When you do meaningful work with your hands, a kind of neurochemical feedback floods your brain with dopamine and serotonin. These happy brain chemicals are natural antidepressants, and we’ve evolved to release them both to reward ourselves for working with our hands and to motivate ourselves to do it some more.
They met one summer night, sitting on a subway, exchanging inappropriately personal stories. They laughed together, walked home together, realized they shared a neighborhood and friends and a coffee shop and a hobby.
Throughout the summer, they began to share more. They shared stories about family and friends and hopes and worries and dreams and goals and lists of the things that were really scary.
Before that subway ride, before those late night and early morning and midafternoon and middle of the sidewalk in the rain conversations, she worried about what the season would look like. He made her summer.
He affected her, moved her to think deeply. He invited her to his apartment and, while standing barefoot at the kitchen counter,assembling a sandwich, asked questions that challenged and extended her understanding of herself and her understanding of how people relate to one another.
He hugged her when she needed it, as well as when she didn’t. His demands were simple: honesty was enough to satisfy him.
He stood up for her. He swore he wouldn’t hurt her. He promised not to hurt her. He held her close and told her she was comfortable.
He told her they wouldn’t be able to speak to her for a while. He had a good reason. He called her the next day anyway.
He yelled at her on a sidewalk because she wasn’t supposed to fall for him. He yelled at her on the same sidewalk, again, because she wasn’t supposed to fall for him. He yelled at her that she wasn’t staying over. He pulled her close when she crawled into bed with him. Sometimes he stole away to her apartment in the middle of the night. He told her she was beautiful.
He ignored her. She wasn’t sure why. He ignored her some more. Then he stopped.
He yelled at her on another sidewalk, because she wasn’t supposed to fall for him; he said he wasn’t going to let her stay over. She’d barely turned to walk away when he asked her to stay.
“Stop talking about love. Every asshole in the world says he loves somebody. It means nothing… what you feel only matters to you. It’s what you do to the people you say you love, that’s what matters. It’s the only thing that counts.” —The Last Kiss
Why some of us are better at remembering what really happened?
The University of Cambridge scientists found that normal variation in a fold at the front of the brain called the paracingulate sulcus (or PCS) might explain why some people are better than others at accurately remembering details of previous events -such as whether they or another person said something, or whether the event was imagined or actually occurred.
This brain variation, which is present in roughly half of the normal population, is one of the last structural folds to develop before birth and for this reason varies greatly in size between individuals in the healthy population. The researchers discovered that adults whose MRI scans indicated an absence of the PCS were significantly less accurate on memory tasks than people with a prominent PCS on at least one side of the brain. Interestingly, all participants believed that they had a good memory despite one group’s memories being clearly less reliable.
[my voice] he awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. and during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach. by early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. by evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. i am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, i am not sad. as if he might one day convince himself. or fool himself. or convince others—the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. i am not sad. i am not sad. because his life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. he would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. and each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping. and by the midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. i am not sad.
If you’re feeling blue, don’t hesitate to use my ten go-to, never-fail, self-soothing techniques. I like to call it therapy for the bourgeoisie (emotional college girls).
1. Go to your local thrift store. buy a “Bill Cosby” sweater two sizes too big for a dollar or two. Wear said sweater with some shorts and tights, and look super hip while also feeling suuuper skinny in your giant sweater!
2. Do as Michelle did in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and stick your tongue out at young children.
3. Drink a Four Loko. The yellow kind, not the blue kind, you classless monster.
4. Go a step further and treat yourself to a box of wine (if you’re of age)… you deserve it!
5. If you’re single, go to your local bookstore, coffee shop, Whole Foods, bar, 7-11 (depending on your taste),whatever and stare at attractive boys/men/women. If you have a significant other, make them reenact the, “drink your milkshake” scene from There Will Be Blood. This will either make you laugh or put you in a worse mood. This technique is tricky for sure.
6. Watch a Molly Ringwald/John Hughes flick, duh. Do I really need to tell you these things?!
7. Eat anything Italian. Carbohydrates are your friend.
8. Watch an entire Real Housewives marathon, preferably OC or NJ. That show will easily knock a few hours out of your day.
9. Sing along to Bikini Kill really, really loudly, in your underwear.
10. Whatever you do, do not, I repeat do not, go on Facebook, Twitter, or peep your high school yearbook.
“Even after all the love we made,
All the records we spun,
I was dying for more, just trying to fill up my lungs.
But I knew it right then, he would never love me back.
Still I told myself I’d never feel anything quite like that.”—
“It’s about me and Anna: The relationship was supposed to be light — we met on vacation — but we got further into it and it became harder and harder. It’s about all the things you go through trying to, sort of squash your feelings. To sort of shut it down. And how much you can hurt other people and yourself by doing that. The people in the song are just continuously telling themselves they don’t feel what they do feel, until the end when it’s too late, and then they realize what they were really, really not ready for was, you know, never being able to see each other again.”—Adam Duritz
Let her be bored. Let her have long afternoons with absolutely nothing to do. Limit her TV-watching time and her internet-playing time and take away her cell phone. Give her a whole summer of lazy mornings and dreamy afternoons. Make sure she has a library card and a comfy corner where she can curl up with a book.
Give her a notebook and five bucks so she can pick out a great pen. Insist she spend time with the family. It’s even better if this time is spent in another state, a cabin in the woods, a cottage on the lake, far from her friends and people her own age. Give her some tedious chores to do. Make her mow the lawn, do the dishes by hand, paint the garage. Make her go on long walks with you and tell her you just want to listen to the sounds of the neighborhood.
Let her be lonely. Let her believe that no one in the world truly understands her. Give her the freedom to fall in love with the wrong person, to lose her heart, to have it smashed and abused and broken. Occasionally be too busy to listen, be distracted by other things, have your nose in a great book, be gone with your own friends. Let her have secrets