Yeti Socks

I’m wearing them right now. They are grey with a big white yeti and the monogram, “Yeti or not, here I come!” in green. Classy. At a party, not so long ago, we stood in the kitchen and I noticed that virtually everyone were wearing the same old ugly boring white socks with the grey heel and toe. It occurred to me that there are indubitably other options besides suit socks and Superstore whites. I remembered making fun of my nephews at Christmas, they were wearing silly socks. I owe them an apology. Colton, you were right. This article is for you and your weird socks.

A few months ago Target went bankrupt in Canada. They had their ridiculous socks on sale for a month and I bought twelve pair. I have never purchased more than a supermarket 5-pack before so this was a step (get it? step). Red socks with a huge pencil down the outside. Canadian moose in blue and red and brown. A bulldog on a skateboard wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses, smoking a cigar. I defy you to find anything cooler than that, it simply cannot happen. Oh, and they are loud green. You only go around once.

I dress weird for someone who is supposed to be all grown up. I have pierced ears and I let my sons dress me. I have recently acquired a pork-pie hat. I don’t even care what people think anymore. One of the benefits of not being good looking is that you cannot base your self-esteem on your looks or you will eventually take up Fentanyl. I’ve started wearing suit coats with the hat. I dropped into Rex Cox and purchased clothing that had never even seen denim. For some reason I find that I enjoy dressing up, this late in life. When I’m eighty I plan to wear a pork pie hat and dress like a pimp.

Someone recently asked me if I was worried that “people” might think I was having a midlife crisis. My theory has always been that if you are weird all your life than people won’t notice when you have go crazy. My wife has commented, on more than one occasion, that she is worried if I lose my mind that she won’t notice any difference. That’s from the one paid to love me.

There is a great freedom in caring just a little less what everyone thinks about me. Again and again, amidst the noise and the noise and the noise, something whispers “Stop giving such a damn about everything!”. Most of us have lived our entire lives seeking acceptance from people who don’t understand loyalty or selfless love. We have been afraid to offend those whom we now realize were not bulletproof, and a few of them really weren’t even worth all the effort. It really is true, the few who have proven loyal and true don’t need me to impress them; they already know what a tool I am and they are still here.

Many of us have thrown away far too much of our lives trying to live up to the expectations of persons we would never trust alone with our children.

And that’s an important psychological tenet that we all know but few of us really know – we need to stop ruining our few good years to impress people who don’t matter. Most of my closest friends has surfed alongside me for decades without flinching. I can posture and bluff all I want, they can see right through it. If they tell me that I need to address something in my life I try to listen. Everyone else can screw off. If my pal Sue takes me aside and sticks her finger in my chest I do not flinch because she has earned it. Living my life to impress everyone around me is a treadmill to hell to which I am no longer willing to subject myself. Anyone who knows me understands how poorly I have done in this arena at the best of times. I am endeavoring, as are many others on this journey, to live my life for something more than the shallow approval of people who are broken and often incapable of being an authentic friend.

I once heard a preacher say, “When you get to heaven God isn’t going to ask you “why weren’t you more like Billy Graham?”, he’s going to ask you, “Why weren’t you more like you?” I’ll take wisdom from wherever I can find it. My clients consistently struggle with self-care because self-discovery is an undervalued commodity in our culture. We are allergic to selfishness and have canonized a dysfunctional historical narrative, the belief that all selfishness is evil; and become a society of insecure and misunderstood people absorbed by false modesty and an addiction to external confirmation.

If you get nothing else, chew on this. I am no good to the many people who depend on me if I am sick. It is imperative that we understand how awesome a deal this really is, once you get your head around it. I’m ordering you to spoil yourself, take care of yourself. Self-care cannot be optional in a world this crazy and painful. The more I invest in my own holistic health, the better I am as a husband, father, professional, and ultimately authentic person. I absolutely love the idea that my mental health is so important that I must eat more KitKat Bars and spend time kayaking when I should be doing renoes. Can I get an amen?

One more thing. None of us has time. I cannot exaggerate how many people have come into my office and, when challenged to dedicate more time to self-care, have unequivocally informed me that they are not like my other clients. They have kids and soccer and career and money and stress and anxiety and SSRI’s and the constant grind of responsibilities and a life that cannot remember what fun looked like. Blah blah blah. Sit in this chair long enough and it dawns on even the stupidest of us that for some reason most of our lives are far too busy and many of you are one wet toilet seat away from punching a baby. Every single one of us is trying to stay afloat in sea of caca.

Counselors tell you this crap because it isn’t only theory. We get paid to hear 20 or more clients every week tell us the exact same story and so when I tell you to take care of yourself I’m not telling you as ‘friend’ Scott. I get paid to take care of my emotional health and I haven’t figured it all out either but this one thing I know, people who don’t take care of themselves can blame anything they want, but at the end of the day everyone else will move on with their lives. “I have no time” is easily the most frequent excuse, I mean reason, that I hear every week.

It’s a holiday, here in Canada. This morning I woke up in Redmond, Washington where they are already prepping for Memorial day next weekend. So enough with the heavy stuff. As your online therapist for a day I recommend you find a place in the sunshine with a cold drink and a hot book. I plan on making “American Iced Tea” tomorrow in the sun and maybe play Catch. All that noise in your head will be waiting for you when you get home, don’t worry. Mindfulness can mean washing out my kayak tomorrow and putting on the roof racks. I may need a therapeutic Kitkat Blizzard as well.

Doctor’s orders.

10 thoughts on “Yeti Socks

  1. Thank you for that lovingly stern reminder about self-care. I was whining about that exact same thing the other day at my therapist’s. It is true that somehow we fool ourselves into thinking our own personal brand of busy is somehow different than anyone else’s.

    Well, I’ve been reminded at a few points in my life that this way of thinking is wrong, wrong, wrong! I am in the middle of single parenting two teens, one with Asperger’s, getting ready to move into a blended family situation and dealing with an 89 year old mother from a distance. If I don’t take care of myself, there will be no me to take care of everyone else!

    So as ‘busy’ as I am I make sure I have a good dose of indulgent sloth in there too- for me that looks like aimless puttering *alone*. I come back to my people happier, and recharged enough to enjoy their presence again, rather than to feel depleted by it.

  2. Hi Scott,

    Good advice, as always. I am one of those old school folks who learned that it’s work first and pleasure after that. I do take ‘time off’ for fun stuff, but definitely have a hard time relaxing. These days, it’s hard to find the energy to do much, work or pleasure, and that in itself is really stressful. I know it isn’t healthy, but it’s hard not to wish things could be different.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. I love your look on life!!!!! Like my husband says – This ain’t no dress rehearsal, so you better enjoy life the first time around. And I absolutely love Kit-Kats – especially from the freezer!!!!

  4. Reblogged this on SassaFrass, The Feisty and commented:
    I find it very refreshing and comforting that as a professional Scott walks the walk we do. I also think it’s important to be our individual selves and not fit into the box. I ALSO followed his orders-we all should! And don’t forget the KitKat Blizzard!

  5. I realized a few years back that i had wasted my most attractive years feeling I wasn’t pretty enough, I didn’t realize how pretty I actually was until my looks were gone. Ain’t that just the way it goes? I was told by a guy he had a huge crush on me, I was shocked, he said I seemed totally uninterested, i was painfully shy and spending my time feeling “not good enough” dieting, (starving myself) and trying to be what I thought men wanted in a woman. I spent a lot of time being the perfect girl friend and then the perfect wife. And the whole time, and 3 marriages, I never asked myself, “But is this man what YOU want? is he good enough for you? does he reflect your values, your beliefs, does he value you?” Nope. It did not cross my mind. Oh for a do over!! to have my looks back but keep this attitude and self awareness; the fun I would have because I would have appreciate me so much more and not settled for anything. To go through life not needing a man to complete me, to know I am sexy and embrace it.
    But I can’t go back so I will go forward……..much better anyway, its harder to navigate when you are backing up. Oh and i have crazy socks too, i have a black pair with chicken drumsticks on them, some bright neon green and pink. and i damn well dress the way I want. I earned it. I am old enough to pick my own clothes.

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