10 Steps to Making a PB&J While Having an Emotional Breakdown

by Bethany Daigle
Bethany Daigle

WARNING: This recipe was produced in a space that is cross-contaminated with sarcasm, emotional deprecation, embarrassing realism, and peanuts.

Step 1: Before you start, you have to be in the right state of mind. When I say the right state of mind, I mean about ready to drop out of school because you are a failure and have no idea what to do with your life. Feeling useless would be recommended. This step should be simple. Here are some things to help you get there:

  • You could be breaking down about something meaningless. Perhaps Netflix took off a show you were trying to finish, and you need to know if Julia and Joel make it or not.
  • You could be breaking down because you haven’t slept in four days and have inhaled, not swallowed, but inhaled 18 shots of espresso.
  • You could be breaking down about that fight that you had with one of you’re old roommates over a year ago.
  • You could also start having an emotional breakdown because you used the wrong version of “you’re” in the last line.

Step 2: Now that you are breaking down emotionally, it is time to make your way downstairs to the kitchen to make the peanut butter and jelly. But you struggle to get out of bed.

You ask yourself why make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the first place. Why not just go to Taco Bell and get your standard glutinous order? Couldn’t making this peanut butter and jelly break you down completely? If you’re anything like me, you have no money for Taco Bell because you blew all your money on books that you tell yourself that you are going to read right away, but they will just go on the shelf with the rest of the books you haven’t read yet, such as:

  • Adulting: How to Become a Grownup in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown (which you desperately need to read)
  • Is it Just Me? Or is it Nuts Out There? by Whoopi Goldberg
  • Don’t get me wrong, the book that Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness wrote will have a sliver of hope sitting in your bookbag for now, but it will sit there while you wallow in self-pity and watch Parks and Recreation for at least the twentieth time. Now, you really are in the right state of mind.

Step 3: You actually get out of bed — Scratch that. You practically fall out of bed because moving your legs seems pointless even though it was more effort to get off the floor. You stumble down the stairs into the kitchen, not really ready, but ready enough to make a peanut butter and jelly, because let’s be honest here, this meal is just short of being the easiest thing you could do besides stick some ramen in the microwave.

Step 4: Get out the bread that you bought that sat in the refrigerator for six weeks. With no mold to be seen, you’re ready to move on.

By this point, your mother calls to ask what you’re doing with your life. You don’t have an answer. You almost asked her what she’s doing with hers. You cry instead. She asks if it is “your time of the month.” You tell her that is rude to assume, especially as another woman. Your mother tells you to go to the doctor to get your anxiety medication fixed. You almost tell her that maybe smoking cannabis is a better alternative to chemical balancing addictive drugs. All you mutter is, “I guess.”

Step 5: Add peanut butter. You don’t have any. You are in no position to leave your house after crying at least twice now, so you are going to use one of your roommates’ options. When I say roommates, of course, I mean brothers because you live with your brothers in your childhood home because you can’t afford to live anywhere else in this damn city, multiple roommates or not.

Oh! The peanut butter. Jeffrey has creamy Jif peanut butter that has enough out of it that he probably wouldn’t notice if you took some. Zachary has crunchy peanut butter that—nope. It’s crunchy. Stop there.

Step 6: Add jelly. Your fancy raspberry preserves are upstairs, and there is too great a chance that you will crawl back into bed and cry, but you have things to put off doing today, so you return to the refrigerator. You realize you could have grabbed both peanut butter and jelly at the same step, but that makes too much sense.

There is a strawberry jam sitting on the top shelf unopened. You have no idea if that was something you bought and never opened or someone else’s, so you grab it and think nothing more of it.

Step 7: It is finally time to assemble the classic child’s comfort food. Even though you are in a destructive state, you can’t go any farther before putting on some music. Maybe putting on the right tune will help you feel a little less useless. You yell at the mini Google Home thing that you have abso-frickin-lutely no idea how to use correctly.

“Hey, Google. Play my Relax playlist on Spotify.”

“I’m sorry. I can’t do that yet.”

“Ugh, hey Google, play Grow as We Go by Ben Platt.”

“Playing Growing Up by Macklemore on Spotify.”

“Stupid technology. Hey, Google. Stop.”

“Who are you talking to?”

You notice that Jeffrey has come upstairs to see you in tears, yelling at the mini Google home thing that you have abso-frickin-lutely no idea how to use correctly. Having no explanation for your conversation with a speaker, you quickly reply, “No one.”

As he stares at you uncomfortably, you haphazardly slather peanut butter and jelly onto the bread. While making the sandwich, you start to consider pulling your life together beginning tomorrow morning, but that is a different day’s problem.

Step 8: You hold the sandwich in your mouth, questioning your desire for it now. Shrugging off the idea of having to stay in the kitchen to make something else, you start the agonizing journey back.

Step 9: You reach your room with your surprisingly perfectly portioned peanut butter and jelly. You realize three things at this point:

  1. You didn’t clean up after yourself, and Jeffrey will complain to your mother about it later.
  2. You have been narrating to yourself the entire time as if you were instructing someone else.
  3. You couldn’t come up with the tenth step for this ridiculously simple process, so you decide to end it there.

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Mental Health

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