have to see me dance.
  8. Alcohol, so that on some glorious evenings, I feel like I can dance. And I am not ashamed.
  9. New York for being the kind of city where talking to strangers is frowned upon.
  10. Tide-to-Go, OxyClean, and all other stain removal products, thank you. You have saved me countless dollars on several new wardrobes.
  11. Dogs for just chilling instead of judging.
  12. Artists and scientists, so that I always have a group to bask in social awkwardness with.
  13. Trivia, so that I always have a fun, weird, and random conversation tidbit to blindly hurl into the uncomfortable silence.
  14. Fictional characters for being the easiest friends to make.
  15. Fandoms for giving us ways to make new friends.
  16. Words for giving me something to hide behind.
  17. Pants, so that I may take them off after a long day.
  18. Blankets for keeping me warm through the insomnia.
  19. Warning labels, peeping toms, and general ne’er-do-wells, so that when I lie awake at night, I can panic about whether or not my counter cleaner accidentally touched my food or whether or not there is someone outside my window instead of tumbling into an existential crisis.
  20. Online ordering and delivery for limiting the amount of people who truly know how much I can eat and for keeping all conversations regarding such to a minimum.
  21. Dessert.
  22. Self check-out, so no one need ask why I need so much hummus.
  23. Anything one can fidget or futz with in their hands.
  24. Vacuums for easy cleanup after something gets knocked over.
  25. Open space where I can pace.
  26. All of my ex-boyfriends, lovers, and flings, for providing me with some enormously entertaining anecdotes.
  27. Family, who have to love me despite my cluelessness, and friends, who for some reason choose to.
  28. You. You’re awesome. Way to go, you!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings. Eat, drink, be merry, be wild, be daring, be curious, ask questions, hug someone (or pat them on the shoulder with a kind, yet forced smile), and for the love of God, have your Tide-to-Go pen handy!

 

My Top 25 Most Awkward Things

Well this is me, getting quite candid with all of you. I probably shouldn’t label these as “most” when they are in fact 25 of many. I raise these points to your attention in the hopes that I am not alone. Please tell me I’m not alone. Anyone? Hello?

  1. I talk to myself. A lot. I pretty much don’t know how to let a thought weave in and out of my head without mouthing it. Sometimes I’m just repeating past conversations. Sometimes I am creating dialogue for potential future conversations. Sometimes I am going over a strategy to get the heck out of a conversation. I am only aware of my doing it roughly 60% of the time. Sometimes I become aware while I’m mid-act but then I feel weird abruptly stopping, because passersby have come to expect it of me and I don’t want to disappoint them. I’m trying to get in the habit of always having a book in front of me so it just looks like I’m reading to myself.
  2. To follow on that, if I am making a conscious decision to not talk to myself, I will still be unable to prevent my face from expressing every thought I am having. Sometimes this means seemingly laughing at nothing, sometimes it means I look really disgusted for no reason, sometimes it means people cowering away from me because they think I’m mad at them, but in reality I’m just thinking about work.
  3. When I get nervous or don’t know what to say, I smell my hair.
  4. I also play with my hair, which means I panic if I don’t have a hair-tie. I put my hair up in a messy bun, only to take it down, and then put it back up again over the span of 2.5 minutes. I have no control over my hair, however, and cannot pull off the messy bun no matter how hard I try. It always just ends up looking like a turd is coming out of my head.
  5. If I think of something really embarrassing from my past, I start to moan until the thought leaves my head. Sometimes if the thought is too strong, I say a random word like, “ANTELOPE!” in the hopes that the antelope will chase the thought away.
  6. I also moan when I eat, but that’s just because I really love food.
  7. If I am eating with my hands, I have to break the food up into small bites. Unless it is circular (i.e. a cheeseburger). Then I must eat downward from right to left until it is halved, turn it and eat it until it is a triangle, bite it down into a smile shape, and finish the smile shape in exactly 4 bites.
  8. Yesterday for lunch, I decided to pack a container full of plain Brussels sprouts. This isn’t because I am on some sort of diet or am trying to be healthy in general. I just really love Brussels sprouts.
  9. If I hear music, I have to dance. Or lip-sync with feeling. All depends on the tune. I still don’t know if I am human…or a dancer.
  10. When I am talking to someone new and I don’t know what to say, I laugh. This isn’t so terrible until someone tells you they had to declare bankruptcy.
  11. I don’t like the feeling of sitting for long periods without something in my lap. I think it’s a vulnerability thing. Accordingly I always feel better if I have a pillow or a bag with me. Teachers used to ask me if I was going somewhere because I always had my bag in my lap. Also I’m pretty sure it’s why I have back problems.
  12. I’m very bad at sounding casual. When I try, my voice cracks. So I try to keep out of the conversation until something I can genuinely discuss comes up. A lot of people think I don’t like them or I’m stuck-up. I just, in general, really, really, really don’t know what to say, and would prefer to not say anything.
  13. My office door is known to shock people when they touch it. I hate that feeling on my hands, so I always open the door with my elbow.
  14. I’m very afraid of eels. I really hate snakes but man, are eels just terrifying. They’re the snakes of the water! (Well, besides water snakes). That makes them doubly sinister. I have nightmares about eel attacks frequently.
  15. If I’m watching one of my favorite movies or TV shows or reading one of my favorite books and I know a character is about to experience something hurtful or embarrassing, I have to fast forward, flip ahead, turn it off, leave the room, etc. because I feel their feelings…and then I start to moan.
  16. On top of the aforementioned food enjoyment moans, I am a loud and messy eater. I always end up wearing some of my meal. I try to chew quietly but it doesn’t work. People grab headsets when they see me going for an ice cream cone.
  17. One time, my friend threw an apple at me and I caught it. We celebrated for weeks.
  18. I make really obscure references to things that no one would ever possibly get. Like I’ll say, “No, thank you,” in a way similar to the way John Travolta said, “No, thank you,” in one movie one time. I secretly always hope someone will get it. Even a little. It was especially a problem when I was younger and watching TV shows that were on in the 70s and 80s. How could you not know Blair Warner’s eyes had green and gold flecks and that Susan Dey had an eating disorder?! I was raised by that shit.
  19. I was a theatre major, and once had to do a mock professional audition as part of my college curriculum. They told me the audition itself was fine, but then spent 20 minutes trying to teach me how to walk into an audition. Apparently you’re supposed to do it in a straight line and not look like a waddling duck.
  20. I am always cold and thus usually have a large coat on. Even when I’m at home. Not a hoodie. A coat. I really like coats.
  21. I ordered a tea in Starbucks the other day. It was very busy and the cashier clearly forgot to pour it. Instead of asking about the progress of the tea I had paid for and had every legal right to, I left and went to Gregory’s Coffee.
  22. I am a master of the Irish goodbye.
  23. If I am at a house party, I immediately try to find an animal to befriend. Animals rarely expect a casual conversation.
  24. I don’t hear well, especially when people mumble, so I often have to ask people to repeat themselves more loudly several times after they’ve said something they clearly didn’t want other people to hear.
  25. It is very safe to say I never know what I’m doing.

Come come now, awkward-teers. Share with me your awkward ways! Let us bask in our awkward glory! But quietly…alone, in our own space.

J. Awkward Prufrock’s Breakup Survival Guide

It is safe to assume that, at one point or another, you will get dumped. That is not a testament to your personality or how pretty your face is. That is statistics rearing its ugly head. There are only so many people in the world. You will only date or try to date so many of them. And with most of the people you date, there will be a breakup. And it probably won’t be fun. I feel like bad relationships and ugly breakups are such a frequent occurrence that I could walk up to any woman on the subway and say, “He was an asshole and you deserved better,” and she will start crying and nodding and thank me.
Breakups are hard regardless of whether or not you were the dumper or the dumped. Mostly because it means a change in your life will occur, and that is a difficult thing. Even if your relationship was bad, it is still what you were used to. This is precisely why I have personally been dumped more times than I have dumped on others (read that however you want to). I am too apathetic to bother making changes in my life. And like most people, I rarely stop to think about whether or not I’m actually happy. I’m too busy imagining unicorns fighting narwhals and what if that narwhal had a mustache? Or wondering if that guy’s backpack has a bomb in it and what would be my best exit strategy. This is what most people think about, right? RIGHT?!

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been dumped (though I do describe some of my more awkward rejections here), but I can tell you that they say it takes 10 years to become an expert at something, and I have spent the last ten years moping about boys. I know absolutely nothing about relationships, but I do know a thing or two about the sudden lack thereof. And even when you weren’t feeling good about it anymore, even when it was the best thing that could have happened to both of you, it…still…sucks.

So here I present to you my comprehensive, step-by-step guide to getting through a breakup. Please note this is not a female empowerment post. This isn’t telling you to buck up and be strong, sister. This is getting down to the bottom line: you’re upset. Stop the upset. You may say many of the steps are clichés. I have never claimed to be an original thinker, and also I think clichés exist to save space in our brain. Which is helpful to me, as now the unicorn is wearing a top hat.

Step 1: Cry

So, you’ve been dumped. Nixed. 86ed. Hurts, dunnit? Doesn’t matter how much you loved or didn’t love them. Doesn’t matter what their good or bad qualities were. Doesn’t matter if you got the, “It’s not you, it’s me,” speech or the, “Nah, it’s definitely you,” speech. It just hurts. It feels like someone took your heart and squeezed it like a cow utter. Or maybe like they kicked it around during an elaborate Mexican Hat Dance. When you find this to be the case, I highly recommend getting the crying out of the way immediately. Emotions are a lot like vomit. Holding it in won’t stop it from happening. It will just come out with a vengeance.

Remember to choose your cry carefully. Sure you can let out a little sniffle with elegant tears running down your cheeks like you’re watching Sarah McLachlan talk about the ASPCA, but is that really an effective use of your crying window? That’s like taking only one bite of pizza when you’re starving and then wrapping up the rest for later. What does it solve? And also what kind of sick, self-controlling monster are you that you can only take one bite of pizza when it is hot and cheesy and immediately available to you?

The most appropriate cry would most likely be the ugly blubber. The kind that makes your roommates wonder how you got a baby elephant in your room. The kind that feels like you are trapped under something heavy. The kind that makes your face so red and your hair so messy and your eyes so puffy that when you finally get a gander in the mirror, you wonder who brought the zombie to your room and what is he having an allergic reaction to. This cry will get you off the floor and safely into Step 2.

Step 2: Get Angry

If you’re an insomniac like me, chances are you didn’t sleep a wink the night of the breakup, and instead paced around your room, tapping your fingertips together, and plotting your revenge. Plotting revenge is great. Plotting revenge is important. Executing revenge is not for the faint of heart. Truly the best revenge you can get is to not give them the satisfaction of your revenge. Real revenge takes time and careful planning and acquiring implements of destruction. I highly doubt they’re worth it. If you must do something with your hands, however, I find there’s no harm in grabbing some felt, crafting a doll, and sticking some pins in it.

It is important to address that this is most likely the phase where you’re going to want to text them. You’re going to want to tell them off, let them know what they’re missing out on, maybe bargain with them a little. I implore you, do not. DO NOT! HEY, PUT THAT PHONE DOWN! PUT IT DOWN RIGHT NOW! I WILL SLAP THAT PHONE RIGHT OUT OF YOUR HAND! There is nothing less appealing than an endless strand of nonsensical text messages sent by a grumpy zombie at 3 in the morning. Chances are they do not want to hear from you.

I do recommend breaking something. Nothing valuable. Remember, the key is to get rid of the upset. This does not mean engage in regretful behavior. If anything, that will prolong the upset. Go into the kitchen, break an old plate or an ugly mug, sweep it up to feel like you’re accomplishing something, and then pour yourself a glass of wine.

 Step 3: Wallow in Self-Pity

This is my favorite step. Possibly because it is how I’d like to live my life most of the time, minus the self-pity. The clearest way to explain this is to break it down into sub-steps.

 3a: Choose Your Wallow Ensemble

I find the best wallow ensemble is a soft pair of sweatpants and a hoodie just baggy and stained enough that people might wonder if you’re a vagrant. Also, commando. Always commando. Both top and bottom.

3b: Choose a Venue to Show Off Your New Look

Supermarkets work well. Especially given step 3c. They’re highly public, which gives you many chances to scowl at people who give you a condoling look. While it’s never nice to be on the receiving end, there is something so oddly cathartic about being a dick for no reason.

3c: Eat Senselessly

Use your newfound not-giving-a-shit attitude to eat the things you always crave. Here is an example a solid Wallow Meal: a) appetizers: honey mustard and onion pretzels, potato chips, onion dip; b) main course: a steak burrito with extra sour cream, cheddar bacon fries, a bottle of wine; c) dessert: 4 scoops of different kinds of ice cream over a warm brownie with the following toppings—Oreos, sprinkles, peanut butter, hot fudge, Reese’s Pieces, M&Ms, heath bar, whipped cream. A suitable alternative is a roll of raw cookie dough. Heck, have both.

3d: Watch a Romantic Movie

Whilst you feast like a starving lion, put on a nice flick. Love stories are best. Note: not love stories like 500 Days of Summer about someone getting over someone. Watch a movie about two people who are passionately and hopelessly in love. For one, it will get the rest of the crying out. Also, it’s all part of the wallowing process to watch people obtain something you want and be pissed off that you don’t have it.

3e: Take a Long Walk

Go outside and get some fresh air and take note of the fact that the world is much bigger than you. And then go back inside and stop caring.

3f: Talk to Someone

Once you haven’t washed your hair for a few days and you’ve listened to Skinny Love enough times, it may be a good time to find a confidante. What kind of confidante is up to you: could be a great listener with a lot of sympathy or someone who is going to slap you real hard across the face and tell you to get your life back. Perhaps the best solution is somewhere in between.

Step 4: Become a Productive Human

 Turn your feelings into something you can use to your advantage. Write a book, learn to scuba dive, take a Improv class, turn what used to be Netflix and Chill time into Oh My God Do Something, You Useless Thing time. This will be short-lived. You will always go back to watching Scrubs in its entirety for a 8th time. But hey, maybe you’ll learn something.

 Step 5: Fuhget About It

 It takes time, and that’s all. A few months later, when you’re about to go on another date, the old Ex will cross your mind and you’ll think, “Oh yeah, that happened,” and then you’ll fix your hair in the mirror and not think about it again for an even longer while.