Hey! Me! Ugh, shut up.

Hey! Me! Ugh, shut up.

WARNING: This is one of those “F-bomb” posts that I refer to in the “About” section to your left. If you aren’t into F-bombs, then you can skip this and go HERE to read about that time I made jam. The pictures are pretty, and it’s good jam. I just pulled one out of the freezer this morning. And now, for the rest of you, a blog in F major.

I am a self-proclaimed genius. And like most self-proclaimed geniuses (geniusi?) I am also an expert. An expert on what? Glad you asked. I am an expert on your life.

That’s right folks, after knowing you for five years, five months or five minutes, I am the kind of expert who feels totally at ease doling out unsolicited advice on what books you would enjoy, the type of supplemental formula your finicky baby would probably stomach, the color that would look good in your guest room or on your wooden stairs (hey, Kate), and how many chickens you could probably fit into your small urban backyard.

Not only that, I am really in tune with the bigger questions. Want to change careers? Come and see me, I’ll have a dozen suggestions. Need to organize your living room or downsize your belongings? I can point you towards a darling book and a killer website. Need to know how to better communicate with your spouse or child? Step up friend, this font of knowledge is here for you.

Wondering how I have any friends left? Yeah…me too.

When advice is solicited, I do love to help out a pal. I mean, who doesn’t have opinions on how their friends should be living? As a people, we make a thousand judgments a day about the choices of others, and it’s okay. How else would we know where to position our own lives if we didn’t have the barometer of our friends’, family’s and even total strangers’ decisions to test out changes in the atmosphere? A judgment in this sense isn’t a negative, it’s a necessity. And when a sentence begins with, “Hey, I could really use some help with…” then we are well within our rights to tap those everyday thoughts and let the opinions flow. But sometimes, yes sometimes, I open my mouth and out pours a flood of advice that was neither asked for nor, most likely, appreciated. It is at these times that I would do well to heed the voice in my head, which is saying (not too quietly), “Hey! Danielle! Shut the fuck up.”

Seriously, self, do us all a favor and give those thoughts a rest. No one likes a know-it-all. (The irony of making this statement in the form of a public blog is not lost on me.)

If you are at all like me, wouldn’t you also benefit from a nice round of Shut The Fuck Up? Or, as my family says, Shelta.

Quick detour: When we were young, my uncle lived with us for a while one summer and worked construction. The guys on the job were always telling each other to “shut the fuck up,” as good natured young fellas will do, but this wasn’t really appropriate job site language. As a result, “shut the fuck up” was shortened to the colloquial “shut the.” When my uncle was relating this story to my parents, one of my little brothers (who were totally interchangeable at the time) misheard and asked them all what “shelta” meant. And from that day until this, “shelta” has been my family’s loving way of telling each other to zip it.

So, how do I move forward with this newfound self-awareness? As an opinionated thinker who is constantly mulling over the activities going on around me, I’m not going to change my core self. I wouldn’t want to. I like that I’ll never be at a loss for a position in a lively debate, and truth be told, I’ll probably always be trying to get you to read the last great thing that I read (Wiley Cash, A Land More Kind Than Home). But when you come to me as a friend and want to share a story or thought about your life, or we are just hanging out with our kids on a random afternoon, I can find a way to keep my personality intact and also refrain from telling you what you should do.

In order to keep myself on track I have created a mantra, complete with special font and faded overlay, that is directly influenced by the motivational posters found in break rooms across America.

I should have added a fourth: Occupy your mouth with food or drink. Until I master these new skills, perhaps we should only meet up for Happy Hours?

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