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Masterpost 03: Everything You Need to Know about Self-Care

{ MASTERPOST } Everything You Need to Know about Self-Care

Self-care! It’s not just for rich white ladies with 100,000 Instagram followers!

Self-care is for you.

Yes you. As hard as it may be to believe when you’re at your worst and feeling low, you deserve a little care and maintenance now and again.

And we want you to have it. So here it is, children: the complete works of the Bitches on self-care, personal betterment, and making your life happier, healthier, and wealthier.

You’ve earned it.

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Auditing taxpayers is a "dying tradition."

My Taxes Are a Little, uh, Creative. What’s My Risk of Being Audited?

Enough time has probably passed for me to admit to playing fast and loose with the truth in some very old tax returns. But let’s drape this whole conversation in a veil of hypotheticality to preserve our modesty.

THIS ARTICLE DEALS IN HYPOTHETICALS, I SAY!

MY FAN FICTION NOVEL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ONE DIRECTION, I SAY! NOTHING!

As all liars will tell you when caught, I (hypothetically) had great reasons for lying. I was (hypothetically) a new graduate during the worst part of the Great Recession, cobbling together freelance jobs to afford a gruel made of boxed mac and cheese thinned with water and Goya packets. I was (hypothetically) hanging onto adult independence by my fingernails. And my fingernails were notoriously hypothetically thin and weak from my high-sodium gruel diet!

This was pretty much how my first tax return after college went…

KITTY:
I made $18,000 last year.

IRS:
Awesome, give us $3,000 of it.

KITTY:
That can’t be right.

IRS:
It is.

KITTY:
Wh— Bu— I live in one of the most expensive cities in America. I can barely pay rent and put food in my cupboards. The unemployment rate for young people is almost 20%, for fuck’s sake! Surely you wouldn’t charge a flat tax rate on someone so desperate?

IRS:
We totally would.

KITTY:
Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak.
Lay open to my earthly gross conceit,
smothered in errors, feeble, shallow, weak,
the folded meaning of your words’ deceit.
Against my soul’s pure truth why labour you
to make it wander in an unknown field?
Are you a god? Would you create me now?
Transform me, then, and to your power I’ll yield.
But if I am that I am, then well I know
I do not have three thousand dollars, bro,
Nor to your purse no homage do I owe.

IRS:
Ma’am, will that be check or money order?

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EAT UR DAMN PILLS BITCH!

Ask the Bitches: Ugh, How Do I Build the Habit of Taking Meds?

Hey Bitches, Patreon supporter here! Friday I had my very first physical, which was covered by my insurance. I told my new doctor about starting back up on antidepressants to save me a visit/copay. He gave me a script based on the ones I tried before, plus Zoloft has been around long enough it’s super cheap instead of the couple hundred/month my last one was to start. The doc also agreed gardening would help with the depression. Any produce growing tips or motivation to make sure I actually stick to my meds this time instead of ditching after a few weeks?

Welcome, beautiful and vibrant Patreon donor! Congratulations on wisely using the low- and no-cost preventative healthcare insurance affords you. And thank you for this extremely relatable question!

Before I get too deep into this, I want to remind y’all that I am not a medical professional of any kind. I’m not even a financial professional. No—I am a self-important PowerPoint jockey who came this close to opening this site under a .net address! If you’re torn between listening to yourself, listening to your doctor, and listening to a random bossy Internet nobody, choose the bossy Internet nobody last, okay?

I’ve never personally been on antidepressants. So my direct experience here is somewhat limited. (Any depressive periods I’ve had in the past have been solved by irresponsibly ignoring the problem while feverishly spending all of my spoons trying to convince the people around me that everything is juuuuuust fine until suddenly, one day, it is. Don’t be like me. I’m trying to change.)

HOWEVER! I certainly know the joys of going on and coming off of meds.

O! The joie of hormonal fluctuations!

For various reasons not related to the desire to become pregnant, I’ve been on and off of birth control pills over the past few years. And lord, what a trip that has been.

Birth control is pretty damn weird. It’s a well-established drug. Millions of people take it. It’s not thought of as particularly volatile or significantly mood-altering. Some people feel no side effects at all. And yet… let’s go to the tape.

Kitty’s thoughts restarting birth control:

    • “Thank goodness for the overwhelming feeling that my body is hideous and disgusting—this sudden wave of self hatred is the helpful alarm clock announcing my period is starting soon!”
    • “Gosh, I can’t believe that guy cut me off in traffic! I’m gonna find out where his ancestors are buried, dig them up, and pose them humping each other on his front lawn.”
    • “Whither my dear friend Jawline Acne? O’er the purple moors? Beyond the mountain made of glass?”
    • “Now seems like a fine time to lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling until I muster the strength to attempt the impossible: move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.”
    • “Google, is this amount of period blood a ‘go to the ER’ sitch or…?”

Kitty’s thoughts coming down off of birth control:

    • “If somebody doesn’t bring me the puffy kind of Cheetos within the next nine minutes, the precious life my confused body is convinced I’m nurturing will NEVER GET INTO HARVARD.”
    • “I am actually kind of sure that if I concentrated hard enough, I could just Code Geass people.”
    • “I can’t believe how attractive I am. Oops, lil’ blood on the pillow from that painfully massive zit rupturing in the night. Anyway, regarding my undeniable sexiness, which rages around all of us like a wildfire—”
    • “I should probably sign up for skydiving now. Like, RIGHT now.”
    • “Google, can I get so horny I die?”

Blister packs giving me blisters, hack. (Waht.)

… So, letter writer, I feel you. I know exactly why someone would really want to start, but also really want to stop taking medication.

I’m going to assume that anyone who wants to start or stop a medication has thoroughly weighed their options, considered their best interests, and gotten their doctor’s blessing. I know that the awesome members of Bitch Nation will join me in this assumption! And none of you will leave judgmental, concern-troll-y comments about people’s medical shit.

So here are some strategies for sticking with any kinda meds!

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"Ugh, really? Shall I deposit this check before or after I churn the day's butter?"

How Do You Write and Cash Checks? Asking for a Friend.

I grew up in an era where checks were a completely normal and necessary part of everyday life. I wrote and cashed them frequently when I was a little kid—especially around Girl Scout Cookie season, trying to square the orders of all my neighbors.

Because yes, I used to sell Girl Scout Cookies the old fashioned way. I’d leave my family home, on foot, in the dead of winter, to walk aimlessly around my neighborhood, alone and unsupervised, ringing random doorbells, initiating conversations with strangers, accepting their invitations to come inside. Might as well have been helping them move couches, and answering persistent questions about my dress size.

Now if I want my Thin Mint fix, I gotta go to the grocery store awning and talk to a bunch of moms because the eponymous Girls are sitting in the car because it’s too cold and they need to charge their phones. Oh the times, they are a’changing!

It says a lot about the pace of financial technology that now, checks have become a chore. When somebody hands me a paper check, I’m like, “Ugh, really? Shall I deposit this before or after I churn the day’s butter?” They’re dinosaurs barely holding on to relevance. Like Adam Sandler.

But they come up just enough that you need to know how they work.

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Another recession is coming.

Ask the Bitches: How Do I Prepare for a Recession?

We’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about a hypothetical looming recession. The stock market has taken a bruising; bellwether companies are stumbling. Do such omens and portents mean that another recession on its way?

The good news is, we can answer this one very easily.

Yes. Another recession is coming.

We know this with 100% certainty.

How?

The same way we know with 100% certainty that Piggy and I will be dead within the next hundred years. It is in the nature of a living being to die, just as it is in the nature of economies to grow and contract. The sun rises; the sun falls. The tides go in; the tides go out. It’s just the way things are.

Sounds kinda shitty, right? It’s possible that, someday far in the future, someone will devise some new system that will smooth out or even eliminate these cycles. Maybe the nature of goods and services will change so fundamentally that economies will transform in ways we can’t even imagine. But that’s Phillip K. Dick stuff—innovations that live so far in a hypothetical future that they’re still science fiction. You should plan to endure these market cycles throughout your lifetime.

And yes, there are lots of things you can do to make yourself more prepared. Let’s go through them.

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I wanted to feel like my very first vote mattered.

Don’t Boo, Vote: If You Don’t Vote, No One Can Hear You Scream

The first time I ever voted was in 2004. I had just turned 18 a few weeks before election day, and I was at least as excited to get a hall pass to go to the gym during my free period as I was to cast my ballot. (Welcome to Small Town America! All public elections and blood drives take place in the high school gymnasium.)

I skimmed through most of the ballot. Dafuq did I care who was town treasurer? Old Mr. Farwell had held that post for centuries. SKIP. And town selectmen? Why couldn’t we just have a fucking mayor like everyone else? SKIP. State Senator? SKIP. Representative? SKIP. SKIPPITY. SKIP.

I hopped right down to the main event: George W. Bush vs. John Kerry for President of the United States. I filled in the little bubble next to Kerry’s name.

We all know what happened next. And it’s why you’ll never take the tour of the Kerry Presidential Library in Aurora, Colorado.

I was pretty disgusted. It’s not that I was excited about voting another gray-faced old Lego man wearing a mop wig into office. But I wanted to win! I wanted to feel like my vote mattered. Instead I felt like I’d wasted my free period when I could’ve been bullying my future husband out of his lunch money to buy orange creamsicles from the vending machine.*

Needless to say, Old Mr. Farwell stayed town treasurer. And I completely missed the lesson to be learned from my first election.

Read on, and you won’t make the same mistake.

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If you own a bedazzled lace cashmere bra, wow, I wanna know you!

How the Hell Does One Laundry? Asking for a Friend.

Our sweet, sainted Patreon supporters have demanded a follow-up to our smash hit, How the Hell Does One Wash Dishes? Turns out, people really love embarrassing anecdotes from my childhood (kittenhood?).

Today, we’ll be tackling the second most annoying chore: doing the laundry. I understand that some parents still expect their children to do their own laundry, but they are rare. This is understandable given the surprisingly high stakes. Getting the laundry wrong can be a pretty bad situation, as we shall discuss below in moar embarrassing chores-gone-awry stories!

The result is a whole lot of young adults who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing in the laundry room. It’s okay, no judgements here. This article will give you the extremely zen vibe you need to succeed.

MY LIFE

Step One: Don’t buy pain-in-the-ass clothes

I’m not precious about my clothing. Some people are, and there is nothing wrong with that, because clothing can be a large investment and an important expression of personal identity. If you really love your clothing and want to nurture them right, follow a more detailed guide like this one instead. Luxey knows her craft and everyone should listen to her.

My personal philosophy, which many of you probably relate to, is that high-maintaince clothing is not worth it. No matter how much I love something, I won’t buy it if it must be washed by vestal virgins and rinsed in the tears of a mermaid by the light of a gibbous quarter-moon. If I wear it frequently, it has to be easy to care for.

Bottom line, your clothing should suit your lifestyle, not the other way around. I can’t be the only person who owned a few dry-clean only things, and never chose to wear them because it meant adding an extra chore to my schedule. Which is very busy. With important things. Like pretending to be a space marine in my video games. Plus dry cleaners charge women more for no reason. So now I just don’t get those things, and we all live happily ever after.

I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my least favorite Pink Tax on the Citadel!

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Doesn't it make sense to put DISH soap in the DISH washer?!

How the Hell Does One Wash Dishes? Asking for a Friend.

Seat yourselves around the campfire, children, and I’ll tell you a tale of some grade-A dumbass sitcom shit I did when I was your age.

I spent the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college in the same town where my father lived. He had just moved in with my soon-to-be stepmother, leaving his bachelor pad vacant. He agreed to let me live there rent-free while the place was on the market, but part of our agreement was that I had to keep the place spotlessly clean and ready to be shown at a moment’s notice. It was a sweet deal and I took it.

One day my father alerted me that a couple would be stopping by to see it that very afternoon. No problemo! I decided the first thing I needed to do was wash the dishes.

In the past, I’d always washed dishes by hand, because I only used a plate or two at a time. But I had a bunch of drinking glasses accumulated, and I wanted to go vacuum and do other things, so I decided to use the dishwasher. I loaded it up the same way I had seen my parents do it. Then I looked around for a place to put the soap, and saw a little pop-open divot labeled “soap.” Feeling self-reliant, I squirted about half of a cup of dish soap into the machine, turned the dial to “normal wash,” and pressed the start button.

… Did you catch that?

Yep, I just told you that I squirted dish soap into the dishwasher. Yeah, like Dawn or some shit. Some of you already know what this punch line is going to be!

MAH LIFE WIF DA BUBBLES

I went upstairs to make my bed and stash my small suitcase of belongings out of sight. When I came back downstairs ten minutes later, the entire first floor of the condominium had vanished. In its place was a sea of tiny, pearlescent soap bubbles. When I stepped into it, I disappeared up to my ankles. And god, the smell… the lemony fresh scent was like a brick wall where the bricks were also made of lemons.

Honestly, can you blame me? Doesn’t it make sense to put dish soap in the dish washer? I was nineteen years old and had never run a dishwasher in my life, which makes me sound awfully royal. To be fair to me, many adult responsibilities were foisted on me at a young age. But for whatever reason, this was one task my parents had always done for me. I’d loaded it, I’d unloaded it. But I’d never actually added the dishwasher liquid and run it.

Adults must use a vast set of skills to navigate their lives. Everybody has gaps in their learning. I don’t know a single adult who isn’t embarrassed over their inability to perform some “normal” menial task like driving, cooking, doing laundry, or filing taxes.

So today we’re kicking off a basic life skills category. If you missed this information at some point in your life, we’ll teach you how to do it with no shade and no shame. And if you already know all this stuff, who knows, your ass still might learn something! At the very least, you’ll be entertained by our adolescent failures.

On an unrelated note, I’ll also tell you how to get rid of five hundred square feet of bubbles in twenty minutes!

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If you're tired of paying taxes, you're shit out of luck.

Taxes: Your Annual Fee for Membership in Civilization

While I would never presume to contradict the inimitable Ron Swanson, he left out half the lesson. Sure, the guv’mint takes a percentage of your money in taxes. But it’s not all doom and gloom and stolen lunches! For as they say, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and those dastardly G-men actually give us a useful thing or two in exchange for our taxes.

So listen up, kids! Your days of hating taxes are about to come to… a middle!

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If it is also your goal to save money, eat well, and become my mother, then settle in.

How to Shop for Groceries like a Boss

It’s happened. That thing countless rom coms and heteronormative popcorn flicks from the 90s warned me about. The thing I swore at the tender age of sixteen would never, ever happen to me.

Dear readers, I have become… my mother.

My fate is sealed and I’ve got proof! At the grocery store, I haughtily wave my cloth bags at the bagger and proclaim, “I prefer to bag for myself.”

It’s not that I hate baggers and seek to force their entire profession out of employment. It’s just that they don’t do it right, with “right” defined as “according to my very particular and neurotic specifications.”

The one time I was in a hurry and neglected to bag for myself, I lost a bag to the straining weight of all the most heavy items on my grocery list. It burst right there on my front stoop, ripped apart by the carelessness of a bagger who clearly had not trained for extreme grocery bagging at the feet of the expert: my mother.

All of which is to say: I take every step of the grocery-shopping process extremely seriously. And if it is also your goal to save money, eat well, and become my mother, then settle in.

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