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I don’t advocate suicide, dear readers, as a stress management tool.

If you want to manage your anxiety in a so-called “maladaptive” way (and why wouldn’t you?), you should consider picking. This involves the pulling of skin to cause pain and injury to relieve stress and give an external source of distraction to the things causing you anxiety. An added benefit is that you feel as though you are in complete control, where you may not feel that way in other area of your life.

Here’s how to pick.
• Choose carefully. A good way to begin picking to go after your cuticles. Many people have cuticle issues so it’ll be less obvious that you are nourishing your wayward cuticles with the covert intent to pull them until they go deep enough to make you bleed. Fingers are a good place anyway simply because there are lots of nerve endings in there—you’ll feel the effects more acutely.
• To prepare chapped lips for picking, you will need to stretch the skin tight a few times, hopefully causing a natural crack to form. At this point, you can go straight for the picking, in the same manner you would on cuticles or you could prolong the suffering by chewing on the lip tissue until such time as you feel ready for pain and blood.
• Take hold of any piece of dry skin and rip it. I find that I have dry spots on my nose and cheeks that sometimes work. Now, there is the issue of people noticing the red pockets where your flesh used to be but this is minor and does not require medical attention, so I believe it’s acceptable (although perhaps not the ideal picking method because of the publicity).

A word on variations. Picking may not be for you. There are many other methods for you to induce injury that is not life-threatening but causes just enough pain to be life-affirming. Cutting is a cliché but I won’t judge you too harshly…although there’s a much greater chance of actually hurting yourself and having to have medical attention. The point of self-injurious behavior is that only you and perhaps a few of your closest companions know you’re doing it. Part of the anxiety management is that you are in control and if you lose control, you’ve missed the boat. I’ve dug my nails into my skin before, avoiding breaking the skin and it was moderately effective. Sometimes punching yourself or a hard surface can be helpful, so long as you are careful not to cause injury requiring medical attention. (A note on suicide: don’t do it.) In addition, eating ridiculous amounts of calories is another strategy since you know it’s bad for you but you do it anyway as an “emotional eater.” You’re a cutter in a manner of speaking.

There’s no way to avoid life’s cruel, incessant lashings. Here’s what you do when difficult times descend:

• You carefully examine the rubble of your cookies. Your immediate thought is that you could never overcome this woeful obstacle.
• You put the cookies out of your sight for 35 seconds.
• You can’t get the cookies out of your mind. Your immediate thought is this is an unacceptable position to be in and dammit, you’re a strong woman who’s over come unexpected cracker crumbles and apple mush.
• You search your mind and soul.
• Endless time passes. Perhaps upwards of 15 seconds.
• And then. Your eye catches the box of tissue on the corner of your desk.
• You take your package back out and excitedly dump the destruction of your cookies on your tissue.
• You pick through the rubble and eat what you can, savoring every sweet bite.
• You say, “fuck the rest” and expertly through the tissue and cookie grains away. You don’t need that shit. Now you can get back to the full-fledged, good-time cookies still waiting for you.

Let the snow fall down, half a foot
let the rain fall down, half an inch
freeze, five hours
serve with slippery roads
and unbecoming falls from grace.

Eating French Fries
1. Always eat fries in pairs of two, who are very close to identical length. Do not eat one, four, seven, or eleven fries at one time. Only two. Think French fry twins.
2. If you get to the end of your fries, and you discover a single fry left, you should tear said fry in have and eat it as two fries. This is not the ideal situation since they are not true pairs, but in a bind, this works.

Losing a Man
1. Tell him you want to spend loads more time with him.
2. Tell him you want to be exclusive.
3. Give him an old-school casual greeting.
4. Mention your favorite color is red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, white or black.

Hemming Your Pants—N/A. Leave well enough alone and contact your mother.

Adopting a Pet
1. Take him/her to the vet immediately.
2. Have vet remove all cancerous cells promptly.
3. Constantly worry that he/she has cancer.

Dating
1. Do not do anything I have done.
2. Do not do anything I have done.
3. Do not do anything I have done.

Taking Pain Relievers
1. Keep well stocked at all times in every situation. Work, home, car, purse.
2. Do not buy two bottles of Ibuprofen and accidentally take both bottles home when you meant to have a bottle at work because then you’ll be in pain without relief.

Cooking
1. Invite someone over, preferably a hottie.
2. Tell him/her you have lots of kitchen items to cook things in.
3. Tell him/her to have at it because you ain’t cook.

  • Create lists. Many, many lists.
  • Breathe sighs of relief that you are keeping yourself silent.
  • Drink Coke Zero.
  • Feel guilty about drinking Coke Zero and go get some water.
  • Watch your hard-won tan fade.
  • Remember your luminous hair and shake it out for good measure.
  • Distract yourself with all sorts of insignificant things all day. For example, how many tissues are cluttering up your desk anyway?
  • Look for a pet online that you are completely inept to care for.
  • Breathe a sign of relief that you don’t have time to go to the pound today to adopt a pet you are completely inept to care for.
  • Consider your ineptitude for caring for yourself. This will offer amusement.
  • Exercise and eat well.
  • Try to call AT&T. You will not be able to actually speak to anybody who can do anything for you because they sense when you’re about to break up with them and this relationship is all they have.
  • Think of the mayhem that is about to ensue in your book about people dying horribly and how you will be haunted very soon by the images you create in your head.
  • Go to Family Dollar. Yes, it’s ghetto but it’s also fabulous.
  • Plan how many hours of sleep you are going to get tonight.
  • Enjoy Bryan’s descriptions of your heart condition.
  • Appreciate that Keith Urban, even though he is exceptionally well-groomed (to a troubling extent).
  • Make a hair appointment.
  • Make an appointment for a one-hour massage in August.
  • Worry if your dates in the next two weeks are going to judge you harshly because your roots are showing.
  • Continue to watch your tan fade.
  • Fondly remember the time long ago (say, 2-3 weeks ago) when you were fond of that horny Airman.
  • Let the good people of the world know that you know what a chapbook is now and how Bryan patiently explained this to you 5 different ways because he thinks you a simpleton, even though you told him you understood his definition the first time he explained it.
  • Correct emails that are sent to you, grammatically-speaking. You can do this mentally or in a Word document.

SOB with me

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