Tag Archives: serious post

You Don’t Have To

There’s a lot of guilt and obligation floating around both online and off. And while you don’t have to believe a word that I say—trust me, I don’t always believe these myself—just for today, try.

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You don’t have to hide your quirks. They make you unique.

You don’t have to drink coffee, and if you do, it doesn’t have to be designer Arabica beans or a $6 latte from Starbucks.

You don’t have to love a certain food because everyone else seems to love it. You can if you want, but do it for you. Not for any other reasons.

You don’t have to check your phone right this minute. Remember how life was a decade ago? Whatever it is can wait.

You don’t have to be the best parent, spouse or friend, but you do have to be there when those people need you.

You don’t have to love yoga or CrossFit or running. Try to be healthy, but be healthy for you. We all need to find out what works.

You don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like you.

You don’t have to cook complicated meals with a lot of ingredients. Microwaves were made for a reason.

You don’t have to make Pinterest-worthy desserts. Bakeries are there for a reason, as are Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines mixes.

You don’t have to pin a damn thing.

You don’t have to hide your successes, but it’s far more impressive when others discover your charm without you having to tell them.

You don’t have to tweet a damn thing.

You don’t have to be mean to be funny. In fact, you don’t have to be mean at all.

You don’t have to love your job. You don’t have to hate your job. But you should do a good job when your name and your rep are attached.

You don’t have to tell everything you know because you have a spare minute.

You don’t have to undervalue your strengths or overvalue your mistakes.

You don’t have to hide your scars. They show that you have survived.

You don’t have to take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

You don’t have to write a book. You don’t have to read a book, but if you don’t, you’re missing out.

You do not have to complain each time you’re annoyed, but silent gratitude feels rather wasted.

You don’t have to love being a parent all the time. You don’t have to feel guilty for that.

You don’t have to complain about being a parent all the time. Nobody likes a martyr.

You don’t have to write if you really don’t want to, and when you do, write for yourself.

You don’t have to compare yourself to others. You are you. That is enough.

You don’t have to be inspirational—life isn’t unicorns and glitter—but everyone has their own junk. Try and provide some relief.

You don’t have to click on the link and read through. In fact, you can log off.

You don’t have to make the bed, fold the laundry or clean every day. A house is meant to be lived in.

You don’t have to have it all figured out. Nobody does, and you don’t have to believe them if they tell you they do.

You don’t have to take the road others have taken. Just make sure the path is your own.

And most of all, you don’t have to be the exception.

You are worthy of happiness in your life.

You are worthy of laughter, good food and good friends.

You are worthy of love and support.

You don’t have to do it alone.

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P.S.  I created a new “Illustrated Issues” tab to the top of my blog where I added some of the most popular images from Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy!

Pulling Back the Curtain

I had two different posts written—a semi-funny one I’ll put up next (when there are more than five people on the Internet) and one of those personal ones that leaves me twitchy with my finger on the “delete” button—but I trashed the serious one.

Then I started to wonder why, if that’s how I was feeling, I wanted to push it away.

Part of it is that I like to keep things light here, another part is that some things are best kept offline, but yet another part is that it might change how you look at me. It’s easy to make fun of myself about certain things, but it’s not easy to truly make myself vulnerable. And so I often slightly hide the truth, internalize any issues and avoid feeling anything slightly uncomfortable.

How’s that working out for me, eh?

So I decided to write about that because I think we all use this trick from time to time, telling people what we think they want to hear, maybe saying we’re “fine” when in fact we’re a little bit (or a lot) less.

I admit it’s not always easy to do. There are times I feel like not sharing more crap gives off the air that I’m always okay. Since part of me wants to believe that that’s true, it feels like this act never stops.

Keep smiling, keep the messy stuff all to yourself.

But there are times this seemingly harmless omission starts to eat away at me, and it’s those times I wonder how many other people write posts they don’t publish, delete all the stuff that might blur up the lines between how they are and how they wish they could be.

We all know why we do this, of course.

We’ve heard the importance to put on a brave face, project unicorns and glitter and “fake it ‘til you make it!” I’m sure that works for some people, but for everyone out there who’s struggling, watching others do only that just adds to their feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt. For many, watching others just hurts and adds to the need to hide out.

Of course we can’t change what other people do or how others perceive us. The crafting of a perfect persona is part of our culture now — online and off — whether we like it or not (and I choose the latter.) I know I have to balance between honesty and oversharing, between personal and professional.

Because regardless of whether it’s honest or not, what you put out there is you—for better or worse.

But it’s unrealistic to think you can be happy all of the time. That would be weird and unnatural, like how people’s faces vibrate when they try and hold in a yawn. (Just let it go, people.)

And even though many of us have good lives and good opportunities, normal life isn’t easy for anyone—even those without depression or “issues” they face.

But I can tell you that if you decide to share a bit of the muck, to let the curtains peek open a crack when you crave the light most, the people you need in your life won’t reject you. They support. They entertain. They listen. They can talk you off the ledge that you’re on, knowing they’ve stood there before.

It’s more about trusting yourself.

So I’m still not sure that I’ll publish that “serious” post, but it’s not because I’m ashamed. I just have other, funnier things that I want to share. But I know that when the time feels right, I’ll pull back the curtain again.

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When You Don’t Know What to Say

“The friend that holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away.” –Barbara Kingsolver

This quote has always spoken to me, and I was reminded of it recently when a friend going through a rough time said I “always know the right thing to say.”

I laughed to myself, as that sounded ridiculous to me. While I might be good at offering a perspective I fail to absorb in my own daily life—denial is truly a gift, my friends—most of the time I just ramble and hope that something might stick, that I might be able to help ease just a smidgen of pain.

My problem is that I’m a “fixer.”

Unfortunately, there seems to be a string of pretty crappy things happening lately that proves we all have “something” that we’re dealing with that’s out of our control.

There’s no greater feeling of helplessness than to know that someone you care about is sick, financially strapped, in pain—physically or emotionally—or, let’s be honest, dealing with death—the reality of their own or that of a parent, a friend, or the horror of the loss of a child.

There are no “right” words, and at some point you realize that things happen to you and happen around you that can’t be fixed.

And it’s not your job to fix them.

I think a lot of people unintentionally ignore these things at times, not because they don’t care, but simply because they can’t “fix” them and have no clue how to react. Those who are sick or aging aren’t necessarily the same people we’ve known them to be, and selfishly, we want them to be the people they were before they got sick, before they got old, before they became so… mortal.

The realization that things will never be the same—and that you can’t fix it as such—is enough to make you stress yourself out in an attempt to save the world or conversely stay at home curled up in a ball, not dealing with it at all.

But just as much as you don’t want to deal with it, I can guarantee that the person who is sick or struggling doesn’t want to deal with it a million times more—but they do, often with courage and grace.

I think that in and of itself can be intimidating, the fact that you are lucky enough to be in a comparatively better position. The strength of those who aren’t can be inspiring beyond belief, but it can also make us question how we would be if faced with such a challenge.

It takes courage to face the unknown, but it’s much easier to do so when you’re on the right side of the coin, to be the one who has a choice.

But the fact is that as strong as they are or appear to be, they’re probably still scared. So we put the guilt aside for wanting them to be the people they were before they got sick, before they got old, before they became so…mortal. Because at their core, they are the same people.

And you know what?

They know that you can’t fix things, and most don’t expect you to. They have no choice but to deal the hand they were dealt, and sometimes they just want you to hold that hand.

They don’t want to do it alone.

That’s one thing I—and you—can fix.

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Just Keep Nodding

I use humor as an escape 90 percent of the time, so I promise to keep up with the snark when I can. However, I was overwhelmed by the response/support from this post and and want to keep myself accountable.

But truth be told—as it should be, unless I ask you to pretend I don’t look like a homeless person, in which case I need you to lie—I hesitate to publish these serious things. Does  anyone care other than me?

I have no idea. However, I need to get past worrying about that, so you’ll be getting more of these posts once in awhile. I’ll need you to pretend that’s okay.

Keep nodding your heads. Let’s move on.


I’ve made it my mission to read out of my meditation book for a minimum of 15 minutes each day and write at least one or two lines—sometimes quite a bit more—about the things that I’ve read and how I can apply them to now.

Well, life keeps throwing shit snowballs—things I never discuss on this blog—and this “mindful” mission feels more like a mindfu#* at times. I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to truly be balanced and live my authentic life, I have two choices:

  1. Move to a remote island (with Internet access and a full vegan chef) to practice yoga and meditation with Buddhist monks and hot retired Canadian hockey players or
  2. Become a hermit and tell the universe to go screw itself.

Okay. Maybe there’s a third option.

I can’t afford the airfare to the island or live off the few green beans left in my garden, so I’m left trying to deal with real life in a way that isn’t quite so self-destructive — something that has been my default for the past decade in some way, shape or form.

I’m still struggling with the fact that even though I can let go of what doesn’t serve me, accept what’s out of my control and try to mindfully move through the occasional muck, that doesn’t change the fact that these things still go on.

Being “mindful” simply means I’m paying attention, and sometimes that feels worse than ignoring said frustrations and/or literally running myself into the ground.

So, second conclusion: it’s more than just “paying attention.”

We’re not meant to be so reactive, always anxiously on the edge of our seats waiting to see how we can control the outcome of whatever it is we feel is out of control. We’re meant to trust that some how, some way the universe will provide what we need.

Yes, that sounds like a load of shit. I’m fully aware of that. I’m also fully aware that I’m no longer comfortable with the rationalizations and compromises I’ve been making with things. “This” happened, so I feel like I deserve to do “this” or complain about “that.” We all have our own examples.

How has that been working out? Exactly.

So I have to believe that one right action—even if uncomfortable—can have a positive reaction and that a series of interconnected “right” actions can cause things to change. Eventually doing the work and getting through that discomfort will feel better than always avoiding the pain that inevitably returns at some point.

And that’s really the point, isn’t it? Life isn’t about dancing with the unicorns and frolicking with the butterflies, but rather opening your umbrella for shit storms with awareness and a sense of inner peace (why is that never printed on a motivational poster?)

I suppose it’s because good ol’ Buddha makes more sense with, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” He was a bit more eloquent with his words, but tomato to-mah-to.

The point is that each day we try.

Keep nodding your heads. Let’s move on.

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