Watch Your Mouth, Lady / by Dana Bergstrom

While building our tiny house in the woods Pauly vetoed one of my design ideas and immediately snapped this photo of the frowny aftermath. "I'm going to call this one 'Grumpy Dana!'" he said cheerfully.

While building our tiny house in the woods Pauly vetoed one of my design ideas and immediately snapped this photo of the frowny aftermath. "I'm going to call this one 'Grumpy Dana!'" he said cheerfully.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my 46 years on planet Earth feeling victimy. I could always find an external reason as to why I was working at jobs that didn't light me up, why I wasn’t healthy enough, why I didn’t have enough money and why life in general wasn’t working out for me.

I’d complain about the way I was raised as a pastor's kid and the stress I felt to be pleasant, dutiful, and as perfect as possible ever since I was a feral little girl. (Failure on all fronts!) I’d point to the patriarchy and gender discrimination for causing my troubles and on and on I'd go. There have been many times depression took over and giving up on life seemed like the best option. It was too hard to measure up to everyone's expectations and I was too tired to try anymore. But then it occurred to me that maybe I could actually do something about the way I felt.

So I started searching for ways to alter my experience. And what I discovered after much trial and error is that what I focus on is what I get. Call it the placebo effect or nocebo effect, if you'd like. I have enough evidence in my life now that I'm ready to accept that my experience is a mirror of my thoughts/beliefs.

But that doesn't mean I always REMEMBER that my experience is a mirror. I find it especially challenging now that I've entered the phase of life called perimenopause, where it seems that my inherent feral nature has been multiplied to a frightening degree. Or am I simply using it as an excuse? To be completely honest, I'm pretty sure I am, but somehow I don't feel quite ready to take 100% responsibility for this one yet. I'm only at about 98% at this minute. Whatever the case may be, Pauly thought I was wild long before perimenopause graced our lives.

Many years ago Pauly said to me with a smile, "You're crazy the week before, the week during and the week after your period. But I know it's the week before when nearly every sentence you say to me ends with the word, 'asshole'." 

"Paul, don't be an asshole! You only get one good week a month? That one week must be pretty great for you to stick around."

"IT IS!!!!!!!!"

Wedding rehearsal where I'm all sugar and spice...

Wedding rehearsal where I'm all sugar and spice...

And that is why I chose to partner with this incredibly optimistic soul whom I call "Angel" and smother all day every day with affection...ya know, whenever I'm not cursing at him.

So many fun things to do with one's mouth! In this case more smooching = less yelling

So many fun things to do with one's mouth! In this case more smooching = less yelling

Now in perimenopause, pretty much all month long I'll pepper my thoughts with loads of swear words. They're not just for the end of certain sentences anymore! Pauly recently decided that it's gone too far, so the other day he announced that he's gonna institute a cuss jar. Every time I dropped an F-bomb, I'd have to put a quarter in it. You can imagine my response to that stupid fuckin idea!

Anyway, what I'm finding tricky now is to remember that my thoughts create my experience even when it feels like my victim fueled hormones are trying to land me behind bars. My current life goal is simple and crystal clear: Get through perimenopause without significant prison time.

Success is all about having manageable goals!

So what is a wild middle aged lady to do? Here's what. Let herself off the hook when she loses it. Just like she'd do for others when they lose it too. Keep looking for what inspires joy and is beautiful and true. And until she tires of it, she will continue to curse up a storm because there's something incredibly satisfying about finding the perfect combo of swear words to exquisitely express oneself. (Ahhh! Fellow cuss mouths know the feeling.) Thankfully, this kind of fun can NOT be added to her short and sweet criminal record.

So no pokey for me! I'll continue reminding myself that I'm in charge of my experience and that I'm freeeeee to be as wild as I wanna beeeeee!