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Monday, May 23, 2011

insights: the faulkner experiment

This picture pretty much says it all, well, because apparently I said it all this week.

I swore. More than I thought I did. Since this experiment went live last Tuesday I owe $87. That's about 12 swears a day. We saw friends at a restaurant on Friday night and they asked how this week's Happy Girl Experiment was going. I told them that at that point I owed $68. They were shocked.

I said "Well, I cuss and then I remember this experiment and then I end up saying something like 'God-damn-it-son-of-a-bitch. I'm not supposed to swear.'"

Our friend thought for a moment and said "So, not so bad. It's just exponential." Sure. OK. Let's go with that.

Here is what I learned this week:

1.) Once you are conscious of a behavior, it's pretty amazing how often you do something that you are trying to stop.

2.) I may be the only person who has been diagnosed with tennis elbow after taking up aquatics workouts. In my physical therapy session this morning, I gritted my teeth and squealed in pain as Paige gave my elbow an ice ball massage. I wanted to swear. Paige suggested I have zone exceptions. I thought about it for a second and I thought of my neighbor M., my next-door teenage neighbor who was doing this experiment with me. The first day she tried the experiment she spilled a milkshake in her lap and on the carpet of her car floor. "And it was a GOOD milkshake too. Of COURSE I would have started this experiment today when everything goes wrong!" she said. I thought about zones of exception. I got A LOT of email about this concept this week: "What about in the car? I have to swear in the car!" What about at my weekly spinning class? I HAVE to swear there." I get it but I think THAT is when you really need to follow through on the experiment, when it's harder than hell. Heck.

3.) I met someone on the phone today when I was booking a flight. (Hello, Angela!) and we talked about the Happy Girl Experiment and this week's Faulkner experiment. She asked how much I'd put in the swear jar already. She was amazed at the amount ($87 in less than a week) and she asked what I was doing with the money. I told her I was donating it to animals. Later this week I'll be sending a check to The Joplin, Missouri Humane Society. I think after today's tornados, they can use all they help they can get. Angela paused for a moment and said that what we were doing was "Cussing for a Cause" I love it. Yes, that is exactly what we were doing. (Good luck with that Newfoundland puppy, Angela! Remember to teach Bella to 'leave it'! And thank you for the BEST customer service!)


Do I feel happier? Yes. I feel more ladylike. I know this sounds terribly old-fashioned but by at least trying not to swear I'm becoming more aware of my bad habit (At least for me. I've heard from some people this week who said swearing makes them feel good. Cool. I'm not trying to change your mind, just putting the idea out there in case it hits you the right way. Don't go changing to try and please me.)

Am I going to keep this up? Yes. And I'm still going to fill my swear jar. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust can expect a check in June. :-)

How did you do this week?

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