I’ve been known to mishear a lyric or two in my day – apparently the song is called “Taking Care of Business” not “Baking Carrot Biscuits”…who knew? (Not me, that’s for sure) Some people have it WAY worse than me – who the hell thought this one:
Tummy why? Ain’t nothing but a fart hey, ain’t nothing but a meat steak” Correct lyric from Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’:“Ain’t nothing but a heart ache, ain’t nothing but a mistake”
Fart hey? Meat steak? WTF?!?!
Here’s one of my favorite bits about misheard lyrics:
Some more to make you smile:
All Time Funniest Lyrics
Stevie Wonder: Signed, Sealed, Delivered Down to the river, Onions!
Smash Mouth: All Star So much to do, so much to see, so much wrong with Nick from…
Def Leppard: Pour Some Sugar on Me Living with a lover with a red IPhone
Robert Palmer: Addicted To Love Might as well face it, you’re a dick with a glove.
Sir Mix-A-Lot: Baby Got Back I like big butts in a can of limes.
Hozier: Take Me to Church Take me to church, I’ll wash you like a doll in the Saturda…
Abba: Dancing Queen See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen
Madonna: Into the Groove I’m tired of dancing in Obama’s self
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody The algebra has a devil for a sidekick eeeeeeeeee….
Madonna: Like a Virgin Like a virgin touched for the thirty-first time
I’ve been reading Caitlin Moran’s latest book “More Than a Woman” and it’s having quite the impact on my wee brain. She is writing this now, as a 40-something woman, and it’s like she’s spent some time spelunking in my mind for research as she’s perfectly nailed so much of my life experience…. and it’s brilliant (her book, not my life experience). She talks about the ways that women tear each other down (a loathsome act if ever there was) and makes a point that I have been shouting from the rooftops for ages: why not just skip past tearing someone else down and focus on building ourselves up???
My real favorite part, though, comes towards the end when she talks about how freeing it is to get older – THIS IS WHERE I AM WITH THINGS. Read this (it’s long, I know – but SO worth it I promise):
Middle-aged women, you are just about to be born again…and what I have realized is that, this time around, you’re going to walk the earth as a hag. These are your Hag Years, and they are glorious.
We think of “hag” as a bad word like so many words associated with women—“fat,” or “slut,” or “bossy”—but hags are cool, man.
Consider the Hag archetype throughout history: when life expectancy barely reached fifty, and once a woman was no longer a bride nor a mother, she entered her Hag Years until she died.
Hags lived slightly apart from the villages and towns—in a cave, or some witchy cottage in the woods. They tended their herb gardens, and mixed up their medicines, and were surrounded by their animals—dogs, cats, particularly clever and charismatic crows. They wore a cape, and had a stick to poke things with, and they’d roam around and engage in mysterious hag activities like talking to trees or doing weird rituals by streams and lakes. They’d be the only women callow, young youths would be scared of—fostering a useful irascibleness that prevented all but the boldest from getting up in their grill and wasting their time. When trouble struck the wider community, in the end, the villagers would always end up having to bravely go and consult the hag, who would then provide them with a medicine, or provide wise counsel, or tell a story from days of yore that provided a solution to the current problem. And, every so often, they’d meet up with their coven of fellow hags and spend all night cackling in a way that terrified everyone else.
This, I note, in the twenty-first century, is exactly the life I am living now. I have Gone Hag. Observe my day, now, in my Hag Years. I’m living a Hag Life.
Dog walk over, I return to my metaphorical cottage in the woods—my Hag House—which I have spent the last decade finally turning into a comfortable and beautiful fortress of books, food, art, and bright rugs, to which very few are invited. In my Hag House, I have no fear of FOMO—it is where I return to with a sigh of relief, glad I no longer have to gad about meeting people, when I could be having a bath and reading a book instead.
Like a hag, I have an herb garden—I have a whole garden that I dote on, in that cliché of middle age. Making a cup of tea, I go out, into the early morning sunshine, and quietly say, “Hello” to the birds and the trees. In the last few years, this garden has become my dear love—a plain square of grass I have slowly turned into a green bower of birches, ivy, and as many roses as I could fit against each fence, pillar, and wall.
It is only in middle age that you have gained enough mastery of time to plan a garden for all seasons: that you can plant a tree knowing it won’t start to enter its full glory for a decade or more—but that’s fine, because the decades pass so quickly now, so that’s an easy commitment for you to make. An older woman can look at a garden in February—all mud and twigs—and lay over it, in her mind’s eye, the tulips in April, the roses in June, the maples in October, the frost on the hydrangea heads at Christmas. Mentally cueing in the apple blossom in three weeks’ time; knowing that now is the time to stake the peonies—for, by next month, they will have toppled, fat, into the roses.
A gardener can lose herself in a whole day of digging and planting—surrounded by her dog, her cat, the robins, and the wrens—talking to them as she goes: “There’s a worm, mate. Fill your boots.” She’ll be on the side of the blue tits gathering dried grass for nests and carefully leave out seeds, so they can feed their babies. She’s on the side of all mothers—however tiny and feathered they are.
At the end of an hour’s work, she can stand—back aching slightly—and feels she has made the world, this tiny part of the world at least, almost perfect.
I am dressed like a hag, these days. My wardrobe is full of Hagosity. I have long swishy coats with big pockets, and a stick to poke things with, as I walk. The clothes of middle age are, I find, the modern versions of Hagdom: comfortable, enveloping, all-weather, brilliantly unappealing to the young.
And my stick-poking walks are full of hag activities. I leave the house again at 10 a.m. ready to be fully pagan in my yomp. I am unashamed to go to the woods and lean against a tree to feel the unusual comfort of putting your arms around something a hundred years older than you—connected to every other tree in the wood—disparately engaged in much the same activities I am.
My mind was blown when I learned that every wood has a mother tree, which tends to the others. They send sap, through their root systems, to ailing trees; they send electrical impulses to the whole community when they’re under attack by insects, so they pump toxins into their leaves to kill off the predators. As a middle-aged woman generally unserved by stories in modern popular culture, and short on viable role models, I find I have more in common with the big beech in Highgate Woods than I do with, say, a sexy, kung fu lady scientist in a Bond film. We’re kind of engaged in the same things.
Also, as a middle-aged woman, a tree will be one of the few living things I will encounter in my day that doesn’t want me to feed it, worm it, listen to its problems, or give it a tenner. It’s good to hold on to something that just radiates a treeish, comradely vibe of “I get you, mate. Me too.”
I pass a group of teenagers, smoking fags on a bench, and their body language is not what it was when I passed similar groups when I was a teenager—these days, they are deferential. Callow youths are wary of me, now: my thin lips and orthopedic foot stomp make them instantly stop pissing around at a bus stop. No one shouts “Oi! Tits McGee!” at me now, as I walk down the street, which is the Hag Bonus, and prevents my wise thoughts from otherwise being interrupted by constant low-level sexual harassment. This means that when I am finally consulted for help in urgent matters of the village, I can pull fully formed solutions out of my head and cheerfully present them, for the good of the community, or the weeping toddler, as is appropriate.
And as for my mysterious Hag Activities out in nature, well, from May to October, I daily pilgrimage here, to my final destination, to the huge, cold, muddy ponds of Hampstead, where I have a single, wild determination: to jump in.
Previously, as a young woman, I was always too scared of swimming in the sea or lakes. The dirt, and the mud, and the things that might swim up inside you. Eels. I feared eels.
Now, of course—now I have known real fear; now I have looked the end of the world in the eye—eels seem laughably inconsequential. You could fill my whole house with cold, muddy water and I’d be like, “Oh. Eels. Odd choice,” before calmly brooming them out of the house. Long-term terror and misery do not bring many gifts, but the wholesale destruction of all lesser fears is one of them.
I notice that—like all the women in the park, with the dogs—the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond is another territory for the older woman. There are not many places where they are widespread and triumphant—but they are here.
There is a sprinkling of skinny, jejune young things in bright bikinis, of course—but they do not last long. Screaming at the cold, taking ages to descend the ladder into the water as the older women shout, “It’s just a bit of cold water, dear!,” they are in and out in minutes. Almost everywhere else is, but this is not a place for soft, young, sexy things.
Instead, the ponds are ruled by doughty matriarchs. Janets, every single last one. Veined thighs; stretch-marked bellies; bosoms like the prow of a ship; grey or white hair up in a bun, or else a jolly swimming cap—these are women who have raised children and grandchildren, seen houses burn down, prosecuted fraudsters, scrubbed front doorsteps, and scared off bastards.
I watch one, in a navy one-piece, briskly descend the ladder.
“Now I don’t care about my children,” she says, on the first rung. She takes the next step down, shivering joyfully as the cold water reaches her thighs.
“And now I don’t care about my job,” she says, gasping.
On the third—up to her waist—she yells, “And now I don’t care about my fucking husband,” and launches herself into the water, sculling off into the willows with a determined breaststroke.
I twist my hair into a bun and jump in.
Hitting the water, all I can see is golden, golden brown—the soupy water shot through with sunshine. The cold is the kind that makes your teeth crackle.
Uttering a single “Oh!”—which bursts out of me with my last warm breath—I swim, hard, for a minute, feeling my chest shudder and my throat close. And then—after exactly a minute—hot, sweet syrup fills my belly and radiates up through my heart, out through my fingertips, and pours from the top of my head like steam. I keep swimming. I have never felt like this before. I feel perfect. Utterly perfect.
When I get out, I lie on the hot meadow grass—turning to hay in the sun—absolutely naked and overwhelmed with how astonishingly lovely I am. I am an absolute god. I briefly saw my reflection in the lifeguards’ hut window, and it showed a middle-aged woman with straggly, wet hair with green mud across her breastbone, walking awkwardly, barefoot. Like I say—astonishingly lovely. I am smiling like I am in the photos after I had just given birth. I think I might have just given birth to happiness. Or: of who I am going to be next.
WHEN I GET home, still muddy, but still glowing, I sit at the kitchen table and look at my house. My little queendom. My Hag Pod. Girls—now women—looking for their car keys, or else cooking tea; a dog on the sofa; a husband putting away the shopping.
This isn’t the only happy ending for a woman—there are millions, equally satisfying, that don’t involve children, or husbands, or what appear to be seventeen tubes of Pringles—but this is definitely one of them, and preferable, I think, to having perfect tits, six billion dollars, or colonizing the moon.
What goes on in a house—behind a billion doors, on a billion streets—is still seen as, primarily, the work of women. The laundry and the broken hearts and the boiled cabbage and the teaching of manners to toddlers; the plans for the future and the way you face adversity and the tone you use on the phone, to customer services.
I remember, a few years ago, walking home from a fundraiser for domestic abuse. The stories I had heard were the kind that make your bones sick; women and children, in everyday clothes with everyday faces, telling everyday horror stories. The monster in the house. The war in the bedroom. The fear in just sitting in a chair, ears still ringing from the last explosion.
For months afterward, I found every street I walked down inescapably sinister—for who could know what was going on behind each door I passed? Once a door closes, anything could happen behind it: It is amazing how much atrocity you can fit into a small, semi-detached house. How many bones you can bury under a patio.
For a while, I became uncharacteristically negative, and dolorous, about humanity—I could not get over this image of how, behind every front door, there is a world that no one save those behind it really knows about. How every street, suburb, village, and city holds thousands upon thousands of microuniverses—all with different rules, vocabularies, and ideas of normality. This is where the women are, and their worlds are utterly secret to us. Women’s domestic lives are secret to us.
But then, a second, comforting thought: the majority of untold stories, happening behind every door, are good. They are breakfasts, birthdays, Christmases, and the whole family being excited to use the new fluffy towels; they are handles being glued back onto cups, and weeping friends being consoled, and the money being found, somehow, for a holiday with Nan. The laundry and the broken hearts, and the boiled cabbage, and the teaching of manners to toddlers; the singing of songs, and painting the walls, and running what is essentially a small company from which you don’t expect profits, or goods, but merely the endless production of calm and love. Adventures still happen, inside these homes. Quests are embarked on. Transformations happen.
But we do not hear of these adventures because we do not tell stories about middle-aged women and their lives. Their triumphs and woes. What we do is either seen as just boring, or else ignored entirely. The lifestyle choices of younger women—the wine drinking, the years of sexual buccaneering, the intense friendships, life lessons, and messy explosions—have, thrillingly, in recent years, taken on a cultural significance and weight. We acknowledge them in their sometimes swaggering, sometimes tearful stories—we see these girls. We know they are a new, established archetype; you can now buy cushions for twenty-five pounds embroidered with the legend “Hot Mess.”
We have been these girls, and now, older, we cheer them on, as they racket through the cities we once racketed through. I hear them laughing in the street at 2 a.m.—returning drunk in cabs—and I fall back to sleep, smiling. They are the shiny ball bearings tumbling through the pinball machine. They are the buzz of electric trainlines being hit by the rain. They are out there, conquering the world, as they should, scattering single earrings as they go.
I feel like I’m on my sofa, quietly content, and texting them, “Just so you know, guys—there is something even more marvelous waiting for you, when you finally land.”
AS NIGHT FALLS, I sally forth into the world to engage in the final activity of Hagdom—meeting my other hag friends in our coven.
When you are middle aged, you find other middle-aged women inescapably more glorious than any other kind of person. You may love the men, and the younger people, passionately—but it is only with the rest of your kind that you feel you can assume your true form: sharing stories and laughing hysterically about things in a way that could, yes, be described by others, passing fearfully by, as “cackling.”
We like to meet away from other people—were it warm enough, we probably would meet in the woods, and dance, naked, around a fire; but as this is Britain in September, we all go to my shed at the bottom of the garden, where we gather around a single bottle of wine that will last us all night. No one in this shed has the enzymes for alcohol anymore. But we don’t need them—for you can get drunk on the right people, when you’re older, and these are the right people.
Sal, Loz, and Nadia—oh, these are the right people, who have sustained me through these years. When I was younger, I believed Christopher Hitchens when he said that women just weren’t as funny as men. I grew up in a generation where “comediennes” were rare and regarded as a freak of nature—once-in-a-generation one-offs, like Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, and Victoria Wood. Some kind of genetic accident, mutated to make this rare “female humor.”
What I realize now is that Hitchens and I were, respectively, too male or too young to have ever been invited into a coven—of which there are millions, across the world. You are probably a member of one. If you are not, I truly hope you meet yours soon. Covens are where middle-aged women withdraw from the world to be with those who have, like them, gone through abortion, death, miscarriage, nervous breakdowns, funerals, unemployment, poverty, fear, hospital appointments, and broken hearts—where they sometimes weep and comfort each other, but more often make jokes, so pitch black they can only be laughed at by a fellow hag.
In your coven, you attend to your busy, vital Hag Work: drawing up the lists of idiots to curse and heroes to bless; forming your battle plans and schedules. Scheming the downfall of asshats, and the uprising of the righteous. You do this in a place where non-hags can’t hear you, because Hag Club takes a lifetime to join. And it is here where you launch into the comic routines that leave your ribs bruised from laughing the next morning: the bellyache of pain that only comes from other hags being truthful about their lives. The husbands sneezing, the hormones raging, the bosses perving, and the children being “a delightful challenge.” This is where you realize there is a whole book full of truths about being middle aged that you have only ever heard spoken—and never read. I keep notes on what our conversations span, in a single night: socks, socialism, anal sex, first loves, what we would do in widowhood, whether to buy a fake fur gilet, how to get a pay raise, where the best trees are, kettling, communes, Botox, Sertraline, sexism in its many forms, the glory of Nora Ephron. This is where, one night, in our coven, we found out the origin of the word witch: wych, in Old English, means the thin, whippy branches that can be used to bind things—baskets, fences, boats—together. A witch is a binding thing. Without it, things fall apart. We are witches. “Worldcraft” is what they called it in the eighteenth century. The knowledge that comes only with age.
It’s now 11 p.m., and we’re lying out on the grass, under blankets, looking up at the stars.
“If you could travel back in time, and meet your younger self, what would you say to them?” I ask, as we drink tea from mugs. Oh! 11 p.m. tea is the best! “What are the things they need to know about getting older?”
We all pause for a moment, considering this.
“Always pee after sex—it prevents cystitis.”
“And wipe front to back—God, I didn’t know this until I was in my forties.”
“Have a secret Running Away Fund, in a bank account no one—no one—knows about. You never know when you’ll need it.”
“Learn to drive in an automatic. Fuck it. You might as well. Who cares about gears?”
“Don’t throw away the things that have always made you happy—drawing, music, dancing, animals, being outdoors—because they suddenly seem childish. They are the things that make being adult brilliant.”
“Parenting has about fifteen stages, and you’ll be shit at some of them and brilliant at others. No one is perfect at all of them. But they all only last a year or so, so just when you’re feeling useless, a new phase will begin that you’ll be awesome at.”
“A teaspoon of Marmite in a baked potato will change your life.”
“Your women friends will save your life over and over and over.”
“You can never have too much toilet paper.”
“Every woman will spend their life oscillating between thinking they’re ‘not enough’ or that they’re ‘too much.’ Neither thought can be, nor is, true.”
“Oh God, yes, this!” I say, banging my fists on my knees. “I have lost count of the women I’ve met who worry that they are ‘too much.’ Do you know what women commonly do, when having their picture taken? It is an action that is so ripe with symbolism it hurts. They stoop. They crouch down. They apologize, simply for standing there: ‘I’m a giantess!’ or ‘God—I look like Hagrid,’ or ‘Sorry—I’m Brienne of Tarth in these heels.’ NO YOU AREN’T! YOU ARE A HUMAN BEING WITHIN A PERFECTLY NORMAL HEIGHT VECTOR! STAND TALL! Or they pull their stomachs in, bowing away from the camera, murmuring apologies for how ‘fat’ they are.
“Stand up! Don’t apologize! Relax your stomach! TAKE UP YOUR SPACE. Take up your space, middle-aged women—take up your space. You spend all day saving the world; yet, you still feel you are physically too much. My God, hardworking women—you have earned your place. You have earned every inch. Straighten up, and take it! Oh, I wish I could shout this at every middle-aged woman I meet!”
Lauren starts laughing, then says: “‘It gets so much fucking worse.’ That’s what I’d say. Then I’d wait for it to really sink in, and then say: ‘but then it gets better than you could ever imagine.’”
We all nod. Yes, yes. These are all useful truths.
“What about you, Cat?” Nadia asks. “What would you say, if you could go back and talk to yourself?”
I ponder. “Well,” I say, eventually. “I’d want to warn her, definitely—so it didn’t all come as a shock. And I can’t deny I’d want to wind her up just a little bit, because that would be funny, and she would appreciate my dark humor. But I think, mainly, I’d just want to tell her that I love her. She gave birth to me. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. So, I think I’d just give her a hug. Oh! Imagine if women had time machines! It would change everything. I’m sure we’d make good use of them. I’m sure we’d say the right things and be of comfort to our younger selves. Because we are so fucking wise right now.”
We all sigh. There is a long pause, whilst we all reflect on the last ten years of our lives: The middle age so many presume is dull, and uneventful, and bland, but which actually manifests like an epic Ring Quest, all conducted without leaving the house. Heroes, and demons, and sex, and work, and doubt, and despair, and hope—storms whirling onto and through the house, over and over, even as you still get the washing done, and try to end every day having said, to those who inspire it, the only thing, ultimately, ever worth saying: “I’m glad you’re in my life. I love you.”
The silence lasts almost three minutes, before I break it, eventually, saying: “But, even more than that, I wish we had some fags.”
I know this was LONG read, but it’s absolutely extraordinary, isn’t it? I can’t stop thinking about this. I’m going to be 47 in a couple of weeks, and while people think it’s funny that I’m roundin’ 3rd and heading for 50, I think it’s a MIRACLE. I’m alive. I’m happy. I’m (mostly) healthy. I still have my own teeth, and a crackin’ sense of humor. As each year ticks by, I don’t feel closer and closer to the grave (though I most certainly am), I feel more and more free, more and more MYSELF. And I love it. It’s a great time to be alive – bring on my Hag Years. ✨
I’ve read Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” four times now, and each time I get something new from it, the beautiful, simple words resonate with me on a different level. If you haven’t devoured this book yet, I highly recommend that you do – it won’t take you long to read it, but the absorption of the words and the meaning could sustain you for a lifetime. Gorgeous. Here are some of my favorite passages:
When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love.
And what of Marriage, master? And he answered saying: You were born together, and together you shall be forever-more. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught you would withhold? All you have shall some day be given; Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.
What books do you keep going back to because they speak to your soul? I would love to hear your recommendations! ✨
I’ve got a love of small tattoos, I now have fourteen of them dotted here and there on my body – each one tells a story of something that matters to me, or a moment in time. I love them. ♥️
I added three this past weekend, including this one to the inside of my left forearm:
Do you recognize it? It’s Vincent Van Gogh’s signature – and I LOVE it! My daughter expressed a bit of concern and asked me why I had chosen to put his signature on me – here was my answer:
-First off, Vincent is my very favorite artist of all time, and his work speaks to my soul. Simple as that.
-Second, Vincent’s work is representative of the Impressionist era – one of the hallmarks of this art is that when you look at the paintings too closely, you will notice imperfections and flaws, but when you see it from a distance, it looks beautiful….people are kind of like that. (Remind You of “Clueless” a bit?) Anyway – I don’t believe that we need to go looking at people so closely, seeking their flaws…why? What’s the point? Accept people as they are!!! Accept that they may have flaws (we all do), but they aren’t their flaws….choose to see the good, the beauty in them. ✨ I want people to see the good in me.
-Next, Vincent never knew success during his life, yet never stopped creating. During his short time painting, he approached his work with passion and devotion, despite the fact that he wasn’t achieving success and receiving accolades…he kept on. For the love of his art. For his belief in what he was doing. He painted because he HAD to in order to feel alive. There’s a lesson to be learned here: find what you HAVE to do, the thing(s) that make you feel magical – and DO THEM. Even if nobody else notices – do them anyway. Even if you never receive praise – keep doing it. I find that devotion to one’s craft to be so beautiful and inspiring, don’t you? ✨
-Finally, I’ve struggled with self image my whole life – I’ve never found myself to be terribly attractive, and I’ve always thought that too much of my self-worth was tied up in my appearance. The older I get, the more comfortable I am feeling in my skin, finally feeling at peace (most days) with what is looking back at me from the mirror. There’s nothing wrong with me – I AM a work of art, just as I am. So now I have my favorite artist’s signature on me, too. I love that. ♥️✨♥️
Saw this the other day and thought I should share it with you:
RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE.
When I was at one of my lowest (mental) points in life, I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I had no energy or motivation and was barely getting by.
I had therapy once per week, and on this particular week I didn’t have much to ‘bring’ to the session. He asked how my week was and I really had nothing to say.
“What are you struggling with?” he asked.
I gestured around me and said “I dunno man. Life.”
Not satisfied with my answer, he said “No, what exactly are you worried about right now? What feels overwhelming? When you go home after this session, what issue will be staring at you?”
I knew the answer, but it was so ridiculous that I didn’t want to say it.
I wanted to have something more substantial.
Something more profound.
But I didn’t.
So I told him, “Honestly? The dishes. It’s stupid, I know, but the more I look at them the more I CAN’T do them because I’ll have to scrub them before I put them in the dishwasher, because the dishwasher sucks, and I just can’t stand and scrub the dishes.”
I felt like an idiot even saying it.
What kind of grown ass woman is undone by a stack of dishes? There are people out there with *actual* problems, and I’m whining to my therapist about dishes?
But my therapist nodded in understanding and then said:
“RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE.”
I began to tell him that you’re not supposed to, but he stopped me.
“Why the hell aren’t you supposed to? If you don’t want to scrub the dishes and your dishwasher sucks, run it twice. Run it three times, who cares?! Rules do not exist, so stop giving yourself rules.”
It blew my mind in a way that I don’t think I can properly express.
That day, I went home and tossed my smelly dishes haphazardly into the dishwasher and ran it three times.
I felt like I had conquered a dragon.
The next day, I took a shower lying down.
A few days later. I folded my laundry and put them wherever the fuck they fit.
There were no longer arbitrary rules I had to follow, and it gave me the freedom to make accomplishments again.
Now that I’m in a healthier place, I rinse off my dishes and put them in the dishwasher properly. I shower standing up. I sort my laundry.
But at a time when living was a struggle instead of a blessing, I learned an incredibly important lesson:
If this research is to be believed, I must be the most honest person that ever lived: The More You Swear, the More Honest You Are By Drake Baer
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you’re really going to express yourself in moments of surprise, frustration, or other injective emotions, you might need to throw in a fuck, shit, or goddamnit to get the point across. Profanity and transparency co-occur; to tell it like it is can require coarse language.These are the takeaways from a study in Social Psychological and Personality Science recently highlighted by Dana Dovey at MedicalDaily.
The paper (with the perfect title, “Frankly, we do give a damn: The relationship between profanity and honesty”) sussed out the relationship between swearing and honesty over three experiments.
The first was with 276 participants recruited online, who self-rated their penchants for honesty and swearing; the second analyzed the status updates of 73,789 Facebook users who used the myPersonality application; and the third measured the integrity of entire states by combining the Facebook data with “state-level” integrity measures like the presence of independent ethics commissions and judicial accountability.(Falling right in line, the sweariest state — Connecticut — also had the highest integrity.)
These consistent findings suggest that the “relation between profanity and honesty is robust,” write lead author Gilad Feldman and his colleagues, “and that the relationship found at the individual level indeed translates to the society level.”
Relatedly, swearing with — and maybe at — someone is also a good way to bond with them. Interesting, eh? I know!
Here’s a little something else about this very idea: Intelligent people tend to be messy, stay awake longer, and swear moreIf you think about it, those who don’t use any swear words are the ones who limit their vocabulary.
From The Independent Online: Were you annoyed as a kid, when your parents told you to clean your room, sent you to bed early and scolded you for cursing? There might be a reason for your behaviour.Studies suggest that it can be linked to an increase of your IQ.
Intelligent people use more curse wordsYou always hear, that people who swear have a “limited vocabulary”. But if you think about it, those who don’t use any swear words are the ones who limit their own vocabulary, because they intentionally use fewer words than others.In fact, there is a study deconstructing that myth about curse words. The result showed that people who could name the most swear words within a minute also tend to score higher on an IQ test.
The study concludes that a rich vocabulary of swear words is a sign of rhetorical strength rather than the attempt to hide verbal deficits.
Intelligent people are night owlsLike to stay up late? This also could be a sign for intelligence. Scientific research has linked night owls with higher IQ scores for quite some time now. President Obama, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Keith Richards and Elvis Presley are all famous for nocturnal activities. If you tend to go to sleep rather late, you’re definitely in good company.
A messy desk and intelligence go hand in hand.You swear a lot and stay awake late? Look, if you also tend to leave a bit of a mess behind, there’s good news for you.A study by the University of Minnesota suggests, that the messy desk of geniuses is actually linked to their intelligence. If you don’t spend much time cleaning and organizing everything around you, your mind is obviously occupied with more important stuff.The study went on to show that a messy enviroment led to a more creative workflow.Psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs says: “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”This is a good day for all the swearing, messy night owls among you. Does any of this sound familiar?
So, not only am I honest, I’m smart, too??! Woohoo!!! I love manipulating research to suit my potty mouth and my needs! 😉
I wrote what’s below about five years ago; I’m so happy to see how far I’ve come in that time. Let’s walk down memory lane together, shall we?
I marvel sometimes at the level of sheer stupidity that walks around us…if you ever need confirmation that you are smarter than the average bear, read the annual Darwin Awards coverage – you’ll feel like a Mensa candidate, guaranteed. I, too, seem to attract more than my share of stupid people and things – and this is something that has got to change. I’m done wasting my time on people who are unworthy. Done. Finished. Kaput. Life is way too damn short – as I have been reminded of too many times. I’ve not a second to waste.
I’m interested in the idea of attraction, and how we can attract the things that we want into our lives. However, my wee brain happens to play host to some ugly-ass little demons with vulgar mouths, so attracting positive things to come my way when I keep hearing a soundtrack of negative thoughts running through my head is really difficult. So, I’ve decided that the best way forward with this is to work on removing the negative things from my life, toss those demons out of my head once and for all, and then I can focus on attracting the good stuff in. It’s a multi-step process, but I’m up for the challenge. 🙂
So….let’s start with some ways to remove negativity from our lives! Now, let me preface this by saying that I am not an expert in this area, and I don’t play one on TV. However, I do seem to have an amazing arsehole sonar that brings all the jerks and jackasses to my yard (in droves), so…I certainly have picked up a few tips to chase them away over the years.
Here are my suggestions:
Don’t spend time with people who are toxic – if you’re related to them and kind of stuck with them, I’m sorry….get in, get the visit over with, and get the hell out. Carry Jackass Repellent in your bag (take a can of Deep Woods Off and make your own Jackass Repellent label – the smell is offensive enough to scare away most people, plus it’s an excellent conversation starter), don’t listen to a word of the crap that spews from their mouths, and just be your usual, awesome self. Don’t spend a second more than you have to around people who harsh your mellow – it’s not worth it.
Set boundaries with everyone in your life, even those you like. In order to get people to respect you, your needs, and your personal space, you must make sure that everyone knows where your personal ‘bubble’ ends. We all put up with too much shit from those around us (says Understatement Queen herself), and the only way out of this kind of hole is to be very clear about your expecations. Stick with them! If you say that you aren’t going to be treated like shit anymore – don’t. It’s as simple as that. Say what you mean and mean what you say. 🙂
Like attracts like, so….find some positive people! Don’t join the Moaning Myrtle Club at your work place – instead, find the most optimistic people around and pull your chair right up beside theirs! Call those people who always have nice things to say to you – and, for the love of all that is sweet and holy, stay the hell away from the chronic complainers!! They suck the life out of EVERYTHING!! For realz!!
Don’t worry about things until they are real – this is rich coming from me, I know. I am the fretting queen, and if catastrophizing was an Olympic sport (is it even a word?), I would be a multiple medallist. However, there really is no point in worrying about things that might happen – that only cultivates further anxiety and misery, and who wants that??! Not this girl! When you find yourself fretting and feeling crappy about what might be, take a moment, step back, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, ‘Is this the hill I choose to die on?’ The answer will likely be no (since nobody really aspires to bite the dust on a hill) – so just let it go. Worry about things when and if they become realities. It’ll save you a lot of misery, heartache — and wrinkles! 😉
Spend as much time as possible doing the things that you enjoy. While I know that very few of us will ever choose to devote our days to housework and other chores, they are necessary evils – but get in, get ’em done, and get out…and do what you love! Read the books you fancy, go to the movies (whether you’ve got a date or not!), window shop, try clothes on your pets (maybe it’s just me that really enjoys doing that….), whatever it is that you like to do, be like a Nike wearer and JUST DO IT. Find ways to do the things that make you the happiest every single day – and, if there are people who try to stop you from doing the fun things, tell them to go to hell. We don’t need that kind of crap in our lives. 🙂 One of the things that I enjoy doing is eating appetizers for dinner while having a night in at home – so, this weekend, this is what I shall do! I will hit up Trader Joe’s for all of my favorite yummy goodies, I will put on some of my favorite movies, cuddle up on the couch with candles going and vino in my hand, and just eat, drink, and be merry to my heart’s content. It will be AWESOME! 🙂
Fill your home with things that make you happy, and focus on making your abode a happy sanctuary where you want to spend your time. Surround yourself with pictures of happy times and people you love, paint your walls whatever bloody color you please (if you fancy having a bright orange bathroom, I highly recommend it – one of my amigas from Canada did this in her casa, and it’s positively STUNNING!! Gorgeous – just like her!), have treasures all around you, and let your heart feel super-happy when you lay eyes on them. In mi casa, I have rose quartz crystals all over the house (there are dozens of them, no lie) – they look pretty, they remind me to feel the love that’s all around…and I love them. Yaaa! 🙂 I recently repainted/redid my bedroom, and I’m crazy for it – I still need to finish hanging pictures and sprucing the place up, but so far so good. I love it! 🙂 I didn’t do anything big or fancy, but the vibe in the room has somehow changed, and I’ve been sleeping SO MUCH BETTER lately – woohoo!! Mission accomplished!!! 🙂
Try to love what you do for a living. This one has been a struggle for me over the years – I’ve always loved the work that I did, but I wasn’t always enthralled by the locations where I did it. Thankfully this changed dramatically a couple of years ago when I was hired in my current position. Even though there are days when I am as annoyed as a person could possibly be at my job, I have never stopped loving what I do, and I have never stopped loving where I do it. When I was stuck in my miserable jobs, I worked like a friggin’ mo’fo to get out of there, and I eventually did. Was it easy? God, no!! Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!! If you aren’t happy where you are, do everything in your power – and then some – to change it. We spend more time at our jobs than we do anywhere else (at least I do), so it had better be somewhere that we don’t mind to be. Do what you love, and love what you do – and you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s the truth. 🙂
How do you combat the negativity that seems to thrive everywhere around us these days? What do you do to make your home a retreat from the madness of the world around you? I can’t wait to hear from you – hit me up with some comments! 🙂 xxx
I’m so happy to report that I have made SIGNIFICANT progress with this over the past few years – wow. It’s humbling to see how far I’ve come – we should all find ways to check in with ourselves like this, you know? I have become greatly more discriminating when it comes to how I spend my time – if I don’t enjoy someone’s company, I don’t see them. Simple as that. Of course the pandemic has helped with this considerably, but I was already well on my way. I’ve learned how to say no to people and mean it, and I’m really getting good at setting boundaries. I rarely have to deal with toxic people anymore (apart from the ones in my family), and I minimize contact and always approach like Teflon, ensuring that their bullshit bounces straight off me. And it feels GREAT. Highly recommend!
I’ve tried finding others who are as positive as me, and while that has presented some challenges, I am making progress. Being around optimism is EXHILARATING, and we all need to do it more often.
Same thing with focusing on things that make you happy – I’ve struggled with doing what I think I should do, or being what I think others want me to be for years…and been so miserable. I’ve made real headway with this one in the past couple of years – I’ve taken up painting which I love, I’m signed up for Transcendental Meditation training this weekend (SO excited!), all sorts of things designed to make just me happy….and I’m so much a better person for it. Funny how that works, eh?
I would love to hear from you, and hear what you do to focus on YOU – drop me a line, friends! ♥️
I came across this article today and wanted to share it with you. For a person who has no trouble speaking up for others, my default setting is always to keep quiet when it comes to advocating for myself. I fall into the ‘polite Canadian’ trap and say nothing…which isn’t helpful and doesn’t serve me well. This is a common thing with women, sadly….and it’s gotta change for all of us, don’t you think?
Ten Steps to Being an Effective Self-Advocate
Sometimes you may feel as if you have lost control over your life, your rights and your responsibilities. Regaining your sense of control by successfully advocating for yourself will give you back the hope and self-esteem you need to work toward recovery.
1. Believe in Yourself You are a unique and valuable person. You are worth the effort it takes to advocate for yourself and protect your rights. You can do it! You may need to work on raising your self-esteem to really believe in yourself and become your own best advocate.
2. Know Your Rights You are entitled to equality under the law. Some of us who have had mental health challenges erroneously believe that we do not have the same rights as others. I did for a while. I allowed people I did not know well and did not trust to make decisions for me and take control of my life. I now have systems in place so if I am not able to make good decisions for myself, others of my choice will make them for me.
3. Decide What You Want Clarify for yourself exactly what you need. This will help you set your own goals and help you be clear to others about what it is that you want and need for yourself.
4. Get the Facts When you advocate for yourself, you need to know what you are talking about or asking for. The internet is an excellent source of information. However, you will need to check its accuracy by looking at several different references to see if they agree. Check with people who have expertise in what you are considering. Ask others who have issues similar to yours. Check references in the library. Contact mental health agencies and organizations for information and support.
5. Planning Strategy Using the information you have gathered, plan a strategy that you feel will work to get what you need and want for yourself. Think of several ways to address the problem. Ask supporters for suggestions. Get feedback on your ideas. Then choose to take action using the one that you feel has the most chance of being successful.
6. Gather Support In advocating for what you need and want for yourself, it is helpful to have support from family members, friends and other people who have similar issues.
7. Target Efforts Who is the person, persons, or organization you need to deal with to get action on this matter? Talk directly with the person who can best assist you. It may take a few phone calls to discover which organization or person can help, or who is in charge, but it is worth the effort. Keep trying until you find the right person. Maybe the right person is your spouse or another family member. Perhaps it is the head of the local housing agency, your doctor, a case manager, a vocational rehabilitation counselor, or a state legislator.
8. Express Yourself Clearly When you are asking for what you need and want for yourself, be brief. Stick to the point. Don’t allow yourself to be diverted or to ramble on with unimportant details. State your concern and how you want things changed. If the other person tries to tell you reasons why you cannot achieve what it is you want for yourself, repeat again what it is you want and expect until they either give it to you, help you get it, or refer you to someone else who may be able to give you what you need. If you feel this may be difficult for you, you may want to role-play different scenarios with a supporter or a counselor.
9. Assert Yourself Clearly Don’t lose your temper and lash out at the other person, their character or the organization. Speak out, asking for what you need and want and then listen.Respect the rights of others, but don’t let them “put you down” or “walk all over you.”
10. Be Firm and Persistent Don’t give up! Keep after what you want. Always follow through on what you say. Dedicate yourself to getting whatever it is you need for yourself.
Good suggestions, eh? I know! I find myself getting stuck with clarifying exactly what it is that I truly WANT…which should be the easy part.
I was talking about what I want to do with my life with someone recently, and I confessed that I was still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Which is crazy. My ass is closing in on 50 at a pretty good clip….Shouldn’t I have this shit worked out by now? You would think so. My problem is that I can’t narrow it down – I want to go in to business for myself, I want to open a cheese shop, I want to write a book, I want to become a yoga teacher…I want to do about 3573 different things. But how? How do I stand up for me, put my needs first, and figure this shit out? How do I pick which thing is going to be the right path forward? I don’t want to work until I’m dead….so I’ve got to figure it out.
All those years ago (more than I care to count), modern-day prophets The Spice Girls sang, “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends (gotta get with my friends) / Make it last forever friendship never ends, / If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give, / Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.” Deep stuff, eh? I know. If you take these words as gospel (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t), you would think that it would be super-easy to win a woman’s heart, right? Wrong. It’s much more difficult than this. However, prepare yourself, friends…I have found the definitive list of things that need to happen in order to win the woman of your dreams (or me, whichever) – this list is GOLD. For realz.
According to this article, these are the things that women want – and, to be frank with you, these are EXACTLY THE THINGS THAT I WANT!! The article is right!!! Woohoo!!!! Give it a read! 🙂
1. Humility For most men, our competitive nature and desire to get ahead leave our ego to lead the way. We are constantly trying to prove our worth to ourselves and others, trying to be seen as better than others. In relationships, this is a losing proposition. Women don’t want conceited, aloof, or jealous men. Women want humility, equality, and decency. They don’t want to be put on a pedestal, but they don’t want to be demeaned or looked down upon either.
2. Vulnerability This is something we try to hide, suppress, and run away from. While women don’t necessarily want us to wear our emotions on our sleeves, they do want us to share what’s bothering us. If we’re feeling stressed or upset about something, they appreciate hearing from us. It shows them that we trust them enough to share our emotions. It may be hard for you to do because you’ve not practiced being vulnerable, but the more you open up, the more appreciative the woman in your life will be.
3. Emotional awareness Women appreciate a man who can sit comfortably with his emotions and be open to discussing issues without yelling or running away. Our emotional maturity and growth are what women want from us more than anything else. So, be willing to listen without judgment or trying to resolve a situation. Listening helps her let go of strong feelings that might be holding her down. You don’t have to solve a problem either—just listen with your presence and your understanding.
4. Attention How often are you multitasking when you talk to the women in your life? How often are you working when conversing with them? Women cherish the quality time they spend with us. They want us to be attentive and show up fully when we are with them. When you’re spending time with women, focus! Carve out time when you’re with the women in your life and be as attentive as you were when initially dating.
5. Gentleness It’s not in our nature to be soft and gentle. We grow up learning to value roughness and competitiveness. But when it comes to our relationships, gentleness in words, thoughts, and actions will save the day. Treat women with respect. Be kind. Speak softly.
6. Love in action While “I love you” is one way to communicate your love, women want to see our love in action. This means showing up for them, planning things with them, and being present with them. Your quality time, presence, and involvement is what women want more than sweet nothings and chocolates. Love in action means being thoughtful, considerate, forgiving, and compromising. Say loving words, yes, but also show it with your actions.
7.Affection Along the lines of love in action, how about some romance? Women like the small things, the thoughtful gestures that show them that we’re thinking about them. Yes, this could be an unexpected text, doing something for someone that’s important to them, picking up their favorite food or running an errand without being asked. It also means a gift for no reason, a greeting card telling her how you feel about her, a love note on the mirror, or a simple lunch date during the workweek.
8. Appreciation So much of what both people do in a relationship goes unnoticed. Couples are quick to pounce on each other with complaints and disagreements but hardly share what they value about their partner. Women usually juggle many things at once and are often taken for granted. Letting her know that you appreciate what she’s doing or that you’re noticing her many sacrifices will help her feel valued and cared for.
9. Acceptance Instead of challenging, making fun of, or questioning the woman in your life, why not accept her? Unconditionally. Don’t point out her flaws, don’t complain about particular traits, or make her feel bad about something she’s already feeling bad about. Women are used to feeling judged. If we simply drop the judgments and accept women unconditionally, we will help them feel loved and safe in our presence.
10. Strength Women appreciate our strength. This doesn’t necessarily mean we need to go out there and beat up someone who got on her bad side or rush to solve every problem that comes her way. A gentle strength simply means listening to her, validating what she’s experiencing, and reminding her that she has the courage and ability to deal with whatever life situations arise. Letting your partner know that you’re there for support but that she’s got this is often all the strength she needs to go forward.
11. Straightforwardness We don’t tend to overthink things or complicate things. We worry less about what others think and don’t spend too much time projecting the unknown. Continue to keep things light by finding the simple answer in complex situations and bringing that healthy perspective to any problem.
12. Humor Life’s too serious already. Women want to laugh. Humor is a great way to reduce tension. If you’re a funny guy, play up the humor in your relationship. If you’re not the humorous type, work on finding what you find funny and share that with your partner. Laughter, more than love, is the shortest distance between two hearts.
YES!!! Isn’t that brilliant???! I KNOW!!! The part about acceptance? Awesome!!! Appreciation?? Affection???! Gorgeous stuff!!!! This list really is great – and, if you’re a dude reading this, please use these strategies to make your woman feel special. It’ll be worth it, I promise. 🙂 xxx