Welcome to For Your Consideration, a series about things we love and love to do — and we’d like to give you permission to embrace your authentic self and love them too.
1. Collect bottle caps like you did when you were 12.
2. Bleach your hair. Duh.
3. Get really into face masks.
4. Suddenly start using Instagram stories way more frequently.
5. Throw things at other things — but in a safe, purposeful, socially acceptable way. Horseshoes, bowling, darts, corn hole, skee-ball, etc. Anger feels like the least productive emotion, but you’re feeling a lot of it. Throwing things can be nice.
6. Develop a new hobby or two or seven. Preferably something with your hands. Because your hands hold onto so much that isn’t even there anymore, and when they’re still, you start to feel out of order, submerged. If you keep them moving, if you jolt yourself from being too still for too long, it’s easier to stay afloat. There’s no better time than now to learn how to knit or weld or watercolor. Haven’t you always wanted to garden?
7. Go on a 72-hour bender of playing the Sims. Delete the game when you accidentally make your characters break up with each other.
8. Start cooking again but make chaotic meals like lasagna for breakfast and a Virginia-style peanut pie for dinner.
When you can’t decide between steak and clams one night at the fancy grocery store, buy both. Make a ridiculous dinner-for-one:
Rub the ribeye with salt and pepper and garlic powder and sear it on both sides for under a minute before throwing the cast iron in the oven for another eight.
Wash the outsides of the shelled littlenecks and arrange them in a shallow pan with melted butter and chopped garlic and some of the white wine you’re also drinking. Turn up the heat and put a lid on top and wait for the steam to make them open up their mouths.
Throw broccoli and bok choy in the oven with some lemon and sesame oil and garlic. Cook until charred.
It’s an elaborate dinner that all takes less than 30 minutes to make. It’s perfect. Eat every last bite in bed.
9. Download two different astrology apps and throw your phone across the room when one tells you something you’re not ready to hear.
10. Watch so much goddamn reality television that the seams of reality start to unravel.
11. Re-read Bluets by Maggie Nelson over and over and over. It is the perfect breakup book, and when you dye your hair blue it isn’t technically because of it, but it also maybe is just a little bit. Start seeing blue everywhere, the temporary side effect of reading this book always. But it’s nice this time, because it means a little break from the latest repeated image you can’t seem to escape: seeing her name everywhere — you know, the other girl’s. Could it really pop up that often? (It can.)
Maybe obsessing over the color blue for a bit will help you stop obsessing over that number, too, the number you never knew and never will. Why does it bother you so much? Not knowing how many times they fucked? Why did you ask so many times? That number wouldn’t change anything, wouldn’t matter at all. But you hate not knowing it.
Re-read Bluets exactly three times and then put it back on the shelf where it belongs.
12. Re-organize your bookshelves.
13. Cross a very important item off of your bucket list: making out with someone while “Everywhere” by Michelle Branch plays.
14. Smell. Everything. It will be a very long time before you stop associating certain smells with her, you think. It may take approximately forever, you’re told. But in the beginning it’s too much. It’s all the time. It’s every goddamn smell. Well, if “smells, like music, hold memories,” like Arundhati Roy writes in God Of Small Things, then you’re just going to overwhelm your scent glands with so much smell-noise that maybe just maybe you can rewire something.
Cook with even more garlic than usual — an impossible amount. She used to tell you the spot behind your ears smelled like garlic because you spent so much time engulfed in it in the kitchen.
Place a sunflower on your windowsill and smell it in the morning.
Dab tea tree oil behind your ears. But not too much, because it dries the skin, leaves it feeling abrasive in a way you kind of like but also probably isn’t good for skin. (Despite all those face masks you’re doing, you have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to skincare.) She used to always have tea tree oil-laced toothpicks in her mouth when you first met her, would chew them down into a gummy mash and then spit them out. She stopped when they started hurting her teeth, and you missed their taste for a bit.
15. Try every kind of dumb, fancy bottled cold brew drink at your grocery store.
16. Make a map of all the places you’ve cried in the city. You’re bad at drawing maps and always have been. You remember in elementary school when you had to make a map of your neighborhood and you couldn’t quite grasp the concept of a consistent scale, placing your house way too close to Stacy’s house and the field too far away.
Your map is equally fucked up this time, and that’s okay. It’s a shitty map to commemorate a shitty thing. Sometimes, you have to commemorate the bad stuff because it’s not like your brain will let you forget anyway.
17. Make bad art, but make good art, too.
18. Reinvent your sense of personal style approximately every two weeks.
19. Post photos of yourself on Instagram and only photos of yourself. Flood your feed with selfies. You never thought you’d be the kind of person who only posts themselves, but here you are.
Someone tells you that the first thing that gets better in the wake of a breakup fueled by infidelity is your self-confidence. It’s the first thing to come back, they tell you. (Trust, meanwhile, will take forever.) And you want to believe it, but you aren’t quite sure. So take selfie after selfie after selfie and shamelessly crave attention from everyone because the one person you want it from won’t give it to you.
Eventually, you really will just be doing it for you.
20. Train to become a dungeon master for Dungeons & Dragons and rope a few friends who have never played before into becoming your players. Eventually. Because it will take some time to read the 300+ page book on how to get started as a dungeon master, and you want to get this right, because you want to get everything right. You hate when things go wrong, even when it’s not your fault that they do. (But somehow, you always think it’s your fault.)
It turns out you have to draw maps for this shit, too.
Build a whole world. Spend hours on it. Too many hours. Put so much time into planning to play Dungeons & Dragons that it becomes unclear if you’ll ever actually play. (You will. In time.) There’s nothing wrong with being thorough. There’s nothing wrong with replacing the bad obsessive thoughts with good ones, with playful, fantastical ones that remind you what it was like to build whole worlds as a kid, to learn a new game and struggle at it happily.
21. Quote a T*ylor Sw*ft lyric in a sext and then immediately regret it.
22. Build a table?
23. Go to the same museum once a week every week for a couple months. You don’t even need to look intently at everything every time. Sometimes, you can just sit there, just let the work sort of permeate you passively like when you would jump through a cloud of body spray a very long time ago.
24. Take everything off the walls of your room and leave them blank and punctured for a few days before putting new things up. Or the old things in a new arrangement.
25. Yes, make that breakup playlist, bitch.
26. Write letters — some that you send but most that you don’t.
27. Develop one million crushes.
28. Start carrying an absurd amount of non-essential things in your bag every day. Those bottle caps. A cribbage board and cards. Several essential oils. Books you’ve already read. Smooth rocks that you can reach for when anxiety kicks in. Dried, dead flowers that you forget about and turn to dust when you’re rummaging around for your keys.
29. Tweet your drafts.
30. Move across the country. Or think about moving across the country but then realize how much you like it here, now, and start to see here in a different light. Burn that map of every place you’ve cried.