Looks like you opened the stages of grief expansion pack! You now have access to all of the extended add-ons during this emotional free fall.
While some people rush right through the stages to “get on with their life,” you’re Peter Jacksoning through the abyss, and you’ll get to progress, regress, and regress at your own pace. Don’t worry, this version still includes Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' five original stages—technically, there’s no way around them.
A time-tested classic. Harness your creative storytelling abilities by answering “How are you?” with a soft shrug and rising-inflected “I’m good!”
De-Nile Is a River in Egypt
You’re overcompensating with puns now.
In your 2 AM hunt for distraction, you stumble on a fun fact. Did you know that platypuses are blue and green under ultraviolet light? While you could keep the wonders of those beautiful beaked beavers to yourself, a microphone, headset, and loosely-outlined 50-minute monologue interrupted by a Blue Apron ad will call to you. You’ll feel foolish, nay, selfish, if this doesn’t reach a wider audience.
Behind a slow walker, you’ll reflexively Google, “Is ACME Anviling an actual thing?”
Remember when Marie Kondo taught us to appraise our objects and ask, “Does it spark joy?” Here’s a spin on that! You will hold your phone up and ask, “Does this remind me of the shrieking void?” If it does, it gets deleted! You’re unloading 50 GB of baggage: texts, group chats, nonconsensually curated photo slideshows. Who needs their most cursed “Memories” set to Hans Zimmer’s fragile sonic landscape, anyway?
An un-WebMD-able dermatological mystery. It will just show up one day. And it will leave when it’s ready.
Flashback time! You’ll replay every decision you’ve ever made up to this point. Hey, what if you had forwarded the “You’ve Been Hit By Sexy Truck” email to 8 close friends to avoid “10 Years of UN*SEXYNESS”?
Suddenly your closet is full of… hospital gowns and full clown regalia? These clothes used to be flattering, back in some glory day we’ll call 2015, but now they look astoundingly heinous, and everything is trash, and all textiles are going to microplastic up the ocean and hurt seals, so who the fuck are we kidding? (Reader, the clothes look the same.)
This is an acute bout of not exactly stupid, but stupid’s neighbor. It won’t be your fault. Your brain will be in spinning rainbow wheel mode. Names will be just on the tip of your tongue. Was the bald surly one David Larry or Barry Sanders? The world will whir by you like the muffled Wah-Wah of a Peanuts teacher.
The body’s attempt to purge all categorical sadness from you through one tiny, exhausted hole.
Loss of Taste (Dietary)
Congrats, you’ve reached a toddler milestone: Solid foods and complete dietary apathy! Meal prep now consists of Hot Pockets heated on the radiator, bell peppers torn (not cut) and folded into an unwarmed English muffin, and Pixy Stix before noon, traditionally consumed flat in bed. Loss of Taste will often follow or precede Shitquaking, depending on your life choices.
Loss of Taste (Derogatory)
“Siri, play ‘Sweet Child O’Mine.'”
An extremely normal connection to an inspirational quote that emerged from the Instagram algorithm to perfectly summarize your complex emotional moment. You’ll feel seen by the potent, no-holds-barred message, the curving bridesmaid-y font, the satisfying kerning that leaves enough space for your feelings. You could kiss that graphic designer on the lips. Maybe it’s not your style to share, really—but think of the lives you’ll touch. What you could signal to a public otherwise ignorant to your outrageously unknowable inner world! You’ll be no match for its gravity. Add to story!
Nobody replied to that life-changing quote. Shit, is this you now? It’s only been 3 hours and 42 minutes! Back to the Deletion stage!
The compulsion to tell every stranger in earshot your life story. Maybe they just looked up because you offered them a light snack and then psychologically profiled their footwear. But maybe just maybe, they’re genuinely interested to learn about your mom’s discipline style and how it has impacted your approach to relationships right up until this very moment, when you found your amazing new friend, here on this bench.
You will still have pain, but you actually did read that viral article everybody is talking about.
Not unlike the acceptance stage in which you’ve acknowledged the permanent reality of your loss, this final stage will be all that growth PLUS a cool new haircut. Maybe you won’t be ready for that new partner, pet, career, or home, but you are ready for significance. You are ready for bangs.