The other day, I had difficulty making a decision about whether to tough it out at work or take a sick day. I asked for opinions on whether I should self-flagellate myself some more or give self a break. I got many suggestions and some expressions of “if you figure it out, tell me”. Judah had one of the best ones, which is to remember that if what’s guiding your decision is Fear or Guilt, it’s probably not a good thing. Best to go against that, and just say “Grace”.
I said “Grace” a whole freaking lot. Gracegracegracegracefreakingrace. But it did help. I also made up a flowchart. When you see it spelled out, it tends to make things a little bit easier. Observe. (Click to enlarge)
Have you got any pressing decisions to make? Plug it into a flow chart! Unless it’s like whether to leave a burning building or not. Then get the heck out. You might yell “Grace” while you’re doing it, just in case.
I’ve been doing a series in which I
rip apart showcase different fairy tales. The Things and I were thinking about Rapunzel the other day, specifically the many different versions, and how all are totally whack. Of course, I can’t really blame the witch. She’s just trying to protect her teenage stolen daughter. Who doesn’t want to just lock their kids up in a tower till they’re 21 or so? I figure if you put in an Xbox, an mp3 player, a cell phone, a computer tablet, and a large supply of Nachos, they’d be good up there alone for years.
And then it hit me. I wonder what our fairy tale characters would do if they had access to cell phones? Let’s look and see.
Rapunzel: OMG I have been like grounded for six years!
Snow White: What’d you do?
Rapunzel: Grew boobs. My mom is SO MEAN. I never get to go anywhere!
Cinderella: At least she doesn’t make you do chores all the time like my stepmom.
Belle: My dad got me imprisoned by a real beast. Ugh, boys.
Miller’s Daughter: My dad got me stuck spinning straw into gold or like I was dead!
Snow White: Aw, it wasn’t so bad. That short dude helped you out.
Miller’s Daughter: Oh, yeah, like I totally have to guess his name now. Anyone know?
Cinderella: Wait, WTF is YOUR name?
Miller’s Daughter: Um . . .
Snow White: My stepmom tried to murder me. Twice.
Cinderella: Okay, you win.
Ariel: My mom’s dead.
Cinderella: Jeez, Ariel, you’re like, such a downer.
Ariel: I talk to fish.
Snow White: Wait, Rapunzel why did you friend her?
Rapunzel: I think we’re forgetting the important thing here. Me.
Sleeping Beauty: Yawn. Did I miss something?
Snow White: Uh, duh, Aurora. Stay awake.
Sleeping Beauty: Just a few more minutes . . .
Rapunzel: It is like, SO boring in this tower. I wish someone would come over.
Belle: Couldn’t you like just cut your hair and climb down it?
Rapunzel: You think you’re so smart. Your boyfriend has major body hair issues.
Belle: At least I have one.
Cinderella: Ooh, snap.
Rapunzel: It took me like 500 hours to shampoo and style my hair. I am NOT cutting it.
Cinderella: Ooh Gus just texted me – the ball’s about to start.
Snow White: Mice text you?
Rapunzel: Doesn’t anybody care?
Ariel: I want to be part of your worllllld.
Rapunzel: Hey I don’t remember friending you. Go bother some fish.
Charming: Hey, baby. I can come over if you want.
Rapunzel: Oh, yes!
Snow White: Hey, you’re MY boyfriend
Cinderella: Uh, no, he’s MY boyfriend
Sleeping Beauty: What? Like, no, he’s my boyfriend . . .
Cinderella: You girls are DREAMING. He’s mine.
Charming: Oh oh.
We all have a voice in our heads. I said a voice, not voices – in that case you might have a problem. But most of us have that voice that tells us to do things even when we don’t want to do them. Necessary things. Like wake up when the alarm goes off. Get the kids ready for school and take them there. Go to work. Wash the laundry before it becomes your new carpet. Etc.
This voice is comprised of many voices from our pasts, but most often it is the voice of parents. After all, when you grow up, there’s no parent there anymore to tell you to do these things, so you have to do it yourself. The problem comes with the tone of the voice. Think of your boss. Your boss wants you to do something. He can either tell you nicely and be understanding, or he can act like a big jerk and yell at you. Either one will get the job accomplished. But one way is much worse than the other.
I have the big jerk in my head. And yes, it sounds like my parents. My parents didn’t abuse me physically. They didn’t neglect me. They love me. I know this. But they are also critical. I never really know if I will hear approval or disapproval from them. It’s like a slot machine. Every tenth time or so, I might get cherries. I keep pulling the lever, hoping for the cherries.
They mean well. They want what is best for me, at least what is best for me in their eyes. Where others might see a road bump, they see the road going off of a cliff. Best be prepared for the worst. If you miss work, you’ll get fired. If you buy this expensive item, you’ll be penniless. If you make the wrong decision, the world could explode. Are you upset, Alice? Did you remember to take your meds, Alice? That must be it.
There must be a way to motivate myself without being so cruel. I do have to go to work, and the longer I’m away from responsibilities like this, the harder it is to go back. But if I’m sick, what then? Do I go to work sick? Am I even really sick? You know how kids sometimes get those mysterious stomach aches? My daughter, Thing One, had what is known as “the barking cough of adolescence.” I had never heard of such a thing. Basically, she developed a habitual hacking cough because she dreaded school – specifically P.E. As soon as I heard this, I thought “the barking cough of adolescence” would be an awesome name for a post. Or possibly a band name.
I am off of work today. I have a deep cough. I’m often sick like this because of asthma. At least I think I have asthma – it depends on the doctor. But sometimes I question myself. Am I really sick enough to stay home, or am I faking it? Is this the barking cough of middle age? My father went to work while vomiting. I’m certain the rest of the staff was thankful to him for it. But he never missed a day!
If I was good enough, I wouldn’t get sick so much. I’m probably not even sick. It’s all in my head. Right? If I was normal, I wouldn’t miss any days. I would be a better parent, wife, worker, friend. Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I make myself just clean my blooming house? Why can’t I keep from getting these stupid minor illnesses over and over? Why can’t I do what I need to do without kicking myself into action, and then continuing to kick again, and again?
Allie Brosh is the writer of the famous blog “Hyperbole and a Half”. Even if you haven’t read her blog, you’ve probably seen memes of it. The funny person holding up the broom and shouting “Clean all the things!” That’s her work. She has the ability to make you laugh so hard you fall over. But she also has depression. She has the mean voice. And she shows the voice, in pictures, and I find myself saying “No, Allie, don’t be so mean. You aren’t so bad. It’s okay!” I’d do the same thing for any friend. I’d do the same for my own daughters. But I have a hard time doing it for myself.
So how do you do it? How do you motivate yourself to do what needs to be done, while still being kind?
Last year I did my own overview, complete with link drops to my own posts. Because no matter the year, I am still narcissistic. I vow to be more so in the new year. Blogging is also an interesting insight into what was going on in my life during 2013. Clearly not much, because I posted a lot, like enough times to fill more of those opera houses.
Note: I am so lazy, I didn’t even Link Drop.
Anyway, here we go:
I started off the year in the middle of covering Fifty Shades Freed, the final (for the love of God) book in the 50 Shades series. Only I called it Fifty Shades Flunked, because the one part of teaching I kind of liked was giving people Fs, and I got to do that a lot with E.L. James. I also had an online classroom of students, many of whom did not realize they were enrolled. So they mostly didn’t notice when I quit teaching partly through the book.
Next came the Freshly Pressed nod, which happened right after my washing machine exploded. I can’t express how happy I am that the one post that was pressed was one that featured the word “crap” in the title, and was about, of all things, my quest to get healthier. I joined a gym, and if you’ve ever seen Sport Goofy, you get the idea of how successful this was.
50 Shades coverage continues. To counteract the nausea, I try exercise and like all things, I do this in moderation. I review almost every exercise video out there, even the whacked out 80s ones and the frightening Jillian Godzilla Michaels.
Still overwhelmed, I took a blog break and went on Carnival Cruise lines for a three-hour-tour. Not really, but it made a good post. A stormtrooper visited Wonderland and shot up the place. The Things and I made up a TV show with a mutated creature named “Mutey and Friends”.
50 Shades coverage IS STILL GOING. I decide exercise is too much work and try yoga. Writing posts is also work, so I write my first one word post and get more comments on this than most of my actual posts. I goof up both the origin of both Easter and St Patrick’s Day. I decide to quit Facebook no really I mean it this time.
I first notice my Dragon Tales blog stalkers. I am called a “farthead” by one. I get obsessed with yoga and frightened by a panting girl on a video. I finally FINALLY finished 50 Shades and could only utter “Mmmbop.”
50 Shades is gone and I have nothing to write about, but this doesn’t stop me. I remind people of my birthday coming up and await all the celebratory blog posts. The Fruitcake Award is created and passed around several blogs cause no one wants that thing. More yoga posts. My collection of yoga bling adds up.
I meet my Wonder Twin, merbear, and we discover a love of making fun of stupid retro ads. Also the sound of our own voices. We riff on ads about magical brushes and laxatives. The Things turn nine and thirteen. We have a lockdown at work because the stupidest crooks of all time pretend to rob a Subway. A squirrel and a depressed pony get Facebook accounts. I find out yoga is of the devil.
I get sick a lot (surprise!). Crazed “Christians” swarm my college campus. I declare that I am my own cool table. I start reviewing songs, starting with the “Chipper Cheatin’ Songs”. I tell people what not to name their baby, figuring I’ll tick some people off – instead it’s one of my most viewed posts. Merbear and I find out new uses for Lysol. The anti-awards arrive. I continue my parody of 50 Shades with our heroine Bambi.
Merbear and I start the Wonder Twins retro blog. Merbear does a lot of the work because yet another of my alternate identities, Mary Alice, apparently falls down a bottle. I talk about murdering virtual people – it is another of my most popular posts, you sickos. Boppo the death clown is born and continues to die horrible deaths in the Sims. Sparky the Wonder Blogger arrives to terrorize us all and my followers become sparkleponys. List of X tells us way too much about Miley Cyrus and twerking.
The Things and I glob glitter on a My Little Pony and actually get people to compete for it in a Sparklepony contest! People had to be as obnoxious in their posts as possible – no surprise this is not a problem for my followers. Evil Squirrel “wins” the
monstrosity pony and she travels to his home and falls in love with his Rainbow Donkey (knitted by a blogger) and has babies: (knitted by another blogger). Yes, we are all adults.
I suffer the Sadz and a small nervous breakdown, but continue to write anyway. Halloween is dissected, another birth story is told, and I describe the game of Life – turns out all of these are of the devil.
I start reviewing fairy tales – I mean to get back to this in the New Year with the Little Mermaid, that fishy brat. Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and that freak Peter Pan have already gotten the Alice treatment. My Thanksgiving post is a Black
Friday Thursday post, because that’s what the real holiday is, right? Yay!
I spend the entire month griping about Christmas. I discuss the scariness of Santa, write a love letter to George Michael, and discover from Fox News that Santa and Jesus are white. Holiday Paul is offered as a Santa substitute. I get obsessed with a virtual farm. What happened to that exercise and yoga stuff? Hang on, I gotta milk my pretend cows!
So that’s my year. Did you guys have a good 2013? Are you glad it’s over? Got any News Years resolutions you plan to immediately break? Let me know. And thanks for reading.