The Secret Society of Self-Stingers
Nothing worked to ease the pain of chronic illness — until I discovered venom therapy. Now I’ve stung myself thousands of times, and found people who became my closest friends.
Illustrations by plaest2k
I had been preparing for the party for weeks. First, I signed up for a Paperless Post account and carefully chose the brightly patterned invitations. Then, I went to my organic food co-op and filled my cart with healthy snacks: gluten-free pretzel sticks, medjool dates, turmeric-roasted cashews. Through a neighborhood Facebook group, I borrowed eight folding chairs. I bought name tags and carefully wrote out each guest’s name with a thick Sharpie. Finally, on the morning of, there was nothing left to do but tidy my small Brooklyn apartment from top to bottom: vacuuming up cat hair, wiping down the coffee table, and scrubbing out a dozen old jars to use as glasses for the large crowd I expected.
Just as I finished arranging the folding chairs in my living room, the doorbell rang and the first guest arrived. For the next half hour, a steady stream of women ranging from their 20s to their 60s passed through my door, throwing their coats on my bed and filling up ja…