Oops, I did it again…

NewYear

I’ve been quiet for a while…no new posts…and that’s because I’ve been too busy crashing headfirst BACK into an emotional shitstorm. Yep, I did it again…I “fell off the wagon”…I took my one step (I would say it’s more like one and three-quarters of a step) back after taking two forward. I was |___| this close to believing all the people who told me that things were going to get better and that my misery wouldn’t last forever. I was SO close to accepting things for what they were and just living in the moment. The evidence is right here in my blog! I was so busy being awesome that for the first time in 18 months, I gave up my suicidal ideations…I was too busy to entertain those thoughts. For the first time in 18 months, I marked a “0” or “1” on my diary card for suicidal ideations. I told my therapist to file that under “miracles” because I didn’t think there would ever be a time where I would be able to do that. I never pictured myself in a spot where I could actually leave my suicide security blanket and “go out and play.” It. Was. Awesome. And I say “was” because I am writing this while under my suicide security blanket…my fort. I will, for now, collectively refer to the past three months as “The Awesome Months” for they were indeed awesome and as much as I hate to admit it, they are also over…for the time being.

I’m so angry with myself because I don’t know if I had a say in whether or not I fell off the wagon. Do I have a legitimate chemical imbalance somewhere in my brain that I have no control over? Or am I so “whipped” that it is this easy to fall back into a pattern of misery, suicidal ideations and self-harm? I’m mad that I let myself get kicked down again. And I’m also mad because I don’t know why or how it happened. Things were great…they were AWESOME…and then I tripped over myself right before Christmas…and I don’t know if Christmas is to blame for my current mood or my fall just happened to coincide with the holiday. I honestly don’t know if Christmas was just way too emotional. I had (or thought I had) mastered acceptance and mindfulness by the time Christmas rolled around, but I hadn’t quite yet mastered distress tolerance (the module, ironically, that we just finished in group therapy) or anything else, thus allowing Christmas to inadvertantly get the best of me. I felt great because I had these stupid DBT skills by the balls and then I trip over a piece of lint and here I am at rock bottom again. WTF? My therapist (and her cohort, K) always says that it is easier to use the skills when you’re NOT in a crisis; the true challenge comes when you need to use them while IN a crisis. And she is absolutely right. My therapist also always tells me that emotions and situations, good and bad, don’t last forever. She’s right about that, too. I don’t know what to do right now…except strangle the next person that mentions mindfulness or distress tolerance to me. DBT can suck it right now.

I think I’ve mentioned before that my home life is not a very validating environment, so my DBT skill usage is constantly being challenged. M and K tell me every week that I’m doing good and fine and awesome and they give me gold stars for getting out of the house on non-therapy days and for participating and talking in group. Then I come home, still feeling awesome, and I actually feel like talking…so I do…to my mom and her boyfriend or whoever else happens to be at the house. But after about one sentence, I am told to take a chill pill and shut up. So in all honesty, I get really confused. I get a “yay!” from one peanut gallery and a “shut up!” from the other. Uhhh…what? Encouragement from one source and invalidation from another. I would like to say that I am reasonably intelligent, maybe more so than the average bear, but there are times where I feel so absolutely stupid because I don’t understand simple concepts. At almost 30, I do not know when I am talking too much. I have M and K (and my peers) telling me that I’m doing great and that they value what I have to say, but I say one sentence at home and am told to shut up, that I am talking too much. WTF? What is too much and what isn’t? At this age, you would think I would have figured it out by now…but no, I haven’t.

My mom, as I’ve come to learn, is very good at being passive-aggressive. This isn’t really a new revelation but it’s more obvious to me now than it was before. I did, miraculously, receive a pair of Beats headphones by Dr. Dre for Christmas…and they made me really happy…momentarily. Because, you see, the headphones came with an unspoken annotation of, “I bought these for you, now suck it up and be happy.” Translated: “I have no reason to be unhappy and moody right now because I just received a really expensive gift from the person that I have managed to financially drain and thus, shouldn’t have ever received the headphones in the first place and I don’t deserve the headphones because I’ve also been emotionally draining and a complete shithead this year…but here are the headphones anyway…go…you must be happy from here on out, no exceptions.” Yep…ALL of that crammed into one set of headphones. Fuck it. Take the headphones back. I’m not going to be bought. I’m not going to smile and be awesome just because you made tuning (puns are so much fun!) you out more awesome and fun (I don’t think my mom realized these were noise canceling headphones). It’s really not worth it if it’s going to be a quid pro quo sort of deal. Thanks, but I’ll keep my cheap-o headphones that allow me to ride and deal with my emotional waves as they come.

God, I’m so pissed! Pissed at the world and pissed at myself. I didn’t want to see the bottom ever again, much less so soon after catching a glimpse of that silver lining. Fuck. The light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be another oncoming train. It’s like life is fucking with me…dangling that proverbial carrot in front of my face…teasing me. “See what you can’t ever have? Na na naw boo boo!” And I’m pissed because I don’t understand. I was doing everything right, everything I should have and could have been doing to make my life better and going in the right direction. Where did I go wrong? Unfortunately, there is no disclaimer anywhere, in the DBT manual or otherwise, that says if you do steps A, B and C…you will get X, Y and Z. Oh, if it were only that simple… I really have no other words to say other than that I’m pissed…and fuck. That’s a good word to use right now. Fuck. Therapy is nice but screaming FUCK! at the top of your lungs for 10 seconds is a lot faster and cheaper…instant gratification.

I spent a majority of today’s one-on-one session with M apologizing. I must have said “I’m sorry” about a hundred times. She finally told me to shut the fuck up (and not in a mean way, but in a nice I-know-you-and-it’s-really-okay-because-you-have-absolutely-nothing-to-apologize-for kind of way). I also apologized to M last Thursday for giving her a shitty group therapy session. K was gone and so it was M and one of the original facilitators I had and a “guest” therapist who was thinking about getting trained in DBT. The group was small last week…I’m guessing it was due to the holidays…a lot of people busy and out of town. Not to say that I bring the party, but group therapy sessions have been a little more fun and awesome over the past few months (at least for me) due to my “enlightenment” and good mood. I was in a bad mood on Thursday and in fact, I didn’t even want to go to group…but I wanted M, so I went. That guest therapist picked a really shitty day to observe a DBT group. I felt like shit later because it was not what I would call a “typical” group therapy session…it was smaller than usual, K was gone and it was a review of the distress tolerance module; no new information. M, bless her heart, was facilitating and trying desperately to get the four of us that did come to group to give her the answers to the questions she was asking. I am normally like Hermione from Harry Potter…first hand in the air, pick me pick me!…except I usually ax raising my hand and just vomit out the answers. I was in no mood on Thursday and M was struggling to get us going…and I felt like shit for not helping her out and for giving that guest therapist a shoddy glimpse of our DBT group. We were SO quiet, in fact, that M actually ended up letting us go a few minutes early and I headed straight for the door but not fast enough because M managed to grab me. I had put 3’s on my check-in sheet in response to suicidal ideations which meant she had to do a safety check and she also sensed that I wasn’t doing so hot, and thankfully (for me), it also gave me a chance to apologize to M right then and there for my shitty group performance instead of ruminating about it until I saw her today. Then, as I said before, I spent most of today’s session apologizing to her for God only knows what…everything…to the point where I actually said sorry for saying sorry so much. Fo’ realz. She told me to shut the fuck up. And I tried…but a few more “sorry’s” slipped out…and I apologized for those, too… I should probably mention that over-apologizing and apologizing for things like this, things that don’t need to be apologized for, is a DBT no-no…as in it’s something we should refrain from doing.

As I recounted Christmas to M and all that happened over the holidays, we spent an extra few minutes talking about my relationship with my mom and how we just seem to “feed” off each other’s emotions and/or how mom’s mood so dramatically affects my own mood. And it’s very true. I won’t deny it. I’ve said from day one that if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy and she will make damn sure that you are not happy if she is not happy; how dare you be happy if she is not. I love my momma, don’t get me wrong…but a lot of the time, I feel it’s more out of obligation than because of how I actually feel; she is my mother and as her child, I am obligated to love her because that’s what children are supposed to do…but that’s another post for another day. My mom and I don’t talk about the deep and serious stuff. When and if we try, one of us ends up in tears and it’s usually me because I can’t get any sort of validation from her and I just end up more upset than I was before we even had the conversation, so I’ve learned to just not have the conversation at all…damage control. My mother is the queen at passive-aggressiveness. She will never come and directly ask for things and she will never tell you how she really feels. She wants to make you guess and read in between the lines instead of saving everyone the headache and just spitting it out. Some examples: I recounted the last few Christmas’ for M today and one involved the year where my mom and her boyfriend agreed that they weren’t going to exchange gifts with each other that year and they were going to just buy things for us kids. Boyfriend was cool with that; didn’t get my mom a thing. Mom goes and buys Boyfriend a really expensive gift and gets her panties in a knot when there is not a present for her from Boyfriend under the tree that year. Boyfriend is very literal and if you agree to not buy presents for each other, he ain’t gonna buy you a present…and it’s not because he’s a dick, that’s just how he is…they each agreed to not buy presents for each other so he didn’t. He doesn’t play mom’s games and why he’s even still with her after eight years is anyone’s guess but bless his heart because he takes the heat off me sometimes because my mom will end up being more mad at him for coming home late than at me for my pissy attitude and not emptying the dishwasher. Next example: my mom, in passing and through “subtle hints”, says she really wants to go out with Boyfriend for New Year’s. Remember, Boyfriend isn’t good at reading in between the lines and you have to pretty much tell him point-blank what you want or he won’t get the hint. My mom wants to go out REALLY bad but does she ask Boyfriend? No. She gets pissy at him (“punishing” him) and everyone else because she’s now in a bad mood because she’s not going out tonight and Boyfriend is all WTF? And I come along and whisper to him that she’s mad because he didn’t take her out and he’s all, “She didn’t ask!” And I’m like, “Duh.” That’s what most days are like in this house. You would think, with all my psychological and emotional issues, that I would be the one causing the most turmoil in this house but I really don’t think it’s me…or at least not all the time. I don’t like to rain on other people’s parade so instead of chatting or hanging out with people, be it mom or her boyfriend or whomever, I prefer to put on headphones and write or self-soothe BY MYSELF in my room away from everyone. This often gets misconstrued and misinterpreted; I am often accused of avoiding and being a bitch. I may be avoiding, but it’s a coping skill, not a bitch skill…I need to step away from you so I don’t snap and kill you…you are exacerbating my emotions and I need you to leave or I need to leave. And also remember that I am a hardcore introvert and I don’t possess the best people skills nor do I possess the tolerance to be around people, no matter how many, for any length of time. I enjoy me, myself and I and as a coping skill, this works out great because I have no one adding to my misery but me…but in a backasswards sort of way, choosing to avoid and isolate adds to my misery because I get chastised for it. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

All that to say that I am constantly invalidated at home. M and K work their asses off to set up skills for me and teach me how and when to use them and when I try in therapy or group, I am praised and “rewarded” for my attempts, even if I fail. When I try those same skills at home, it blows up in my face and/or I somehow come out feeling like I just totally failed using the “right” skills and I beat myself up for doing “wrong” when I really did “right.” I only get M and/or K for a total of about two and a half hours every week…and they spend that time teaching me skills and helping me navigate the rough waters…but that leaves however many more hours and days at home where people proceed to wipe away every skill and piece of information I learned. What I’m getting at here is that my therapist gave me another great metaphor today: Learning to use the “right” (“healthy” is a better word, I think) skills in an environment like mine is like trying to set up a tent during a windstorm. Picture yourself doing that…go on…I’ll wait.

Not easy is it? Frustrating, isn’t it? You said a lot of cuss words, didn’t you? Welcome to my life! Not only do I get frustrated and mad, I end up making things even worse for myself because I beat myself up for improper skill usage when in actuality, I did a great job…I just didn’t get the desired result, validation or reinforcement and am somehow manipulated into thinking I did something wrong. WAY back in one of my first posts, I said one of the first things you have to learn in DBT is that you cannot control how other people react to you or your behavior. I can do everything “right” and I can do it until I’m blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean I am going to get any other reaction than what I get out of my mom, her boyfriend, or whomever else I am interacting with. As easy as that is to say and believe and know, I still fail to remember it in the midst of being manipulated into thinking I did something wrong when I actually just executed a skill correctly and in a healthy way.

I’m not going to blame my mom for me being in the place I am right now or for the place I have been the for the last 18 months, but I will say that she has probably hindered more than she has helped. After visualizing M’s metaphor today, I wondered how different the last 18 months would have been had I not been living at home. M and K get two and a half hours every week to get through to me and help me work on getting healthy and my mom spends the rest of the time completely (and inadvertently) destroying everything M and K have set up for me. M and K and myself are trying desperately to set up that damn tent and my mom (or someone or something else) is the wind that knocks it right over as we are cussing and throwing our hands up in the air. I know that song by Chumbawamba that says, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down”…but I’m a little tired from getting up every single time I get knocked down. I tried physically doing this to prove my own point. Sit down (and not in a chair…get on the ground, legs crossed). Then get back up. Sit down. Get back up. Keep doing it. You get tired after a while, don’t you? You just proved my point. I’m tired. I’m worn out. Do I want to give up? Not entirely, but I’m too damn tired to give a fuck and I’d rather just take the easy way out (interpret that however you want). The easy answer to this whole conundrum is to just move out and get out of this environment. The caveat is that I am not well enough to hold down a job and I am, even at almost 30, completely and financially dependent on my mom. I hate it. It hurts my pride. It’s one more thing my mom can hold over my head (and she does). But I don’t have any other choice right now. I have to make this work in order to make myself work, emotionally and physically and it’s just an unfortunate revolving door that I have yet to figure out how to get out of. So again, I won’t blame my mom for my current emotional state but I can’t help but wonder how different things might have been or might be in the future if she didn’t spend so much time blowing down my carefully constructed tent. I need to find some tent posts to hammer into the ground somewhere and I don’t know if that needs to come from within (as in trying harder to not let my mom get the best of me) or if it needs to come from learning some other DBT skill and knowing it well enough to execute it at home. The answer, my friend, is probably blowing in the wind but it’s definitely not the wind coming from my mom.

Throughout the past three months, I tried really hard to not psych myself out (no pun intended but lol anyway) by telling myself that I was finally happy and that I was finally “getting better.” But in the deep recesses of my mind, that is what I really wanted to be happening…I wanted to start New Year’s off with a literal bang of awesomeshitsauce…but I failed. And now, I get to greet another year that I was not ever supposed to see because I wasn’t supposed to have lived long enough to see it. I also have a birthday coming up that I wasn’t supposed to see, either. And I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because I usually break them sometime around 12:02 AM on January 1st. Very futile. And resolutions are also a great setup for disappointment which I seem to be doing just fine at without adding a New Year’s resolution to my stack of shit to do.

Here’s to fucking up and here’s to the end of another shitty year we’ll one day be strangely nostalgic for. (I really should have purchased some alcohol…)

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Where are you, Christmas?

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Yay for early morning epiphanies that wake you up and you have to write down/express them so you can go back to sleep! (…said no one ever…)

I ponder this every year. I mentioned somewhere in the chaos of my Thanksgiving posts that I really don’t like the holidays anymore. I don’t like them for a variety of reasons, most of which I think I covered already. But now it’s time for Christmas. It’s “crunch time” as they call it. Time to finish decking those halls and time to speed from store to store and spend obscene amounts of money (that most of us don’t even have to spend) on presents and gas and then time to run on fumes until you pass out on top of all the wrapping paper with pieces of Scotch tape stuck to your forehead and butt.

Christmas’s in my home were always spent doing the same thing with the same people and engaging in the same traditions every year for 21 years. I always knew what to expect. The year my dad died (right before Thanksgiving 2005), my whole world changed…including the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas 2005 were the first holidays I celebrated with a family that wasn’t my own. And every year since then, it’s been different. I never know what to expect anymore. I can usually expect some drama and I can usually count on someone getting their feelings hurt at some point between Thanksgiving and New Years and be so upset about it that they ruin everyone else’s mood…and the obvious one to point your finger at would be me but 99% of the time, it’s not (it’s usually my mom, to be honest). I used to love Christmas with every ounce of my being…until the year my dad died. I turned into a Grinch that year. Tidings of comfort and joy could have kissed my lily white ass that year because I was not being comforted and I sure as hell wasn’t in any mood to be joyful. That first year, I chalked my feelings up to grief…but seven years later, I still don’t enjoy the holidays…Christmas especially. Now I wonder if it’s a tiny bit of grief mixed in with the fact that I’m just getting older. There’s no magic anymore. I don’t know if it’s normal for Christmas to stop being magical once you hit a certain age. Of course, if you have kids, you get to mooch off their magic (and their reactions and behavior on Christmas morning are absolutely precious…that will go on my “pros” list as to whether or not I want children).

I remember getting so freakin’ excited to pick out a Christmas tree and decorate it. I loved stringing Christmas lights up all over my room, singing Christmas songs at the top of my lungs and putting out all my own personal decorations and stuffed animals and getting to wear those Christmas jammies that I only get to wear a couple times each year. The house I grew up in had a HUGE formal living room with cathedral ceilings so we always had a MASSIVE (9 foot minimum) pine tree. I would get to decorate the middle and bottom of the tree (because I was/am short) and my mom, dad and brother would handle the stuff up top. My cat “helped decorate” the bottom by promptly removing the ornaments placed there and hiding them for us to find once we took all the Christmas decorations down sometime in January. (I miss my cat…even if she did eat my ornaments…) And it was so beautiful. The smell was amazing. I took out each ornament and carefully selected a special place for it on the tree while reflecting on the memories each ornament held. All of my “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornaments were officially handed down to me when I moved out and purchased my very first Christmas tree. My memories move me to tears now just thinking about them because they were all so special. And I suppose they are still special…it just makes me sad because they are now just memories instead of the traditions that they used to be.

I’m sitting here trying to remember the last time I decorated my own room for Christmas (I’ve been home for just over 5 years now)…and I can’t come up with an answer…I don’t remember. My mom is pretty much in charge of the household decorating since most of the decorations are hers and she is a decoration Nazi. You can “help” her decorate by lifting an item out of a box but she will tell you where to put it and don’t you dare suggest another place for it or try to move it when she’s not home. It’s true what they say about moms…they have eyes in the back of their heads. I think my mom has 8 eyes…like spiders. As I look around my Bat Cave right now, I see one set of Grinch pajamas (a tradition in our family, that is thankfully still done, is that all the kids get new pajamas on Christmas Eve and we wear those to bed that night and open presents while wearing them on Christmas morning). I don’t know how long I’ve had those pajamas…just a t-shirt and flannel bottoms with pictures of a little green Dr. Seuss Grinch all over them. Mom usually asks us if there is some particular type or character we want on our pajamas. I asked for the Grinch ones after I saw them in Target one year. (I know I reference “The Grinch” a lot…I’m sorry…but my reasons for doing so are because I truly love the real Dr. Seuss story…the meaning…that Christmas doesn’t come from a store, it means more…and also because I feel horrible for being such a Grinch myself. Maybe I wear it as a label…a warning. I don’t want to take other people’s Christmas away from them…I’m just such a cynical bitch about Christmas now that I can’t think of a better name for myself other than The Grinch-Bitch.) I see one Christmas t-shirt that was purchased for me a couple years ago that says “Oh snap!” with a picture of a gingerbread man on the front with one of his arms snapped off. (I say “Oh snap!” a lot so it’s totally fitting.) I see one unopened box of Christmas cards that I have every intention of preparing this weekend so I can send them out on Monday. That even surprises me because I can’t remember the last time I sent out Christmas cards. For a few years, I made my own damn Christmas cards by hand and went all artsy-fartsy. Fuck that now. Consider yourself lucky if you get a piece of cardstock from me at all. And if you don’t like that piece of cardstock, you won’t get another piece again…and that’s not a threat, that’s a promise. If you knew how much effort it is taking for me to be willing to even entertain the idea of sending out cards this year, you would appreciate the time I put into picking them out, writing a little a note, slapping a stamp on the front and mailing it. Just because it’s “short and sweet” doesn’t mean it isn’t sent out with love and the best of intentions. I’m not doing it because I feel obligated to do it because it’s just what people do, I’m doing it because I want to. If you knew me, you would know that I am not one to follow the crowd. I like to be that proverbial “sore thumb”…I may not be pretty to look at, but you’re looking at me and that means that even if you don’t like what you see, you still notice me. (And as a side note, I think if you do things because you feel obligated to and you do it when your heart’s not in it, whatever it is you’re doing doesn’t mean shit. To me, it’s like giving someone an empty bag. Don’t do it if your heart’s not in it.) The last Christmas item I see in my room is, surprisingly, a new edition…as in it’s only been living here for about a week. But it’s one item that I am quite fond of and is something that makes me giggle. It is a piece of wood, painted white, and in red, sparkly letters says “DON’T GET YOUR TINSEL IN A TANGLE” LOVE IT! But that’s about as much hall decking as I’ve done this year and I really don’t plan on doing any more. (If you’re curious about when I will purchase gifts for people, stop being curious because I am an unemployed suicidal-depressed-overly-anxious-neurotic…ergo, I don’t have any money to buy people presents.) I don’t really care about the rest of the house because it’s not my domain and I’m just really not into it this year. My mom and her boyfriend, after having a huge fight, purchased a Christmas tree last weekend. It sat in the garage for a few days to dry because we live in the Pacific Northwest and you can’t just drag a pine tree into your home without letting it dry off a little first. Because my mom was so mad at her boyfriend last weekend, she dove into her own Christmas collection and has set out some decorations that I once considered staples in our home during this season and things I have not seen in over 8 years. I still wanted nothing to do with the decorating, but I felt some warm fuzzies seeing some of those things. No one puts lights on the outside of the house. I don’t really know why, to be honest. My dad always put up lights on our old house but this house, the one my mom and her boyfriend own, has never played host to outside Christmas lights.

Name a kid who celebrates Christmas, knows some strange dude in a red suit is sticking his ass down your chimney (even if you don’t have a fireplace!) and leaves you some really awesome shit under a half dried out pine tree and doesn’t explode with excitement. I was one of those kids once. My how those presents sparkled underneath that beautiful tree I helped decorate. (I’m serious kids, our living room could have been on the front of a Hallmark card.) I don’t remember, but I have been told that I used to sleep through Christmas Eve and had to be woken up on Christmas morning in order to participate in the festivities. BUT…I have a half-brother who is 8 and a half years older than I am. He needed a partner in crime so he drafted his cute little sister and started waking her up after mom and dad went to bed. (Yes kids, it was mom and dad who left you your toys under the tree. I’m sorry if you are just now realizing this and please feel free to send your therapy bills to me at growthefuckup@yourenotfiveyearsoldanymore.com). We were (and still are) allowed to open our stockings before anyone else wakes up and before we start opening presents. Stockings are free game in our house and the only thing we are allowed to touch until everyone else is up. The minute mom and dad went to bed after carefully setting out our gifts from “Santa,” my brother waited about five minutes before getting my cute princess butt out of bed and dragging me downstairs to see our haul. As we got older (and I got wiser), I didn’t need his help to sneak out to the front room. Most of the time, he was already halfway through his stocking by the time I tip-toed into the living room. As HE got older, his feet started to snap, crackle and pop like Rice Krispies when he tried to “sneak” downstairs. When the house was dead quiet at 3 in the morning, he sounded like those Pop-Its you threw on the ground on the Fourth of July. AND my brother’s stocking (handmade by my grandmother) had JINGLE BELLS on it. Oh my word people…if I had a YouTube video of my brother’s adventures in trying to silence those damn bells while rifling through his stocking at 3 AM so he wouldn’t wake up my mom and dad…you would be suffocating yourself with a pillow so you wouldn’t wake up the people in your own house with your laughter. I don’t remember who, but someone cut those bells off some 15 years ago just so my brother would not wake everyone up. I giggle now as I think about this because, as I said before, my brother is almost 9 years older than me and if you’ve been taking notes (or just have a really good memory), that makes him almost 40. (Yes, he acts like a 15-year-old but that’s another post for another late night.) But I’ll be damned if that boy still doesn’t get excited about Christmas morning. If he’s not living at home when Christmas comes (which is rare), he sleeps over on Christmas Eve. He STILL gets up around 3 AM and goes for his stocking and if I didn’t know better, I would swear that boy was gay based on his performance Christmas morning. It makes me laugh and smile…but then it makes me stop and cry. He’s older than me…but he still loves Christmas no matter what financial or legal hardship he’s dealing with. He still gets so fucking excited about it that I daresay I’m almost mad about that. But I’m not really mad…I’m jealous. What went wrong? What did I lose? What changed? I said earlier that for the first Christmas after my dad died, I let myself have a “get out of jail free” card. But what about the last 6 years? I love giving and receiving gifts as much as the next person, but if I wake up in 10 days from now and there is not a single box wrapped in string under that tree with my name on it, I won’t care…and that is the honest to God truth. I would rather wake up on the 25th of December and receive a huge hug, a REAL hug…a real “I love you and I’m so glad you are still here on this earth.”…I would much rather have those things than any iPod, computer or Beats headphones (and seriously, that’s saying something if you know me at all; please refer to my posts in the Music category).

I just don’t know what happened to Christmas. It’s missing in my world. Last year was the first year someone had to come in my room and actually wake me up so I could partake in the ritual gift exchange and breakfast. In my (almost) 29 years of existence, I have NEVER had to be woken up on Christmas morning and chances were, I had already been up for hours before you even decided to get up and go to the bathroom. I can understand and even accept that age probably has a lot to do with it; that transition from truly believing there was an old man who flew through the world in one night and dropped off some of the things we wanted more than anything…to realizing that it was really our parents who did that for us…to now doing it for our own children and getting joy out of seeing the look on their precious faces as they find that doll they have begged you to buy for them for months. (I’m not quite that far yet…I don’t have children…but based on my age, it’s likely I would be doing just that if things had gone the way I had planned for them to. *KNOCK KNOCK!* BRB angel faces…radical acceptance is knocking at my door…)

It’s just not fun anymore. It’s not pretty anymore. I don’t look forward to it anymore. And I don’t know why. Am I just at that age? Am I too exhausted from the other 364 days of the year to give a rats ass about Christmas? Is it because I don’t deal well with changes in traditions? I don’t know. And I probably won’t come up with an answer within the next 10 days. But that’s okay. I’m not going to squash the joy out of anyone else and I’m not going to be a Grinch-bitch (on the outside). It’s just going to be another day for me because truly…that’s all it is…just another day. But you will probably still find me looking under my car, out my bedroom window, behind the sofa, in the mail box…looking everywhere…and asking, “Where are you, Christmas?”

Where are you Christmas?
Why can’t I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter you used to bring me?
Why can’t I hear music play?

My world is changing.
I’m rearranging.
Does that mean Christmas changes too?

Where are you Christmas?
I’m not the same one.
See what the time’s done?
Is that why you have let me go?
Do you remember?
The girl you used to know?
You and I were so carefree.
Now nothing’s easy.
Did Christmas change?
Or just me?

(I know there is an ending to a version of this song that involves finding Christmas again, but I haven’t found it yet…so I choose to stop the song here.)

Living In The Moment

Yes, you get two posts in one night because it’s been that long since I’ve written and today was such a mind blowing day that I am inviting you to experience it with me.

In my “Slumber” post (which is required reading, by the way), I prattled on about how music is my nirvana and how powerful it is. In the beginning of that post, I also said I had an uncanny ability to find the most appropriate songs at the most appropriate times. Today was no exception.

Yet another part of DBT-focused therapy is radical acceptance (which is part of the Distress Tolerance module). *insert a HUGE sigh here* Acceptance, much less radical acceptance, was/is/probably always will be the bane of my existence and therapy. It is something I will fight and struggle with and cry over and embrace and punch over and over and over again. In a nutshell, radical acceptance is the acceptance (toleration if you want another word) of everything (your life, situation, a relationship, a feeling, a thought, etc.). Now that doesn’t mean that because you accept something, it’s good or okay…it’s just acknowledging that it happened/is happening and you have no control over it (other than what you let it do to you). “It is what it is.” If I had a nickel…

(As a disclaimer, any DBT skill I explain/talk about is always easier said than done.) Radical acceptance takes a lot of practice and a lot of work and after over a year in this therapy group, I am still learning and practicing this skill and there are days where I’m really good at saying, “Fuck it. It is what it is.”…but there are just as many, if not more, days where I say, “I hate you, Life! Y u gotta b such a biatch?! If only I had done this or that, or said this or that…” and on and on and on. Broken record. You continually beat yourself up for all the coulda woulda shoulda’s. Stop that shit. Seriously. (When I figure out how to do it, I’ll let you know.) Acceptance is not a skill that comes easily, if at all, and for me personally, it’s often something I get to after I’ve already beaten myself up (in DBT, they call that “suffering”) if acceptance even comes to me at all. Group and homework this week, as it so happens (but not really because all things happen for a reason), is all about radical acceptance. My peers and I managed to fill all 90 minutes of group time with our musings (and bashings) about acceptance and we probably could have continued until the sun came up if the therapists had let us (sometimes I swear they are grateful for that clock…oh who am I kidding?! I’m grateful for that clock some weeks!). I had some pretty awesome epiphanies this week and even came out with a new a favorite “soundtrack” song. (For those of you who are behind on the required reading *ahem*, “soundtrack” songs are songs I could put in a movie about my life and they would be dead-on perfect for a particular scene.) Before I even knew we were approaching our radical acceptance module, I wrote the “In My Mind” post. In that post, I rambled on about how shitty I thought it was that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life and things hadn’t gone according to my plan…the one I so meticulously laid out for myself. That song helped me get a little bit further in accepting that “shit happens.” And I said helped…it wasn’t a cure-all…maybe saying that it gave me perspective is a better way to put it. So I walk into group last week with “In My Mind” already floating around in my brain and THEN the therapists want to go and pull the radical acceptance module out on me. It’s moments like those where I wonder who is Big Brother’ing me because sometimes things like that are just way too freaky, even for someone like me who’s own personal conviction is that all things, good and bad, happen for a reason. I walk into group singing, “Maybe I’ve just forgotten how to seeeee…that I’m not exactly the person that I thought I’dddd beeee…” and the therapists go and slap me upside the head with the radical acceptance unit. Really?! Seriously?! BUT…it was what it was…so I rolled with it. (Like what I did there?)

Our homework asked us to list out three really important things that we need to work on accepting and three less important things we need to work on accepting. (Obviously, I was already one step ahead of everyone else.) And then we get to pick those six things apart and attempt to “radically accept” them or at least be aware that we need to work on accepting them for what they are…be it life in general, a situation, a person, what have you. I’m an OCD over-achiever so naturally, I listed FOUR really important things I needed to work on accepting because I just enjoy making things really difficult for myself. I said above that I had already walked into group singing “In My Mind” so accepting my life for what it is, despite going completely OFF the charts of where it was SUPPOSED to go, was my #1 thing I needed/wanted to work on accepting. (I said the song helped…it didn’t “make it all better.”)

After that lovely 90-minute group session, I was hit with epiphany after epiphany. I wrote all over my homework page (I’m so glad we don’t actually have to hand those in). I like to write (duh) and so I write A LOT. Sometimes it’s a blog post, sometimes it’s a one-sentence musing or random thought that gets shoved into a text message, a Facebook status update, a 140-character Tweet, or written all over whatever piece of paper I happen to have handy. One such epiphany that I patted myself on the back for (and later found out that my therapist LOVED…so much, in fact, that she asked me to save it and repeat it to the group later this week) was this one: I’ve mentioned (I think) in some of my posts that I was, at one point, majoring in psychology. (If I didn’t mention it before, I’m mentioning it now.) I haven’t totally given up this dream and while I now realize I could probably never be a therapist, I do enjoy taking notes on serial killers, so I imagine, in my perfect healthy world, that I could be a criminal profiler some day. I also said (in my “About Me” section, I believe) that I am that proverbial preschooler who incessantly asks, “Why?” I’m curious about anything and everything and I like figuring out what makes people tick (myself included). People say TV makes you dumb. I say it only makes you dumb if you let it make you dumb (e.g. you watch Honey Boo Boo and/or Keeping Up With The Kardashians). My TV generally stays on the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, TLC, or the Investigation Discovery Channel. I don’t condone nor do I believe in everything I see and hear…BUT…I enjoy learning about different people and our world and all the who’s, why’s, what’s, and how’s of almost anything. Yes, I am much more inclined to watch a documentary about Aileen Wuornos than I am Toddlers & Tiaras, but that’s just because I have this weird fascination with crime and serial killers that I haven’t quite figured out yet. (And as a side note, I would much rather watch a real documentary on crime scene investigating, graphic photos and all, than watch CSI or any other “fake” TV drama series.) All that to say that I “enjoy” (I say that lightly) watching Hoarders on A&E (and the TLC one, too). (If you don’t know what hoarding is, click HERE. Remember people, Google is a wonderful tool.) Yes, I have to turn my head away or turn the program off if it involves animal hoarding or anything really nasty but those are insignificant details. In my brain (which is always running rampant with random musings) as I watched Hoarders this past week (which, unfortunately, was one that involved animals so I only watched the other person’s story and not the story of the animal lady…if you don’t know, most of the shows document the lives of two different hoarders per episode)…something hit me: When it comes down to it…as least as far as those of us who have psychological and/or emotional disorders…aren’t we ALL hoarders? Some people hoard THINGS…tangible items…but some of us (the “mental” ones) hoard emotions and feelings. The crux of the behavior that is “hoarding” is a mental disorder marked by an obsessive need to acquire and keep things, even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or “unsanitary”. How are we, as non-hoarders and emotionally dysregulated people, any different? Do we not sit in a group for 90 minutes every week trying to learn skills that will aid us in “throwing out” all of our “garbage”? Pick your chin up off the floor because you know I’m right. BOOM! Mind-blowing, huh? Well that’s what you get when you put a TV in front of an emotionally dysregulated almost-30-year-old who cannot radically accept her own life and throw away all the garbage that consumes her life on a daily basis.

I’ll have to explore this theory in group, but I wonder sometimes if I’ve made my own journey even harder because I am such a perfectionist. It’s so hard for me to just let go of shit. I remember being in school, back when we had to hand-write (in cursive, no less!) our essays…none of that 12-point-Times-New-Roman-double-spaced shit. If I made a mistake, no matter how tiny or fixable that mistake was, I crumpled that paper up and started writing my essay all over again…even if I was almost done with it the first time. It had to be perfect. And my life has gone SO far off of perfect that it has literally eaten me alive. But fear not…because I’m working on letting go of that habit. I’m learning to live in the moment.

Remember wayyyyyy back where I mentioned the “In My Mind” song and post before I got into this long-winded tangent? Come back to that now. There is a part of that song that says, “And in my mind, I imagine so many things…things that aren’t really happening. And when they put me in the ground, I’ll start pounding the lid, saying ‘I haven’t finished yet’…I still have a tattoo to get…that says I’m living in the moment…” On the pretense of doing my best to remain anonymous, I’ll just say that I like tattoos (and piercings) and I did not take that part of the song lightly. Every single time I heard that song, I put “get a tattoo that says you’re living in the moment” on my Bucket List. Well ladies and gentleman, today was the day where I got to check that item off. And right here is where I’m going to make this entire post make sense and tie it all together (I promise): I couldn’t sleep for shit last night/this morning. I had a semi-early therapy appointment today so once the sun started to grace me with its presence (however uninvited it was), I said fuck it, got up, and just started watching YouTube, Googling random shit and listening to music (of course). What song should come on? “In My Mind” by Amanda Palmer. What verse should stick out? The part about the tattoo and living in the moment. What are we learning/practicing in group this week? Acceptance and living in the moment. What bright idea do I come up with to do after my one-on-one therapy session today? If you guessed “accept your life” and “live in the moment”…you are so totally wrong…well…sort of. If you guessed “get a tattoo that says you’re living in the moment”…you are so totally right! And yes, I am so totally dead serious.

Now my tattoo ideas come off as being impulsive but what really happens is is that I sit on the ideas for months, even years, until a bee flies up my butt and I go all Nike and just do it. I’m an instant-gratification kind of girl. If I want something bad enough, I kinda sorta want it NOW…I have little patience for appointments or shipping time. So there I am, 4 AM in the morning, gathering the #s of my favorite tattoo shops, when they open and also looking at where I want my tattoo and what font I want it in. I went to my therapy appointment, made a few phone calls and a couple hours later, I walked out rocking some new ink. And you know what? I think it’s fucking awesome. Not only is it totally meaningful (in more ways than one…everything about it is meaningful, down to how I arranged the words and where I chose to have this permanent piece of ink needled into my skin), it’s totally applicable, it’s a great affirmation and reminder…IT IS WHAT IT IS. I’m sure you’re wishing my story ends there, but it does’t. Well, chronologically it does, but I didn’t tell you about what I found while Googling tattoo placement and font ideas before I even stepped foot into the tattoo parlor. Remember A LONG time ago where I said I was really good at finding appropriate/applicable songs for their appropriate/applicable moments? I had never heard or seen this song before. It was nonexistent in my world…until this morning. Behold, my little angel faces, the little gem I discovered today and the end of my post (finally):

Living In The Moment
by Jason Mraz

If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps?
We put ’em right in our path
When we just wanna be free

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry ’bout all the things
That will not happen to me

So I just let go of what I know I don’t know
And I know I’ll only do this by

Living in the moment
Living our life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going
I’m already home
I’m living in the moment

I’m letting myself off the hook for things I’ve done
I let my past go past
And now I’m having more fun
I’m letting go of the thoughts
That do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone

And if I fall asleep
I know you’ll be the one who’ll always remind me

To live in the moment
To live my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going
I’m already home

I can’t walk through life facing backwards
I have tried
I tried more than once to just make sure
And I was denied the future I’d been searching for
But I spun around and hurt no more

By living in the moment
Living my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going
I’m already home

I’m living in the moment
I’m living my life
Just taking it easy
With peace in my mind
Got peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Oh, wherever I’m going
I’m already home

I’m living in the moment
I’m living my life
Oh, easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
Peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going
I’m already home
I’m living in the moment

Slumber

If there was a job that allowed me to be a professional theme song/appropriate song of the day finder, I’m pretty sure that would be the best job for me ever…because I’m pretty good at finding the most applicable songs at the most applicable time. It’s a gift. What can I say?

I know I haven’t posted for a while and I have no legitimate reasons or excuses. I haven’t been hit upside the hide with any major epiphanies lately and I just really didn’t have anything to say. Until now. Obviously. And now that I think about it, I’ve been so busy with learning how to be awesome again that writing wasn’t a go-to coping skill for a while…it hasn’t been something I have to do just to get through the day. I was so consumed with getting out of my Bat Cave to do things outside of therapy and so busy smiling, laughing and playing loud music that I didn’t really have time to write (which is why you’re getting a double-header today).

I read once that the bigger the heartbreak, the louder the music. I’ve also read that when you’re happy, you enjoy the music; when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics. I concur with all of the above. I hope I have made it no secret that I am a music whore. I love it. I breathe it. I sleep it. I live it. People ask me if I like music…I ask them if they like air. I can’t carry a note to save my life, but when the volume is 200 decibels higher than it should safely be, that doesn’t really matter does it? (I did take note the other day, that should I ever have children, I will have to tame the volume I play my music at until said child is old enough to withstand the volume…which by then, said child will probably be old enough to not want anything to do with me, much less would want to be seen with me in public blasting the stereo as loud as possible. For now, my lack of volume control is on my “cons” list as to whether or not I should have children.)

The foundation of DBT-focused therapy is mindfulness. I used to hate that word. Not only did I not really understand the concept, but it was hard as fuck for me to do, in my opinion. A lot of people equate mindfulness to meditation and the “happy place” you’re supposed to go to while doing yoga. It’s really, as I’ve learned, not that complicated. It is simply just being in the moment and tolerating whatever that moment is. Notice what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling…describe it…whatever “it” is. The goal of mindfulness isn’t to change anything…it is simply to be aware. If you’re feeling suicidal…notice that…describe it…put words on it…be aware that that’s what you’re thinking. Hopefully, you have enough resources to, of course, get help if you need it (and you should). And you don’t have to ruminate in the thought or feeling…just let it come into your mind, notice it, say “hi”, “fuck off”…whatever…then let it go. Then let the next thought or feeling pay a visit…and so on and so forth. Marsha Linehan isn’t the most eloquent or engaging public speaker. To be blunt: she’s boring and if NyQuil or Benadryl won’t put you to sleep, watching Linehan’s DBT DVD will. Aaannnyyywaaayyyy…during a group therapy session one day, I was forced to watch the “Mindfulness Train” on a DVD. Essentially, Linehan was explaining mindfulness as being akin to watching a train roll by in front of you. You see and notice each freight car…once it’s out of sight, it’s gone…then there’s a new freight car to observe and so on and so forth. It took me many months of forced mindfulness activities and many missed “mindfulness trains” to realize that I was, in my own way, being mindful all the time. Well…maybe not all the time…but I was doing it more than I thought I was…and it was easier than I thought it was. Everyone’s mindfulness “niche” is different. Some things come easier to certain people than other things do. My mindfulness was/is music. Anyone in my group, therapists and peers alike, know that I like my music and I like it LOUD. If you can’t hear me pulling into the parking lot, you should get your hearing checked…seriously. I drive by myself 99.9% of the time so I am free to play anything I want, free to play it as loud as I want and free to sing as loud and off-key as I want…and I do. My drive to the mental health clinic is 30-45 minutes one way depending on traffic and if I put on my lead shoes that day (a heavy police force is a great deterrent as well). While I often listen to music at home too…everyone knows that my drive to and from any therapy appointment is my mindfulness time…and I take full advantage of it….every drive…every appointment.

While exploring mindfulness, how it integrates with music and how I personally choose to go about it, I realized that music, for me, sets my mood. Sure, I have some shitty days where I just want to play Sarah MacLachlan and “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” all day. But in doing that, I reinforce my mood and thoughts. It hit me, at one point over the last year plus, that I have the power to change my mood with music. Who woulda thought?! The antidepressants and other drugs aren’t doing me any good…but you go and blast “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston through my stereo (which, needless to say, is very well equipped with a sub-woofer and all the necessary accouterments to make any drive feel like a back massage during a rock concert) and I will lip-sync for my life! Maybe not everyone can go through a half-hour drive with Vanilla Ice, Whitney Houston, Sarah MacLachlan, George Michael, Jason Mraz, OneRepublic and Ke$ha and their accompanying emotional spectrum…but I can. Music is a very powerful thing. I don’t think I was ignorant of this fact before, but as I said above…when you’re happy, you enjoy the music…when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics. So 18 months ago, when I first started to slip, music became so much more meaningful to me. It was no longer just a “thing” or “sound” that brought me joy…it was a mood-altering drug…and totally legal to boot! (Withdrawals are a little rough but that’s a different subject for a different day.)

I also communicate with music more so now than I ever have before. Sometimes I just can’t find the right words to express my pain and feelings to my therapist…so I’ll slap a song on a CD-R and fling at her like a Frisbee. And, bless her heart, she gets it. (I have been very blessed to have one of the most amazing therapists ever and one whom I mesh with on such a hardcore level. We get along great but the relationship we have cultivated is rare and it has been, quite literally, life-saving for me. There aren’t many people I can throw a single song at who will understand, validate and empathize the way she does…albeit, she even enjoys it when I fling CDs at her because she loves music just as much as I do.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…when words fail, music speaks…and sometimes, I step back and let it do just that. It’s even more than just the lyrics…it’s the beat, the voices, everything together. Music is my own personal nirvana. But enough about what it means to me…let’s get to the point of the post, shall we?

Every now and again, I come across a song that, with every single beat struck and with every single word sung, explains my exact mood, emotion, situation, whatever the case may be. I call them my “soundtracks.” If my life were a movie playing in front of you, song A, B or C would be the perfect song for whatever scene you were watching. Such was the case with this song: “Slumber” by NEEDTOBREATHE. I know a few songs from this group that I absolutely love, but I heard this particular song one day and it was one that made me hit “replay” and look up the lyrics…it was speaking to me…and for once, I decided to listen (no pun intended) instead of tune it out (no pun intended there, either…okay…maybe a little intention…).

Sometimes, when you are in whatever psychological “funk” you are in, you can easily become blind to everything else going on around you. As the song clearly states (lyrics are below), it’s very easy to just pull the covers back up over your head. I’ve done exactly that for a majority of the past 18 months. I won’t go into much detail, but I had some sort of “come to Jesus” meeting with someone or something a few weeks ago and I opened my eyes (and heart) to things that I had not seen or felt for a very long time. I don’t dare set myself up for disappointment by calling myself “cured” or even “happy” right now because if whatever I’m feeling is in fact the definition of “happy”…it is only just the beginning of this part of my journey. In fact, the feeling of happiness is so foreign to me that I don’t even know if what I’m feeling is in fact happiness; I don’t remember what that feels like. But a song like this one makes me want to open my eyes a little bit more than I have been opening them and take my covers off a little bit more than I have been. It doesn’t mean I’m hopping out of bed like the Energizer Bunny…remember when I said this was just the beginning of this part of the journey if it is what I think it is? Mr. Energizer Bunny and I will not meet for quite some time…in fact, we probably won’t ever meet because I am not a morning person and as far as I’m concerned, the early bird can have the stupid worm because both mornings and worms suck. Regardless, I’ve had blinders on for over a year and a half. I have let my emotions make me their bitch. I have been “asleep” and ignoring everything else going on around me because I was/am so consumed by my emotions. Suffice it to say, I’m pulling the covers off a little bit more than I have been…peeking around corners…still a little scared about what might be around that corner…but curious and alert enough to want to look instead of run away.

Slumber
by NEEDTOBREATHE

Days they force you
Back under those covers
Lazy mornings they multiply
But glory’s waiting
Outside your window
So wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyesTongues are violent
Personal and focused
Tough to beat with
Your steady mind
But hearts are stronger after broken
So, wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

All these victims
Stand in line for
The crumbs that fall from the table
Just enough to get by
All the while
Your invitation
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

Take from vandals
All you want now
Please, don’t trade it in for life
Replace the feeble
With the fable
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

All these victims
Stand in line for
The crumbs that fall from the table
Just enough to get by
All the while
Your invitation
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

Come on
Sing like we used to
Dance when you want to
Taste of the breakthrough
And open wide

All these victims
Stand in line for
The crumbs that fall from the table
Just enough to get by
All the while
Your invitation
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes
Wake on up from your slumber
Baby, open up your eyes

Come on
Sing like we used to
And dance like you want to
Come on now and open your eyes

Come on
Sing it like we used to
And we’ll dance like we want to
Come on and open up your eyes

25 Days Of Nice

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If I haven’t said or communicated this before, words are very powerful. That “sticks and stones” ditty is a load of crap.

I haven’t had a great past few days and until recently, that would be “normal” for me but over the last couple weeks, I have been in a great mood and have had some really amazing days. (I don’t dare say “happy” because it’s been so long that I’m not even sure what happy feels like anymore.) Someone popped my awesome balloon on Thursday. Granted, I had the choice of letting that person pop my balloon or not and I don’t blame that person for my current mood. But it reminded me of a philosophy/conviction I have: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. (Thank you Bambi, Thumper and Walt Disney for teaching me this lesson.) You may say something to someone (nice, mean or unintentionally hurtful) and not ever give what you said a second thought…but the person you said that to may remember your words for days, weeks, months or even years. I hear kind words so few and far between that if I can, I screen cap a comment or save a voicemail just so I can read/hear someone’s words again.

As I settle in to commence this year’s countdown of the 25 Days Of Christmas with ABC’s Family Channel…I found myself wanting to celebrate my own countdown with 25 Days Of Nice. I invite you to try it with me. Let not one mean, angry or hurtful word come out of your mouth for the next 25 days. Think it all you want, but do not let it come out of your mouth (or your fingers if you happen to be typing/texting). Think before you speak. If someone flips you off on the interstate, don’t cuss them out (however deserving of your expletives that person may be). If you’re questioning a comment, think about how you would feel or interpret your comment if someone were to say it to you. As much as I want to tell some people that it’s not “Happy Holidays,” it’s “Merry fucking Christmas”…I’m not going to do that this year. If someone takes a parking spot I was headed for in a busy mall, I will not leave a passive-agressive note under their winshield wiper. You don’t have to go around complimenting everyone…just monitor your words. Carry on with your normal daily activities and conversations, just think before you speak. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, this time of year is supposed to be about love and joy and kindness…so exude it…be an example. What you say can make or break someone’s day.

He’s making a list and checking it twice…he’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…he knows if you’ve been bad or good…so be good for goodness sake!