Shh, secret playlists for food poisoning

Graphic by Natalie Bauer

Tonight I put on a sad song and give myself to it.

It is Saturday and I am wearing a food-poisoning-induced existential crisis. There’s something about vomiting that I think both metaphorically and literally brings up everything toxic. Which is how I am justifying why I find myself lying here, the first semester of college winding down to its natural conclusion, questioning everything.

My friends: How preposterous is it that they’d rather watch a movie than sit with me between my cold sweats and hot flashes? (I write in a mostly sarcastic tone.)  

My school work: How has my life turned itself into a directionless tangent? I mean, I’ve spent four whole months in this institution. Shouldn’t I know exactly where I am meant to be in five to 10 years? Taking three English classes and a media studies course next semester certainly won’t get me in to medical school. Not that I even want to be a doctor, just that my options suddenly feel limited and suffocating and my heart feels like it’s beating out of my chest.

Is this a panic attack? Nope. It’s indigestion.

The lull of the sad song meets me where I am and tells me to stay complacent. You are all alone, it whispers, unloved, by yourself. The nausea is all-encompassing. A tear rolls down my cheek. I know the answer to my predicament. Usually, I wouldn’t tell you this — seriously, this is a secret that I planned to take with me to my grave.

Admitting this dreadful secret could put my entire reputation (of the cool angsty girl who listens to Phoebe Bridgers and doesn’t smoke cigarettes but, like, possibly could) at risk.  

But I’ve decided that tonight will be the night I admit it. The secret to my sanity on a sad night is blasting “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers. And sometimes, when I am stressed, I will also put on “Drops of Jupiter” by Train — I know the lyrics make no sense (“she acts like summer and walks like rain,” what?), but on the worst nights when misery is my best friend and loneliness surrounds me, I need Harry Styles to tell me it’s okay to cry … because crying, as Styles would put it, is the “Sign of the Times.”

Bad pop songs by artists who are relatively hot are the cornerstone to my mental sanity (I mean, along with therapy). And as I sit here, throwing up, I have decided to liberate myself. In my darkness, boy bands save me. I will no longer sit in shame with this secret.

If this gets my music columnist card revoked, so be it.

Anna Koppelman is a first-year at Pitzer. You can either find her reading poetry, hanging out with friends, or ranting about how long it’s taken for Vampire Weekend to release a new album.

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