Detoxing my life

The other day I saw an infographic about “daily steps to keep your house clean and organized” which, I am sorry to admit, is a genuine interest of mine. I LOVE organizational and cleaning tips to the point that I’ve often thought I could start a whole blog about it, or at least a series of posts, a la the Fly Lady. But then, I remember that upon cleaning out my bathroom and hall cupboards, I found sanitary napkins dating from 2005 and cold medication that expired in 2010, so that would make me feel like Matt Foley, motivational speaker. Also, I do not ever wear shoes in the house; the Fly Lady would be ashamed of me.

The biggest deterrent, however, to making my OWN infographic of household tips or writing a series of posts, would be the Professional Internet Commenters. Circling back to this infographic I saw, I noticed that there were several hundred comments on it. Several hundred, on an infographic that had daily, weekly, monthly, and annual chores. People, I did something that I never do, something that I know not to do, something that never brings about joy or happiness: I read the comments.

You wouldn’t think that an infographic that has such things as “make your bed” or “wash the dishes” as daily chores would be all that controversial, would you? Well, what if I told you it was A MAN that created the infographic? Would that enrage you? At least half the comments were with regards to the obviously single, childless, entitled man who dared write an infographic on household tips. “What about taking the kids to activities? What about making lunches? This guy has no idea what real life is like! Must be nice!”

Oh, people of the internet. You do realize that no one is forcing you to a) read things, or b) implement the things you’ve read into your own life, right? If the mere suggestion that washing dishes daily is better than letting them all pile up all over your counters, until your cupboards are empty and then trying to deal with a mountain of disgusting, crusty pots and pans and plates enrages you, then maybe don’t read anything about household tips. If “making your bed” makes you outraged, then you really don’t have to do it. And the kicker? The kicker is that you DON’T HAVE TO COMMENT ON IT, EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT OR DISAGREE WITH IT.

It’s that time of year when everyone is making resolutions and choosing words to keep in mind for the coming year, and I love all that. I love that we like to improve ourselves and our quality of life. I don’t really have resolutions, other than to maintain what resolutions I made five months ago – apparently August is more of a New Year’s for me. Some of those resolutions are dull and I won’t bore you with the details, but the one I want to talk about is detoxing.

I don’t mean that I’m going to drink only juice for three weeks or take enough laxatives to cleanse my colon or anything. What I’ve been doing in the past little while is detoxing my life.

You know when someone goes on Facebook and announces that they are going through their friends list and deleting everyone they aren’t in touch with and everyone on their friend list rolls their eyes and presses “hide?” Or, less passive aggressively, sends messages to everyone on their friends list, saying since you don’t like any of my photos feel free to “un-friend” me? The latter actually happened to me, which was startling, since all the photos on that person’s feed were of cars that she had keyed for parking crookedly and taking up two parking stalls. While bad parking is annoying to everyone, I am not a fan of random property damage, and so it was true, I didn’t “like” those photos.

In any case, I noticed that there were a number of people on my Facebook who were constantly bringing me down, and no matter how much I “hid” their comments or how quickly I scrolled past their ignorant updates, it would still infect my spirits, a little. Now, I would never chirpily announce that I was “cleaning out my friends list!” because that behaviour is lame, but I did actually think long and hard about people I wanted in my life. Why did I have them on my friends list if we had what might be termed as irreconcilable differences? Did they bring anything to my life? No? Then why were they there?

And, dear reader, I did it. I went through and I took out the people who said things like “anyone who isn’t atheist is a sheep and a moron” and who insulted people who live in my province and who were just in a constant state of outrage. Percentage wise, it wasn’t many – most people I know are lovely – but that small percentage was bringing me down, like a virus.

Then I started thinking about what causes me angst and grief in my day-to-day life, and I swore that I would no longer be affected by someone else’s negativity. If someone was constantly bringing toxicity into my life, I thought long and hard about how much contact I wanted to have with that person. I asked myself two questions: do I want them in my life, and do I have a choice whether or not they are in my life? I think I often forget that I have the power of choice; I can choose not to enter into unkind gossip and I can choose not to be around someone who is constantly negative. I can choose not to be with people who openly dislike me and have no qualms about saying so and I can choose not to listen to ignorant and uninformed opinions.

I can choose to be with people who uplift me, or people who support me and who I support. I can choose to surround myself with joy and laughter and interesting conversations.

So, if I have a resolution this year, it’s to continue to exercise that choice. Well, that and to finally start using eye cream. I’m starting to look like an old crone.

Do you have any resolutions or words for 2016? Do tell. xoxo


  1. Love this idea. I think this is one of the true positives of aging – you grow less and less afraid of upsetting other people in favour of making your own life easier and happier. As it should be! The older I get, the more I think about how to make the most of my life, including surrounding myself with the best people.

    Hm…just thinking I should have checked Facebook before making this endorsing comment :).

  2. I love this!

    LOVE THIS! 😀

    You are something special, Nicole. I’m glad to know you. Lucky, even.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Nicole, I love this. 🙂

  4. I love this Nicole and I also love that your post make me smile and bring only joy and yummy food into my live.

  5. Why does Fly Lady want you to wear shoes in the house? I would have guessed the opposite, to not track dirt onto the floors.

    • She thinks that you should always wear clean “indoor sneakers” in the house. I am a committed slipper wearer, so no way to that!

      • I no longer follow FlyLady (too many relentlessly chirpy emails!) but I do seem to remember that she feels you are more motivated to work around the house if you are “dressed to the shoes.” It makes her feel dressed to work as opposed to, say, sitting on the couch reading blogs (ahem.)
        I do have to get dressed to get motivated, but I am almost always barefoot or in socks when at home.

  6. Oh hell to the yes. (And that includes eye cream — it’s definitely time to up the skincare regimen, so we can be dewy old crones.)

  7. I did this one time, and then not long after I just got rid of Facebook entirely. For a while I removed Twitter from my bookmarks so it wasn’t as easy to mindlessly open it up, and that helped too. Sometimes you don’t realise just how much stress is coming from absorbing other people’s shit.

  8. Love this post, good for you! This is probably the biggest reason why FB is my least favourite form of social media. I often tell friends that if I didn’t do the work I do, I would close up all my social media accounts and just live an offline life. I’m actually sometimes a little envious of some friends who live their lives totally offline. But then on the other hand, being online has brought me so much. Double edged sword, I guess…you just have to learn how to walk the line and it looks like you are on the right track 🙂

  9. I get so much more joy than aggravation from Facebook I would never consider leaving it. I do what you’ve done, though. I give someone so many chances to be ignorant, or bigoted, or mean, and then I unfriend with serenity and a lack of anger. Mostly. Life’s too short.

  10. I really like this post – it hits the nail on the head for me – this notion of choice. I often forget that we have choices about who we choose to spend our time with. Thanks for the reminder. All the best in 2016!!

  11. Interesting read, thanks for sharing. I do have a couple of questions. ‘Observations’ might be a better word, actually, since I don’t expect or require a reply.

    You refer to the passive aggressive nature of posting a “cleaning my friend’s list” status on Facebook with the unspoken castigation of those posting the status still relatively clear. In light of your negative portrayal of those posting said status, how do you reconcile this blog entry which could e seen as even more passive aggressive?

    How is it that in a blog entry largely dedicated to condemning toxic people from your social media circles that you miss the toxicity that you are promoting? To clarify my point, I would submit that this promotion is in the form of condemnation, casting judgement, and name calling (ignorant, toxic, implying that they are not lovely).

    You ask for replis to include resolutions for the new year. Instead I will include a resolution I made a few years ago that I think you should consider. I resolved to take a stand for things I believed in and to confront those who I thought were taking unfair advantage of a circumstance. I believe in approaching problems directly and respecting other people’s right to have their opinions, their causes, their own identity. You are taking advantage of the anonymity of the Internet to behave in a condemnable fashion and you are ignoring the fact that people you have unfriended can and may read this entry.

    Perhaps you need to engage in a little more self reflection. It may improve the relationships you so lightly cast aside and it may also improve the content of this blog.

    • Thanks for your comment. I would say that I had virtually no relationship with the people that I had un-friended. In that case, I did not need a virtual stranger bringing negativity into my life. Also, I’m not anonymous. But, I appreciate you taking the time to write.

    • Oh honey. Clearly you do know that Nicole is SO out of your league here, which is why YOU are the one who is in fact hiding behind the anonymity of the internet (“Chagger?” Really?), while Nicole uses her full name on multiple social media platforms, where she is well-regarded and unfailingly courteous and insightful. Nicole is one of the nicest people I know, and by nice I don’t mean sappy or banal, I mean sweet, always willing to look for the best in people to a ridiculous degree, willing to put herself out for the good of others, and always there for anyone who needs anything. If you fall afoul of Nicole, trust me, you’re the one who needs to engage in some self-reflective activity. Not that I think you will.

      • Actually Bibliomama2, I don’t think Nicole is out of my league. You see, I wasn’t judging her as a person, I was judging the value of what she was writing. I was questioning the validity of the blog post based on the inconsistency of what she was writing versus what she was doing. By the same token, I would question the consistency of what you wrote when stacked up against what was posted.

        Ultimately, I respect the fact that you are coming to the defence of someone you have a connection with. Perhaps your defense should focus on addressing the incongruities presented. I grant that it is possible that I am not how her name calling and labeling is consistent with one who is “always willing to look for the best in people”.

        As for my screen name, Chagger, it is a handle much the same as Bibliomama2. The difference between using the handle and using my real name is that I speak my issues directly to the people I have issue with whether that is online or in person. I will not post something in an blog post speaking negatively about someone without first having spoken the same or similar to that person directly. That is the crux of the “passive aggressive” comment in my original post.

        Now Bibliomama2, perhaps read my original entry without the righteous indignation of a friend and perhaps you will see that the message and the actions are not in sync. Perhaps you won’t. I have chosen to engage you without making judgements about you even though you did exactly that to me. I don’t know you but I can try to understand your position. While it is common to defend our online acquaintances, it is often better to ask questions. The questions can help us become better better writers and better people.

  12. Okay. I’ve read it again. I’m assuming that you’re someone who has been unfriended by someone on social media and you’re stinging from that, and I’m sorry about that. I still find your post mystifying. How is she name-calling or engaging in ‘condemnable behaviour’ – condemnable by anyone but you? She said she took people out who were a constant source of negativity about her choices, her friends, or her province. Are you arguing that she is obligated to keep people like that as friends? I don’t think that’s what allowing people their opinions actually means. She’s allowing them, just not on her Facebook wall, which is her prerogative. As for her looking for the best in people, I would think most people could see that from her more-than-polite reply to your attack. But that’s just my opinion.

  13. oh, and also, if you click on my ‘handle’, it brings you to my blog, whereas clicking on yours brings us nowhere, because you are the one who has chosen to hide behind internet anonymity.

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