March 30, 2014

Which will you choose—FML or NBD? ~ Sue Adair

i hate my life

Texting is the main mode of communication I have with my grown kids.

It’s a short and sweet way to keep in touch.

Recently, every once in a while my daughter would end her text with “FML.” Then I noticed people were posting things on FaceBook that ended in FML. Of course, I didn’t know what it meant, but I didn’t want to ask and end up looking uncool.

After I had received several texts with this, I decided to ask my co-worker.

“Jody, what is eff em ell?”

“Use it in a sentence.”

“Well, I got a text that says, I have to go to a meeting right after work and after that I have to go to the grocery store because we are totally out of food and we are almost broke until the end of the month. Eff em ell.”

“Oh. It means fuck my life.”

It was a slap in the face to hear someone I love say something so harsh about their life. Then I realized my father’s Karma had slithered down another generation to bite me squarely on the ass.

While growing up, I coped with my father’s oppressive pessimism and negativity by making fun of it. Later on, I majored in Theatre, where I honed my skills of over-dramatization. When I raised my kids, I modeled the behavior of over-dramatizing everything, both in language and in physical humor.

My new mantra is NBD—short for No Big Deal.

I culled the phrase from one of my favorite authors—Pema Chodron.

“The key is, it’s no big deal. We could all just lighten up. With our minds we make a big deal out of ourselves, out of our pain, and out of our problems.” Pema Chodron

When I was in my 40’s, I noticed that everything had become a Big Deal. When I was going to paint the interior of my home, deciding on which shade of white to use was an enormous decision. This was before Pinterest, so I had to look at magazines and go online to various decorator sites. Not only did I have to choose the correct brand of paint, but also choose between thousands of shades of white. Would the world stop turning if I chose Honky White over Blinding Snowstorm?

What happened to the girl in college that went to the hardware store to buy a can of paint when she decided on a whim to paint her kitchen purple?

As I aged, I noticed that I started to assume a negative and difficult outcome to any decision I made. Of course, it had my overly dramatic and spectacular spin on it—like convincing myself that my house was going to be engulfed in a sinkhole before I closed on selling it—but really, this behavior was the same behavior my father had modeled and that I wanted to avoid.

So now, when something happens, I make the conscious response of NBD. Car vandalized? NBD. Job position downsized? NBD.

Our words, whether they are spoken or written have enormous power. We have the choice of what we send out and what we receive. Which will you choose—FML or NBD?


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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Chasing Paint via Flickr


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