(November 22 to December 21)
Sometimes we confuse superficiality and depth, because fleeting things can feel good, passionate, and sparkly, so we mistake the strong sensations for profundity. Just remember that whatever we derive power from also has power over us. How will you feel when that fleeting thing changes or disappears and you can't get off on it anymore? If you say "OK" and mean it, you might be evolved as fuck. If you say "A mess," then you're just like the rest of us. Welcome to humanity.
(December 22 to January 19)
When our minds spiral down the rabbit hole of fear, we completely forget that we have a choice in the matter. We can't always control that first negative thought, but we can start to get better at saying "Shut up" to the thought that follows it. Remember that the mind doesn't know everything. The more it tries to convince you it does, the further away it is from the truth.
(January 20 to February 18)
Your desire to be free can hurt sometimes, because it isn't easy in this world, in a human body, in this society, to be truly free. Perhaps you can start to see the things that bind you as creative constraints — a springboard for alternative ideas of how to live that you may not have thought of otherwise. If you had full freedom, no limits, you might not even know what to do with it anyway.
(February 19 to March 20)
How do you live on the planet? Remember that it's confusing for everyone, and the answer you seek — the solution for life — is not going to be found in permanent absolutes. It's learned instead through rolling changes, gradations of time, and in retrospect. This doesn't feel as comfy as knowing exactly what the future will hold (as if we possibly could, anyway), but past experience tells us we will survive both the present and the future.
(March 21 to April 19)
Well, you haven't exactly been leaving room for the mystery, but it's cool. Just remember, if at any point during your white-knuckling, jockeying, mapping, scheming, directing, and/or orchestrating you start to get a little sick of what you are trying to control, you can always say "Fuck it," and the mystery will come flooding in — not necessarily to save the day, as you wish the day to go, but to help you care a little less about the outcome you think you want.
(April 20 to May 20)
People are going to try to compartmentalize you and sum you up as one thing or another, and that's alright. It's what the human mind does: tries to make sense of the world around us by breaking it down into smaller chunks of information and preexisting schemas with which it's already familiar. You don't even have to correct reductive people. Even if they never figure you out, just keep containing your multitudes.
(May 21 to June 20)
You are most at home being in control. You are second most at home being like "Fuck it all." But the gray area, the suspended experience of not knowing or loosening your grip just a touch, is the scariest for you. It's scary, because to let go just a little means you have to relinquish an outcome in which you are still invested. This month, don't hold on to all your shit too tightly. Likewise, don't just throw it all in the trash. Instead, just walk with your shit, knowing that some of it is yours and some of it doesn't belong to you, but you've been entrusted to carry it — gently.
(June 21 to July 22)
This month, I want you to set out to be rejected. Make being rejected your aim. Every time you get rejected on a large, small, or only-noticeable-to-you level, I want you to say "This is the best shit that has ever happened to me." In this way, consider that rejection is the universe's protection and that what we think we want never looks or feels the way we think it will.
(July 23 to August 22)
Girl, do you even have a mantra? Not to get totally woo-woo, but everybody needs a mantra. Some people pay a lot of money for their mantras. They seek expensive mantras or a sacred mantra or a mantra belonging to another culture, wherein they don't know the language but it feels potent. I say it doesn't even matter what your mantra is. I say use nonsense or lyrics to your favorite song. Sing the nonsense or lyrics to the tune of another favorite song. Sing it inside yourself and see how much clearer your existence becomes.
(August 23 to September 22)
I know why you are hard on yourself. You are hard on yourself because it creates a sense of purpose and meaning to always be striving, altering, fixing. The world is in many ways without boundaries. You beat yourself up so as to create an arbitrary boundary: a box in which to live. It's a form of control. It serves you (or you think it serves you), so I'm not going to tell you to stop. But if you ever get tired or bored of the behavior, at least you'll know why it's been hard to give up.
(September 23 to October 22)
Fantasy can save our lives, and you know this better than anyone. But you also feel fear around your fantasy and dreaming, because you don't trust yourself not to make a mess. This month, allow yourself all of your fantasies: sexual, romantic, career, creative. You don't need to shame yourself or worry that you're going to act on all of them. Repeat after me: this month, just this month, the filthier, the crazier, the farther-fetched the better.
(October 23 to November 21)
Acceptance doesn't mean you have to like something. You feel totally shitty in a situation and still accept it. To accept it is to simply acknowledge that it's going on and then to say to yourself, "OK, this is going on and is going to continue going on. But is there anything I can do to feel better in this shitty sitch? Is there anything I need that I can give myself?" Remember, you can start a day over at any time — if not physically, then in your mind and spirit.
Melissa Broder is the author of four collections of poems, including the forthcoming Last Sext (Tin House 2016), as well as So Sad Today, a book of essays out in March from Grand Central.