Apr 17

If It Ain’t Yours, Don’t Carry It

If it ain’t yours, don’t carry it.

Simple enough.

If it ain't yours, don't carry it.

Don’t pick it up. Don’t offer to help. Don’t open up your bag and let someone else drop it right in there.

Because if it ain’t yours to carry, you don’t need to carry it.

But what about the stuff that others can’t carry? You know — the things they’ve picked up along the way. The extras and the afflictions and the little nonconformities that make it hard for them. If you know their story, it makes it hella hard not to carry something for someone else.

Whatever it may be.

But you can’t.

You’re supposed to be here, but you’re not here to carry what’s not yours.

Pretend I’m coming at you like an angry mama who found her toddler crawling on the floor of a public restroom, and that toddler also happened to pick up several things and shove them in her mouth.

NO NO NO, I say to you.

Not yours.

Don’t pick that up. Don’t put it in your mouth. Leave it there, it’s yucky.

Because if it ain’t yours, don’t carry it.

Because if it ain't yours, don't carry it. Click To Tweet

(This is as much a reminder for me as it is for you, you know.)

(I’m sure you know.)

(If you’re here, you know.)

But what about when, you ask, brow furrowed in consternation, what about when someone leaves what’s theirs with you? Then, are you not obligated to carry it?

Hell no.

If some well meaning asshole approaches you with with what belongs to them, and drops it at your feet, that is exactly where it stays. You don’t pick that up, and you sure as hell don’t carry it. And if they look at you expectantly and wonder why you ain’t carrying it, you don’t have to explain shit, because it’s not yours.

If they come back later and ask if you’ve got it, remind them that you don’t carry it if it ain’t yours, and they can go pick it up just where they left it.

You have to take care of yourself, because sometimes the Universe is conspiring against you.

The secret is that you’ll gladly carry for some. Some truly deserve it. Those people who are inextricably linked to you by a force that pulls and magnetic coincidence — you’ll carry what belongs to them because you know they’ll carry what belongs to you.

But here’s the rub: You can’t carry theirs if you’re carrying someone else’s. And just imagine how foolish you’ll feel when you realize you’ve been schlepping what’s not yours to carry when you could’ve carried something better all along.

But that’s the thing. If it ain’t yours, don’t carry it. And if you’re going to carry it, best outline the carrier-carryee relationship upfront. And honestly, let them know your policy on carrying what’s not yours.

Oh, and make sure you uphold that policy.

Nov 16

To Do List for Wednesday, November 9

Today I woke up at 5:10. I fed the dog. I made the coffee. I completed week 3, day 2 of Couch to 5K. I had two cups of coffee, and ate the same breakfast I always have.

Today I will go to work.
Today I will grade papers.
Today I will hold office hours from 11 AM until 1 PM.
Today I will teach from 1:30 PM until 4:15 PM.
Today I will answer student questions about their formal reports.
Today I will tell my students that they may not have an extension on the formal reports, because 6 weeks is enough time.

Today I will email a local politician and ask what I can do to help in my city. It’s not her job to do my “citizen homework,” but maybe she can point me in the right direction. Then, I will contact the Diversity Director in the college where I teach. I will tell him that if any students need a safe place, or a shoulder to cry on, I’m there. I will let him know that I have his back in any new programs he wants to start in the wake of the election.

Today I won’t worry about the stock market, since I don’t completely understand it anyway.
Today I won’t worry about how the stock market may affect how much longer I have a job.
Today I won’t worry about how much closer to we may be to having open carry laws on campus.
Today I won’t think about how many things around my campus are named after KKK leaders, or how much the KKK endorsed the next president.

Today I won’t begrudge others their grief. Everyone deals differently. I like to move into action. Others like to wallow.
Today I won’t get mad at those who say they couldn’t vote for either candidate because it “wasn’t much of a choice.” I may, however, remind them that their privilege is showing.
Today I won’t make light of what others feel.
Today I won’t be flippant on Twitter.
Today I will mostly stay off social media because today self-care is important.

Today I will come home from work like I always do.
Today I will snuggle my dog.
Today I will get lost in a good book while I sit on the couch with Rosie and Chris.
Today we will make steaks for dinner, and maybe watch a movie.

Today is just a Wednesday, and I will treat it that way.

Sep 16

10 Self-Care Strategies for When the Universe Is Conspiring Against You

Self-care strategies are important because there are so many ways that everyday life wants to ruin your day. Even when you do everything you possibly can to ensure you have a good day, that doesn’t mean that the universe isn’t trying to ruin it.

10 self-care strategies for when the universe is conspiring against you

I’ve been using these self-care strategies lately for the times when other people’s chaos tries to get me down, or when I find myself in a situation that’s completely out of my control. Granted, none of these self-care strategies fix any of the external problems, but they do make it easier to deal with the problems. So today I thought I’d share my 10 self-care strategies for when the universe is conspiring against you.

10 Self-Care Strategies for When the Universe is Conspiring Against You Click To Tweet

001: Move.

I am by no means an athlete, and if you try to convince me to sign up for CrossFit, I’m gonna roll my eyes so far back in my head that my retinas will detach. Instead, I think everyone should focus on a workout that they enjoy, and stick to that. There are far too many terrible things we have to do in the day without adding another thing you don’t want to do to the list. For me, my favorite way to move is going to yoga class, or watching TV on the treadmill or elliptical. But never underestimate the power of getting up from your desk and just walking around for a few minutes. Seriously. It feels good.

002: Read.

I cannot express the joy I feel when I unplug from everything and cuddle up with a book. I love shutting out everything else, and getting absorbed in a completely different world for a while. And when I’m done, I always have that feeling of renewal because it’s like I’ve taken a break from life for a while.

003: Write.

I used to be in the practice of journaling every morning, and it was seriously the most mind clearing thing I have ever done. While I no longer do it religiously like I once did, I always reach for a pen when I need to get my head right.

004: Eat.

For the longest time, I would feed myself whatever garbage I was craving, and that was fine until about a few years ago. The older I get, the harder it is to eat junk. In fact, junk food now gives me hangover-like symptoms. (Aging is a joy.) So, now, to take care of myself, I’m eating more fruit and leafy greens. And even though I would love a pile of cheese fries or a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream at all times, I know I can’t have that and still be a productive person. A healthy meal goes a long way when it comes to my mood and overall well-being.

005: Primp.

Weird thing I’ve been into lately: moisturizing my cuticles and nails. I’ve noticed that my nails are super strong, and my cuticles no longer look like they were chewed off by a pack of wild dogs. And while how my nails look isn’t that important, it is important that I’m taking some time to do something for me that makes me happy.

006: Work.

There’s just something about scratching something off your to do list that’s good for the soul. I’m addicted to getting stuff done before noon, because it feels so good to know that I have the rest of the day to not stress about the things that I haven’t done. Sure, I forget this sometimes and procrastinate the day away. But I’m trying remind myself on those mornings when I want to slack how utterly terrible I will feel at the end of the day. And that tends to keep me in line.

007: Rest.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that resting is not scrolling through Instagram or reading all the tweets from the past 2 hours. Sure, I’m generally laying down when I do those things, but I’m not letting my mind have a break when it needs it. Instead, I’ve recently become a fan of the power nap. It’s a great way to take 20 minutes to recharge, and I wake up ready to go. And if I’m not feeling the nap that day, I like to rest by stepping out into the backyard with Rosie. We like to sit in chairs on the back porch and just watch the squirrels jump from tree to tree.

008: Listen.

Over the summer while I worked with the Institute of Reading Development, my record player was piled under tons of books. Now that everything is all cleaned up, I’ve been listening to a few special edition 45s from The Gaslight Anthem, and it’s made me fall back in love with just sitting and listening to music. I’ve even taken this into my work life. When people or technology issues get tough, I pick a playlist on my phone, and play it through my bluetooth speaker. Sure, it doesn’t fix the problem, but it calms me down enough to deal with it.

It doesn't fix the problem, but it calms me down enough to deal with it. Click To Tweet

009: Laugh.

This is perhaps one of the most narcissistic things I do, but I feel I should share it with you so you can also enjoy this silly tactic. I like to think of funny things I’ve said or done, because it makes me laugh out loud. I am my own biggest fan, and I’m sure I’m the only one who can fully appreciate my jokes. And thinking about my old jokes invariably leads into thinking about all the great jokes I will tell in the future, which is a great way to cheer up. Now, you don’t have to sit around and bask in your own comedic glory, but you absolutely should take some time to laugh. So, whatever makes you giggle, go for it.

010: Bond.

Whether I’m looking into Rosie’s eyes while I scratch her ears, or I’m talking about my day with Chris, I like to spend one-on-one time with people (yeah, Rosie’s a people) I love. And I think the one-on-one is important. No one bonds with a large group of people all at the same time.


What about you? What are your self-care strategies for when the universe is conspiring against you?

Sep 16

Guarding the Fuck Bucket

I realize “fuck bucket” may offend some. I’m also well aware it’s often used a derogatory term for a woman, but I’m taking that phrase and turning it into something else. I’m reclaiming it so I can talk about the amount of energy we have to deal with life. So if you got to this post thinking it was going to be closer to the Urban Dictionary definition, then you may want to leave.

Guarding the Fuck Bucket

You may also want to leave if you’re simply offended by the word “fuck.” I get that. You’re not alone. Plenty of people don’t like curse words. However, curse words are my love language. So, if you don’t like how many times I use the word “fuck” in this post, feel free to not read. I won’t apologize for saying fuck though, because soon you’ll see exactly how many fucks in my personal bucket that I have to give on that score. (Spoilers: It’s none.)

Curse words are my love language. Click To Tweet

Now that all the disclaimers are out of the way, let’s get down to business. How did the fuck bucket come about?

“Look at all the fucks I give!”

We’ve all said it before, or perhaps a more PG version. Basically, we hit a point where we acknowledge that we simply cannot care about something because we’ve hit a wall. That’s when we acknowledge that we don’t have fucks to give to a particular thing.

This is because everyone has a very specific amount of fucks they have to give to any given situation. It’s like a budget, if you will. We know, generally speaking, what we will encounter during the day. We tend to save our fucks and expend them on things we know we will have to give fucks about — paying bills, our friends and families, taking care of ourselves, home repairs, grocery shopping, etc. We also have some discretionary fucks to give for extracurricular things like office gossip, our favorite Game of Thrones characters, and which people from high school have blocked us on Facebook for no good reason.

For the most part, we allot our fucks subconsciously. We know we have to care about certain things, thus we care about them by giving them the majority of our fucks. Then, whatever we have leftover goes into our discretionary fucks. Sometimes you will have to spend more or less than you usually do, like when a family member gets sick or when you watched “The Red Wedding” episode of GoT. But generally speaking, the amount of fucks you give remains relatively constant.

Sometimes, however, something happens and we realize we don’t have enough fucks to give. For me, that happens when I don’t think about how many fucks I’m giving on things I didn’t budget my fucks for — like when your coworker becomes emotionally needy and wants to complain to you for an hour, or when you attend a large family get together.

So how do you ensure that you always have enough fucks to give?

Enter the Fuck Bucket

Everyone has a fuck bucket. It’s the bucket where you keep your fucks. Some people have gigantic 5-gallon Home Depot bucket for all their fucks. Others have those little tin novelty buckets you can get Michael’s to stick some Easter candy in. Your bucket size (mine is a good, sturdy Sterilite mop bucket with a spout in case I find myself needing to quickly pour out my fucks) determines the amount of fucks you have to give at any time.

Everyone has a fuck bucket. Click To Tweet

For me, I don’t have the smallest bucket, but I also don’t have the biggest. Like most fuck buckets, I have just enough to get me through the day comfortably. Sure, occasionally that bucket runs dry, and sometimes my fuck bucket runneth over. But generally speaking, I know with relative certainty how many fucks are in my fuck bucket at any given time, and how many I have to give for any given thing.

Lolrus and his fuck bucket

If you find that you’ve been running out of fucks pretty often lately, it might be time to take stock of your bucket. By looking at your fuck bucket budget, you can see where you’re expending the most energy, and where you can make some changes.

My Fuck Bucket Breakdown

My fuck bucket breaks down into the following categories:

  • Family (this includes Chris and my dog, Rosie)
  • Work and blogging
  • Writing and reading
  • Spending time at home
  • Discretionary fucks (yoga, social media, gossip, shows on Netflix, clothing, YouTube makeup tutorials, photography, cheese fries, etc.)

I also made this breakdown to show roughly how I allot my fucks:

This pie chart illustrates how I allot the fucks in my fuck bucket.

Your fuck bucket will look very different from mine. In fact, all fuck buckets should be different. And don’t try to give your fucks where you don’t want to. That way lies madness. Let them fall where they may. But if you find yourself running out of fucks, there’s only one thing to do.

Don't try to give your fucks where you don't want to. Click To Tweet

Guarding the Fuck Bucket

It’s easy to give fucks where you shouldn’t. It’s much harder to think critically about where your fucks are going and how you can stanch the flow. The first step to guarding your fuck bucket is to make sure it doesn’t run dry. And to do that, you have to stop giving fucks where you shouldn’t.

Right now, I’m sure you have something that’s bugging you, something that’s taking up your time, something that’s taking fucks away from something else. Think about that thing. Do you need to give a fuck about it? If it’s a leaky faucet or if your dog just puked, then unfortunately you do. But if it’s something that, in the grand scheme of things, you can avoid with little to no consequences, then fuck it. (Which is not a way to say that you should allot fucks to it, but rather forget about it.) There are infinite fucks in the universe, which means that someone else can generally give a fuck about the things that you can’t. Don’t give your fucks on things that you don’t have to.

There are infinite fucks in the universe. Click To Tweet

The second thing to do when you need to guard your fuck bucket, is get yourself out of situations where you have to expend fucks that you don’t have. You wouldn’t continue to pay for something you can’t afford, so why would you continue to spend fucks you don’t have? Getting yourself out of situations may sound big, but it can be really small. In some cases, it may just mean avoiding an intersection that bugs you, or not going into the break room when a specific coworker is there. Of course, it could also be big. It may mean quitting a job or getting out of a relationship.

Whatever it means, you have to do what you have to do to guard your fuck bucket. So, take a look at what’s in your fuck bucket, and where you spend the majority of your fucks. Think critically about where the fucks are going. Reset your fuck budget to balance your fuck bucket. Because at the end of the day, you’re the only one who can.