Monthly Archives: February 2015

My Wagon Has 3 Wheels and Wobbles (A Painfully Personal History of Drinking, Part 93)

“Shame needs 3 things to grow out of control in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment. When something shaming happens and we keep it locked up, it festers and grows…But the 4 elements of shame resilience are: Name it. Talk about it. Own your story. Tell the story.”

Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection

 

I am recovering. Recovering from what, you may ask. Recovering from my life. And while I have made enormous strides my convalescence is marked by occasional setbacks. Yes, the road to recovery is marred with big, old potholes, people. I can be doing great, feeling all Up With Me! and that’s typically when I get blindsided. I get too comfortable in my “I got this” attitude, and suddenly I think I am immune from making mistakes. Like after meditating a few months and reading a dozen self-help books I have mental health nailed down. I’m cured. Oh, the hubris!

I am not perfect. Far from it; I have lots of room for growth and improvement. While I acknowledge there are whole wings in my mental mansion available to be repurposed, one thing I need to work on is allowing myself room for making mistakes. I have no choice. Shit happens, and I have to be okay with falling down – as long as I get back up and begin again. Okay, so I won’t get where I’m going tomorrow. Or even next week or next year. But that’s the nature of personal growth and development. Short of being the Dalai Lama, I’m not ever going to wake up and realize I have all my shit together, that I’ve reached enlightenment and have it all figured out. This journey, this process, is life long, and some days I’m inching forward at a snails pace. That’s just how it goes.

So the setback of late is about my drinking, my on again, off again, love-hate relationship with alcohol. Like every other bad habit I’ve developed, it’s painfully hard to change. And I’m going to say right now that it may even be impossible, because it’s in my nature (thanks, Dad!). I wish I could just will myself to be a responsible drinker, but it’s a slippery slope. One glass of wine is fine. Often I’m really good and I have just 2 glasses. But, lord help us if I have 3, because then it’s an honest to god challenge to stop drinking. And that road – binge drinking, excessive drinking – is one big pothole. There is nothing smooth about that ride. It’s a drop into the chasm where disappointment and guilt and embarrassment and anger and depression reside. As my husband tells me, “Honey, you fall off the wagon so easily because your wagon only has 3 wheels and wobbles.”

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According to the National Institutes of Health, moderate drinking for women is 7 drinks per week with no more than 3 in any 1 drinking episode. For me, limiting myself to 3 drinks at a social gathering would be something to aspire to. Seven drinks a week is nothing. But, then I look at my husband. He drinks 1 beer every day. And that’s it. One bottle of beer at night. Me, I get a little buzz and I want more.

Look, my identity isn’t tied up with drinking. I don’t think I’ll disappear, stop being witty or social if I quit. God, if anything, the number of ridiculous stories about Drunk Me will end. The people who read this blog know exactly what I’m talking about. Most of you have a story or two (or ten) about Drunk Me. Why is it that at 45 years old, I still drink like a 16 year old? Why can’t I just stop at 1 or 2 or 3 drinks like a normal person? Because my wagon has 3 wheels and wobbles.

Last summer I tried AA. I managed to find meetings in English, a meeting for every day of the week. And I went several times a week for a while. But I found the whole experience bizarre: part church revival (prayers and God, which are not my thing at all), part summer camp (hand holding and soul baring, but with total strangers), and way too much identification with and reliving of a behavior that many hadn’t participated in for a decade or more. Honestly, if I wanted to relive my drunkscapades then I’d probably be doing it with friends, who were undoubtedly there, too. And I’d be doing it over a bottle of wine. So I stopped going to AA and tried an online support group, Women for Sobriety. I preferred that group to AA, but it was a lot of focus on this DISEASE and how it will KILL you and you’ll NEVER be free. Major downer. Besides, I’d had a few weeks of sobriety under my belt, and it wasn’t hard. Clearly, I’d licked my overdrinking problem and could be totally in control. Sigh.

When I listened to those AA drunkstories (or when I’ve read them in the memoirs listed below), I immediately thought, ‘Oh, my goddess. Listen to these stories. I am so not that bad.’ Unlike those people, I never drink in the morning. I never “need” a drink to get through the day, and I don’t even drink beer, which is always in our fridge. I am not addicted to alcohol in the conventional, medical sense. I can go without it for days or weeks, and I don’t suffer any ill effects for it – no tremors, headaches or sweating. I’m not so bad. I’ve never been to detox or had a DUI or lost my job because of drinking. But here’s the real truth. My drinking may be different than that of the problem drinkers I met at AA and online, but it’s still bad. If I’m really going to be honest…I have a problem just like those people. It’s like cancer. I may have Stage 3 and they have Stage 4, but it’s still fucking cancer. That’s how I see our relationship with alcohol, those drunks and me. My drinking is bad (and so is theirs). I just happen to be at a different point on the continuum than them. Right now. And, I don’t want to bottom out, whatever that might mean, or keep moving to the Stage 4 end of the spectrum. I want to change.

I’m sharing my drinking story with you for two reasons. First, in working on my authentic self, I can’t choose to apply what I’ve learned only to certain parts of my life. I can’t be authentic from 9 to 5 or only when I blog or just when I’m with my closest friends. Being my authentic self means I am accountable to me and to my values 24/7. Going back to the old, unskillful self, impulsive and irresponsible, when it’s convenient, simply is not an option anymore. The work I’m doing is for my whole self and for my whole life. Second, I will no longer hide behind the shame of drinking. I own this story and I choose to tell you that my wagon has 3 wheels and wobbles, and I fell off it. And, you know what? I may fall off a few more times, but that doesn’t end my journey. As screwed up as I am, as many mistakes as I (continue to) make, I’m getting back up and getting back on. Every. Single. Time. I see this fall as an opportunity – to contemplate how I can better secure my foundation so I don’t repeat the same mistakes, to practice shame resilience so I don’t have to lie to or judge myself, and to engage with the person I truly am.

I forgive myself, because I fell off my wagon yesterday. I go easy on myself, because I need compassion today. And I begin again, right where I am, as imperfect as I am.

 

Memoirs (from my personal library) about life as a drunk and books on recovery

  • Dry (Augusten Burroughs)
  • Drink (Ann Dowsett Johnston)
  • Her Best Kept Secret (Gabrielle Glaser)
  • Lit (Mary Karr)
  • Parched (Heather King)
  • Drinking – A Love Story (Caroline Knapp)
  • Unwasted – My Lush Sobriety (Sacha Scoblic)
  • The Zen of Recovery (Mel Ash)
  • The Tao of Sobriety (David Gregson and Jay Efran)

 

 

 

We Are What We Repeatedly Do (I Am Positive of That!)

“We are what we repeatedly do.” Aristotle

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One thing I have learned as I’ve been on this journey is the power of habit. Take my depression, for example. For years, I’ve had a habit of depression. What I mean is that for most of my life I’ve been entrenched in negative thought patterns and, as a result, learned unskillful behaviors that reinforced those thoughts. If someone told me, “Just smile. Just be happy,” those words were meaningless to me, because my entire repertoire was built on depression. The old me buried my sad feelings when they arose. I told myself I wasn’t good enough. I drank to numb whatever hurt I had. You can imagine how effective this was at curbing depression. Right, vicious cycle when repeated ad nauseum.

I am positive that we are what we repeatedly do, and I did depression. I did it really well.

Old Me

negative cycle

But not anymore. For many months now, I’ve been working on peeling back the layers of my depression, the ones that are my own making, in order to reveal my true self. And, check it out, y’all. I’m not actually the emotional basket case I previously thought. Or, I am, but I have the capacity to be resilient. I just didn’t know how to develop this capacity until now. Cultivating emotional resilience (or any skillful trait) means forming a new habit. No more repeating the same negative behaviors and expecting change.

Before I started to work on cultivating emotional resilience, I did lots of things that ultimately made the transition to forming a new habit much easier. I started going to therapy. Religiously. I started taking meds. Religiously. I started meditating. I read a ton of self-help books. I took a 3 month online Science of Happiness course. I did a 21-day meditation class with Deepak and Oprah. I joined the 100 Days of Happiness Facebook page and posted for 100 days in a row. I emailed and texted my friends back home almost daily. I did groundwork that set the stage for me to be successful. And with all that under my belt, I was ready to do the real work. And, trust me, it’s been hard work. It’s taken practice, lots and lots of practice, to change my bad habit.

I’m using the following hierarchy to drive my change. Thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become character. Character becomes destiny. When I feel sadness coming on, I now use a mindful approach to deal with it. I simply sit with the feeling instead of repressing it. I don’t try to complicate it with projection and judgment. I just let it be, accepting it without letting it take control. In addition, I start each day with a mantra that I come back to throughout the day. One mantra that cultivates emotional resilience is, “May I abide in loving-kindess.” It’s a phrase that enhances self-compassion and compassion for others. It reminds me that I am worthy and deserving of love. Finally, I perform little acts that demonstrate loving-kindess. I smile more. I am kinder to others. Nothing major, just subtle behavioral shifts, again and again and again, because we are what we repeatedly do.

New Me:

positive cycle
The whole point of this is what science is now bearing out. Developing and being able to access positive emotions improve quality of life. Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has shown that nurturing positive emotions (her Big 10 are joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love) is associated with short- and long-term changes in personal resources including competence, meaning, optimism, resilience, self-acceptance, positive relationships, and health. This growth in personal resources can reduce symptoms of depression and increase life satisfaction. We are what we repeatedly do. Frederickson theorizes that these positive emotions expand one’s mental and behavioral repertoire, essentially promoting rather than limiting adaptation.

The bottom line is that over time, small changes, daily changes, in life can lay the foundation upon which anyone can develop a new habit. My goal is to replace my unskillful habit of depression with the more skillful habit of emotional resilience, and I’m using positivity to cultivate this habit. Every day, through my thoughts, words, and actions, I am taking incremental and necessary steps. Every day, I am getting closer to being the person I truly am, someone who can withstand the challenges of life without falling apart. I set this intention; I repeat an affirming mantra, and I’m mindful to act on my intention and mantra.

I am what I repeatedly do. We are what we repeatedly do, and I am positive of that y’all.

 

References

Catalino LI & Fredrickson BL. Tuesdays in the lives of flourishers: The role of positive emotional reactivity in optimal mental health. Emotion. 2011 Aug 1(4):938-950.

Cohn MA & Fredrickson BL. In search of durable positive psychology interventions: Predictors and consequences of long-term positive behavior change. J Posit Psychol. 2010 Sep 1;5(5):355-366.

Cohn MA, Fredrickson BL, Brown SL, Mikels JA, & Conway AM. Happiness unpacked: positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience. Emotion. 2009 Jun 9(3):361-8.

Fredrickson BL. Updated Thinking on Positivity Ratios. American Psychologist, 2013 Dec 68(9):814-822.

 

my feet carry me

For much of my adulthood, I have been a runner. For years, I belonged to a training group. I had a coach. There were paces, distances, track workouts, hill repeats, races. I distracted myself from the physical pain that comes with this level of training so that I could just do the work I needed to do and run faster or longer or whatever the end goal was.

When my life began to unravel, I ran more. I remember the nights during my worst depressive episode. My marriage was crumbling, and I was unable to sleep. A barrage of negative self-talk played on a continuous loop in my head. 3am and the spotlight was on in my mind

‘You’re unlovable. Something is inherently wrong with you. You’ll never be happy. You’ve ruined everything good you’ve ever had.’ This was the background noise of my inner self.

Not knowing how to quiet the thoughts, I would get out of bed and put on my running shoes. The whirlwind in my head powered my legs to go for miles. Running gave my mental energy a physical release. Often, I didn’t even know where I was headed when I left my house in the middle of the night, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered, but throwing myself into the darkness and running away from the voices, from my thoughts, and from my life.

People say that running is a metaphor for life, because what you put into it is what you get out of it. I think most people take this to mean that with harder work comes a greater benefit. But, for me, harder work meant greater repression. Running became my escape route in the same way that alcohol did. I ran and I drank to actively avoid my reality, to get away from it. Drinking dulled the ache of depression, buoyed the weight that was constantly on my shoulders, and running relieved the pent up angst.

In a race, as in life, there are times when everything hurts. To go on even one more step feels impossible. When this happened to me in life, I didn’t acknowledge that it was a natural result of accumulated trauma or that the hurt would eventually change. Instead, I used up all my physical resources for the sole purpose of not being with the hurt.  I literally ran away from the pain. I ran until my emotional tanks were completely empty, and that’s when the pain finally caught up to me. At that point, I had nowhere to go and nothing left to save myself. At that point, I broke.

I’d like to say that I figured it all out after that breaking point. But, I didn’t. It took many more years of running away from my problems and a few more breakdowns before I finally reached the place where I stopped running away from my emotional pain. It’s only happened in the last 6 months, as I’ve focused intently on my well-being. In doing so, I’ve changed my approach to running, and I’ve changed my approach to life. I have given up my GPS watch and no longer track pace or distance. When I run, I don’t look at the ground in an attempt to avoid pitfalls. I’ve stopped running as a means to an end, and I’ve started running with mindfulness. I run with a keen awareness of my surroundings. I don’t look at my watch. I look at the trees overhead. I listen to the birds singing and the snow crunching underfoot. The same is true for my life. I am learning to stop being focused on the end result and to be okay with what’s happening right now. I’m learning to be okay with the pitfalls, because they inevitably happen. Life is about living; it’s not about the final outcome. And in the living we do, there are moments of pain, which I am learning to acknowledge rather than distance myself from. In the living we do, there are also moments of beauty, and I am choosing to slow down and experience the beauty.

I run because my feet carry me. They support me as I make my way through the miles of life.

Thank you, feet.

 

Here is some beauty from my recent runs.

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IMG_7250      IMG_7287

 

 

 

Don’t Blame the Lettuce!

(Hey Peeps, I made a new Facebook page for the blog. Sorry if you “liked” the first one, because now you have to “like” the new one. https://www.facebook.com/mymusinglife Okay….back to the post.)

 

“When you plant lettuce and it doesn’t grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Just this morning, I stumbled across this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh and laughed. Of course, plants need sunlight, soil, and water. They need room to grow and occasional bug removal and pruning. And yet, if we think of the lettuce as the people in our lives, suddenly this quote isn’t so funny. It’s often our gut reaction to blame someone else when there’s a problem. It’s easier than taking a step back and examining our own contribution to the problem. But, if you want the relationship to succeed, if you want to be happy in it, then you are tasked with actually working on it and helping it to thrive.

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Remember my post on being proactive (The 3 R’s of Proactivity)? I maintain that there are three R’s to developing proactivity and avoid suffering, and I believe the same three R’s apply here. First, recognize what your blaming is doing to the relationship. You are casting judgment and finding fault. Imagine how this affects you, the other person, and the relationship. Whether you actually verbalize the blame or just hold onto your righteousness, the other person probably hasn’t erected a psychic shield. So he or she can’t help but sense your negativity. Imagine how much that person wants to work on the relationship when this is the vibe you’re giving off. Yeah, not at all. Second, relax your need to be morally justified. Why do you need to be right and the other person wrong? Relationship conflicts don’t necessarily need a winner and a loser. So, consider how your own actions (or inactions) contributed to the problem. Don’t let yourself off the hook or give in to your ego too quickly when you’re reflecting on something that involves two of you. Finally, stop and reset your experience. What is your intention with respect to the relationship? If it’s to have a healthy, nourishing connection with someone else, then reframe your thoughts, words, and actions to ensure that they are nourishing. You determine your experience, no one else. You.

 

Take care of your lettuce if you want it to flourish.

 

 

 

Random Things on the Web I Dig Right Now (February 2015)

1. On Being with Krista Tippett http://onbeing.org/

I subscribe to this podcast but read the blog, too. It is amazing public radio, y’all! Where else can you listen to conversations with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner on Kabbalah, Thich Nhat Hanh on meditation with police officers, Paulo Coelho on pilgrimages, Rosanne Cash on music and quantum mechanics, Desmond Tutu on his understanding of God, or Maya Angelou on courage? Nowhere else. Honestly, the guests are phenomenally interesting and the the topics thought provoking. After I listen to a show, I feel like my brain has been stretched, and that’s a great thing.

 

2. Open Sit http://opensit.com/

I do almost everything alone. I run alone. I work alone. I meditate alone. But I am such an extrovert, a total social being, so I’m always looking for groups. Given that speaking English, not German, is a pre-requisite for me, local groups I can join are few and far between, my living in Germany and all. Anyway, I was looking for an online meditation group when I stumbled upon Open Sit. It has become my virtual sangha. On this site, you can set a goal for yourself for meditation (mine is 20 minutes every day). You can comment on your sits and share those comments with others. You can comment on other people’s sits. Or you can just keep it to yourself. It’s been great for me to reach out and find a community of practitioners who use different styles, have different lives, and yet come together for this experience. Love.

 

3. Women for Sobriety http://womenforsobriety.org

For someone who has a challenging relationship with alcohol and a strong tendency toward agnosticism, I just can’t do AA. I went for about a month last summer while I was trying to get right with my internal goddess. Y’all, I went to a meeting every single day of the week for a month. But I could not drink their Kool-Aid, or, in this case, their bad coffee. (Note: I had no problem stuffing their cookies down my throat.) So I quit AA, threw away the Big Book (which I found outdated, misogynistic, and, therefore, pretty offensive) and, like meditation, looked for an online support group. I found Women for Sobriety, WFS. Their “steps” are affirmations, which, unlike those of AA, don’t mention God or character faults. Instead, the WFS affirmations (which are copyrighted, but you can find them here) are all Up With Me!, which you know I love. These statements have nothing to do with alcohol per se; they are about self empowerment. So print them out and read them to yourself everyday. Then go on with your bad self!

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[That’s me drinking wine in Paris. I look really freaking glamorous (you know in black and white and in Paris) but sometimes it’s hard for me to stop at that 1 glass of wine and, that’s why I sometimes visit WFS and get empowered to be my best self. My best self can have 1 or 2 glasses of wine and be done.]

Flab Workouts, Mechanical Bulls, and a Trip to the Gyno

I have the best girlfriends on the planet. The Best. These gals are my rock, the women I text at any time of the day or night when I think I might go over the edge, the women who came to the hospital when I was pushing my babies out of my girl parts. They have seen me from all angles, literally, and they still love me.

When we hang out, it is a win-win for everyone. Our time together often results in a serious flab workout, because when we laugh so much that our abs ache. Like the time Laura and I had a sleep over at Diana’s house. She kicked out her husband and son for the night so we had the house to ourselves. We drank lots of champagne. We stood on the couches, dancing and singing into wooden spoons. I broke her stereo speakers blasting Billy Joel (me and my hair brush anthems). When I woke up fuzzy headed and hurting the next morning, I left a note for Diana. Unfortunately, Diana’s husband found it first, when he came home from his enforced exile. Diana told me that she pinned the note to her inspiration board. I guess so she can be inspired to laugh every day, thanks to me.

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Years before this, I took my then 2 year old son to my friend Juanita’s house. We love Juanita and her husband. They are incredibly funny, incredibly bright people. And Juanita is a great storyteller, who, like me, loves to embellish. Let’s be honest here. Embellishing just makes the story better. It’s like Photoshop. The basic idea is still there, but all the good parts are highlighted a bit more than they were last time the story was told.

Anyway, while Juanita and I sat and chatted inside, my son had been sitting in Juanita’s convertible with Juanita’s husband. The boys spent 30 minutes opening and closing the top of the convertible and pretending to drive. You can imagine what a buzz kill I was when I came outside and told my son it was time to leave. Little britches got completely bent out of shape. “Stay with Day!” he screamed. (“Day” is how he pronounced Juanita’s husband’s name.) “I want to stay with Day! Stay with Day!” Then, crying hysterically, he ran inside the house. Either in an act of defiance or just a toddler antic (at times they are one in the same), Little Britches pulled down his pants and pooped in the middle of the hall. I would have been mortified, but Juanita comes from a family that values poop (and farting) as much as I do, so she thought it was great. We still talk about that story and it happened over 20 years ago.

The last really good laughing-induced flab workout I had happened right before I left Texas to move to Germany. I was hanging out with my gal Csonga. Her real name is Chris, but we’ve called her Csonga since forever, because one time she was playing Yahtzee with the boys and me and they couldn’t read her dyslexic-crap handwriting. The Littlest Britches asked, “Who’s Csonga?” We’ve called her that ever since.

About a month before I was set to move away, Csonga and I were went out on the town. I should mention it was the middle of the week. And not much past 6pm. We’re moms and I would have been asleep if we waited until 10pm to go out. Plus, we wouldn’t be able to get inside any club if it was a busy night, and we were competing with the 20 year olds. Yep. Tuesday, 6:12. We’re about to get crazy up in here, y’all!

We were walking down Congress Avenue, stopping to go down a side street if something looked interesting. We sat at some tropical themed rooftop bar for a drink then moved on. A doorman, trying to get customers inside of another club on an obviously slow evening, called out to us, “Ladies, bull riding is free until 8. Come on in and try the mechanical bull.”

Csonga and I looked at each other and had the exact same thought, “Oh hell yeah!”

Now, neither of us had ever been on a mechanical bull before. We’d never even seen one, and we certainly weren’t dressed for bull riding. Csonga was wearing jeans, but I was in a ridiculously too short (for my age) dress, and we both had on flip-flops. I’ve seen Don Gay’s Best Rides and Worst Wrecks. I’ve been to the rodeo. Cowboys don’t wear flip-flops. But we were inside that bar in seconds and had our game on. Bring on the bull!

Csonga went first, climbing a little step stool to get on the bull. She wrapped the rope around one hand and the other stayed free. The bull started to rock slowly, up and down while moving in a circle. As the bull picked up speed, Csonga managed to stay on until being violently thrown off into the padding around the bull.

“That was hard,” she said after she stopped laughing at herself. Naturally, I was laughing with her, not at her, because I am a good friend.

It was my turn. I climbed up the little ladder and daintily crawled atop the bull. I wrapped the rope around my right hand, and used my left hand to tuck my too short dress under my butt. I decided to treat this ride like driving a car on ice, just steer into the direction of movement, don’t fight it. I clamped my thighs against that bull like my life depended on it, and altogether, my strategy seemed to work, because I lasted just as long as Csonga. Actually I think I lasted 8 seconds and she did not, but she says that’s not true. And, since I’m older with 1 more kid than her, my memory is subject to creative recall.

We celebrated our success with 2 dollar beers and agreed, ‘Well, there’s one for the storybooks.

Of course, the real story was a few days later, when I showed up at the girl doctor for my annual private parts check up. I lay on the exam table, feet in the stirrups and legs spread open for God and all to see when my doctor says, “Muse, I don’t mean to imply anything, but I have to ask. Is everything alright between you and your husband?”

“Um, yeah,” I said, thinking this is a weird question for her to ask me since he’s been in Germany for most of the last year while we prepare to move. “Why?”

“It’s just that…the inside of your thighs, it looks like someone’s beaten you.”

Well, I had been a bit sore since my outing with Csonga, but naturally I attributed that to a serious muscular workout riding the bull. And, not normally in this position, splayed open with a lamp illuminating my hoo-hah like I’m about to be in a porno, I hadn’t exactly studied my body post-rodeo romp. Until now. And what I saw wasn’t pretty – huge green and purple welts covering the insides of my thighs.

My face turned red. “Ha ha, oh that,” I stammered. “Right. Would you believe I rode a mechanical bull the other night?”

Mechanical bull induced injuries lead to suspicion of domestic violence at the gynecologist’s office. Now that little tale is one for the storybooks. And it’s always good for a serious flab workout with my girlfriends.

For Listicle Lovers and Those Who Share Stupid Quiz Results on Facebook

My “friends” on Facebook range from teenagers (children of good friends) to my 90-year old Granddaddy, and they live all over the globe. Some friends are unemployed, some are students, some are business execs, some are authors, some are scientists and a bunch I have no idea what they do. Yet, among all these disparate people, whose single common feature is at some point interacting with me, one thing is for certain. My FB friends love to post listicles and inane quizzes on their newsfeeds.

I love the word listicle, although I admit I didn’t know that’s what these things were called until I started writing this post. A listicle is a combo, an article and a list, or an article masquerading as a list. I guess it’s not called an artlist, because that implies the list is art related, like 10 Impressionist Paintings Every Person Should Recognize, 5 Body Parts Van Gogh Should Have Removed Before He Cut Off His Ear, or 7 Substances the Greeks Really Filled Amphoras With. I think those would be examples of artlists.

Take a second and Google the word listicle. You get half a million results. What is up with these listicles? Duh! They’re way easier to digest than a long article or, goddess forbid, a book. Listicles are made for our fast moving, speed-addicted society. I don’t need to spend hours and hours reading a book on parenting when, in one minute, I can scan the 10 Traits of Good Moms and have my children saved from years of needless therapy. Come on, peeps, I got shit to do. I don’t have time to waste reading content. I need bullet points, Power points, or infographics!

Here are some examples of listicles I found in a 30 second search on the Huffington Post.

11 Bizarre Christmas List Requests From Kids Around The World

18 Things You Should Say Yes To

22 Things That Are Better Than Sex

13 Things You Secretly Like

5 Things Everybody Gets Wrong About Napping

10 Things Every Living Room Needs

 

As you all know, the Huffington Post is an online newspaper. Yet, I fail to see how any of these lists is newsworthy or even mildly entertaining. (What is there to get wrong about napping?!) But, because these are in the Huffington Post I can claim to be reading the news while actually discovering things that are better than sex. By the way, I didn’t need to read the listicle above to learn that napping is better than sex. I discovered that on my very own shortly after I gave birth to my first child.

As I’m living my frenzied, chaotic, fast-paced life, reading listicle after listicle, I get overwhelmed. I can’t go on because I haven’t said yes to 17 of the 18 Things in that listicle above. (Shit. I’m screwed now.) I need a mental break to regroup. So I take 2 minutes to find out what burrito filling I really am. (Note: I’m taking this quiz as I type and the questions to determine my “inner” burrito filling include which Monty Python character I identify with and what underwear I am wearing. Clearly, serious data are being compiled and analyzed for my results.) This is harmless and funny, right? Okay, fine, but unlike my dopey friends, I have never shared the results of these quizzes on FB. You won’t know me any better, and you might even unfriend me, if you see me posting that I am barbacoa,  the truffle of milk chocolate.

Again, below are actual titles I cut and pasted from Playbuzz and Buzzfeed, the two most popular sources of FB quizzes.

Which Movie Villain Should Be Your Drinking Companion?

Which Internal Organ Are You?

What Pubic Hairstyle Should You Rock Next?

Which Original Sinner Are You?

How FINNISH Are You?

Which Horrible Historic Disease Would You Have Had?

 

Which pubic hairstyle should I rock next? I’m lucky I don’t need elaborate braiding and pube pins just to tame my unruly nether nest and put on my granny panties.

Okay, I cannot believe I wasted even 2 minutes of my life on these stupid quizzes.Time to go back to reading listicles, and I’m gonna start by scanning the 10 Traits of Good Moms, because I only have 1 more child left to get this parenting thing right.