How to Suffer Publicly

by Juli Freedman

Bad Habits editor


art by Eva Sturm-Gross


[originally published winter 2022]


 

Now you may look at me and think “wow this girl looks like she doesn’t suffer” or “I bet she suffers sooo privately.” But no you got the wrong girl and you better not judge her by her cover like you would a book you know they say. I suffer. I suffer a lot. I stub a toe. And I.

The secret to suffering is to do it so publicly that people will start to think you are being funny and they will pay attention to you. Because as they have been known to say, suffering is a team sport. So in order to win the most points, you may have to go some great lengths.

Sit in a kiddie pool of your own tears. And the real kicker with this is the smaller the kiddie pool is the more it makes you look like an adult. A miserable pathetic adult in a little kiddie pool, with some floaties.


Go to a climate change demonstration. The trick is that you think about what worthless worry is causing you pain but then you say “Oh damn it’s just so fucked up the sun is gonna kill all those polar bears.” Some would say it’s too perfect.


Get a tattoo. On the topic of how to cover up tears of suffering with tears of pain, get a permanent piece of “artwork” on your really weird body! You can cry cry cry while the needle hits your flesh and then when it’s all over you can have the tattoo be a reminder of this particular era of suffering before you move onto a new era.


Ask to be bullied. Do bad things. Be a total douche. Be just blatantly unethical. And when someone asks you to stop, which yes is called bullying, you can have a total public suffering moment. They will think you are suffering from shame, but you know that while this new attitude can change, there are deep evils within you that will never go away.


Tell literally everyone. Your besties, your cousins, your mailman, your ex-boyfriend's mom that you are really attached to in a not weird way, your poetry class, your person that is causing you suffering, your little village pickpocketer that’s just so cute, your famous monuments across the 50 states, literally anyone. (Anyone but a professional— Ew!) But just know that they all think you’re a burden and super fucking annoying and they will talk shit about you behind your back.

And then go home and sit still on the bed like the toys from toy story and have no thoughts because that's what I do in private.