Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Affirmative action

Don’t laugh—I’m doing cognitive therapy on myself. This means that I’m prodding myself out of my current malaise by using mental affirmation flashcards. (Don’t even ask about the malaise. Suffice it to say it’s a combination of seasonal affective disorder, grief, and general ornery-ness. There’s probably a diagnostic code for it. I have a graduate degree in counseling psychology so I’m entitled to diagnose myself.)

These affirmation flashcards are not tangible things, not like the picture of the zebra with the letter Z that you show your preschooler. But perhaps they should be. I could use photos to accompany the affirmations in order to reinforce the message. Here are the affirmations I’m working on:

(1) “I am who I say I am”—this is to remind me that no one else defines me—no former husband who mistreated me, no boss who devalued me, no Republicans or surly plumbers or cosmetic salesladies. For this one I’ll attach a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer and hope that my powerful positive thinking will make me look like her.

(2) “Cherish yourself”—I’m already having trouble with this one because there seems to be a thin line between self indulgence and self preservation. But what I mean is that no one else is going to take care of me, no one else is going to make sure I eat right or get enough exercise. For this flashcard I’ll attach a photo of Miss Piggy.

(3) “Live today like it’s your last day”—I’m having trouble with this one too. It scares me. It doesn’t make me want to fly to Paris; it makes me think I need to clean my closets and get my affairs in order so my kids won’t curse me when I’m gone tomorrow. They’re going to say, “Why in the hell did she need 146 cookbooks?” That’s it—the cookbooks are going to Goodwill tomorrow along with the 146 pairs of jeans that don’t fit. With this flashcard I’ll attach a photo of Little Edie. (I’m still obsessed with Little Edie.)

(4) “Get off your ass”—this is self explanatory. It’s really card 2, part b. I need serotonin, vitamin D, and liposuction. I need residental addiction treatment—carbohydrates are my version of crack. For this card I’ll attach a photo of myself sitting on the sofa, wearing sweats, eating popcorn and drinking a beer. Nooooo! Quick—flash back to the picture of Michelle Pfeiffer—I am who I say I am, I am who I say I am . . .

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