Do it on a week day. Early in the week. That way, you can’t use any “you deserve it” excuses just because you made it through. You can’t use Friday as a validation.
Do it quietly in unassuming gulps. You’re not at a bar laughing and spilling drinks all over yourself with your best friend by your side. You’re not chatting up a good-looking stranger and giving yourself permission to fantasize that they could be The One.
Look at photos of The One. Or, you know, the one you’ve labeled The One. Or was The One. Once. A long time ago. When life felt softer and you didn’t keep wine bottles in case of emergency.
Wonder how they’re doing and reach for your phone to ask. Put it down. Pick it back up. Put it down. Pick up your glass. Coat your throat with burgundy. Put it down.
Remember how you promised yourself you were going to be better than this. You go to yoga! You drink green smoothies! You volunteer at the animal shelter down the street! Nod in agreement, like if you just keep telling yourself all the things you do correctly, the other stuff won’t be as noticeable. The bad stuff will stay in your closet scrunched up in the corner.
Read a message on Facebook from a pretty girl with ringlet curls. She calls you her inspiration and your stomach drops. Doesn’t she know?
You’re nothing to be admired. You’re a deer struck by a car struggling to drag itself off the road. Sometimes, you’re hoping something will hit you again. Sometimes, you’re hoping the collision will just put you out of your misery.
You were happy three days ago. You loved your body three days ago. You arched and bent and worshipped your temple for the work of art it is. You wrote poetry about being the hero in your own story. You applauded yourself for it, for your survival, for your radical evolution.
And now, you are here, and you don’t remember any of those things. You look at all ten fingers and assign something you hate about yourself to each one. One, your lack of self-control. Two, your desperation. Three, your acne scars. Four, the roll of belly fat you can’t seem to get rid of. Five, your fear of success.
Stop, you need another drink.
Say the names of all the friends you loved who you no longer talk to. Disappear from people’s lives without saying anything. Become the ghost you, in the darkest hours, yearn to be.
Do not text back the guy who cares. Text the one who wants nudes. Do not text back the guy who asks about your mother. Text the one who wants an orgasm.
Cancel the date you’re supposed to have a few days from now. Make up an excuse (you’re good at it). Cancel all dates so you never have to start. Joke about being alone forever and realize it’s your own doing.
Joke about being unhappy and realize it’s your own doing. Decide you’ll stop doing this next week.
Or the next.
Or maybe the one after that.