Nine Healthy Coping Mechanisms to Get You Through This Hell Month

Hey, Nichers! Can you believe we’re more than halfway through the year? Neither can I! Here’s how I’m coping with summertime malaise, and you can, too!

Joining A Yoga Studio Like Some Rich-Ass Soccer Mom

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So I have this thing where I, like, never exercise. Like, never, ever, ever. I was momentarily kind of a jock in the early years of high school, because my dad’s favourite thing to say was, “You need a sport for your Rhodes scholarship!” So I joined the track team, despite being extremely slow and probably asthmatic, because it was the only sport you didn’t have to try out for. Fortunately, what I lacked in athletic ability I more than made up for in canny grifting; I managed to rack up half a dozen silver medals over the course of a single season, because I entered the horrible, grueling long-distance races that nobody else wanted to enter, where it was invariably just me and this one other person, who was an actual athlete, and I’d invariably come in two laps and five minutes behind the actual athlete, and they’d sling a silver medal around my neck for my trouble and award nine season aggregate points to my team for my second-place finish.

Anyway, once P.E. stopped being mandatory in the tenth grade, I dropped it from my schedule and replaced it with another block of like, AP Reading Books And Not Getting Laid. And I never looked back. Until the start of this year, when I was like, “Actually, maybe I would be less anxious and depressed if I moved my body on purpose every once in a while,” and I set a New Year’s resolution to do fifteen minutes of yoga every day. Like, starting small. Teeny, tiny little baby steps. But I couldn’t even commit to that much, even though I was just going off these, like, “Yoga For Soul-Destroying Anxiety” videos on YouTube, where the poses were largely just lying down on the floor with your eyes closed, or curling up in the fetal position. Maybe rocking back and forth in the fetal position, if you were feeling really spicy.

Eventually, I realized that if I wanted to commit to this, I’d have to make myself commit to it, and so I bought a monthly subscription to a yoga studio. That way, if I didn’t haul ass to yoga class on, at the very least, a semi-regular basis, I’d feel crushing guilt for having wasted my money. It’s been a powerful motivator. I’ve been to four classes in the last five days. I feel extremely neurotypical and I no longer have to strain to breathe past my upper abdomen. As soon as I figure out how to stand on one leg without falling sideways and taking out a whole row of Lululemon-clad suburbanites like little dominoes, it’s over for you hoes.

Drinking This Fancy Tea I Stole From The Ritz-Carlton

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A couple of years ago, I had a job which involved putting on trade conferences at fancy hotels, from which I resigned in short order, after realizing that the company could only afford to book at the fancy hotels because they were paying minimum wage to recent college grads with no practical experience whatsoever to do the work of an entire event planning team and singlehandedly produce multi-day trade conferences populated by thousands of attendees.

Anyway, one of the few perks of this job was that every once in a while you’d get to attend one of these trade conferences and stay in a fancy hotel room and eat fancy hotel food. And this one time, at the Ritz-Carlton, I ducked out of a session on fucking like… results-driven blockchain synergy… or collaborative digital parameterization… or something, and I went up to this cute little tea buffet, and I fixed myself a little cup of Sloane Heavenly Cream Tea, and like. Just about died. I’d been up since 5:00 AM and I’d spent all day marching around on shitty high heels passing a microphone around to nice people from the suburbs who had paid way too much money to be there. And here, in this little ceramic cup, was this holy nectar from the heavens, delivered unto me in the height of my misery. I felt like someone had just handed me a puppy in a basket. So I did what any reasonable person would do and I grabbed all sixteen remaining sachets of the Heavenly Cream Tea and shoved them in my purse and hid them beneath a layer of pamphlets on holistic human capital leveraging, and I savoured them with everything I had, rationing them out over the ensuing weeks, until there was nothing left, until the Heavenly Cream Tea was just a distant memory.

I’ve often thought of that tea, in the years since. I’ve mourned it. Wondered if there was any way I might finesse my way back into the Ritz-Carlton and secure the teabag. And this week, for the first time ever, it occurred to me that, like… I could probably just go out and buy the fucking tea. Like, there was probably some retail establishment that would render unto me this tea, in exchange for money. So I did a little online research and then I hiked over to this legendarily fancy gourmet grocery store on Bloor Street, of which Drake once rapped, “I’m on Bloor, where you can’t shop, skrrt.” I forked over an extravagant fifteen bucks for a box of fifteen teabags, and I fixed myself a bowl-sized cup, and I drank it, and it felt like being made out with on a shag rug.

Not Getting Acne on T, Bitches!

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Next week will mark my third month on T. Could I write a moving essay about how this experience has changed me, how this journey has healed my very soul? How this process of poiesis has proved equal parts thrilling and terrifying? I could, but I’d rather just let you know that I’ve reached this point without incurring even one single zit. Not a one. I went to see Ocean’s Eight with a friend last week, and she took one look at me and was like, “Wait, you’re still on T, right?” And I was like, “Yeah.” And she was like, “How the fuck is your skin so clear?” Bow the fuck down, frankly.

I recommend Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel and the Body Shop’s charcoal mask. They’re a little pricier than the drugstore shit I was using before, but, a) I haven’t had to replace either product yet, in the entire three months I’ve been using them, and b) three months on T and no acne. Need I say more?

Listening to the Snail Mail Album Until My Eardrums Burst

It’s very easy for you to look up Snail Mail on Google and instantly be connected to like, forty identical profiles calling her the wunderkind saviour of indie rock, a beacon of guitar-playing hope the likes of which we’ve not seen since Liz Phair recorded the Girly-Sound Tapes a quarter-century ago, so I’ll spare you all that and just say this: shit bangs.  Shit bangs sonically and shit bangs emotionally.

You know the feeling you got when you walked out of Lady Bird for the first time and you were like, wow, I see hope in my limitations and I feel faith in my essential humanity once more? And you know the feeling you got when you watched Lady Bird the second time because you wanted a pick-me-up but it actually just made you really sad about your dead mom and you spent, like, half an hour wailing quietly about it? Lush by Snail Mail will make you feel all that and more, with the added benefit of un-fucking-real guitar virtuosity.

Daydreaming About Licking Antoni Porowski’s Salty Tears Off His Beautiful Face As We Discuss Why Jude St. Francis Deserved Better Than This Shit Earth

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I’ve already written the definitive Queer Eye take, so I don’t have much more to say except that Queer Eye is genuinely life-affirming and has encouraged me to step up my game in big ways and small, from giving a shit about skincare for the first time in my life to French-tucking my shirts to finally shelling out for a bookcase instead of stacking all my books on the floor like some bohemian Frenchman dying of consumption in a garret.

Doing A Painstaking, Completionist Run of Night in the Woods, the Greatest Innovation in Young Adult Storytelling of the Past Decade — Which, I Must Add, Does Not Make Me A Furry

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a furry! A couple months back, in fact, I had the great pleasure of meeting Remy Boydell at TCAF (#BuyThePervertOniTunes, by the way), and she drew me as an elephant, which is my favourite animal, and I cherish my newfound fursona very much.

But anyway, Night in the Woods: holy fuck. I’ve been wanting to give it a proper write-up since I completed my first playthrough around Christmas time, but I’ve stalled because there’s just… so much to say. I don’t game a lot, and I don’t know if “game” is the most accurate word for what Night in the Woods is. It’s more of an interactive novel, maybe? You play as a nineteen-year-old girl who drops out of college and returns to her decaying Rust Belt hometown. There, she reconnects with old friends, dabbles in petty crime, and hunts for ghosts, even though nobody believes her about there being ghosts. Crucially, too, the game features not one but two instances of The Dynamic.

I rocketed through my first play in one of those irresponsible hours-at-a-time gaming binges because I needed to know what was coming next, what would become of these sweet furries I’d so come to love, whether or not the ghosts were real. And that’s a perfectly valid approach, because the story is genuinely thrilling in moments big and small and the plot twists are executed to gasp-out-loud effect. But it’s fun to play it, too, in a more languid, desultory way, taking your sweet time to stroll through the town each day and stargaze with your old science teacher, or aid the pastor in her efforts to convert part of the church into a homeless shelter, or clamber up onto the powerlines to explore the town from above and break into abandoned buildings.

After a while, playing like this for maybe half an hour a day, I found that I wanted to go explore my own world in the same way, just lace up my shoes and go out and be with people. I also got really intense pierogi cravings so I decided to check out this fast-casual pierogi place that just opened in my new neighbourhood, and I ordered a plate of pierogies stuffed with sweet cheese and topped with chocolate and strawberries and whipped cream and like. Like. Life is so good, you guys. Being alive. It’s so fucking clutch. Play Night in the Woods and shove extravagant pierogies down your gullet.

Listening to A Disney Channel-Ass Banger On Repeat Because Sometimes That’s What You Need

The trouble with not having any straight normie friends is that nobody ever tells you that the main theme of the straight normie musical of the decade is actually a complete and total banger. Does it sound like it belongs in an episode of Glee? Like, yeah, but maybe one of the pre-downward-spiral episodes? Whatever. I can go for a little Cheese Whiz catharsis every now and then. Natasha, Pierre was fuckin’ robbed, though.

Wondering Why Nobody Else Is Watching the TV Show About Christina Hendricks and Retta and Mae Whitman Pulling A Working Class Ocean’s Eight

The trailer for Good Girls popped up on Netflix and I was like, “Hey, what? Christina Hendricks is in something again? And Retta? And Mae Whitman? Pulling off daring heists to survive in late suburban capitalism? And I’m only hearing about this now?” So I watched the pilot, and I loved it, and then I looked it up on Rotten Tomatoes and all the reviews were like, “Ew, it’s cheesy, it’s tonally inconsistent, the cast deserves better.” And I was a little bummed, but I’d liked the pilot enough that I decided to give the second episode a shot, and then the third, and then the fourth, and I kept waiting for it to get corny and bad, and it… never did? The cast kills it in every episode? The “tonal inconsistency” is actually just black comedy? Like, it’s good. Good with no qualifiers. Just a grand old time. It’s on NBC in the states (and, ergo, Hulu), but it’s on Netflix everywhere else.

Also, Rickety Cricket is the main antagonist, and that alone should be enough to sell you.

Reading All 330 Pages of Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu in One Sitting and Crying Just A Little

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Okay, so, elevator pitch: inspired by her mother, a former Riot Grrrl, sixteen-year-old Vivian Carter decides to start distributing homemade feminist zines in her small-town Texas high school in order to protest sexist dress codes and call out rapists on the football team. I really did read the whole thing in one sublime sitting and I really did cry. Words are failing me, so I’m going to convey the rest of my emotions about this book via pictures of a toddler going HAM on a Cookie Monster birthday cake. You understand.

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That’s all, folks! Happy July! Happy coping!

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