Hey, Pittsburgh: 10 Ways To Detox Your Life, Your Mind & Mine
Welcome Simone de Bloomfield to The Keystone Statement, your local Pittsburgh guru and gal about town.
I had some free time the other day and was reading a mindfulness magazine I found in the grocery line that recommended getting rid of all the toxic people in my life. The same day, I logged into Facebook and there was an ad for a meditation course that would help me detoxify all my relationships. What really made me think this might be destiny is when I clicked on the link and the description of the teacher's experience and insights completely calmed my mood by promising to heal us for only $25.
Now I'm already budgeting a certain amount every month for my Netflix and gym memberships, so this mental and relational clarity might have to wait. In the meantime, I decided to compile a list of what makes people toxic and not toxic, so I can be prepared to fully eliminate them once I sign up for this strategic course that will guarantee my professional success and romantic happiness forever.
The First Qualification for toxicity is the amount of water you drink every day. Studies show that drinking water enhances your mood, so if we meet the government's sixty-four ounce per day recommendation, we’re going to be okay. Unless it's tap water. Studies also show that old pipes carry heavy metals, so based on a simple algorithm involving (a) your body mass, (b) time spent living in old apartments, and (c) hydration status, I can determine how much you are going to be able to properly love me, my brain and especially my liver.
Number Two: how often do you do yoga? If it is less than three times a week, chances are you are oozing toxicity. What is the opposite of mindfulness, really? Hot-yoga-goer, you get a free pass to my mind and body any day, unless you are exhibiting any other characteristics on this list for more than two consecutive days per month, adjusting for gender and type of birth control and leaving room for the chance that you are suffering from life events such as death of a close friend or family member excluding non-mammalian pets, parking tickets, job loss or other situations that might not reflect who you really are as a person, but this really can't go on because you do yoga and are not allowed to grieve like just anyone. Just let it go already. Breathe in to the tune of your mistakes and everyone else's, and everything will be fine. Just don't drink from the water fountain after class, because it's city water, and all our progress will be negated before we walk out the door with this delicate mind-body connection. Mostly my mind to your body, but I was a little connected to my body there too.
Where was I...Number Three. Driving skills. If I see you driving aggressively or passing on the right, or if you fail to avoid this city's potholes, you are a negligent, self-absorbed and toxic personality that cannot come near me. Which you probably won't because I drive mostly in the left lane, especially when all you speed demons are f*cking up traffic. Someone's gotta keep lawbreakers in line, and I'm tired of being in relationships where I'm the only one who cares about the big picture.
The Fourth Item on my toxic list, and this one is definitely a deal-breaker, is if you happen to espouse an opinion that I don't agree with. This one is for certain—toxicity to the max, because all my men's names should start with "Yes." Research shows that debates cause mental stress, and talking without being able to smile for more than four minutes is going to do serious harm to my inner, non-reflective child. You are infinitely toxic to me if you share anything about Trump, because I am against politics forever, and everyone else should be too, because life is for loving yourself and your own thoughts all the time. Especially when I'm writing and tweeting. Leave me alone.
Number five. What all toxic people have in common is that they have a stressful life. If you work outside your home or care for any sick relatives (hopefully you don't do both, like most mature adults), then sorry, I don't have time for you because you are just going to stress me out too. You probably aren't trying hard enough, so just figure it out alone already, will you? I'm going to be at the doctor getting all these heavy metals sucked out of my feet for the fifth time. Where does all this brown water keep coming from?
Now it would be toxic of me to forget to give you the non-toxic list so you can know what I am really expecting from you, anxious reader. In no particular order, ok? These are the behaviors that will make me feel safe:
1) You keep a gratitude journal. You write down what makes you happy every day, even if it caused harm to someone else, because again, life is not just about you but about how you interpret it. Bonus points if you also upload it to Instagram from a park bench with your purple picnic basket and tag me. #NoHashtagNecessaryBecauseOurFriendshipIsDeeperThanYourPurplePicnicBasket
2) You grow things at your house. Doesn't matter if they live or die, what matters is that you wanted to try to nurture something. Could be a windowsill herb pot, flowers on the deck, or mold in the kitchen sink. You are a beautiful, organically-minded person. (No bleach in the sink for the mold please, just natural cleaners. Unless there is a cholera outbreak, then you can toxify that shit to the moon.)
3) The third non-toxic character trait is the tone of your voice. If you pronounce anything above the volume level of my favorite TV show, things are really going south in our relationship. Leslie Knope is your role model here. Safe people know how to communicate effectively without constantly contradicting themselves, reverting to sarcasm, and confusing listeners and readers with their tone. No one likes that, especially when they know you have reasonably good intentions.
4) Wash my jeans without accidentally bleaching them. The last person who did this is no longer following me on Twitter, probably because I yelled at her for no reason two weeks later. See? Laundry habits can make or break a relationship. Maybe I'm just too passive-aggressive.
5) Mention your therapist whenever relationships start to get too unpredictable, just to let people know you’re working on things and they really don't have to worry about you. Trust is key in being non-toxic, and nothing says "I love you" more than letting me know that I'm helping you support a local business owner.
With these ten toxic and non-toxic skills, you can prepare for your next wait in the checkout line. Don't buy any more mindfulness magazines unless you want a different perspective from me: your experienced, averagely toxic but generally kind and caring global citizen, except when writing stresses me out and makes me accidentally kill my houseplants.