Today's Exercise in Self-Soothing

So imagine you have a new puppy, and your new puppy does the things that new puppies do, which are: pee on the floor, eat your favorite shoes, poop in your laundry hamper, chew on your plants, chase the cat. Right? Bad things. Now, how do you deal effectively with the misbehaviors of the new puppy, which does not know any better, and is only doing the things that puppies have done since the dawn of puppy-time, when new puppies chewed up their cave-person's best bow and arrow or whatever? Do you shout BAD DOG BAD DOG BAD DOG at the new puppy over and over again? Do you kick the puppy? Smack the puppy on its little puppy-nose with a rolled-up newspaper? No! Because YOU, Author-friend, are not an asshole, or else you would not be our Author-friend! You speak GENTLY BUT FIRMLY to the puppy. You work with the puppy where the puppy is at. You reward appropriate puppy behaviors with treats and happy noises! You pet the puppy! You explain the rules to the puppy in a clear and intelligible fashion!

NOW IMAGINE YOUR BRAIN IS THE NEW PUPPY. Oh! Do you see what we did there! It's called an Analogy, very effective, also works in fiction. YOUR BRAIN IS THE PUPPY. If your brain is anything like our brain, it poops in your laundry hamper A LOT (in this sentence, "poops in the laundry hamper" is secretly an analogy for "obsessive circular thinking"). It freaks out! It gets super mopey and stares out the window! It tells you that you are No Good and then makes you eat an entire package of Newman-O's, sending you into a downward spiral of sugar crisis! Right? Your brain does this! Don't lie! WE KNOW YOU.

What is the answer to this desparate situation? You need to WORK WITH THE PUPPY THAT IS YOUR BRAIN. Soothe the puppy! Train the puppy! Embrace the puppy's nature, whilst encouraging it to grow! We find it super helpful to have some brain-management routines, for the dark times, and because Oprah cannot help you any more we are going to share them with you now.

1. LISTS. Oh man, do we love lists. It is important to plan ahead and make the lists when you are feeling like the world is an okay place and you are probably going to be famous. Sample soothing lists include lists of all the great things in your life ("super awesome family, the best Support Team ever, our beloved Chérie l'Ecrivain, many wonderful friends, a fucking sick metastasizing '90s-band t shirt collection, don't have to go to work in an office and can wear tube bras and trashy shirts all summer, healthy, kind of a fox*"), lists of things that make you feel better when you are mopey ("luna & larry's coconut ice cream, Melvins, coloring, having a tantrum, Michael Bay"), lists of people you love. One list that is super fun to make is a List of Things That Will Happen; make it a list of things that are ambitious but plausible (i.e. "publish book" and maybe not "trip to the moon," unless you are Donald Trump, in which case you are probably not reading this blog. Our list has things like "health insurance" and "bicycle across New Zealand" on it). Put something on this list that you know for a fact will happen in the near future, and then you can cross it off and feel all excellent. Keep these lists in a prominent place and review them when you have the sads. It helps, WE SWEAR.

2. A SOOTHING HAPPY BRAIN-PICTURE. Think of something really weird and funny, or ridiculous, or that makes you immediately and thoroughly happy. That is your Soothing Happy Brain-Picture. When you are having one of those moments where THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD IS AGAINST YOU, NO SHIT, ESPECIALLY EVERY MOTHERFUCKER ON THE L TRAIN MAYBE IT IS TIME TO FINALLY PUNCH THEM ALL, think of your Soothing Happy Brain-Picture. Our Soothing Happy Brain-Picture was suggested to us by our friend R.M., when we were 15; it is R.M. running nude through a field of daisies and kittens. We have not spoken to R.M. since 1995 and the last we heard of him he was serving out a jail sentence for unauthorized distribution of methamphetamine; we still think of him running nude through a field of daisies and kittens in times of duress, and it still makes us laugh.

3. EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL. This one is SO FUN, for serious. For a day, make a point of noticing something beautiful about everyone you encounter. Maybe that person has dope style, or elegant hands, or a joyous smile, or super-shiny hair, or an air of greatness. Maybe they obviously took a lot of care matching their socks to their necktie. Maybe they are reading a book you love. Maybe they are being super nice to their baby even though it is screaming and covered in drool and all sticky, ugh. Maybe that person is your boss and you hate them with every fiber of your being but they have very nice shoes, or something. No cheating: you have to pick out something beautiful about EVERYONE. (This is a little exhausting in New York where you might literally encounter several thousand people in a single day, so it is okay if you take a lunch break, we won't tell.)

4. LUDICROUSLY GIANT TIPS. No matter how broke you are. Tip your barista five dollars and buy coffee for the person in line behind you. Leave your waiter a tip that's half the bill. Give twenty dollars to a sidewalk busker. This has two benefits: it makes you feel rich, and it makes that person's day.

5. TURN UP THE MUSIC AND JUMP ON THE BED. Pretty self-explanatory. Helps.

6. REPEAT THE WORD "POOP" UNTIL YOU START LAUGHING. Maybe you want to do this one where other people can't hear you, but that's up to you.

*This one is important to write down, especially if you are a Lady. Ladies, we do not tell ourselves this enough! YOU ARE A FOX. IT IS TRUE, LADY. Be all like, "Shit, I AM A FOX! MMM HMMM!" DO NOT qualify this statement! None of this bullshit about "I am a fox except for this flawed body part" or whatever! THAT'S A BUNCH OF CRAP. YOU ARE A FOX. Say it out loud! I AM A FOX. SAY IT. Good job.