On Being Okay

I have some pretty high expectations for myself.

I want to write a book, start a band, be a yoga guru, climb some mountains,  look good in a bikini, rise above my superficial consciousness that tells me it’s important to look good in a bikini, meditate, run everyday, do my dishes as soon as I eat off them, have a minimalist ethically-sourced wardrobe, have a closet overflowing with beautiful high-end dresses and shoes unethically made in sweatshops  and justify it by donating to human rights organizations like the International Labor Rights Forum, stop being the Patron Saint of Drunk Boys, break my own cycles, respect my bloody lady cycle, try mountain cycling, stop worrying about cycles, stop crying in random places for random reasons such as in the checkout line at the grocery store because I’m tired and they are out of my favorite coconut milk yogurt, continue to cry in checkout lines at the grocery store because I am tired of minimizing my feelings even when they’re minimal, be kind, be assertive, etc. etc. et-fucking-cetera. 

But here’s the fucking thing you guys:

I’m fucking tired.

I am constantly doing or trying to do or feeling guilty for not doing every single one of the things I listed above and I just don’t feel like doing anything for the moment.

I don’t feel like trying to become more of some things and less of others.

I just want to be.

So that’s why I haven’t been writing on here or making music or thinking about my next creative endeavor. Lately, I just create when I feel like it and don’t when I don’t. Creativity takes discipline and discipline takes doing and I just don’t feel like doing anything beyond doing okay.

These days I just run around all day doing okay and not striving for anything more or anything less. That’s it. And it’s not great, but it is okay. I’m doing okay, you guys. I have a job that is okay. I eat okay. I am financially okay. I feel okay when I wake up. I sleep okay. Things are a-oh-fuckin-kay. And that’s okay with me. 

Some days being okay means being lazy and binge-watching entire seasons of Charmed on Netflix, wishing I looked like Alyssa Milano in a crop top  then scrolling through my phone to review my hottest nudies, deciding that I’m doing alright, then continuing to shove hoards of blue corn tortilla chips and homemade guacamole into my mouth. 

Some days being okay means being kind of sad so I drive to a sacred hilltop that is exactly one hour and eleven minutes from my home and if it’s a clear night I look at the stars and find constellations with my astronomy app and if it’s a cloudy night I open all my car doors and blare Portishead and Tom Petty and Tash Sultana from my shitty little speakers and dance in the headlights of my shitty little Jeep and feel grateful that I don’t have a shitty taste in music. 

Here’s a little selfie I took a few months ago on my sacred little hilltop, screaming and crying. I didn’t post it anywhere because I thought it made me seem crazy. But here’s the fucking thing you guys- I am fucking crazy. But mostly, I’m okay. 

Some days being okay means I spend hours (literally, hours) intermittently playing the piano, learning the first half of whatever song comes into my head, singing, getting bored and moving through different yoga poses in a half-assed way while staring out the window onto my balcony, watching my Tibetan prayer flags breathing good intentions into the Universe.

My little balcony that I love so much. Even and especially when it’s full of snow.

Some days being okay means I’m really angry and that makes me cry a lot and I allow myself to take huge gulps of air and gasp for breath and wail in a way that would make you believe I am about to throw myself on the funeral pyre of an ex-lover. 

Some days being okay means researching grad schools, deciding I’m going to travel the world instead, saving twenty new recipes on Pinterest, then deciding not to do any of it and watching season 7 of Charmed and ordering sushi.

Being okay just looks different depending on the day.

Being okay just means you are okay with being.

I am tired and sad and happy and angry and confused and lazy and curious and creative and OKAY. 

This year, in a span of five months, I trudged through a breakup, sold my house, got a new job, quit drinking and quit smoking.

This year, I fostered new friendships, ended others, accepted that some will never be the same and rebuilt relationships with people who loved me well even when I did not love them well because I did not love myself.

This year, I became more afraid of what I might miss if I don’t keep growing than what I might lose if I fuck it all up. 

This year, when I first moved into my apartment, my orchid was in a regrowth stage- meaning there were no buds. I had to cut down the stems to encourage new growth. That was back in September. And while I am meticulous and attentive and neurotic about caring for my orchid, I had  been so very, very busy doing and not being the last several months that I missed out on the transformation that was occurring, literally, right before my eyes.

This past week I noticed, for the first time, that there are three long, green, healthy, brand new shoots growing strong from the places I had cut back in September.

Look at this beautiful lil’ biotch.

You guys.

What do you think I did at the sight of this obvious, tangible metaphor staring me right in the face reminding me of the grace this world sometimes bestows on those who shut the fuck up long enough to listen?

Do you think I dropped to my knees and sobbed like a weird little hippy freak, saying thank you to whatever gods I believed in that day?

You bet your sweet ass I did.

In fact, I’m crying a little right now thinking about it. 

I mean COME ON YOU GUYS LOOK AT THOSE BEAUTIFUL SHOOTS. 

It is so important to keep moving and removing things in and out and around in our lives. It is so important to ensure we are challenging ourselves to take risks that encourage real, honest change.

But when I saw, reflected in those three little stems, my own newness burgeoning from all the wreckage- I was reminded that true growth happens in the stillness. Real, honest change begins in the resting place that exists between the cutting back and the blossom; in the place where we give ourselves the allowance to just be; when we allow ourselves to just be okay; when we stop demanding more or less or better and accept each moment for whatever it brings. 

And in recent moments, I’m okay. Really, deeply, truly okay. And I hope you are too.

I hope terrible things happened to you this year that made you angry and forced you to search for the grace in the wreckage. I hope you were scared and did things anyway. I hope you cried so hard you eventually laughed. I hope you cried so hard you were afraid you might never laugh again. I hope you laughed your fucking ass off.  I hope you were careless with your words and had the opportunity to say you were sorry. I hope you got a little better at loving. I hope you learned how to suck a little more at holding grudges. I hope you got tired, found a resting place, and allowed yourself to stay there for a bit. But mostly, I just hope that we all keep being okay. And I think we do this by believing in whatever we believe in for however long we can believe in it, because something out there is listening, you guys. 

I promise you that. 

Oh yeah, and have a happy-fucking-whatever-you-believe.

Love always,

and especially right now,

Saint Margaret 

Talking About Using the Internet Less While Using the Internet: A Millennial’s Tale of Sacrifice

The internet is a beautiful place, a magical place full of YouTube videos of people performing, well, magic and anything else you can thing of. I’m fairly certain it was the internet Jesus was referring to in the biblical quote, “Ask and you shall receive.” I mean, the internet is such a big deal, it’s not even a big deal anymore. On the internet, anything is possible.

You need a chicken noodle soup recipe? Check.

Porn? Check.

Porn about chicken noodle soup? Well, I searched it and all I found was a comedy sketch show that happens to have an episode entitled Porn Star Pete- The Chicken Noodle Soup, which was not porn, but was still deeply satisfying in all the weird, wonderful ways the internet can be. You see? Magic.

Anyway, I’ve decided to take a break from the places in this digitized world wherein I waste the most time, namely, Facebook, Instagram and all forms of online shopping  for TEN WHOLE DAYS. So, why would I do this asks the hypothetical audience in my head? Well, for one, rich and famous people check out from the internet all the time so it must be a good idea. But really, it’s because the internet gives us the power to access seemingly any information, anywhere, anytime and as Spiderman’s wise old Uncle Ben taught us, “With great power comes great responsibility”- and I just used that power to google the phrase “porn about chicken noodle soup” without a second thought.

What a fucking privilege.

Truly.

It is a privilege to act as stupid as I do on the World Wide Interwebs and I want to ensure I remain grateful for that privilege as well as limit the amount of time I spend watching cat videos and comedy sketches about fake porn stars. And thanks to my Catholic upbringing, I know that there is no better way to remain grateful for something than to deprive yourself of it. I’m referring to the ancient ritual of “fasting”.

And while I no longer believe in the Judeo-Christian God I grew up with, I am grateful to my parents for raising me in a faith that reveres the observation of ritualistic worship practices. Various studies in the fields of psychology and anthropology have actually found positive correlations between rituals and healthy brain functioning, specifically in the development of crazy adolescent brains. In college, I wrote a shitty paper about this very notion. But here is a link to a much shorter and more broadly interesting article written by someone with a PhD about how rituals can actually decrease feelings of anxiety, which is one of my least favorite feelings in the world.

So- fasting is a cool ancient ritual and the importance and potentially positive effects of practicing rituals are, like, scientifically proven and shit. Also, rituals don’t have to be religious, they just have to mean something to the observer. Also, contrary to how it might appear on the surface, fasting is not about focusing on the things you’re fasting from, it’s about finding and creating space where the things you’re fasting from used to be and then, most importantly, intentionally filling that space with things that add value and a sense of purpose and meaning to your current state of affairs. And that is why I’m not fasting from the entire internet.

I find many things online that add value and meaning to my life, such as this blog, because I know there are a few people who actually read it. And that fills me with a sense of purpose.

But as for Facebook and Instagram…holy shit can I waste my life on social media. One minute I’m innocently looking at my friend’s wedding photos and the next thing I know four hours have gone by and I can tell you the name, birthday and favorite holiday of my cousin’s best friend’s brother’s veterinarian’s aunt’s cousin. (Elizabeth, born August 17, 1993, Christmas.)

Basically, if I am not intentional about the way I interact with the world digitally, I risk interacting with the world superficially. Although, for the record, interacting with the world on a surface level is abso-fucking-lutely okay sometimes. I fucking love cat videos and creeping on people on my way down the rabbit hole of online social media connections. I can’t get enough, man. In fact, I got so bored within 47 minutes of discontinuing use of my Facebook and Instagram accounts, I decided to check out the ol’ Tinder account I hadn’t used for a couple years and I swear to all gods this is what I found, memorialized in the seedy underbelly of “dating” apps:

spiderman

Yep. There I am. And seeing myself at this level of idiocy that I had completely forgot about brought me the greatest, deepest joy.

I’m not hating on stupid internet shenanigans in the slightest, you guys.

I’m not suggesting we need to examine our lives from every angle at every moment.

But I am suggesting that sometimes it is abso-fucking-lutely necessary to step away from the parts of the world (digital and otherwise) that are constantly asking for our attention without honoring our intention, to think deeply about how we are moving through these spaces, to ensure we are still asking the big, hard, good questions about why we are here and what in the actual fuck we are supposed to be doing with all this Life we’ve been given. And while I don’t expect to ever have a completely satisfying answer to those questions, I do know that asking them always lights up another candle in what can be a very dark, little world.

Here’s to lighting some matches.

Love always,

and especially right now,

Saint Margaret

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The Light in Me is Jealous of the Light in You

Namaste, bitches. That’s what the title to this post means, sort of. The term Namaste has multiple translations, all which basically amount to telling other human souls that you honor and respect their human souls.

And today I want to talk about how I don’t always honor and respect other human souls, and it’s a terrible thing, but it also happens to be terribly human.

Really, you guys.

Sometimes I am so jealous of the goodness and open hearts and creative expressions I see beaming out of other people that I find myself wondering why my light doesn’t shine in the same way or as bright or reach as far as the light emanating from the people I admire. And while this type of jealousy is so very normal and so very human, it’s important to remember that your own light is shining out to others in ways you may not see. Let me tell you a story.

One day, not so long ago, I was walking into a hot yoga class.

Now, to really set the stage, it is necessary to mention how heightened my level of anxiety had been leading up to this day. We’re talking multiple panic attacks on an almost weekly basis due to some issues I was having adjusting to the one million life changes I had made. I felt completely untethered,  like I was floating in space and couldn’t find one single fucking star to guide me. My therapist taught me that people most often develop phobias during times of huge life changes, for example, selling a home and moving, ending a relationship, getting a new job, changing lifestyle routines such as quitting smoking or drinking- all of which I had done within a span of three months. So while I didn’t develop a full-blown phobia of anything, my stressed out brain decided to latch onto and magnify every little fear I had. Here are a few things I became afraid of:

  1. Hiking in an area too high above sea level because my anxiety told me I might run out of oxygen and die.
  2. Riding in an airplane because the air was too thin and I might run out of oxygen and die.
  3. Taking medication because my anxiety told me I might be allergic to an antibiotic and go into anaphylactic shock and, subsequently, run out of oxygen and die.

Yes, I was (am) extremely afraid of running out of oxygen and the resultant death that may occur. This is likely due to the fact that these days I often feel as though I am metaphorically running out of oxygen in my life. Whatever. That’s not the point of this post but now I feel compelled to talk more about it, but later.

The point is, I was going fucking crazy AKA experiencing my somewhat inconceivable propensity to backslide into the swampy mess of mental health issues at a moment’s notice. And it sucked. And since practicing yoga has always made me feel empowered and strong and capable, it was natural for me to turn to it in an attempt to root out my fear and anxiety and cope with the shitty feelings I was feeling.

So. There I am, walking down the sidewalk, mat slung over my shoulder, anxious but convinced I was about to be cured, when I noticed a man walking about twenty feet ahead of me. I noticed him because he was smoking a cigarette, and since I had recently quit, my reaction to the smell or sight of that smoky goodness solicited an almost salacious response from my very nervous nervous system. I started biting my nails and reminding myself that I was way healthier than this dude now that I don’t smoke and how much ass I was about to kick in class. And then, naturally, he flicked his cigarette out on the sidewalk and WALKED INTO THE FUCKING STUDIO.

In this moment, never in my life had I felt more certain that the Universe was sending me a sign that I should not have quit smoking, because yes, I often fabricated reasons to suggest the divine light at the core of all of humanity wanted me to continue smoking, reasons such as, smoking makes me happy and doesn’t the Universe want me to be happy or today is Tuesday.  So I decided I would buy a pack at the cigar bar around the corner on my way out of class.

A few minutes later, sitting on my mat, waiting for everyone to settle into their spaces, I felt my pulse and started doubting my decision to engage in a physical activity that intentionally raises blood pressure, as my anxiety had a habit of convincing me I would pass out and die if my heart started beating too fast.

But it was too late.

I was right in the middle of the room, the heaters were heating away and everyone was breathing and focused and ready to go. Leaving the practice would mean walking around and between what felt like at least 372 other people, interrupting or distracting them from their practice which would result in them thinking about how much of a weird loser I was and when I opened the door it would let in the cool air and ruin everything for everyone everywhere and I would have no choice but to pack all my belongings into my car, drive to Mexico, take a plane directly to Antarctica somehow from the Puerto Vallarta International Airport and live out the rest of my days dying a slow and painful shame-induced death.

So I stayed.

And I knew I was going to survive because, just a few feet from me, there was a man who had just smoked a cigarette two minutes before positioning himself with his head south of his heart in an eighty degree room.

In my state of anxiety I was not able to calmly explain to myself that my fear of death was exaggerated and irrational in this setting.

In my state of anxiety I was not able to escape into a meditative place of peace and serenity.

But in my state of anxiety, I could look at the man a few feet from me, moving with grace and certainty through a vinyasa flow, whose lungs had just been filled to the brim with noxious chemicals minutes beforehand, and know that I was going to be okay too. My lungs were clear and open. I could breathe.

So, in conclusion, the light shining out of this man came in the form of a fucking cigarette, you guys. A fucking cigarette, lit up and flicked on the sidewalk SHONE LIGHT INTO MY SOUL.

Which sounds stupid.

Because it is.

It is stupidly human, which I feel okay about.

Our humanness gives us the ability to ascribe meaning to people, places and events, to believe in bigger things, and most importantly, it allows us to recognize the humanness of others reflected in ourselves. I think it’s important to remember that the light we see in other humans comes from their very humanness; the light we see in others is the same kind of light we all possess; our light, our souls, our connection to the divine (whatever you want to call it) exists BECAUSE of our humanness, not despite it.

Let’s all keep being stupid, shining humans.

That’s all.

Love Always,

and especially right now,

Saint Margaret

 

Positivity Sucks

If I could go back in time and tell my younger self some real shit to help her out I would say the following:

Nothing.

Why  would I do that?

First of all- haven’t you watched The Terminator? Shit seriously goes awry when the future gets all Mcfucked with the past.

Now, of course, writing a letter to your past self can be healing if the intent for said letter is, say, forgiveness or permission to lay some shit to rest already because the past was the past. But to write a letter to yourself, as some kind of a warning, as some kind of a guide to your future self? What is the point of that?

I don’t want my past self to know that everything is going to be okay. I want her to fuck up royally. I want her to know what it feels like to live through terrible, heart-wrenching moments that she really, truly believed were going to last forever. How the fuck else would she ever learn that those moments never, ever actually last forever? How else would she learn that she can always do better?

The truth is that life really, really sucks sometimes and I think our culture has become a bit obsessed with “positivity”. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying we should just downward spiral into our negative or self-destructive behaviors. I think shit like “the power of positive thinking” is super cool and also true. Try meditating. It’s great. Try turning your negative thought patterns into positive ones. Tell people, “Thank you for listening,” instead of, “I’m sorry for bothering you.” Repeat affirmations to yourself until you believe them. Tell yourself you’re funny and hot and smart and just an all around fuckin’ hoot to hang out with. That shit works.

But it’s also important to remember that life is hard, because if you run around like some fairy princess moron pretending like everything is okay all the time, I think somewhere along the way your heart and soul and mind will forget how to respond to disappointment. And then you get petulant whenever some shit doesn’t go as planned. And here’s a fucking spoiler alert you guys: PRETTY MUCH NOTHING EVER GOES AS PLANNED. Learning to bounce back from disappointing shit is exercise for your brain. It teaches you resiliency. In the same way that physical exercise makes your heart stronger and more efficient, learning to trudge through painful life experiences, learning to sit with your pain or sadness or existential disillusionment of your tiny little meaningless life, forces you to be stronger the next time around, reminds you of what you are capable of and gives you the wisdom of experience.

When shit really sucks, and you live through it, like, really, really force yourself to trudge through all the terrible parts of whatever you’re experiencing, it gives you something metaphorically tangible you can metaphorically hold in your metaphorical hands that you can show yourself the next time life sucks. You can hold it up and say, “Hey, look what we did. Look what we survived. This too shall pass, man. We can do better on the other side.” And in the end you’ll have a beautiful collection of hardships you survived that become like a spank bank for your psychological resiliency.

Yeah, I said that.

So, go forth and do the hard things. (That’s what she said.)

Sit with the terrible things.

Give them names.

Say real things to the people you love that feel like needles on the way out and often end up being vessels for the best kind of medicine.

Be scared of things and admit it. Then do them anyway.

Cry in the checkout line.

Pray to every kind of god you believe in or else create your own.

The only thing you shouldn’t do is wish you could go back and do it all in a different way.

You can’t.

You’re here now.

Act like it.

 

Love always,

and especially right now,

Saint Margaret Dizzle

Me, a Pseudo-Parent, on Being a Parent

I am writing this blog post via talk to text on my cellular device as I walk through the woods. Not that you care. I just wasn’t sure how else to start this out. My mind just went wandering and I realized there is probably nothing more terrifying than becoming a parent, and look at all these people, doing it anyway.

If you can raise a child you can do anything, at all, ever. You can also do anything at all ever even if you haven’t raised a child. It’s just that if you are raising a child, you’ve already done one of the top ten Fucking Things ever to exist so it makes no sense to be afraid of anything ever. Like, a child is the last thing you want to fuck up, but if you had one knowing that you might fuck it up and did it anyway and are doing your best to raise your kid to be a cool, loving, intelligent member of society, then you’re already living in the world of doing whatever the fuck you want. Which is super great. (Also, is there really a list of top ten Fucking Things? No. But now that I wrote that I’m going to make one. It will most likely be useless, as is the rest of our existence, which ironically kind of makes it worth doing because it’s worth just as much as anything else.)

Anyway. I feel like I should first explain that I personally do not want to give birth to a child. That is a choice I made for myself many moons ago. Well, maybe not that many moons. Or possibly a lot. I have no fucking clue how to count moons, really. But I’m pretty old now. I turned thirty a couple months back, so whatever that means, and also, now that I have reached this milestone age symbolizing adulthood, you can rest assured that this post and all future posts will be written with the air of reverence for a life well-lived that comes with the ancient wisdom I now possess here on the other side of my twenties. I have been told by many that this choice to leave my womb barren will change at some point. And now that I have all this wisdom as a real life grown up, I realize that everyone who told me I would change my mind about having a child ARE STILL WRONG. Seriously. Please don’t tell people what they are going to want in the future. Their future isn’t yours to decide.

Also, I can change my mind if I want and have 9 children and name each one after a planet and your opinion still wouldn’t matter.

Also, #Pluto4lyfe.

So, despite not having the desire to give birth to a child, I do have what I refer to as pseudo-children AKA children that I got to hang out with a lot as they were growing up but did not push out of my vagina. Like step-children, except I never legally married their father, but we were together for approximately nine years, so I now refer to them as my pseudo-children.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it feels like to be a pseudo-parent or any kind of parent and if I can even call myself a parent. But what I do know is that my pseudo-children still love me and call me and tell me about their lives. I also know that one of my girls recently slept with someone on the Forbes list, and if there is anything I would like to take responsibility for in their growing up- it’s that. (Way to go, girl. Proud pseudo-mommy moment.)

But I’m going to speak specifically about two of the oldest children- in part because they have given me permission and in part because they are now adults figuring out their own way and that feels really scary because I’ve barely figured out mine.

I didn’t really have any plans for the kind of parent I wanted to be, especially considering I was 17 at the time I met them.

But I know now that even if I had, it wouldn’t have mattered.

We never end up being the kind of parents we thought we would become, largely because our children don’t end up being the kind of kids we thought they’d be. We learn to adjust to their temperaments and their needs and do our best to understand the world from their vantage points. And often times, we come to find we are less patient, less forgiving and way less cool than we thought we were going to be. And that’s okay. The important thing is to stay flexible, to keep learning, and to do the best you can even if sometimes you suck at everything.

I am proud of my girls for being smart, funny and kind when it’s not expected. For being able to remove themselves from unhealthy relationships. For being sexually liberated. For being aware of their strengths, or else just being open to the fact that they are not perfect but good enough at some things and willing to figure it out along the way.

My 21 year old pseudo-daughter once told me that she had never really been out in nature until her dad and I started dating. Which was surprising because here in the Black Hills I’ve been made fun of for being a city girl, but back home I’m basically a goddamn mountaineer. I suppose if the only thing I have taught them is that it is important to be connected to the world around you, I’ve done whatever I though my job was as a pseudo-mom. And by world I don’t mean the buildings or the nearest Starbucks- I mean touching the ground beneath your feet, knowing how cold Lake Michigan is even in the dog days of summer, to be able to fall asleep in a crappy tent from K-Mart with nothing to lull you into dreamland but the wind and the excitement of waking up in the morning to catch fish. (Which I never participated in because I hate fishing. But children love it. Damn’t those little bastards just couldn’t get enough of it.)

Maybe I didn’t teach them anything at all. I don’t know. Maybe I just opened the door for them to figure it out themselves. Which is really the goal, right? To give them the space and confidence to go out into the world and figure the fuck out who they are before other people have the opportunity to tell them.

Maybe I have no business calling myself any kind of a parent.

Certainly their mother wouldn’t appreciate it.

There’s some bad blood there.

Although, in retrospect, there shouldn’t have been. Between her and I anyway. It was just pride, insecurity and a plethora of other character defects that so often blind us to what’s really happening, in any relationship. Because in truth, while she is a person I would probably never hang out with even under different circumstances, what I can say about her is that we left the same man for the same reasons and did our fucking best to pick up the pieces afterward.  And the difference in the decisions we made are scathing reminders of how humans deal with trauma so differently even when given similar experiences. And no one is right. And no one is wrong. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that it’s really hard to be a human and even harder to be a human when you’re trying to raise other humans. And we need to be conscious of the judgment we place on others.

I worked for Child Protection for a few years and I have seen a lot of shit go down that many would classify as prime examples of “bad parenting”. And I have learned to really, really dislike that term. It implies that someone out there is actually doing a good job at raising other humans. That there is some kind of rightness we are to be aspiring to as parents. But here’s the fucking thing about parenting you guys:

We are all doing it wrong. We are all failing miserably. And lucky for us, kids are stupid enough to love us anyway.

What a beautiful, beautiful gift.

As for me, well, like I said, I’m not sure that I can call myself a parent. But I do know that they still call. Which is enough for me.

“If you don’t do it, it will get done later…”

…and usually by somebody else. This is a follow up post from last week about why it’s okay to take your fucking time sometimes. I did not write this last week because I was sick of writing back then. So I decided to take my own advice and do it later. Please keep in mind that 93% of every point made in this post is a contradiction of what I said last week. But, need I remind you, last week I addressed this issue of contradictory information when I said something super profound that you should have taken to heart back then but I’ll give you another opportunity to do so now by pretentiously quoting myself:

“The cool thing about being a human is that we get to contradict ourselves. We get to change our minds depending on the moment or the facts at hand. And we get to be right, or not, and fix it later. That’s what’s cool about doing things. It’s also what’s cool about doing things later.”

I’m so glad I wrote that shit last week because now I don’t have to explain it again. Here are some good reasons for doing things later:

1. If what you want to do is important to you, you’ll do it and you’ll have time to do it later.

Life is short and, as discussed in great detail last week, you are going to die. (If you did not read last week’s post, let me fill you in by telling you this: You are going to die. That sums it up. Moving on.) But the thing about Death is that it’s going to come whether you decide to do whatever you want to do right now or wait. Don’t let Death be your only motivator. I mean, you can do whatever the fuck you want. But I’ve never liked the notion that we need to move quickly at all times because Death is grasping at our heels every moment we’re breathing. What message does that send to Life? Like, hey, Life, I’m going to live you but ONLY BECAUSE I’M AFRAID OF DEATH. And what a shitty life it would be to feel afraid all the fucking time. It’s okay to be afraid sometimes. Fear can be a great motivator. Just don’t let it become your life. Life doesn’t want that for you. Life wants you to live. Life wants you to live it as deeply joyful as possible. I know because I asked her. Or him. (By the way, Life is non-binary. I have personified it to illustrate my point. It is a proper noun now. I don’t feel like elaborating on the spiritual implications I have created with these statements. Let’s not fight about it now. We can do it later.) Life is okay with you living it at whatever pace your heart and mind and body and soul are needing. Move as slowly as you want.

Have you ever watched a child tie their own shoes when they’ve just learned this skill and haven’t mastered it yet and they are taking forever and you are about to be late for work but they won’t let you help them because they want to do it themselves and you wish they would hurry the fuck up? Well, I’m here to tell you that kids already know all this shit about moving slowly and doing things in our own time and then we grow up and forget and think everything has to happen so quickly. But the thing is- Life will move quickly on its own. I promise you that. Don’t rush it.

If something is truly important to you, if it makes your heart feel like a tiny earthquake and your eyes widen and your hands flicker- you will do it when you’re ready. And Life will wait for you to be ready. Tell Death to fuck off. Tell Death to wait. We’re out here trying to live, man. We got all kinds of time.

2. You should do things later because sometimes there’s too many things to do right now.

I think the best way to approach this point is to consider a hypothetical tale of self-destruction that just so happens to not be a hypothetical tale at all because it is a summary of my life over the last four months and also a lovely illustration of what happens when we try to do all the fucking things right now even though we’re not ready and refuse to ask for help:

If you decide to sell your house and move somewhere else and get a new job and drink copious amounts of wine and go on a juice cleanse and your relationship fails and you decide to stop eating and you’re applying for grad school and you want to travel to foreign countries and you’re doing all these things at the SAME TIME, you might cave in on yourself like a dying star.

You might show up on the doorsteps of everyone you know, for weeks on end, and get drunk in their homes and talk about all your hopes and dreams and fears and then cry yourself to sleep on their couches. You might think sex with  strangers will make you feel better, and it might. But probably not if you are too drunk to process your emotions. You might, somehow, in the process of all this, realize you have been living out of your car even though you have a house and a mortgage and a yard you haven’t mowed in so long that the mailman thinks you don’t live there anymore and sends all your mail back to the post office (true story). And it’s okay and it will get better and I know this because I definitely did do all of these things. And it was very terrible because it was too many things.

Anyway. What I’m getting at is that you should do the following things because they are very simple:

Break shit down.

Walk slowly.

One thing at a time.

Save things for later.

My therapist eventually strongly suggested that I bring my clothes inside somewhere instead of hoarding my entire wardrobe in the backseat of my car, and stay in one place, and think about my life, like, really think about it and not just get wine-drunk and cry. She said to try it for one week, just to see what would happen, to see if a little stability would help clear my mind. And it did. And then I gave birth to this blog (instead of a baby because thank you sweet baby Jesus in a manger for the Plan B pill, truly the most wonderful modern medical miracle of my generation) and new routines, and the ability to think coherent thoughts and create meaningful, linear timelines for how to accomplish all the things I want to do. And then I started to get some shit done. But I sure as fuck didn’t do it alone.

3. It’s okay to have other people do some fucking things for you.

If there’s something I do well, it’s doing everything at once, panicking, and subsequently spiraling downward into a vortex equally comprised of self-doubt and self-pity wherein I cave in on myself and become immobilized by own sadness and fear.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, you guys.

I’m just a very dramatic person.

So, actually, yes, it is as bad as it sounds.

But lucky for me, my friends are hyper aware of my endearing tendency for self-destructive behavior, and are always there to straighten me the fuck out. Usually by telling me to straighten the fuck out but also by offering to help in some manner. And if they offer, I take them up on it. And if they don’t, I ask.

These are not things I am very good it.

I tend to think I’m totally fine until I’m totally not fine and even then I typically don’t accept help on the first go-around. But I eventually come to my senses. And it really does make life so much better. Also, and I know this sounds really fucking lame, but this lil’ practice of receiving help and/or asking for others to do some fucking things for you really helps ya weed out the people who maybe kind of suck and/or suck the life out of you, because they aren’t willing to do shit for other people.

I can think of a couple such assholes right off the top of my head. And I’m not even referring to ex-lovers. I am talking about people who used to be just my regular ol’ pals. People I allowed into my life because I didn’t have expectations for the way other people should treat me, and because of this, it took me an embarrassingly lengthy amount of time to realize how much they suck.

Expectations are important. You should expect the people who love you to do some fucking things for you if they can. This is called loving yourself enough to expect other people to love you the way you deserve. That’s all.

Now go forth and do your Fucking Thing.

Or have someone help you do it.

Either way, it’ll get done.

Sooner or later.

 

Love always,

and especially right now,

Saint Margaret

You are Going to Die and Living is Scary

Yes. You heard it here first. Death is imminent and life is terrifying.

Which is why you should do the things you want to do right now.

Contrary to what you may be thinking given the title of this post, the following paragraphs amount to what is in fact a pep talk to myself, and maybe it can be one for you as well.

For me personally, things are going okay but also some things are not going okay at all.

I had an anxiety attack at the dentist the other day and during hot yoga and while sitting in my cube having a light-hearted conversation about local strip clubs with my co-workers. And this is happening because I’m really, really scared because I’m doing a lot of things that scare me, so I must constantly remind myself that it’s way better to do things than not do them even if sometimes I’d rather crawl in a hole than make one more fucking life choice, ya know?

Here is a quick list of things that are currently stressing me out:

I sold my house and it will officially no longer be my house on September 6th.

I have another dentist appointment next week.

I’m moving to Australia in January.

There’s only one strip club in Rapid City, South Dakota and it sucks.

Hot yoga is too fucking hot, sometimes.

A former beau (synonymous with the millennial term bae, that I feel I am too old to utilize now that Time has officially kicked me out of my twenties) really loves repeating the axiom, “If you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done,” at least 23 times a day. To which I invented an alternate saying: If you don’t do it, it gets done later and usually by somebody else.

And the cool thing about being human is that we get to contradict ourselves and each other as much as we want.

We get to change our minds depending on the moment or the facts at hand. And we get to be right, or not, and fix it later. That’s what’s cool about doing things. It’s also what’s cool about doing things later. Let me explain.

1. You should just do the fucking thing now because if you don’t, who the fuck is gonna do it for you?

This is the number one reason for doing the fucking thing. You want to move to Tokyo or get a divorce or dye your hair red? Now is the perfect time. No one else can make those decisions for you. You want to start a blog but are not entirely certain of the purpose or intended outcome? Well, here I am, doing it anyway. Because it makes me feel better and no one else can write it for me and I figure eventually I’ll be able to give a clear answer as to why I’m doing it. Or not. Maybe I’ll just keep writing and writing into the void until one day I get sick of writing or die. Who cares. At least I did it. Not everything in life must be wrought with meaning and not every decision is as important as you might make it out to be- even, and especially, the important ones. There may be more work involved in the process of moving your entire life to Tokyo but the decision itself can be made as easily as whether or not you want to dye your hair red.

Just because some decisions come with more difficult elements does not mean the decision itself is more difficult. Maybe you move to Tokyo and you hate it. So what. Then go back home. Or move somewhere else. The choice is as simple as dying your hair.

Also, on your deathbed, you’re not going to say, “Damn’t- I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have been so brave as to restructure my entire existence in an attempt to ensure my own happiness. What a loser.”

Or maybe you WILL say that. In which case, you are kind of a loser because you spent your whole life regretting every decision you ever made. Which amounts to living as if you’re already dead. And you’re not dead. You are here reading this shit and you are very much alive. And you can do whatever you want. And that is life. And it’s great. Which brings me to my next point.

2. You should just do the fucking thing now because you are going to die.

Really, you are going to die. Maybe within the next 11 minutes or maybe within the next 11 years or maybe you’re super rich and have already decided to jump on the cryogenics bandwagon and plan on being brought back to life in the year 3012. Whatever the case may be- you will be dead at some point. And then after that, like a hundred years after your death, no one will even care that much that you lived or died. I know that sounds harsh but seriously you guys, regardless of your religious or spiritual ideologies, it is a fact that our lives our infinitesimal, fleeting little things juxtaposed next to or outside of or near the Universe. So just do the Fucking Thing now. No one cares. And those that do care do so because they love you and want you to be happy anyway and aren’t going to care whether or not you’re successful.

So, unless you have dreams of being the next Mahatma Gandhi or Jesus Christ of Nazareth or something, I can pretty much guarantee that any mistakes you make along the way of doing your Fucking Thing will go almost entirely unnoticed by the majority of the entire Universe.

However, if your dreams do include being the next Mahatma Gandhi or Jesus Christ of Nazareth, then a vast population of our entire earthly world will care deeply that you lived and died. So, watch yourself and live with intention. Which you should be doing anyway. But also, if your plan entails becoming the world’s next spiritual leader, you probably shouldn’t be sitting around reading this fucking blog. Or maybe that’s exactly what you should be doing. Maybe it will inspire you to finally go feed the hungry instead of just posting daily rants on social media about how half the world is starving and no one cares. I like to think that this blog has the potential to be the seed that grows the world’s next spiritual leader. I like to set my sights impossibly high. And you should too. Now. Before you die.

3. You should just do the fucking thing now even if you’re scared because that means you are a human.

I’m not a scientist but I’m fairly certain that fear is an evolutionary trait given to us by our ancestors to keep us alive in dangerous situations like, “I feel fear when I see a giant animal in the woods, such as a bear, so I shouldn’t pet it.” That is a very base line fear. (Disclaimer: You should always be afraid to pet a bear, and if you don’t believe me, you should watch the documentary Grizzly Man to become fully informed on the dangers of bear-petting.)

These base line fears are important because they keep humans alive; these are the fears that ensure you are not a victim of Darwinism and confronting them unnecessarily can get you murdered and, most days, I don’t particularly like the thought of being murdered. But most life decisions will not kill you, such as moving to Tokyo or dying your hair red or quitting your job and starting your own company. Not that doing those things aren’t scary, because they can be and often are; however, any negative consequences that result are most likely not going to kill you, which means you get to live and try again.

What I’m trying to say is- when you really think about it, the worst thing that could logically happen from starting your own company isn’t immediate death and the best thing that could logically happen is that you get to experience your truest, deepest joy whilst running a woman-owned and operated LGBTQ friendly strip club in an old mining town in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

What I’m trying to say is- not petting a bear might improve your chance for survival, but it is not going to bring you profound joy or a sense of purpose.

What I’m trying to say is- being afraid is great. It means you are challenging yourself. It means you possess the intrinsic motivation and internal trust in yourself that allows you to grow and change and fuck up and succeed.

Don’t be afraid to be afraid, you guys. Fear is a necessary component to doing your Fucking Thing.

Shit, this post got too long and too weirdly motivational and cheesy. I’m done writing for now. I’ll write about all the great reasons for why you should just do the Fucking Thing later, later. For now, just do the Fucking Thing now, because no one else is going to do it for you, you are going to die, and you are going to be afraid. And if you do your Fucking Thing now and fuck up your entire life, tune in next week for why you should have done it later.

Love always,

and especially right now,

Saint Margaret