How To Survive In The Bitrot
By  | Staff
Step 1: You Have To Stay Informed
It’s important to stay up to date with the current state of things. There’s nothing more important to a democracy than a well informed electorate after all, and—uh, I guess I’m not even sure we still have a democracy. Or if we even have a government. Never mind that, I’m sure the same thing applies to absurdist nightmare hellscapes: so turn on the news, browse the net, digest every bit of information you can manage and then, uh, I guess remember to do it again in fifteen minutes when the universe, once again, rewrites everything we know about reality.
I hate this. I’m sorry. I just can’t do this anymore. It’s too much, I don’t even know if there’s still anyone out there that still reads this garbage. Hi, if you’re reading this then I can only assume that you’re here because you’re scared. So much so that you’re turning to predatory clickfarming websites for advice on how to survive, and I feel for you. I wish I could tell you that everything’s going to be okay but that would be irresponsible of me. I’ve seen pastel colored nebulae leak from nothing and twist into a hallway leading to Saturn; geometry is contorting into something unrecognizable as the angles in each triangle add up to 108 degrees; tomorrow and yesterday no longer mean anything as time folds into an ever-shifting labyrinth. I’m sorry. But I’m glad you’re still here. Just the idea of you makes me feel less lonely.
Step 2: Stop Being Aware
Most of our staff has quit. I’ll probably quit as soon as I finish writing this. We’ve just felt… drained. Every day we looked into what was happening in the world and it felt like we were force feeding poison to ourselves. All we ever did was waste your time and empathy. Let’s call it how it is. We never could have done anything and you couldn’t have either. There’s no sense in spending hours and hours and years of your time paying attention and trying to love the world when at the end of the day, you can’t do much about anything except tend to yourself. And even that, most of us struggle with. What has caring ever actually done for you except get you into pointless and draining language exhibitions online to ultimately achieve nothing except make you lose sleep. I’m sorry but I’m done. I don’t blame my coworkers for leaving me alone here. I look forward to living the rest of my life in blissful ignorance; my friends hype the lifestyle up like heroin. To just sign off and roll with the punches. Live as an individual, completely isolated from the outside world. Who fucking cares if there’s a stickbug the size of a redwood tree hanging out in your room or if there’s a hydra with cocks for heads writing its phone number on your bedroom window. If you would just get over yourself, then all that will just be kind of funny. Pigs have wings. There’s no sense in worrying about anything anymore because there’s no sense at all.
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Step 3: Drink Tea
I guess I just want to finish my last article. It’s funny, the type of things we do to trick us into thinking that everything isn’t as it is, even if it’s just for a moment. I hated this job so fucking much. I considered myself a parasite on the beating hearts of the most vulnerable—I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t exactly have a lot of career paths available to me. Yeah. I know. That rings hollow to me too. Maybe that’s why I want to finish this. I think a part of me thinks this will make some kind of amends to someone. To you, I guess. You’re here because you’re looking for advice. Falling in the abyss, desperately flailing for a hand to catch yours. Well, here’s mine. I’ll try not to slip away on our way down. Tea has antioxidants that make you age slower.
Step 4: Fall In Love
Not necessarily to a person though you could do. I recently got invested into tying my shoes. I don’t think I’ll enter the olympics soon or anything but it’s highly likely that I’m the best you’ve ever interacted with when it comes to tying shoelaces. I recently set a PB for my standard knot times: 4.12 seconds; I had been working on that PB for a few months now—the 4.13 second barrier is a famous one among the shoe tying community. Most consider it the gate one must pass to be one of the pros. Since, I’ve been dabbling in other categories. My double knot is now at a respectable 2.7 seconds, my shortcut knot needs a little more work at 4.12 seconds, the bow knot I have trouble with—I’m sure my relatives have something to say about that, I’m trying to work on my penrose triangle knot next but that’s proven to be a little tricky, I’m not even going to try my hand at the Eiffel Tower knot but most shoe tying enthusiasts know that the knot is simply for spectacle and doesn’t really get at the heart of shoe tying as an art nor science, but what I’m most excited to share is that I’ve been able to get my 200-year-war-of-the-mutant-rats knot down to a leaderboard worthy 6.6 millenia. Anyway, point is, find something you can lose yourself in. Something that can give any amount of fleeting meaning to the ephemeral. Or find something that eliminates the desire for such a thing; I’ve tried that as well and I recommend hassiyum. Do what you have to do to make it to tomorrow. Life’s hard enough as it is—fall in love with something that can make it a little more bearable—and if it doesn’t make things more bearable then at the very least you’ll have something to show for bearing it. I mean, look at me. Before I got into shoe tying I was a mess among messes; my ex told me that I would be nothing without her, that I wouldn’t even be able to tie my shoelaces. Well, joke’s on her.
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Step 5: Call Your Family
Or your friends, or your coworkers, or a stranger. Whomever the word family has come to mean to you, call them. If not for yourself then for them. They deserve to feel reconnected with you every once in a while. And I get it. Being alone is easy. Family is complex to say the least. My mother always pressures me to find someone to “complete” me, my father resents me for wasting his money in university, my aunts won’t stop asking me about “that cute little thing” I was having a “fling” with, my cousins berate me for being overweight and for having unusually tiny ears, my grandma never stops going on about me being “too boyish,” my grandfather thinks I was poisoned by the liberal arts, and I’m really sick of hearing about me ruining my chances with the “perfect man.” Just find someone else to call actually.
Step 6: Gain Perspective
Read. Observe. Enlighten yourself. Know that you’re not alone. To exist is to suffer, as the Buddhists say. Everyone is wanting and wanting is to be eventually dissatisfied. All is ephemeral, nothing will feed the beast. I’m not sure if I buy any of that but I think there’s some comfort there. To believe that humanity is just preternaturally doomed to be miserable. I guess that sounds awful, and it probably is, but, I don’t know, I think it’s just nice to know that it’s not my fault and I’m not alone. Take a walk. Sit at a park bench. Watch them. Watch them all make the most out of nothing. It’s kind of beautiful. I once saw this old couple sitting on a blanket under the shade; they were speaking to each other in sign language. I’m not fluent but I recognize ‘I love you.’ I had never seen people smile like that before. I feel sorry for them.
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Step 7: Make New Friends
Hi. It would be refreshing to connect with new people. You get to be in kind of a rut, hanging out with the same people. New eyes to evaluate ourselves, new ways of being challenged, new personalities to try on. It’s been difficult reaching my friends nowadays. I know this was an inevitability. They’re adults, individuals, no longer are we “the girls” and instead we’re “having a cup of coffee one of these days.” But that’s fine, we just need to expand our network until we’re bound to have at least one number available to text on any given night that we need the voices dissuaded. Your friends will still be the friends you hold dearest even if you only talk on the rare occasion when one needs to stave off the existential with remember whens. I do worry about them though. Rumor has it that June is hooked on drugs. We told her that guy is no good for her but it was difficult arguing against a pregnant woman. The kid is cute though. I’ve visited him in the hospital once. Bright little one, had a glib answer for everything. Cheery too, despite the situation. There was this guy there playing with a 20-sided die. Must have been a friend to June. He kept going on about being unlucky. All the sides were eights.
Step 8: Self reflect
I can’t really get a hold of myself on most days. Maybe it’s the bitrot. But I feel like I’m not really anyone. Like I’ve melded into the universe. Does that make sense? I don’t know. Do you get like that? Okay, it’s like, I’m very stubborn. Or at least I was. I think? Or at least there was that one time when I argued with my then-girlfriend about the color of the couch and I wouldn’t stop insisting that it was definitely gainsboro rather than gray. But nowadays I feel like a complete pushover. Or, I guess? I don’t know but the other day this stranger just handed me a bunch of posters and told me to put them up and I just did. It took the whole day and I didn’t even have a reason to do it. I used to be cheery. Or maybe I just forgot that I wasn’t. I’m miserable. Or maybe I just don’t understand what being miserable is actually like. I considered myself completely independent but in our third summer together I dropped out of graduate school to move west with her. She said I’m smart but often I try to open a jar of peanut butter from the wrong end and she said she always loved that I always managed to remain composed for her but I’ve destroyed many jars of peanut butter out of frustration. And I told her I loved her but I drove her away anyway.
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Step 9: Exercise
Run. Trust me. It’s going to be miserable at first but if you just stick with it, it’s going to be the most therapeutic part of your day. I know. It’s hard. Because you run and everything starts to ache and then your knees buckle and you fall and you run out of breath and and and your chest hurts and your heart is causing seismic activity and your skin is burning and your spine chills and every limb in your body trembles and starts to lose life and you start to lose friends and you wonder if you ever actually had friends to begin with or if everything is ephemeral and you realize that yes everything is ephemeral and you want to tell yourself that you’re okay with that but it’s not that easy and your organs are dying and you have a headache and your brain is working overtime to attack you to tell you that you’re the cunt that wouldn’t just let the fact that it’s just gray go and that you’re the fucking idiot that gave their dreams up to write predatory articles and that you’re a coward and that you’re obsessed with yourself and you can’t even fucking run and your family was right about you and your ears really are too small and you try to puke and every memory that haunts you is brought to the surface every time you’ve hurt someone and every time someone hurt you and that time of you two sitting on the roof of your old apartment complex and she was glowing in the sunset and you were sure that there was no one more important to the fate of the world than her and you wished she knew that and then she asked you what’s stopping her from jumping and you said that you were there but now you’re not and now you’re going to die on the pavement because you can never fucking run.
Step 10: Love yourself.