*(July 23 to August 22)*
Happy birthday, Leo! As a gift, look up the *Billboard* top hits for every year you were in middle school. Even if you mostly preferred older music, or not-pop, there are going to be some favorites there. Select your favs and make a playlist, remembering how music once saved your ass. It still does. Listen to and from work.
*(August 23 to September 22)*
Being your own best friend is hard as shit, except for some people to whom it comes easy (if that’s you, then go ahead and ignore this month, because you’re doing better than I am). But to those for whom the jargon of self-love feels disgusting and impossible: What if you tried switching out what you are to yourself? I don’t know how to be my own mommy, but I’m maybe learning how to be my own daughter a little. Could you be your own crush? Your own patient?
*(September 23 to October 22)*
Save your imagination for your own life. If you’re trying hard to interpret what people are saying versus what you wish they were really saying, take them only at face value — not based on what you hope for. If you need more, I suggest a beautiful imaginary friend.
*(October 23 to November 21)*
If you always masturbate to the same thing, then try masturbating to something different this month. If you always masturbate to a new thing every time, then try keeping the same fantasy in rotation for more than a few sessions. If you don’t masturbate at all, I encourage you to start. If you feel like masturbation is the only pleasure you have in life, maybe try taking 30 days off as an experiment … or three.
*(November 22 to December 21)*
Directions: Apply a small amount of meditation upon waking, prior to going online, and gently massage into soul. Focus on third-eye area, avoiding the immediate return to reality. Repeat daily for one week.
*(December 22 to January 19)*
Players do not only love you when they’re playing, they also love you when you have finally set a boundary that they fear is impenetrable and they are trying to get back in. Be aware of that this month with anyone from your past or present with whom you have chosen to have little or no contact. They haven’t really changed.
*(January 20 to February 18)*
This month, don’t rely on anyone else’s stash. You have to rely on your own shit. If your shit seems shitty or subpar, remember that half of what’s delicious in America is advertising and marketing anyway. Lie to yourself. Tell yourself you would never want anyone else’s shit in place of your own. Do it until you believe it. You’re already lying to yourself anyway by telling yourself that anyone else’s shit is actually better.
*(February 19 to March 20)*
The bad news is that everyone is mostly thinking about themselves. The great news is that everyone is mostly thinking about themselves! This means you are free to live in the world without trying to control what others think of you, because even if they are judging you, it’s likely based on something that has to do more with them than you. Also, it’s literally impossible to control what everyone thinks of you. This is more great news for your freedom.
*(March 21 to April 19)*
The thing about your heroes is that if you meet them in real life, you may not even really like them. I mean, you might, but I’m sure they have some annoying qualities, like being self-righteous or closed-minded to certain ideas or expecting you to text back right away whenever they text. The nice thing about this is it means we are all human and basically anyone you see walking around in front of you on the street is not that far removed from your heroes.
*(April 20 to May 20)*
Do you know how cacti stay alive? I don’t, but I think we both should learn, because cacti, it seems, are great at getting their needs met on very little resources. Also, they appear to have very strong boundaries, given those spikes, which might also have something to do with how well they are able to flourish in tough conditions.
*(May 21 to June 20)*
This month, don’t try to get away with anything. Don’t park in any tow-away zones. Don’t steal sugars from Starbucks. Don’t lie to your friends. Don’t pretend you like anything you hate. I’m not saying this because the stars are setting out to punish you or get you caught. I’m saying it because it’s always an interesting experiment to see what we get when we don’t fake anyone out.
*(June 21 to July 22)*
This is a reminder that the elements of yourself you are most afraid to reveal — that you fear would make you unseemly — might actually be the most lovable things about you. Think of people you love. It’s not the “perfect” ones you’re into but the ones whose cracks allow the mess to seep out. No one wants to make out with a castle wall.
*Melissa Broder is the author of four collections of poems, including* Last Sext *(Tin House 2016), as well as* So Sad Today, *a book of essays from Grand Central.*