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When the Instagram account ShubkaTomsk followed me, my life was in the gutter. I was transitioning effortlessly into my cold-weather foul mood (a funner name for seasonal depression) while going through a pretty brutal breakup. My phone's notification window was mostly comprised of ridiculously involved text fights, friends asking "U ok?" and Seamless telling me about crystal balls they deep-fried.

But when I saw this username pop up on my lock screen, it felt like a window to Narnia -- a fanciful, faraway world full of blonde women and fur. Thousands of dead-eyed smilers looked out at me, imploring me to buy floor-length mink vests for 30,000 rubles, which I think works out to "four Seamless meals." I'm not ashamed to say this account pulled me out of the darkness, gave me a reason to go on, and permanently changed my life. I am happy to share that wisdom with you in my very first column. Here is what I learned:

Don't Be Ashamed Of Your Past

Invariably, when you're in a slump, you'll run into people you knew from high school who seem to have been doing great the entire time since you saw each other last. That's gross, and you're right to be bothered. Anyway, when one of these born-and-bred winners asks you, "So, Ludmila, how's things? Did you hear I'm an astronaut now?" you might feel like you're nothing but a weirdo fur model. But don't throw your life story under the bus! Let's say you murdered Cookie Monster, a polar bear, several raccoons, and a Scottish man. While some people would make you feel ashamed for that (so much blood -- why?!?), the fact is you are who you are, and no amount of bribing town magistrates to turn a blind eye to your criminal actions is going to change that. Your life is a patchwork quilt of your experiences, and your coat is a patchwork trophy of your many kills. Have pride!

Don't Stay In a Relationship Just Because You're Afraid to Leave

We've all made the mistake of keeping someone around just because we're afraid to be alone. This model has been there too. Look into her eyes. You can tell this woman has dated a man who owns several tigers. Can you imagine breaking up with a guy who owns several tigers? It's best to cut things off earlier in your relationship, before he has the chance to get too attached, and before the big cats have your scent. Be brave! If they break their chains, you can run fast with your strong, nimble legs. If you're wearing this coat at the time, they might even think you've already been attacked by a much swifter animal and move on to less-occupied prey. Either way, what a valuable lesson that applies to all of our lives!

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Be Yourself

Look. Look at how confident this woman is. She's wearing the chemically-modified corpses of several foxes, and yet she's all, "I'm just doing me right now." Have you ever been that confident in your life? I sure haven't. Plenty of people are super socially anxious having conversations with anyone who isn't their four best friends or the people who gave birth to them. It's like they're looking at you saying, "Who does she think she is in this coat?" or "What is she, a painting that escaped from the modern art museum and is trying to blend in," or "Isn't one of those the state flag of Maryland?" or "Why do her elbows have eyes?" or "How could she confidently place her hand on her hip when she's wearing a skinned second-rate Muppet?" Well, chances are they're more worried about themselves than they are about you. So you might as well chuck all your fears out the window and live life in your own skin -- while covered in something else's skin.

Allow Yourself The Simple Pleasure Of Murdering Ferrets

Self-care is so important in our crazy, mixed-up world. It can feel impossible to find a way to make time for you. But remember: You're worth it! You need to feel the rush of taking a life every once in a while, and legit nobody likes ferrets. You could kill them and wear them on your face, and not one person would give a care. Nuzzle your Slavic cheek against its lifeless flank and say, "Ahhhhh, just what the doctor ordered!"

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There's Nothing Stupid Or Boring About Being Happy

As an arguably smart person who's been through some shit, you may come to think of your dark side as who you are, that being judgy is a badge of honor, and that happy people must simply be dumber. As someone who's been out of college for more than 12 minutes, I can confirm that this attitude is patently false and a total waste of time. Days during which you are alive are a finite resource, so stop clinging to your grumpiness. No one's going to think less of you if you start being grateful for the simple things, like wearing the hide of an endangered fox on your naked body. People want you to be happy! Unless they're PETA, those parade-rainers!

Your Arms Can Bend In All Sorts of Ways

When you're working two jobs to make ends meet, it can feel like your only option is to keep your arms out straight in front of you, stiffly, like a zombie, and never ever bend them or put them down. Why limit yourself? You are capable of so much more than you know. Try putting your arm straight at your side with the other one bent on your hip, or even have one bent on your hip while the other one is bent on your shoulder. You are the captain of your own happiness -- and your arms! You are in charge of your arms.

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Don't Be Afraid to Carry Some Extra Coat Around For Later

Girl, you deserve so much coat! Give yourself 110 percent. Tote an extra tube of fur around with you all day, just in case that large wolf comes back and tears off half your sleeve in the ensuing struggle. You will NOT be eaten by a wolf. Not today! Not today, you dumbass wolf; we brought extra coat. Suck on that, ya shitty wolf! Wait, is that one of those Chernobyl superwolves? Oh no. Oh god n --

It's Not Your Fault You Live In a Wolf's Anus

Stop blaming yourself. That Chernobyl superwolf would have eaten you no matter how fast your nimble legs ran. No one can outrun a Chernobyl superwolf; not even professional fur models. When you catch yourself throwing a little pity party in that mutant's colon where you now make your home, force yourself to peek out and say, "Hello, world!" It will pass you one day, and on that day you will be free.

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You Can Dye Fur Pretty Much Any Color (But Tell No One of What You Saw)

Huh -- I guess if you're using dangerous chemicals and dyes that harm the environment, you can make one of nature's little mammals be the color of a Happy Meal toy that was recalled due to traces of lead! Anything is possible with a little science. Also ...

Tell no one of what you saw. Just keep walking. The police do not need to be called. You just go on about your day. The man that was thrown into a trunk in an alleyway? He was probably in on the fun prank. Just a fun prank between friends. Tell no one. You got that? No one.

What Other People Think Of You And Your Genetically-Enhanced Cyborg Clones Is None Of Your Business

People are going to judge you no matter what you do, so you might as well do you! Your lab-mates are kept securely locked in an underground bunker, so the odds of them tracking you down and consuming your flesh to become human and know love are, like, super slim. It's nobody's business that you are the one copy that escaped, found the code, embedded it into your brain stem, and are now just as human as anyone else. Don't let other people's opinions get you down! You might as well enjoy life until the code falters and you revert to your factory settings.

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The Future Is Uncharted

Every day holds the potential for something new and surprising. Keep your options open, and who knows which one of the stray dogs in your neighborhood could become your latest wardrobe essential?

Put Your Needs First

If you've been invited to a friend's costume party, don't feel like you have to shell out top dollar for the official Chewbacca costume licensed by Disney. We're sure no one will notice you bought the off-brand "Wook-Monster Space Warrior" version, which was $40 cheaper. Budgets are important!!

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Character Is Determined By How You Treat Others When You Succeed

Remember that friend from high schools who was always bragging about being an astronaut? What a total D-bag. You have every right not to spare him now that you have been made a queen by the invading aliens who were angered by the presence of the International Space Station. You are no longer the checkout clerk helping a successful former classmate bag their six-packs. You are Quarkina, Goddess of the Stars, Leader of the Fourth Fleet, and arbiter of who lives and dies. But the question is: What do you do with this newfound success? Do you lord your power over everyone like that no-good valedictorian did to you? Do you send him careening into the sun, as is your wont and right? Or do you say, "Hey Paul, great to see you. Sorry about all this. Let me know if you ever need any oxygen"? It's totally up to you.

Ignore That Voice In Your Head That Says Wearing A Rug For A Coat Is Weird

You can't tell you what to do! Put a rug on your body and go out into the world. You're out of your goddamn mind, and that's great!!!

What do Chuck Norris, Liam Neeson in Taken, and the Dos Equis guy have in common? They're all losers compared to some of the actual badasses from history whom you know nothing about. Come out to the UCB Sunset for another LIVE podcast, April 9 at 7:00 p.m., where Jack O'Brien, Michael Swaim, and more will get together for an epic competition to find out who was the most hardcore tough guy or tough gal unfairly relegated to the footnotes of history. Get your tickets here!

Check out the strangest catalogs of all time in 28 Items from the Worst Gift Catalog Possible, and find out what "mandages" are in Finally, A Holiday Catalog For The Criminally Insane.

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