Cassandra de Alba
Instructions on how to be sad
Make sure you are perfectly alone. Other people may try to tempt sadness away from you, and you cannot let them. Close the curtains; ignore the bright jeer of the sun, its stupid insistence on clarity. Allow your body to form the smallest shape it knows. Breathe from the bottom of your lungs.
If you are crying, it is advisable to time your inhalations with your sobs. Do not, at this early juncture, attempt to stop crying. It will not work, and a finite number of attempts are possible before the crying becomes a lifelong affliction, something people seated next to you on trains will treat like a bad smell or a skin rash.
Avoid making sudden movements. Sadness is easy to startle, but difficult to shake, and will creep along behind you for miles like a kicked stray, worm its way into business meetings or formal dinners to beg for scraps. Better to give it what it wants now, in the quiet dark.
If you are resentful, if you are still trying to hide sadness from yourself in the spaces between organs: you are a fool. Begin again.
Cassandra de Alba lives in Somerville, MA with two roommates and a cat named Roger Mindfucker. She studied poetry and history at Hampshire College (talk to her about the American sideshow c. 1840-1940!) and has competed in several National Poetry Slams (NorthBEAST!). She's read poetry on stage in at least 12 different states, wishes on every shooting star for another season of Rock of Love, and once sold a scone to Kevin Bacon.