— A washing machine that flips all my kids’ inside-out clothes the right way

— Kitchen cabinet doors that quietly swing shut on their own after sensing that they’ve been left open for more than a minute

— A Facebook algorithm that can detect whether I’ve already seen That One Article Everyone Keeps Sharing and spares me from the follow-up backlash thinkpiece titled “A Keyword-Heavy Rebuttal from Someone Angling for the Gold in the More Woke Than You Olympics ”

— A workout video in which the instructor complains and swears the entire time

— Drone-powered giant foam index fingers that fly in and press firmly against the lips of any clerk who doesn’t take “no thanks” for an answer when it comes to those fucking loyalty cards

— An avocado ripeness notification app

Total Recall-style nail polish

— A toilet seat that delivers a long-distance harmless but decidedly uncomfortable electric shock when it receives excessive amounts of moisture

— Sharpies with child-proof locks on the caps

— Bags of cherries that come with a pop-up warning after you’ve eaten more than a handful: Are you sure you wish to continue? Y/N

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Last year I fell during an obstacle race and I ended up with a fractured tibia. For a while afterwards I hobbled around in a complicated brace that protected the injured part of my leg and I longed for something similar that I could velcro-strap on my insides, which were, frankly, falling apart. A cracked bone was nothing, just the cherry on the giant emotional shit sundae of early 2016. My life was crumbling and I could not keep it to myself: I had to talk about the pain or the pain would eat me alive.

So I wrote about what I was going through. I wrote publicly. I told my truth as best I could but the story was messy and revealing and I regret sharing it the way I did.

I can tell you from experience there are lots of reactions you’ll get if you decide to expose your yeesh-laden personal train wreck to the world. There will be kindness, support, and empathy. There will be people who tell you they don’t approve of the way you’re behaving. There will be people who tell you they don’t know what to say but you’re worrying them. There will be silent staring bystanders and you’ll probably never know what they were thinking. There will be people who sever ties. There will be carrion birds.

My life looks nothing like it did, for which I am deeply grateful. But sometimes things don’t heal perfectly. My knee isn’t like it was. My heart isn’t like it was. If I had social anxiety before, I have something different now, something that grips me like a vise. Just like that internal brace I once wished for.

I don’t reach out to people now. I did not try and repair those lost relationships, except for the one that was most important. On the rare occasion someone tries to connect with me, I shut them out. Aside from long-distance emails and calls, I don’t have friends. My family lives 339.4 miles away from me.

There are two stories I tell myself about this. One: I’m doing okay. I love my kids and my husband and I am an introvert who genuinely enjoys alone time. I have a new volunteer position that will involve plenty of human interaction and I have lots of things that keep me busy.

Two: I’m lonely. I’m lonely, I’m lonely, I’m lonely.

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