Four Annoying Phrases To Use When You Finally Give Up

Good morning, Dear Reader. As has been my MO lately, I’m late in posting. I try to have something delivered to you by Friday mornings, but here’s the nugget I cling to: It’s Friday morning somewhere. That’s the silver lining.

The weather has indeed turned here in the Ozarks. At least for a few days. It’s a comfy 33-degree, mostly cloudy day. You know…my favorite. 

But today is a bit different. Usually, I find a nice little nook and read or knit when it gets this chilly, but I’m feeling a bit blah. I don’t usually feel a bit blah on days like this. I’m convinced my soul arrived on Earth somewhere north, like Seattle or Norway. I just like gloomy days, most of the time. But this last week – even when it was in the seventies – felt weird. I even saged my house because there was a ‘funk’ I couldn’t shake, and I hardly ever do that. I wonder if the act did anything more than make my son complain about the smell. The saving grace of the week was the full moon lunar eclipse. The week was both magical and intense.

I’ve always been a bit transparent in these posts – at least transparent enough for you to ask yourself, “Did she just say that? Is this for real?” Honestly? Most of my writing is rooted in non-fiction, but some posts are just for kicks. For example, (confession time), I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seriously told anyone – to their face – to go fuck themselves. Although, admittedly, on many occasions – sometimes daily – I have muttered it under my breath. I talk a big game, though, right? Anyway. Fooled you.

Here’s what I regularly say, despite how much some of you may hate some of these. Ready?

Well…grab that drink. Settle in. Let’s dive into my favorite colloquialisms today.

1) It is what it is. At least one of you just shuddered at that. Yes, this one is a bit overused in the Universe, but here’s what I think about that particular phrase. First, if a person is using it as a placeholder to excuse bad behavior, that’s not the point. I use it – and so do many of us – when we’ve finally reached a conclusion about something and have leaned into accepting something we have no control over. For example, today is my father’s birthday. I’d love to buy him a lemon bundt cake from Supreme Bakery like I always did and celebrate with him. But I can’t. Why? Because he’s dead. It is what it is.

2) Fuck it. This short little phase is the saltier, more ghetto version of “It is what it is.” I embraced this phrase last Tuesday under the full moon while writing my list of things to release. I was thinking about a never-ending battle I have with a certain someone and how I’ve spent nearly six years trying to control the situation and the person. At some point during the week, I realized this situation was never-fucking-ever going to change, and under the super big full moon…I finally accepted it. Then, I wrote a brief little statement about it, lit a match, dropped it into a bucket, and whispered, “I release this”. I watched it burn to ash, stood up, and said (not whispering) “Fuck it, ” which will now be my theme for 2023. It may be flawed logic, but here’s my favorite scene from Yellowstone and how Fuck It plays out appropriately.

3) Not my problem. This one takes on a few different forms depending on how much I’ve had to drink. I’ve used “Not my cross to bear”, “Can’t blame a clown for acting like a clown,” or “A snake will never be a bunny rabbit, so stop petting it”. However, my favorite and most quoted to-date version of ‘Not my problem is: “Not my circus, not my monkey”. While those all sound a bit different, the true meaning of each of those is: This is not my issue.

4) You do you, Boo. This one is relatively new on the vernacular scene, but I’ve been using it a lot lately. It started as a replacement for “Whatever” when I couldn’t understand why a person was behaving in a manner I believed odd or batshit crazy. I ain’t gonna lie. This one has been hard to embrace as a mantra. I’m a professional problem-solver by day, and systematically controlling a project while coming in within budget and under the deadline does not lend itself to ‘willy-nilly’ behavior. But here are a few revelations: People aren’t projects, and not everyone thinks or behaves like I do. I know, right? Shocker. But, one more thing about “You do you, Boo” I feel begs to be explained is that the phrase reassures the other person that you aren’t judging them. “Whatever” (most likely accompanied by an eye-roll) can be a bit snarky with a side of self-righteousness, don’t you agree? Additionally, saying “You do you, Boo” also helps me remember that I don’t need to fix anyone or control them or even understand them to love them.

You can buy that print here from sdesignsprints on Etsy

As we end today’s post together, Dear Reader, I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite songs by Ashley McBryde. Saying that Ashley McBryde is a badass is an understatement. She’s voluptuous, brave, tenacious, talented, and just a downright good human. (Yes. It’s true. I may have a girl crush.) Anyway, as I interpret it, this song is all of my well-worn phrases wrapped up in one little package. So, sing along tonight with your drink raised and make the best of the worst day. 

PS…Speaking of worst days and raising a glass: It’s eggnog season, and I think it’s important to mention that a shot of Skrewball PB whiskey over ice topped with a splash of eggnog is perfect for a night like tonight. You’re welcome.

Oh, and please share this post with all your peeps on all your social thingamajigs. 

Three Simple Ways To Reframe Life

Good evening, Dear Reader! It was a beautiful day to snuggle under the covers with a good book, but I had to work. I plan to indulge this weekend, but until then, I just wanted to chat with you. 

On Wednesday before bed, my son asked me if I’d get something from his backpack ‘that was really cool’. So I grabbed his bag, and inside I found a mid-sized squishy ball. (My son is autistic, and he likes squishy things). I thought, “That is a cool ball. Wonder where he got that?”. So I asked him how he became the purveyor of such a remarkable object. He devised an elaborate story centered on wheelin’ and dealin’. He ended his narrative by asking for $2 to pay the previous owner. While I was impressed by his creativity (he’s quite the storyteller, that one), something in my gut whispered, “Lies! Lies! It’s all a bunch of lies!”

I looked at him through narrowed eyes and said…

“I’m going to ask you again where you got this ball, and if you lie to me, you will be in more trouble than if you tell me the truth.”

His eyes widened. He looked down, and his lower lip quivered. Then he looked me dead in the eye.

“I took it.”

“Took it from whom?” I calmly asked.

“From the gym teacher.”

I looked at my little thief and said, “Thank you for telling me the truth. Enjoy that ball tonight because tomorrow you’ll return it.” I kissed him on the forehead and left the room. I then located his PE teacher on Facebook and messaged him to let him know that we needed to meet with him in the morning. I didn’t mention why. 

Long story short: My son returned the ball. He apologized. The coach explained why things should not be taken from the school. He even offered to let my kid borrow the ball, informing him that it needed to be arranged in advance because other kids needed it for gym class. 

No one yelled at him. I had given prior directions on the proper way to apologize. His PE teacher informed him of the expectations for borrowing the ball. There are consequences to match the infraction. I think all of this is appropriate. I mean, the kid already felt terrible. Why shame him?

This brings me to today’s post. As adults, we constantly rehash our past mistakes and try hard to be better adults by obsessing over what we do wrong. We, essentially, shame ourselves every single day. Here’s an idea: How about we don’t do that anymore? Let’s consider stopping and shrugging while we whisper, “That no longer serves me. Think I’ll do something different.” 

I’ve got three simple ways to navigate life for you this morning that will help reframe how you’ve always done things. Frankly, they are so simple I’m wondering why it’s taken me nearly 51 years to embrace them.

Grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s go.

1) Your strength comes from knowing your weaknesses. I’m not too fond of job interviews. “Tell us your greatest strength. Tell us your greatest weakness.” Well, Karen, I’ve learned that sometimes my weaknesses can be my greatest strengths. I can be hyper-focused which makes me a good problem-solver. Office chit-chat bores me, so I finish my work and meet deadlines. When you understand your weaknesses, they can become a source of strength. 

2) Accepting your flaws makes you beautiful. I love the television shows that take a frumpy middle-aged mom (um…yeah) and give her wardrobe an overhaul, essentially turning a frog into a princess. I have flaws. We all do. But I am learning to appreciate mine. For example, since learning I am susceptible to others’ energy, I’ve learned to set better boundaries. Because I set better boundaries, I’ve become a calmer and kinder person. Instead of thinking, “God. Why can’t I be more gregarious and outgoing?”, I’ve accepted that I don’t really like people much. I’ve become more selective about where I spend my time and energy. I’m also carrying a few extra pounds – which some people may consider a flaw – but that makes me a good candidate for a “cheeseburger and a beer” date. I hear most men appreciate that. You, like me, are flawed…and you’re beautiful. 

3) Your mistakes equal wisdom. My friends and I went to hear a local favorite, Isaac Kenneth, sing his sultry lyrics. The topic of dating musicians came up somehow. My friend said, “I wanted to be a musician when I grew up.” I scoffed and replied, “You can’t be both a musician and a grown-up.” Which got a little chuckle…but still. My experience with loving a musician led me to realize that they are a lot like expensive cars: Fun to look at…but really pricey to maintain. Now, not all musicians are bad. I’m sure there are hard-working, kind musicians who aren’t prone to infidelity out in the world…somewhere. But falling madly in love with a musician is a mistake I made once and am not willing to make again. You may have learned that taking a job just because it pays well may not be the right path for you. Or maybe you’ve learned that when your child comes up with a creative story that seems a bit unbelievable…it’s because it’s not truthful. Perhaps you’ve learned that one too many arguments rehashing the same exact thing means nothing is really going to change. So, repeat this: I made the best decision possible with the information I had at the time. Then ask yourself how you can choose something different if faced with that same dilemma again. A mistake is just that… A Miss Take. Take a different route next time. The new path is where wisdom meets the road.

And with that, my friend, I leave you with a song. This upbeat 1994 song by Des’ree encourages you to dig deep and discover your true self. It promotes bravery, serenity, and honesty. I think that if you consider my three tips, you’ll become bolder, tougher, stronger, and cooler. She’s right, though, about one thing: Love will save the day. But that starts with self-love.

Dear Reader, if you liked this post, share it on all those social thingys. Please and thank you.

Elsa Was On To Something

Good morning, Dear Reader! I’m up early again today and thinking I really enjoyed that thunderstorm that woke me up yesterday. I can’t begin to tell you how much I adore a good Missouri storm. The only thing missing during that storm was a glass of wine and a metal roof. I’m not prone to drinking at 6 a.m. , but if I had a metal roof and I suddenly found myself amidst a thunderstorm, I just might.

I’m struggling to come up with a good metaphor that relates to my mood this week, and I must tell you, I’m not sure I’m going to come up with something riveting. But I’m going to try my darndest because you clicked the link, and I believe I need to inspire you to do something great.

I’ve patiently been waiting for the trees to lose their leaves and Dunkin to launch All Things Pumpkin Spice season. I don’t want to rush my life, but man it’s hot here and it’s been hot for-fucking-ever. Our trees – and all living creatures – are under a tremendous amount of stress. People are acting batshit crazy and I, for one, am eager for a change in the weather. If you look closely, you’ll see that some of the trees are even starting to lose their leaves, and that’s because of environmental trauma – not because autumn is around the corner. (Although, we are seven weeks from October. Sigh. Seven long weeks.) 

So, there you have it, folks. Even the trees know that lessening the load is the best way to cope (survive?) with trauma. (You’re welcome. That’s my third ‘plant’ metaphor in a row.)

I think we can learn a lot from this. I could go on a big tangent about trauma responses and how our bodies trick us into doing stuff to keep us from dealing with it. I fear, though, that would be very uninspiring. I’m going to do my best to bring this back around to how our lives – like those of the trees – can be enhanced by letting go.

Grab a drink. Settle in. Today I’m going to give you some tips on how to let go.

Before I dive in, though, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say: Letting go isn’t as easy as it seems. But, I’ve found three major themes when I decide to let go, and that’s where we are today.

1) Purge shit you no longer need. I like to pretend I’m moving from time to time (if you know me, I’ve moved 18 times in 16 years, so it isn’t a stretch for me to get in the ‘I’m getting the heck out of here’ mindset.) With this last housing transition, I didn’t even think twice. I barely reminisced over anything at all. I chucked so much that I don’t even own a skillet of my own at the moment. A lot of letting it go was to make room for the things I really wanted and needed. So far, that’s been minimal.

2) Avoid nay-sayers. Some of those people in your life who are taking up space in the VIP section need to be reseated to the regular seats or escorted out of the viewing room altogether. At the risk of sounding dramatic, this can be heartbreaking. And still, maybe you need to get on with it. I faced the music last year and watched as people floated magically out of my life. In the past, I would have chased after them. This time, I didn’t. I went through the gamut of emotions – hurt, anger, relief. They don’t get to be courtside if they aren’t cheering you on and rooting for you. 

3) Excuse yourself from the table. I once had a friend who said, “I hate being the source of conflict. When that happens, I’ll quietly exit the room.” I finally got that about a year ago. I made of list of all the things I no longer enjoyed doing and a list of the people I no longer enjoyed being around. And I started crossing shit (and people) off the list. I ignored my sunk costs in everything: the knitting supplies, the house, the time spent trying to make relationships work, and the expectations of others. I finally came to the most challenging part of letting go when I realized that the place I’ve called ‘home’ for nearly 33 of my 51 years is a terrible place for me. It isn’t healthy to walk among my demons, and I got tired of dodging people in Wal-Mart. So I moved. And while it wasn’t far…it was far enough if you know what I mean. You don’t need to be so extreme. Still, I think you can apply this to anything that no longer brings you joy including, but not limited to, bras, Sunday dinner with your in-laws, meetings that get you no closer to the goal, etc. This past year, I let go of several toxic relationships, ridded myself of 90% of my belongings, moved to a new place, quit two jobs, stopped volunteering at my son’s school, and stopped drinking cheap whiskey. I am happy to report: All is well in my world. I don’t miss any of it. I’m better because I made all those choices – even when it was difficult – and you will be, too, Friend.

As I close, I’m reminded of a song by Dalton Domino. The lyrics are: I’ve burned some bridges. Torn down some fences. Some I’m still mendin’. Some I’m leaving the ashes where they lie. And I can’t think of a better metaphor for letting things go and not apologizing for the reasons why. Who you were is not who you are. You are allowed to shed all the leaves and grow new ones.

I get that this may not have been highly inspiring today. Still, I promise you it’s a segue into what’s been happening since making these decisions. I like teasers, and this one is a doozy….so wait until next week. It’s just starting to get good.

PS: If you liked this post and thought others might, please share on social media! Thanks, Sugar Britches. Much appreciated.

Five Harsh Truths

Good morning, Dear Reader! It’s a glorious day in the Ozarks. I’m sure it’s gonna get a bit warmer, but at this very moment, Mother Nature is hanging in there with an excellent 70-something temp that I adore. (Sidebar: Is there any place on Earth where it is in the 70’s all year long? If so, I want that. Unless it’s New Jersey, nobody wants that.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about our 2022 theme of letting go, and while this post today isn’t so much about ‘letting go’ of something, it does fit with the ability to let go of old beliefs. In the book Warrior Goddess Training, I was prompted to write a list of “Things I Know For Sure” at the end of a chapter. That’s harder than it seems, folks. But I encourage you to do it, too.

As I made my list, I realized there were themes – or categories – that each of the listed items fell into, and here is where I share those five categories with you.

Ready? Good. Grab a drink. Settle in.

Here are the five harsh truths about life I wish I had known earlier:

1) “Meaning” is up to you. If you feel like life is meaningless, or you’re wandering around with a lack of purpose…may I be blunt? It’s your own damn fault. Non-profit agencies do so much good work and they need volunteers. You can plug in to just about anything you want. For me? I realized I was ‘too plugged in’ and that my true meaning was tied directly to being a good mother in this season of my life. So, no volunteering for me for twelve months. I’m on Total Mom Duty (well, as much as a working a mom can be).

2) Forget perfect. Nothing, not a home, partner, job, car, school, etc, is perfect. The ‘perfect’ (fill in the blank) doesn’t exist. Concentrate on finding the (fill in the blank) with most of the qualities you like/want and accept the rest. The only exception is if ‘the rest’ is dangerous or costly. Like – you love the house, but the roof is about to collapse. You mostly like everything about your partner…but they are a drug dealer. See my point? Everyone loads the dishwasher differently (and don’t even get me started on laundry), so you must let go of the control. Do the dishes get clean? I mean, did your fight over whether the forks go in tongs up or tongs down really matter in the grand scheme of things? Yeah, um, no. Pick your battles. Same with work, a vehicle, friends, etc. Nothing is perfect.

3) Adapt Realism As A Mindset. Okay, Optimists and Faux-Positivity people…I’m talking to you. True, there’s no need to be a pessimistic asshat all the time, but it’s also important to not bury your head and ignore facts. Life isn’t a movie, you do need to have a plan, and sometimes you don’t get what you want no matter how badly you want it. Adapt an artist’s ambition but an engineer’s mindset. In other words: Hope for the best, and plan for the worse.

4) Life is a game. And friends…no one is playing fair. Find the games you want to play, learn the rules, and find a way to succeed at the games you’ve selected. I’ve learned this about my day job. Some folks thought I was crazy to take a salary reduction to return to a place I really love to work. And I might not have returned if I hadn’t let “Not my circus, not my monkey” permeate every cell in my body this year. Now I can shut out the drama because that drama does not belong to me. I am not here to fix the entire organization’s issues. I’m here to do {this much} in the grand scheme of it, and that’s all I’m doing.

5) Everything ends. Okay, here’s me being morbid, but here’s the facts: Everyone you love will die. Every job you love is going to change. People you enjoy working with will eventually find other places to go. The house you love will no longer serve you at some point. Your vehicle will become a rust-bucket death trap, and you’ll turn it out to pasture. Your children will fall in love, move out of state, or worse, assert their independence so that it feels like your heart might break every day over the choices they are making. I’m sorry. That’s just the plain old truth. The sooner you get this, the sooner you can trust the process.

But, there is hope. All those things may seem all ‘doom and gloom’-ish, but honestly, I feel as though having that mindset keeps me from forming unhealthy attachments to the outcome of anything. And isn’t that what we all really want in life…to have no attachment to the outcome and simply trust the process?

Yes. I know. It’s not easy. Why do you think it’s taken me this many years to get it? I feel you, Boo.

With that, here’s your song. I love this song. I don’t know if it’s the lyrics or its melody that I like. But here’s what I do know: It’s a song about accepting that this relationship must end. Its lyrics imply that time has proven over and over that this is simply not meant to be, and goodbyes need to be said and accepted. (Want a ‘country version’?) Leave it to me to love a break-up song. I mean, my favorite Christmas song is, literally, a break-up song. Clearly, I need to drink some Positivity Punch and get out more.

So, there you have it, folks. My 978 words of wisdom for you. If you loved it, then please – help a gal out and share on all the socials. Until we meet again, have a wonderful weekend.

Stop Playing Nice

Good morning, dear Reader! The weather is such a tease here this week. A little thunder, a little lightning. A few gusts of wind. And yet…nothing. So anti-climatic. Sigh.

Nonetheless, it’s just cool enough to want to lie here in bed and write all day instead of getting up and getting dressed. Yesterday was just as bad, and admittedly…it was a ‘dry shampoo’ kind of day. For reference, I hardly ever do dry shampoo. It’s not my jam. But getting up after a week of vacation was also not my jam. And yet…here we are.

The vacation was lovely and much needed. Thanks for asking. I’m sure there’s a post or two in my brain – especially since I had an incredible spiritual reading while there – but that juicy bit of info will have to wait until later. March is coming to a close, and I promised you a post on HOW to let go of a toxic relationship. We covered the ‘why’ part here – and throughout the fall of last year. So…(I am the Queen of the Ellipsis, am I not?)

Grab a drink. Settle in. This will be short and sweet. (Like this whiskey I drank all last week.)

I wish I could say that leaving a toxic relationship was as easy as saying, “Go fuck yourself,” (Hello, Boston! I miss you!) but it isn’t. At least, it hasn’t been for me. I wager that if it were that easy, the relationship didn’t have time to get too terribly toxic, but then again, I’ve always had a high tolerance for bad behavior. The keyword there was ‘had’ – as in past tense.

But let’s get to the list, shall we?

1) Don’t ignore a gut feeling. When you know, you know. Stop second-guessing yourself. There’s a big difference between someone having a bad day and being a toxic asshat. During COVID lockdown, I know some of my friends were complete assholes. That’s not the same. Stress is one thing. Personality is quite different. Funny story: I recently had someone reach out to me about one of my exes. She asked me if she should ignore what she was feeling about a few things. Not wanting to sound like the bitter ex-girlfriend, I spared her the details of that relationship and simply replied “Good feels good. Bad feels bad. If you think it’s a red flag, I say trust your gut.” Then I blocked them both. I don’t need that kind of drama.

2) Don’t let your past cloud your judgment. Listen…anyone can keep their shit together long enough to take a selfie. In other words…sure, it was good in the beginning. It always is. That was then, this is now. And if you need more coaxing, read number 1 again. Now, I give everyone the 90 day probation period because Day 91 is, sure enough, when bad behavior will start to surface. By then you’ve seen them lose their shit at least once and you know how they react to stress. Like I said, I used to tolerate all kinds of nonsense well into anniversaries one, two, and three. Nope. Not anymore.

3) Don’t place unnecessary blame on yourself. Here’s the thing, Lovely…take responsibility for what is yours, but don’t carry around someone else’s garbage. Please repeat after me: I made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time. Toxic people are great at pointing their fingers at you, and if you’ve been under their influence long enough, you might even believe their narrative. I promise you, if you’ve let them get away with it for too long, that table will never turn. So, forget about turning that table, babe. Flip that fucker.

4) Remove yourself from the relationship. As someone who struggles with the ‘no contact’ philosophy, I get it. It’s hard. I, too, just wish everyone could simply get along. But honey child…you have to do it. Block those people and stop your creeping. As soon as my tenure with the volunteer organization I chair is up, I’m entirely off Facebook for good. People cannot ruin what they don’t know about, so be selective about who you trust with your deets. Feel me, dawg? You may have unfriended and untagged, but that shit is still around, and flying monkeys will not hesitate to give up your information. Don’t feed the monkeys…or the snakes. (While you’re at it, stop petting the elephants and donkeys, too.)

I know this is short, but I don’t know how else to put it. Toxic relationships will do a crap ton of damage. I’m all for couples counseling and working shit out…but come on now…what are the odds of that happening? Right. Babe, you’d do better playing the horses in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

I’m digging up an oldie here, kids, because this song seems fitting for today’s theme. Essentially, as I learned in Salem, sometimes the person you need to forgive is yourself, not anyone else. It came across on a random playlist while I was sitting in DFW waiting for my delayed flight. It set me back a bit because I understand how alluring the pull and push of a toxic relationship can be. AND loving a person with mental health issues is hard. It really, really is. But sometimes the truth is: In toxic relationships you just have to realize that, no, we can’t just play nice. And sometimes you have to decide that you come first and you need to close that door.

Did you hear me?

You come first.

FFS, repeat this over and over until you believe it:

I. Come. First.

You might stumble as you leave, but you’ll regain your footing. I promise.

Fear, Faith, and Letting Go – Part 2

Good morning, dear Reader. I have to say, it is a lovely day here in the Ozarks. Weatherman Ron promises temps in the 60s today, Kids. I’m on Cloud 9. I won’t go into much detail, but have you ever just been in a place where you feel the stars are aligning just right? Yes? Then you understand.

I want to just jump right in here today. We are closing out our time together this month pondering how to let go of the illusion of control. In this post at the first of the year, I introduced the ten things we need to let go of in 2022. Today’s post follows up a few others, such as this one that kicked off February and this one a few days ago.

So, if you don’t mind, may I suggest that you grab a drink and settle in? I’m launching right into five more tools I use when I need to let go of the illusion of control. (Psffft…you can read about the first five here.) Ready? Let’s do this.

  1. Use affirmations. Affirmations are helpful, but I tend to be a bit pragmatic. I can’t will myself to believe something if it isn’t true at the moment, which is what I feel most affirmations attempt to do. So instead of saying, “Everything is perfect and right,” I affirm, “I trust that everything will happen as it is intended to.” I wouldn’t lie to you, so why would I lie to myself? Here are some great affirmations to get started: I honor and love myself. | There is no need to control. | I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given thus far. | Everything is working for my highest good with perfect timing. | I am supported and loved.
  2. Do esteemable acts. What are those? “Esteemable acts” are acts that help us gain self-esteem. For example, I am learning to use a firearm. The first time I picked up a 9 mm Glock, I fired one shot and placed it back down. I refused to shoot with it again that day (It was too loud. I was too jumpy). My partner encouraged me to use it again the next time we went. Turns out I’m better with it than I am a 380. You don’t have to be perfect at any esteemable act; just choose something that lends to your sense of accomplishment. Sometimes my ‘esteemable acts’ are simply making a delicious soup to share with others or cleaning out a closet. Maybe for you, those acts include washing the truck, reading to a child, or journaling.
  3. Reach out for support. Long before this pandemic hit, we were starting to isolate. I felt lonely months before any shutdowns occurred, and I’m an introvert. I, by nature, hate people. But, we are not on this planet to be or feel alone. The more we feel stuck in a vacuum, the more the need to control takes over. It goes back to that “fear breeds anxiety” thing I mentioned last week. Before that happens to you, reach out to someone you value and trust. Talk about how you’re feeling. Get a therapist. Or hey…here’s a thought: I’m here. I love free coffee.
  4. Remember that you are not alone. This ties into asking for support. Repeat after me: I am not alone. Trust and accept this and practice saying it to yourself. There are eight billion other people in the world. Trust me, someone out there loves you. Everything happens just the way it is intended. You might be surprised just how much in common you have with other people. I just connected via Ancestory with my 4th cousin in Norway. We share so much more than DNA – it’s almost freaky how similar we are. You have people out there, whether related or not, who enjoy doing the things you enjoy doing. I found great connections about spiritual topics and hiking groups on Meet Up. My fella and I knew each other in high school, so we connected with that piece of shared experience. Look for the good, and you will find it.
  5. Make a freedom list. (This is my favorite!) Freedom means surrendering. It means you are at peace with yourself and trust that everything is unfolding exactly how it is supposed to for you. So, what does freedom mean for you? Is it being free of debt? Because if you are free of debt, you aren’t so tied to that job you hate, right? Is it the freedom to just let others ‘be’? Because if you just let others ‘be’ then you are no longer responsible for the decisions they make – which in turn allows you to stop attempting to control every outcome (Hello fellow Co-Dependents…I see you.) So, create a freedom list and remember the need to control minimizes everything on this list.

Finally, I feel the need to remind you: I don’t have my shit 100% together. I’m just a blogger who journals publicly and enjoys feedback while sharing the results of many hours (and dollars) spent on therapy (Welcome to my Creepy Online Diary!). But I will say this: A lot of soul-searching and personal growth have gone into this work I’ve been sharing with you over the last two years. What once started (on Feb. 5, 2011!) as a blog about living the simple life has morphed into much more in terms of self-discovery.

This journey has unveiled that living in simplicity isn’t always about getting rid of material things (although that’s a good start) but more often about ridding yourself of limiting beliefs. In the animal world, there’s a shedding that takes place so new growth and/or freedom can occur. I invite you to start your own shedding process – whatever that looks like for you.

Nothing too terribly funny or earth-shattering today, dear Reader, but I can’t close out without your song. Here you go. Surrender to whatever weather Mother Nature has provided to you. Enjoy your day. Take a nap. Go for a hike. Read a book. Paint a picture. Watch a dirty movie. Whatever you do, don’t apologize for it (Unless you are mean to your kid. Then, yes, Asshole. Apologize for that).

Oh, and, if you liked this post and thought others might, too, I shamelessly ask you to share on social media. Please and thank you.

The Pluviophile in Me

You’re wondering what a “Pluviophile” is, aren’t you? No worries. It’s not bad. A pluviophile (n) is a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days. And that’s not just a random opening sentence for this post. It’s part of the subject matter. Let’s carry on, shall we?

But, Dear Reader. before we get started, I just have to say: I don’t know which one of you sent this freezing cold weather down my way, but you can take it back now. Two days of temps in the low 20s is enough. I can’t get my steps in and that’s wreaking havoc on my HSA bonus money. So. Enough already.

I’ve been thinking about you a lot these days. You’ve been writing in and telling me I’m making a difference. I’m meeting new people who are saying “Hey – you’re that blogger! I love your blog!” and I’ve been pleased to see you are clicking the links I provide – even if my taste in music isn’t all that great! I reached over 12K visits on this site last week and while I may not be as popular as some, I am grateful that you are here with me. I’m a quality over quantity kind of gal anyway, so thank you. Thank you for being here with me on this journey.

As I stated a few posts back, my journey started in 2011 when I made my first post. The process all started when I read a blog by Josh Becker and then started following the likes of Courtney Carver and Adam Baker. And, for Heaven’s sake, let’s not forget Joshua, Ryan and Leo. In 2015 I took a break from writing. To be honest, my life was falling apart and I just didn’t feel like being chipper, if you know what I mean. I felt I didn’t have anything to offer you anyway since I was such a shitshow and therefore, I “disappeared”.

Me, launching my blog in 2011

I reemerged in 2020 as the shitstorm was beginning to dissipate. I found my focus on simplicity to be a bit different than before, though. Life’s experiences had given me several “opportunities” to let go – sometimes with the kicking of legs and gnashing of teeth. While my life was still about keeping material possessions at a minimum, I’d come out of my cocoon with ideas about how to release mental and emotional clutter (which I think adds to the ‘physical’ clutter) and I wanted to share that story.

As I looked over the posts of the last twelve months, I noticed some themes. First, I noticed there was really no theme at all. HA! I just wrote to clear my head. My ‘creepy online diary’ was a saving grace through so many life events – breakups, reunions, more breakups, death of beloved friends, job changes. I also noticed statistical trends (that’s the data analyst in me) and paid attention to the posts that received the most likes, shares, etc. Even when I deleted my personal Facebook account, the numbers grew – proving that the Universe and my friends were on board with what I was doing.

Today’s post isn’t so much about what I have to share, but more about what you can expect from me in 2022. Don’t worry – I’ll still be your foul-mouthed little friend from small-town Missouri, but I think I’ll be less bitter about it. I recently connected with someone from my past and he’s helped me to realize that small-town life isn’t so bad and the collective experiences of both our lives led us to this very moment – which frankly, is quite delightful. Last night I was surrounded by a few of my very favorite humans, talking smack and tasting bourbon…and I was so completely overwhelmed by how loved I felt in that moment that I broke down in tears when I was finally back at home alone. I can’t believe I have come this far in such a relatively short amount of time, but as I’ve said before…I’ve got grit. The last month has given me a huge sense of pride when I think of all I’ve survived the last five years – even when I felt I couldn’t face another day – because I get to stand in the moments now with people who truly love and support me. And while I love the rain…I am so very grateful I made it through the storm.

So, to bring this all around, I just want to tell you what you can expect from me – mostly so you can hold me accountable but also so you can plan ahead. There may be a random post here and there when my brain won’t shut off and those might be completely unrelated to the monthly theme – but we, together, are going to cover (in no particular order…)

Ten Things To Let Go Of In 2022

  1. The Illusion of Control
  2. Fear Of The Future
  3. The Need For “More”
  4. “Clutter” In All Forms
  5. Guilt About Letting Go
  6. “Frogs” You Haven’t Eaten
  7. Bad Money Habits
  8. Toxic Relationships
  9. Saying “Yes” To Everything
  10. Last Year’s Goals

I’m doing this so that I can be more organized with my thoughts and posts but also because I really, really, really (too many reallys?) want to work on my novel. Maybe with a little organization and planning for this blog, I can do just that.

So, before we launch into all of this, can I ask you to do me a few favors, please? I have some assignments for you. Grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s get to work.

Assignment 1: Define “F*ck Budget”. We are going to be spending a lot of time talking about our F*ck Budget this year. A F*ck Budget includes anything that requires your time, money, or energy. Please take 15 minutes of your week and watch this TedTalk so that you understand where I’m coming from when I mention your “F*ck Budget”. It’s important.

Assignment 2: Make A Vision Board. Back in August, I started working with a Life Coach and my first assignment was to make a list of all the important things I wanted for my life. That became a ‘Wish List’ and then grew into a vision board. If you don’t know how to create a vision board – or even what that is – here’s a link that explains it. To be clear – it does not have to be fancy or overwhelming. Mine isn’t.

Assignment 3: Watch “I’m Fine, Thanks!” – This is a short one-hour documentary that I watch EVERY YEAR in January. I got a sneak peek during its launch phase in 2011 when I donated to their Kickstarter campaign. Now, it’s on Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, and possibly Apple iTunes. A quick little search located free versions on PlutoTV and Tubi. It may be on other platforms, so if you can find it – please watch it. It will help set the pace for us as we enter this year.

Assignment 4: Send me your ideas. You can put them in the comments below, or post them on my FB page. What do you want to let go of in 2022? Material stuff? Anger? Scarcity mentality? What? I’m all ‘ears’ and I’m here to help. (I’m not a therapist – I’m just a blogger – but I feel like this blog has turned into a place where we can all open up and be real with each other.) Aren’t you tired of the bullshit life has convinced you to put up with? I know I am.

And I feel like I owe you a special THANKS. As much as I loathe social media, y’all are doing a fantastic job getting the word out for me. I really appreciate it and please feel free to continue doing it. Share my posts unabashedly!

As always, I’m leaving you with a song. It’s old and cheesy, and you’re welcome. Have a great week, Dear Reader. I’ll see you over the weekend.

Moving On and Cleaning Up

Well, Dear Reader, we are about to let 2021 close its door (Hallelujah!) and, without a doubt, I am ready. I get giddy at the thought of a blank canvas and wiping the slate clean. I’ve reinvented myself so many times in my life and faced so many setbacks that I could be bitter and angry. And, truthfully, I was for a long while. Sometimes, making the effort to live differently after living one way for so long can feel like it takes too much energy. I’ve been there. Trust me. You labored to build that wall of protection. You struggled to ignore the loneliness so you could keep others at arm’s length. You battled against yourself and your needs for so long – trying to convince yourself and others that you are better off alone. Man. I know that feeling. But, how exhausting, right?

As we shut the front door on 2021, I could end the year off by telling you how to prepare to clean up and declutter your house. It’s really what I do best. In fact, last year, I did just that. In January 2021, I encouraged folks to do this old challenge with me. I posted pictures of the items I was discarding every day on Facebook (Day 1: One item. Day 2: Two Items. Day 3: Three Items, etc.) until I had pitched over 500 items from my home. I could write about how to declutter your closet, but I already did here. I could tell you how to organize your spice rack – again, been there, done that. I could even ask you to sell all your shit and start all over again. But wait. I’ve done that too.

Let’s be honest here. I’ve evolved since I launched this blog in 2011 with this post (I know, right??) with the idea of helping you to simplify by discarding all the things you no longer need. I think my heart is still in that simplifying space, after taking a five-year break from writing and then posting this piece, it seems that now I want to help you discard outdated ideas and limiting beliefs, not just physical stuff. We tend to make everything so complicated. (Does he like me? How will I know when he likes me? How many dates do we have to have before I tell him how much I really like him? Good God, woman. Have a drink, enjoy the company. Fucking relax a little.)

However, in the same vein of telling you how to get rid of any tangible item that no longer brings you joy – I am going to ‘suggest’ ways you can let go of ‘stuff’ that no longer serves you. After all, I’m a bit bossy – but I also am walking this walk right alongside you. I’m no expert at having my shit together, but I sure am trying.

Wanna try with me? Okay, then. Grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s work this out.

Simplifying your mental space can be as simple as discarding clothes that no longer fit. But I posit that it will be a tad bit harder. Time and time again I saw people rationalize keeping something because it cost them so much. I get it. When you spend a lot of money on something, it’s hard to get rid of it. The same thing goes for your mental space. When you’ve lived with specific ideas and beliefs for so long, they’ve attached themselves to you as though they are your identity. I’m not telling you it will be easy to change these things. I’m simply asking you to consider a new set of ideas. Ready? Here we go.

1) Declutter your home. I know, I know. I said I wasn’t going to tell you to do this. But I’m not talking about getting rid of half-used candles, broken items, and socks with holes in them (but, yeah, of course, get rid of those). I’m talking about items that hold energy you no longer need—pictures, letters, ticket stubs from concerts with old boyfriends, etc. You don’t need a bunch of stagnant energy hanging around. (Disclaimer: If you’ve experienced a death of a loved one recently, I’m not talking to you. Take all the time you need to grieve.) You other people? Build a fire. Burn it all. You don’t need to look at it anymore because it no longer serves your greater good. (Hey! A bonus song!)

2) Get rid of bad mental habits. My son has recently started saying, “I’m so stupid!” after making a mistake. This deflating self-talk is unacceptable behavior, so I make him say two nice things about himself when I hear him utter a disparaging statement. The same thing goes for you. Stop saying you’re fat. Stop feeling guilty for taking a much-needed nap. Stop apologizing for wearing ‘Mom Clothes’ around the house. Stop feeling sorry for yourself because your husband cheated on you. Wash your face; get out of the house. Make a list of all the things that make you absolutely fucking wonderful, and read the shit out of that list every time you try to tell yourself otherwise.

3) Cut out toxic people. If someone dares to tell you, to your face, that they don’t like you, then put your shoes on and walk out the door. Do not look back. Accept any apology, of course, but apologies do not have to equal reconciliation. Here’s why: You can aspire to be the most mentally healthy person on the planet, but everyone – every-fucking-one – has the potential to become toxic when they are in a toxic relationship. Get the heck out of there before the shit from their high-horsed position runs downhill and gets all over you.

4) Take charge of your money. Money is energy. It doesn’t matter if you make $12 an hour or $120; if you aren’t taking control of your financial situation, someone else is taking charge of it for you. That negativity will occupy too much space in your life and drag you down. Create a budget, set clear goals, and your financial decisions will become much more straightforward. The day I decided I wanted to build a home was when it became easier to say no to things I really didn’t need. Er, um, except this perfume. I really did need this perfume.

5) Remember that time is currency. When the pandemic first hit, I worked full time and had my massage therapy practice on the side. As a massage therapist, I wasn’t considered ‘essential’ in the first wave of COVID, so I couldn’t see clients. One night, my son commented that he liked spending time with me after school as we were coloring. We had been finding ways to spend our evening together since I wasn’t seeing clients. I closed my office right away – not because of the pandemic – but because time with my son was more important. Start getting rid of the activities that no longer bring you joy and spend that time doing something that brings greater meaning to you. When you make room for better things, better things will come. (Albeit, a bit ‘Field of Dreams’ – ish, but true nonetheless).

In summary, we often think that we should be adding to our lives for it to be better. I disagree and strongly recommend that you start subtracting. Life is complicated enough without you adding more to it. The less you own, the less clutter you have, and the less time you invest into things you don’t want to do, the simpler life becomes. When you spend time with people that drain your energy, you are not giving the Universe time to expand your trusting connections. Are you ready? I damn sure am.

In closing, here’s your song, Dear Reader. Aren’t you tired of trying to fill a void with the wrong things/people/ideas? I am, for sure. What are you getting rid of in 2022? Pounds? Clothes? A job you hate? That dumb boat? A relationship that sucks the life out of you? I’m curious. Drop me a line in the comments below.

PS…Numbers for last week’s post blew the rest of them out of the water. Thank you to whoever shared the post. If you like this post and think others might like it too, feel free to share it on social media. Hugs! See you next year!

Letting Go of Attachment

Today I took a stack of books down to one of the little free libraries about a mile from my house, freeing myself of the requirement of dusting them. As I locked the little door back on the library and walked away, I felt a bit freer but also as though, somehow, my generous contribution was making an impact on the entire Universe. A little over the top, I’m sure, but hey. Whatever gets me through the ‘unloading process’, right?

And what a great segue into the last of the Yamas in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga: Aparigraha. Aparigraha is, essentially, the art of practicing non-attachment. When translated, we often see it as the practice of non-greed or non-possessiveness. Recently I had experienced a little bit of jealousy – something I’m not necessarily prone to, so when this was introduced to me, that’s the spot in my psyche where it landed.

This Yama instructs us to only take what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when the time is right. The letting go part was hard for me -,one I’m working through by trusting the Universe with the process.

Aparigrahpa introduces the art of ‘having no attachment to the outcome’. This can be misleading if you aren’t familiar with Buddhist tradition – which I’m not – but (and I could be so far off base here…) I gather that it means that you aren’t hoping for an outcome – it’s just that you have let go of the emotional attachment to the outcome. In other words, sometimes the Universe is smarter than we are. Sometimes It delivers what we want in a different time or different place – like ten years later – or maybe…maybe it delivers something so completely different, but better for us, despite our longings leading up to that.

I’m extremely good at letting go of material items but absolutely fucking awful at letting go of emotional pain. I’m working through it, which I guess is the point, but to sit here and tell you that after one yoga class on Aparigrahpa and a few weeks of trying new things that I’m all better? Well, that would be untruthful – which is the second of the Yamas.

So, I did easy stuff to work on my practice of Aparigrahpa in the weeks that followed the class. I did these minor – but important – things. I hope they can help you consider what you can do:

Purge and then purge some more. I had a garage sale. (That’s the same as a tag sale for my New England readers.) I’ve done this a million times in my lifetime and written about it here. But most of my big sales came prior to a move to another state, so this time I really focused on what was no longer serving me. There were some things I had hung onto for years, moving from place to place, because I thought I might need it someday. Graham Hill has a great TedTalk about this very thing, and when I went through my closets and drawers and boxes and bins, I simply asked myself if this was serving me and the life I wanted to have. Additionally, while I was just sitting out there in my garage, I started going through totes I had packed there. This was an interesting endeavor to say the least. I won’t go into any details, but let’s just say this: About $2000 worth of wedding photos, a wedding video and follow up photographs got shipped off to the Springfield landfill. And I am not sorry one little bit about it.

Give to others. I made an anonymous gift. Don’t get too excited. It wasn’t huge and it wasn’t the first time. But, I get a kick out of being the infamous anonymous donor. I don’t give for the recognition and I don’t expect anything in return. My concern is in the action alone – never the fruits of that action. I never want the results of the action to be my motive for giving and I’m not attached to the inaction, either. I was called to give so I gave.

Let go of the attachment. We already touched on how this affects me in relationships, so I’ll go for an explanation a little less ‘charged’. For years I didn’t write because I didn’t think I was good enough. When I stopped focusing on whether or not I was any good at it, and simply started doing it again, I was able to expand. Many great poets like Thoreu and Whitman or painters like Corot weren’t sure of what would come of their art. They simply enjoyed the process of it. I let go of the idea that my happiness was determined by what others thought and simply started writing as therapy. Therapy turned into a blog. A blog is turning into a story. A story is turning into a novel. If people read my work and like it – great. If it inspires you – even better! But, as part of Aparigraha, I am not tying my self worth to the opinions of others. I have let go of the attachment to the outcome.

So as I leave you today, I leave you with a Jason Isbell song which is one of my favorites though it sounds a bit melancholy.

I also want to ask you these things:

What are you hanging on to that no longer serves you? Is it ‘stuff’ or emotions? People? I know that letting go isn’t always simple, but sometimes it is necessary.

How are you generous – or can be more generous to those around you? When we offer the truth (like I do here in my blog to you) then we are also being generous. Let’s not forget how powerful the truth can really be. It can make all the difference in the world even if it isn’t bedazzled and perfect.

Are you attached to an outcome? Are you betraying your natural talent because of fear? If so, how can you push yourself through this and live in the beauty that is you?

I really do love to hear from you, if you are out there reading. I may not be attached to an outcome, but I do like to communicate!