1. Thou shalt have pie in times of stress. Locally I’m partial to The Upper Crust, and I’ve never been disappointed. My favorite is their strawberry rhubarb, but today I tried bumbleberry (a mixture of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, & apples) and I might be hooked. I don’t believe in diets, but I do believe in moderation. I love pie, so hence this is the first of my top ten commandments.
2. Thou dost not look for milk at Home Depot. I’ve learned I must stop having certain expectations from people who aren’t capable of living up to them. I keep wondering why the same outcomes persist, but truly it’s because I’m hardwired to expect better (I aim to do better 24/7 my own self). So rather than feeling disappointed, angry, or frustrated, I need to remember I can’t buy milk from the hardware store; lesson learned.
3. Thou must put on thine own oxygen mask first. What the flight attendants tell you is true. It’s impossible to pour from an empty cup, blah blah blah. When I’m overwhelmed, exhausted, and spent, I need time to unwind, regroup, and relax. It’s not selfish to want and need “me time,” and in fact, it’s healthy. I am a better parent and human being when I’ve recharged my batteries.
4. Thou must be anti-racist. “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”Angela Davis, 1979. I’ve been learning a lot the last few years, especially that white silence is violence. I speak up because I’m done being complacent. I’ve confronted issues at my daughters’ predominantly white schools. Racist comments don’t fly on my social media accounts. I call out my fellow white friends because I don’t expect POC to do the work. We live in a white supremacist society — we made this mess — and I won’t accept it.
5. Thou is human after all. At the end of the day, when I look around at the toys, crumbs, dirty clothes, and dishes, I feel like a failure. I love Wonder Woman, but perfection is a myth. Even if I skipped a shower and ran out of milk two days ago, I am enough. Being a single parent is hard, divorce blows, and raising twin teenagers while wrangling their seven-year-old sister is challenging. Depression and anxiety suck. Living far away from family stinks, and being estranged from a parent is unsettling. But I’m human. I just do the best I can.
6. Thou must ignore the voices in thine head. The past may ring in your ears. They said your face was “too round,” your nose was “too big,” and your outfit was “unflattering.” Your laugh was “too loud” and you didn’t belong. He called you “crazy,” “too emotional,” & “too sensitive.” He said you were “fucked up.” Ignore the voices. Because the folks who said these things are pretty insecure themselves, and they’re projecting their crap onto you.
7. Thou must trust thy gut. If something feels wrong, follow your instincts. If you’re not sure, wait a bit and see. Maybe don’t go that direction. Walk away. Don’t ever be afraid to be alone. Choose yourself first. Don’t chase people who don’t want you. More importantly, don’t give too many second chances. Know your worth, and when someone else doesn’t, leave. As I type this, I feel hypocritical because it’s still a struggle for me.
8. Thou must be grateful every day. It’s easy to get bogged down by the bullshit. But I try to regularly make a list of things I’m grateful for. My kids, my friends, my mom, my brothers. My home, my winter coat, the food on the table. My car and my job and the wonderful neighbors across the street. Books, Netflix, an occasional glass of wine, my significant other. I am so very lucky.
9. Thou must do some random acts of kindness. Compliment someone. Bake for a friend. Pay someone you owe. Give hugs. Keep granola bars and bottled water in your car to give out to folks in need. See someone struggling? Offer a hand, a smile, a conversation. Mail someone a card. When you’re at the store, ask a neighbor if you can pick something up for them. Check on your people. Donate your time, services, and money whenever you can.
10. Love thyself. You have to love yourself first. Be your own hero. At the end of the day, have your own back. You are worth it. This is the last of my top ten commandments because it has been the most difficult for me. But when I look back at everything I’ve survived and overcome, especially these last few years, I just know… I’m a warrior.
What’s on your list of top ten commandments? Let me know in the comments!