We’ve all been there before: you think you’re just being a responsible pet owner, trying to identify the source of Taco the Corgi’s anxiety, and suddenly you’re face to face with your own gruesome death. You never expected Zenia to “see” you floating face-down in the local river with 27 stab-wounds to the torso, but here we are. Although you have no doubt that the Boy Scouts who apparently discover you will be scarred for life, you have bigger problems at the moment. Keep reading for our simple guide to navigating this all-too-common problem.

Step 1:  Determine if Zenia is actually psychic or just full of shit

While we, like you, are firm believers in the power of the spiritual realm, we are also well aware that some unscrupulous fraudsters are only pretending to have the gift in order to take advantage of you. So, how do you determine if Zenia is truly psychic or merely gunning for her own TLC special?

If Zenia is really psychic, she should be able to tell you incredibly specific, personal facts about your life that she would have no way of guessing. For example, you could ask her what your favourite present was from your seventh birthday party. If she incorrectly guesses “Cabbage Patch Doll?” instead of the truth (the incredibly age-inappropriate wood burning kit that your uncle Alan got you), it’s probably safe to say she’s faking. If, however, when asked about your sister, she correctly responds that you don’t have any sisters except for the baby who your mother delivered stillborn on the day before Hallowe’en when you were five, you should proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Decide your attitude, get information

Do you believe that no one can change their destiny and your ugly fate is sealed? In that case you should thank Zenia, find a good home for Taco and make peace with your God. You could also decide to kill yourself, which has the dual benefit of denying your murderer the pleasure of the hunt and relieving you of the agonizing torture of waiting for the end.

If, however, you believe that you have a chance, the very next thing you must do is get absolutely as much information out of Zenia as humanly possibly. What are you wearing in her vision? What river is it? What time of day, of the year? Can she see anything else around you? Does she have any sense of who the killer might be – someone close to you, someone you trust? Note that there may be additional fees for this information on top of your original canine assessment.

Step 3: Arm yourself

While this next step will be largely determined by how much time you think you have, it will be important to immediately start planning your defense. If only a matter of hours stand between you and your killer, consider some Bear Mace and a baseball bat. If you have more time, immediately begin taking several different combat-based classes and start getting your firearms license. Look at training Taco to attack on command, although given that Corgis are not really built for this kind of thing, consider adopting another dog or two of the large and aggressive variety. If they also have anxiety, consider that it might be a ‘you’ problem.

You may be asking yourself, “shouldn’t I be calling the cops??” In our experience, law enforcement is generally only helpful during the actual murdering, or when you have more evidence to support your future murdering than the visions of a dog psychic. That is why you must act like the strong, independent woman you are and be ready to face that dark night alone.

Step 4: Get your affairs in order

Hopefully you will be ready to meet your potential murderer and emerge the victor, but just in case, you must be responsible and get your affairs in order. Make sure that you have loving homes set up for Taco, Ripper and Deathface. Settle your estate and leave a will clearly stating who should get which of your possessions and how to get around the various booby-traps you’ve laid Home Alone-style throughout your house. Name Zenia as the predictor of your demise so that she can be contacted in the event of your disappearance. Also, consider leaving her a small sum in your will as an act of gratitude.

*****

In conclusion, remember that it ain’t over till it’s over. Keep a positive attitude and a shotgun nearby, and who knows how the story will end! If you survive, definitely drop in on Zenia so the two of you can share a good laugh.

 

 

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I’m not the first person to notice that the new Ken Dolls recently released by Matel look like, well, fuckboys. I’m not trying to mean; I appreciate the diversity and I think that it’s about time that Ken had a little bit more of it. But manbuns and chunky glasses and trendy beards – these are all visual cues that many young women have learned to associate with a certain type of dude on Tinder. And so I present to you, facetiously but maybe not, and in no particular order, All the Kens You’ve Dated.

all the kens

(image via Matel, obviously)

Ken S., graphic designer

You meet Ken at a bar where he offers to buy you a drink and then gets you something completely different from what you asked for. At first you think he’s boring, but then you realize that he thinks he’s better than you, and somehow you start to believe him. You date for five weeks and have mostly okay sex. You are confused about how upset you are when he dumps you. Years later, you run into him on the street and will wonder if it was all a fever dream.

Ken B., Sexy Accountant

Your mom loves him. Your friends love him. Your dog loves him. The sex is good. But the more time you spend together, the more you realize he has no idea who you are. He gets you a gift and it’s so aggressively wrong that you think it might be a joke, which hurts his feelings. When he talks about you to his friends you assume he is talking about someone else; no, you hate music festivals and no, you don’t want to smoke weed with him. You feel bad when you break up with him but you also think he’s very stupid, and that helps.

Kenneth P., “musician”

Your relationship takes place entirely over text, FB messenger and Snapchat. You meet exactly three times in person and have sex exactly once and it is staggeringly mediocre. You see him perform, and he is staggeringly mediocre. After you dump him he will text you four times, all when he is drunk. He will get your name wrong twice.

Kenny L., something in sales

Kenny is dynamic, motivated, focused, and athletic. He does triathlons and ultimate Frisbee, which he will try to get you into until he realizes you are not very good at Ultimate and will then conveniently forget to invite you ever again. He knows how much he can deadlift, and he wants to know how much you can deadlift. You find out he plays the ukulele ironically, and then you realize he is incapable of irony. He makes you tired. You feel immediately better as soon as he dumps you (and he will dump you – he’s proactive like that).

Ken R., Engineer

Ken has strong feelings about craft beer. Ken has strong feelings about whiskey. Ken has strong feelings about gentrification, pesticides, hormones, child labour and FMG. Ken has strong feelings, in general, and will say “I love you” after two weeks, which you will be immediately repulsed by. You are pretty sure Ken went vegan for the vag, and when you imply this, he will give you the silent treatment for three days. It will be a relief. You will dump him over text on a Thursday afternoon so you can bang a guy that evening. The sex will be great.

Ken H., Assistant Manager at Shopper’s Drug Mart

Ken thinks the secret to getting a girl is persistence, and he has decided that he needs to get you. He will offer to drive you anywhere even though you have a car. He will offer to help you move (you aren’t moving). He wants to hang out all the time. He tells you you’re different from other girls as if it were a compliment. He tells you he is different from the jerks you’ve dated before. You tell him that you too have read ‘The Game’ and remind him, again, that the two of your are not dating. He tells you you’re a whore and posts about heartbreak and men’s rights on Facebook. You block him but stay friends so you can check in periodically and feel superior to him.

Kenn K., doctoral candidate

Kenn is the nicest, smartest, sweetest guy who it turns out was gay this whole time and thought you knew.

****

Perhaps I could never capture all the Ken’s in one post, but I hope you enjoyed the ride. Tell me about the Ken’s you’ve dated in case I’ve missed any!

  1. I have no idea.
  2. Most of the scientific evidence is bad, scientifically: small sample sizes, short study duration, so many confounding factors, so little rigorous data validity.
  3. You can go low-carb, high-carb, low-fat, high-fat, high-protein, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, primal, raw.
  4. You can try Atkins, Dukkan, 21 day fix, Weight Watchers, Keto, OA, WOE, South Beach, calorie counting.
  5. They all work, if you can do them.
  6. Most people can’t though, not long-term.
  7. And whatever you do to lose weight, you’re going to have to keep doing, more or less forever.
  8. You should exercise, although exercise alone probably won’t help you lose weight. But it’s good for you.
  9. Every piece of advice you will read will be contradicted somewhere.
  10. Fruit juice is natural and healthy. Fruit juice is full of sugar and is basically just pop with vitamins.
  11. Diet drinks will kill you. Diet drinks may help you control calorie intake.
  12. Too much meat is probably bad for you? Too much of anything is probably bad for you.
  13. Calories don’t matter.
  14. Calories definitely matter.
  15. Organic is better
  16. Organic is nutritionally identical
  17. Free range
  18. Cruelty free
  19. Non-GMO
  20. Local
  21. Gluten free
  22. Dairy free
  23. No artificial colours or flavours
  24. Don’t eat processed foods. Chopping vegetables for a salad is a form of processing. Olive oil is processed. Processed is a meaningless word.
  25. Which makes me start to wonder if maybe everything is meaningless, if this nameless weird obsessive desire to be one size and not another and one weight and not another is somehow a common contagious madness, a group psychosis we have all agreed to, something utterly without rationality, something malicious and twisted and useless to boot.
  26. But then I am in my body, I alone, and I know that moving makes me feel good, and I know that eating certain things makes me feel bad, and others better, and really it’s amazing how much better I’ve felt since I switched out sugar for Splenda in my coffee and started going to the gym, so.
  27. It’s more than what you eat and do, though, because it’s what we see when we see ourselves, and how our choices reflect (literally or figuratively) on that vision, this idea that I don’t just want to be healthy but that I want to look like the kind of person who drinks green smoothies and wakes up glowing because those kinds of people don’t have my kinds of problems. Those women wake up glowing and have deeply rich satisfying relationships with their equally glowy spouses and they have jobs they love and clean houses and they never come home after a bad day at work and fight with their mom on the phone and then eat a packet of ramen and drink half a bottle of wine because they have this effortless perfection all around them. These glowing green-smoothie yoga women with their clear skin and bouncing ponytails have risen above the dark and dreary, the mortal grumblings of mortal women with stretch marks and cellulite and difficult bosses, and these green-smoothie women hold this perfection between their perfectly manicured fingers like it’s nothing. They’ve Got It Figured Out. They’ve done the impossible: ascended past unending housework and petty office politics and the need for a beer now and then, for fucks sake. These perfect, slim, smiling, healthy, lovely, effortless women make cashew milk from scratch and are never stressed. Their lives are filtered through soft, diffuse lenses; light caresses them. They don’t squint. They’re infallible. They are post-human, post-woman, post-blood, post-suffering, post-toil.
  28. And perhaps that is the secret behind Ten Foods You Should Never Eat if You Want to Lose Weight: this scriptural idea, this set of commandments so that we, too, though we are tempted and though we sin, can get beyond the mortal and suffering and become glowing perfect women in matching running gear. Life is hard, after all. Who wouldn’t want to ascend, if they could? Perfection is maddeningly alluring.
  29. But I think we can do better, I think we can find a middle ground, I think we can have our cake and smoothies too. I think we can go for a run and eat Doritos. I think we can forget this perfect woman, and we can be mortal and happy and run and jump and eat and live without her specter glowing over us, condemning us for our human weaknesses. We can be “bad” and do yoga. We can drink beer and lift weights. We can be a million individual flickering points of imperfect humanity and we can light up the whole sky, despite pizza or missed workouts or muffin tops. We can be healthy and we can be whole and round, perhaps not glowing but drenched in sweat, muscled and dimpled and strong in our own way, and we can go home after a bad day and fight with our moms and do whatever the fuck we want. Because that perfect green-smoothie woman is a myth like so many before her: designed to sell us a nirvana we can never reach, so that we will keep striving forever. But I think we can do better. I know it.
  30. Drink plenty of water.

There is a quote that I love. I can’t remember the poem that it came from, but the words come back to me at specific times. It’s the sadness of a moment leaving, even a moment that has to leave. It is the sadness of an ending, even a great ending.

“I am nostalgic for now, for now as it goes away.”

I am almost done my undergraduate degree, and I am closer to 29 than to 28 and I am happy, I think, and healthy and whole and somehow very far away from youth and also very far away from age and I feel like I am finally, finally hitting my stride.

I have been waiting and working for years to be almost done with this degree. I have resented every moment of it. I have railed against it, fought against it, dragged myself kicking and screaming through every minute of it, and now it is almost done.

And suddenly I am sad.

Suddenly I think that maybe something special is almost over and it will never come again, this specific experience in this particular time, and this part of my life is almost gone and I barely noticed. I was too busy counting down the days to enjoy them. I so ready for it be over, I almost missed it happening.

And even though I hated much of it, there are things I will miss. I may have hated dragging myself to class, but I did learn things. I hated having my schedule changed wildly every four months, but it taught me to be adaptable. I resented the money I poured into the black hole of this liberal arts education, but it forced me to appreciate how lucky I am.

This is the first time in my life that I’ve been smart enough to be sad at the ending of something. This is the first time in my life I have slowed down enough to even notice.

I will miss the people, as much as I made fun of the kids I went to class with. I will miss the rhythms, the noise of campus, the library; I will miss professors and exams and assignments, not because I especially like any of them, but because it became a part of me. I have been a student of one kind or another since 2012. What will I be when that is over?

Just me?

And what if the me that gets left over after all is said and done isn’t particularly spectacular? What if I take this degree and three years of my life and I don’t do much of anything with it? Starting in January, I will be free in a way I haven’t been for years. I have time to play, to learn, to create and to work, and I feel obliged to do all of those things and more. I feel like I owe – myself? the Universe? – 110% of the best of me, all the time, from now on. Why would I need to relax – all I do is work! Why wouldn’t I write a book? I have evenings and weekends free!

I don’t have any excuses anymore, except my own limitations, and I hate them in the way only a very, very spoiled person can hate their human weaknesses. I am not kind to myself. I have high expectations – so high, I am sure to disappoint myself.

Today was my very last class and it was kind of boring, of course, but also sad, and I wonder if maybe sometimes boredom is a defense mechanism to keep me from feeling the sadness of the ending.

So many things have ended, lately, and I have taken so little time to be sad about them. Who has time to be sad? I’m too busy. I have too many important things to do. Of course.

But I am sad, and happy, and relieved and worried and excited and everything all at once. I am never ready for any endings, happily-ever-after or otherwise. I keep marching forwards; I have things to do. I’m too busy for goodbyes. I barely stopped to say hello.

“I am nostalgic for now, for now as it goes away.”

  1. Newsflash: You are old.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been out of school for three years or thirty, it will soon become crushingly, achingly clear to you that You Are Old. Somehow, the people in University just keep getting younger, and you are already out of the loop. There are at least two new forms of social media that you do not understand and should not attempt to participate in. There are dozens of new slang terms that you should not even try to use, because the only thing worse than being the grownup in the classroom is being the grownup who is desperately trying to be blend in. Have some self-respect.

  1. But also – congrats! You’re old!

Suddenly all the wisdom you’ve acquired in your years of being a Real Human in the Outside World will come in handy. You’ve been through breakups, moves, floods, toxic friendships, transit strikes and plagues of locusts. You will chuckle when the kids in class freak out over a particularly difficult assignment. You can help the youths when they need guidance and you can provide perspective on the trials and tribulations of University life. This will make you totally insufferable. Try to keep it to yourself.

  1. You will be angry all the time. This is because you are old.

Attending classes with young people will constantly fill you with rage. You will resent their Macbooks and wonder why they can’t sit through a lecture without scrolling through Tumblr obsessively. You will sneer as they browse Michael Corrs watches and then snap at them when they ask you a question the prof just answered. You will roll your eyes at their ripped jeans and oversized sweaters and cute little crop tops. You will do all these things because you are a jealous old troll – you feel dumb in crop tops, you feel dumb writing in a notebook, you feel dumb because you don’t understand Tumblr and you hate being the grownup in class that everyone can rely on. Do not let this jealousy ruin your time in University. It’s not your classmates’ fault that you are old. Blame God.

  1. Now that you are old, your grades will be better.

Whether you’re finishing your first degree or going back to do a Masters, you will be amazed at how much your grades have improved. You aren’t staying out drinking all night long and your organizational skills have no doubt improved. If you have a semi-professional job of any description you will be too busy to leave assignments till the last minute and you will have a much better understanding of what the professor actually wants. You’ll actually read the assignments and ask questions ahead of time if you don’t understand something. You’ll make time to study, usually, and your studying will be more productive, probably.

  1. Do not let your time at University be defined by how old you are.

Remember when you were young and filled with hope and optimism? No? Well, your classmates do, because they are living it. The whole world is open to them and everything is Very Important. Don’t make fun of them! They are better at computers than you will ever be and they believe that all their dreams will come true. That’s a beautiful thing and it’s worth being reminded of. Let them inspire you. Be kind and be open to their influence, even if sometimes you just want to shake them. Before long you’ll go back to being the youngest person in the office and Marlene from purchasing will be making snarky comments about how you don’t know anything because you never lived through the Thatcher years. These are not the best years of your life, but they are worth embracing and they will never come again.

No matter what, don’t let yourself join the ranks of the Marlenes of the world even a day earlier than you absolutely have to.

Hello friends and neighbors.

Today I thought I`d take some time to talk about something very embarrassing, which given my history should be a surprise to exactly no one. Specifically, I want to talk about fantasies.

Not sexual fantasies – please, try not to be so pedestrian. I have been on the internet, and I have to tell you that unless your fantasies are particularly violent or cruel, they really aren`t all that embarrassing. There are only so many ways to put so many tabs into so many slots and I promise you someone has already thought of all of them and dedicated a webpage to it. While we like to pretend that sexual fantasies are embarrassing, most of them aren’t even original. You have a geriatric Pokémon fetish? You get a boner every time you hear the theme from Seinfeld? Bo-ring! Yawns-ville!

No, the really awful fantasies are the emotional ones where we create an entire romantic subplot in our heads and desperately hope nobody ever, ever finds out. We populate these love stories with absurd details and painstaking justification because even though most romantic fantasies never come true, they have to be just a little bit believable to really get our motors running.

The two most common fantasies, as far as I can tell, are the Highly Unlikely Acquaintance Crush and the Mortifyingly Contrived Celebrity Romance. I’ll go over both in detail, because I know that’s what we all came here for.

The Highly Unlikely Acquaintance Crush

If you are alive and living in society, there is approximately a 100% chance that you have had a crush on someone who, for probably many reasons, is entirely not right for you. Maybe they’re too old, or too young, or gay, or straight, or married, or a jerk, or your boss, or your mom’s jerky gay married boss. Maybe they have a debilitating personality flaw, or they’re some kind of service person whom you see semi-regularly but have never had a real conversation with. Whatever it is, you already know that you must never, ever date them. You know it would never work out. Despite these realities, you find yourself sustaining a crush on this person who may or may not actually know your name.

Here enters the fantasy: what I suspect is your brain trying desperately to justify what your dumb heart is doing. Soon you’re constructing a scenario in which you finally end up with your dreamboat. He leaves his wife, or, better, she dies suddenly and you comfort him and that’s when he finally changes his bad-boy ways and even though he was always kind of a misogynist and never worked very hard he finally gets his act together because you saved him. Or that good-looking guy at the coffee shop finally asks you out (even though you are 99% sure he’s dating the blonde girl who also works there) and you just get along so well and it turns out he likes all the same music as you do and you talk late into the night and he teaches you to play guitar and you teach him…to love. Maybe you get a new job and that hot girl who is not-quite-but-almost your boss runs into you at a conference three months later and you’ve lost weight and her husband has run away with the au pair and you spend the weekend making hot, sweaty love in the hotel and your girlfriend never finds out because magic. Or maybe she dies tragically too? Sure, that works.

These fantasies are dumb, obviously, and especially embarrassing because after spending the night hoping someone’s wife gets cancer it is really, really awkward to run into them at the vending machine the next day. It can be tough to attend a meeting or buy a coffee from someone you’ve masturbated to, and it’s even tougher when part of your one-handed waltz involved you imagining them telling you how you’ve got the most beautiful eyes. Meanwhile, they’ve misspelled your name in the mass email they sent asking you for a donation to their wife’s rowing team.

For all the trouble with an acquaintance crush, at least it’s someone you know. You’ve talked to this person (presumably), and there is something about them that you are actively attracted to, even if it’s a bad idea. Arguably, the acquaintance crush isn’t nearly as bad as what’s behind Door Number Two.

The Mortifyingly Contrived Celebrity Romance

It seems to be pretty normal to have a crush on a celebrity, even though most of them seem kind of weird to me. That being said, I still have a list of celebros who are high up in my fantasy life, and sometimes it’s also fun to fantasize that they just like me for who I am. The celebrity fantasy is embarrassing on so many levels, of course: it’s something stereotypical tween girls do, it’s about someone you have never and will never meet, and in order to make the fantasy stick you have to create a storyline that borders on the pathological. None of these things stop us.

First you have to pick your famous person (bonus points if you have a crush on someone from a few decades ago, ie. Michael J Fox from his Back to the Future days). Then you have to imagine a personality for them, one likely pieced together from interviews, tabloids and social media, all of which are definitely honest portrayals of a human being and not highly scripted and filtered PR tools. The next step is coming up with a way for the two of you to meet, despite the fact that they live in LA making movies and you live in Sleepytown, Nebrahoma making toilet paper in the toilet paper factory.

The “filming on location” is always a good route to take at this point, although of course you have to try to figure out why anyone would ever chose to shoot a film in your shitty town. Maybe you have big gorge nearby or something. This step is easier if you live in New York or London or any decent-sized city where a camera crew might actually show up. Then you have to figure out, in minute detail, exactly how the two of you will not only run into each other but also have a long enough conversation that your celebrity crush realizes that he/she can’t live his/her life without you.

The coffee shop meet-cute is always a reliable choice, although the odds of this particular person being in that particular coffee shop at the same time as you, and then willingly making conversation, are obviously astronomical. You might have to make up a whole new career for the fantasy to work; so, you’re a hairdresser, in New York for some reason, and suddenly Brad Pitt walks in and needs a haircut. And you find out that he and Angelina are secretly separated but it hasn’t made the papers yet. And you have a long conversation, which is a real and believable thing that happens in haircutting shops, and afterwards he offers to walk you to your car because it’s late (why is it late? Who gets a midnight haircut?) or it’s not late, but it’s dark out, because it’s the winter, and New York is dangerous, so he walks you to your car, right? But then your car won’t start! Because it’s winter! So then he offers to drive you home…

Actually, you know what? I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you. You can fill in the rest. I will give you one spoiler though:

You live happily ever after, and you never go back to Sleepytown or the toilet paper factory, except to gloat to fucking Marlene in purchasing.

That bitch.

Hey everyone,

You may have noticed, if you haven’t unfollowed me from Facebook yet, that I have lately become one of those insufferable running people. Hey, did I mention I run? I am a runner. I do runs. Just, in case you missed it. FYI.

Well, let’s start with an apology. I know it’s pretty boring to just about everyone except maybe my mom. It also sounds like bragging (because it is) and bragging is irritating and, again, boring. A dude once dumped me for being boring, and he designed waterslides, so he would know.

The thing is, though, that getting fit (barf) is not even close to a straight line, and even though I am only taking the first steps in my fitness journey (double barf) I wanted to share with you all the weird, convoluted and mildly psychotic methods I’ve employed to stick to my “lifestyle change” (oh god I’m sorry).

  1. Motivation through subterfuge and guilt

For every run I go on, I have planned two. I am too goddamn lazy to get off my ass about 50% of the time. The same goes for workouts of the gym variety. Basically, I have to trick myself into working out/going for a run through a series of complicated equations where I take the number of workouts I’ve planned for a week, divide by my exhaustion, multiplied by the exponential nature of my guilt and then something something remainder. Okay, I don’t know anything about math, but I do know that if I plan two workouts I will go never, but if I plan five I’ll go twice. Maybe.

The other thing that works is spending money and feelings. I keep signing up for races in part because the fear of being fucking embarrassing is sometimes enough to get the running shoes laced on, and the shame of wasting money means that I probably won’t bail at the last minute. I go to softball because somebody is going to be sad if I don’t and I am crippled by the fear of disappointing people. Just kidding! I’m about as sensitive as a bag of hammers, but I can trick myself into thinking that it’s a Big Deal if I let the team down. Just to be clear, I’ve never been on a team where letting anybody down would be a Big Deal, but a little bit of creative cognition is enough to get me on a softball field. Lying works.

  1. Keep healthy food in your fridge so you can watch it rot

I like to make a meal plan, quickly check the calories so I know that my stir-fry isn’t secretly a Big Mac, buy healthy food at the grocery store, cook and pack some healthy meals for the week, and then go out for wings instead. Okay, this is a bit of an exaggeration – I do eat pretty healthy pretty regularly, but I’ve also thrown out enough untouched half-liquefied cucumbers to last a lifetime. And frankly, I eat what can best be described as an “ungodly” amount of wings.

This is, once again, a numbers game. If I have healthy food in my fridge (especially if it’s already made and all I have to do is shove it in a microwave for a minute and a half) then there is at least a chance that I will eat it. If I don’t plan and cook in advance, “dinner” usually looks like a bag of Original lays chips, a bottle of wine, and a handful of deli ham. Sometimes it’s four Reese Peanut Butter Cups and a bowl of half-thawed shrimp. I’m just saying, planning is important.

Another thing to keep in mind: if “health” isn’t enough motivation to eat the healthy food in your fridge, try finding something that you actually do care about. In my case, if I’m staring down the barrel of yet another spinach salad and the siren song of cafeteria burgers starts to get too loud, I remind myself of how much I hate spending money on mediocre food (which caf burgers definitely are) and also about how much I hate wasting money generally. Basically, I’ve learned that I’m cheaper than I am healthy, so I lean on my cheapness when the going gets rough. Maybe for you it’s laziness, and you can convince yourself and you just can’t be bothered to go all the way to Wendy’s when you have a chicken wrap in front of you. Do what works.

  1. Fitness models will make you feel like garbage but if that works for you, roll with it.

Social media is a great way to make yourself feel like a failure. There are people on my Instagram feed who are made up of nothing but muscle and hair and fake tan. I don’t want to look like that, but c’mon – if that chick can get down to 2% body fat, can’t I at least do some jumping jacks while watching the Simpsons? People like to talk about positive thinking but positive thinking is why I ran out of pants. If feeling like crap is what you need to feel better, I’m not going to stand here and spout some new-agey rainbow nonsense about loving yourself as you are. Having a positive outlook is not necessary to get shit done and even if you don’t “love your body”, you can still do something decent for it.

Listen, I recognize that disgust and shame are not great long-term solutions, but I’m not talking about long term solutions. I’m talking about that moment when you come home from work and all you can think about is the cold beer and takeout Chinese in your fridge and playing Candy Crush for the next three and a half hours. In that moment, as you reach for your phone and tell yourself that squeezing into a sports bra sounds like the worst idea you’ve ever had, take a minute to give yourself some inspiration. I don’t want to be able to crack pistachios with my abs, but it helps to spend two and half minutes begrudgingly staring at people who can.

  1. Remember that in the end, it’s all pretty much pointless bullshit.

This is the cognitive dissonance at the heart of my relationship with fitness: I think it’s important to stay active and eat well, and I also think that it’s completely dumb and a waste of time. You only live once! Eat that cheeseburger! You’re going to die no matter what! You’re not going to be on your death bed wishing you’d done more burpees!

That’s the balance: life is short, and I don’t want to spend it never eating alfredo, but I also want to spend it being able to run around and feel good. I really enjoy physical activity, even if it’s totally meaningless. Having a toned butt does not make you a good person. Going running is not a moral act. There are definitely more useful/profitable/charitable ways that I could be spending my time, but I still like my running and biking and softballing and walking and skiing and whatever else I can think to do. I like how I feel when I DON’T eat Ramen four times a week. I also realize that nobody (not even my mom) cares how fast I ran that 5k, but pretending to care has saved me from buying new pants.

That’s all the advice I’ve got for you, sadly. As you can see, it’s not very good. The truth is, I have no idea what I’m doing. None of us do.

Good luck!