The Mother Phrase to End All Freakouts

5 minute read


We all remember the wedding scene in Old School, right? Noooow you’re smiling. Fantastic! The wedding singer brings such a hilarious intensity to an otherwise overplayed and overly dramatic ballad of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” He nails urgency and light-heartedness like a champ. The Dan Band takes it for the win.

We can all learn something here. Taking action can be done with determination and humor. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that these two words need to be the new “It” couple. Determination & Humor = The dynamic duo that makes all of our lives more vibrant, lighter and joyful. Dumor, anyone? No? Okay, moving on.

We’re at our wit’s end. We are officially a society whose level of consumption is so off-the-charts (according to, we’re consuming an hour more per day of media than we did just a year ago.)  that the only place to turn is combustion or…

You guessed it! Even more consumption. We’re self-medicating, self-numbing and self-sabotaging at record speed in an attempt to counteract our consumption. Consumption to remedy consumption? Ridiculous, right?

Take a look at the antonyms for consumption AND combustion:

Consumption: Development;Growth;Expansion;Improvement;Creation
Combustion: Calm; Order; Peace

I say, instead of fueling our society’s culture of consumption to the devastating point of combustion, let’s rally against it. We’re going to antonym the hell out of those words. Let’s empty it OUT instead of taking it IN. I’m talking about a release, people! Whatever that translates to you. Whatever shape that forms for you. We’re one big constipated society.

It’s gross. It is. I’m not gonna lie.

It’s not meant to be a pretty image. It’s supposed to gross you out. It’s supposed to spur you into action to Get. It. Out.

What do you need to do?

Is it…

Let things go?

Ask for help?

Believe in yourself?

Create more … poems, stories, paintings, ideas?

Dance under the stars? (Or dance at all for that matter?)


Play? “Work doesn’t work without play.” – Shonda Rhimes (Shonda Rhimes’ latest TED Talk)



Chances are, at least one of these, most likely more than one, made you feel a ping inside. Follow that ping. Don’t think about it. They are all ways to let it out so that you don’t end up freaking out.

Have the dance party. Watch this Old School clip. Have a snowball fight with your kids. Have a good cry. Delegate (as in del-e-gate). Let yourself off the hook. Go for it. Do it. Yes, it’s that urgent! But for some reason, we’re not doing any of this enough. None of it. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the money. But we have plenty-o excuses.

Now. If it’s something that you’re responsible for doing that other people will see or you think they will see, well, you may be freaking out right now. You may be resisting being judged or wrong or looking like a total moron or wasting your time and theirs. How to overcome this?

Need help? Sure. I’d be glad to. Sometimes, just sometimes, the best way to deal with life is with the mother of old-school phrases. And, yes, that would be: Motherfucker. Or “motherfucking” to be exact.

You may be wincing. You may be smiling. You may be doing a little of both.

The phrase can be a little harsh. Okay, highly offensive to some. We all know that. Who drank all the motherfucking milk?! We’re out of motherfucking Post-its again?! You’ve got to be motherfucking kidding me! Yeah, that’s harsh. It’s accusatory, aggressive and aggravated.

But there’s another way. May I?

It can also create a major celebration. Intense concentration. A “holy shit. YES!” powerful pick-me-up.  It is hands down the quickest and best method to bring us from analysis paralysis to pure, clear action.  Utter relief and release. It’s to you for you. It’s, that’s right, determination and humor mixed into one enthusiastic hoorah!  Now, it’s not about saying this phrase in a casual, breezy way. That’s a negative. It’s about saying it with a “go get ’em, tiger” attitude! With purpose.

Just like the wedding singer in Old School!

Exactly! See? You’re following.

And then you’re getting on with it.

This one phrase, when used correctly, has the power to transform all of the cheesy and overused plaques that deck kitchen and office walls nationwide.

For instance: Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you don’t make lemonade…you make motherfucking lemonade.

It demands your attention. It is you picking up YOU. It’s unconditional soul love at its finest. Whether you cringe at being vulnerable or flinch at being assertive – this one phrase is all you need. It’s non-discriminatory. It works anywhere. Anytime.

It’s like when the Wizard of Oz goes from black and white to color. BAM!

Don’t take my word for it. Try it on for size:

Please excuse the mess; my kids are making memories.
Please excuse the mess; my kids are making motherfucking memories!

Be the change you want to see in the world.
Be the change you want to see in the motherfucking world.

Dance like no one is watching.
Dance like no one is motherfucking watching.

Live. Love. Laugh.
Motherfucking Live. Motherfucking Love. Motherfucking Laugh.
Is this making you uncomfortable? Little bit? Try it out. If you don’t like it, you never have to do it again. If you do get a sick liberating thrill out of it – your secret is safe with you.

If you’re someone who looks at the “F” word as G-rated in your vocab, then I will say, easy there, tiger. It’s a slippery slope. You may find yourself all MF happy and use it carelessly.

Only bust this puppy out on vital occasions: to get yourself back on track when you’re feeling self-doubt or judged or overwhelmed. You don’t want to release your credibility; just your tension.

Don’t dilute it with unintentional and flippant use. Let’s not start telling our kids to pick up their motherfucking toys. Not the best idea to calm your nerves and kick off a client meeting with “Wait until you see this motherfucking presentation!” or walking into the teacher’s lounge after an unexpected day off with a welcoming, “Thank god for motherfucking snow days!”

Check yourself before you wreck yourself and let this be a self-pep talk for your ego and soul to come together and release stress and fear so that we can get back to bringing our best selves into the world!

For me, it amps me up and calms me down. I feel capable and able. Most importantly, it kicks my butt into intention fueled action. Not just going through the motions “busy is best” action. No. I’m talking clear, definable action. It reminds me the importance of working smarter; not harder.

Once I set a goal and make an intention to follow it through, I often get tripped up by fear. I can get frozen in the glaring, blinking cursor of a blank page with the best of them. All of a sudden my feet are drying in wet cement or worse; I feel my legs slipping into quicksand. THIS is the moment that, “Let’s motherfucking DO THIS!” is the mantra that rares me up and has me move forward with a renewed determination and solid gold “can do” attitude. Arms shooting up into a V or brisk palm rubbing are optional, although highly, highly recommended.

Old School (2003, Director: Todd Phillips. Writers: Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong) Three friends attempt to recapture their glory days by opening up a fraternity near their alma mater.

Marissa: Listen, I’m sorry I didn’t call you on your birthday.

Frank: My birthday? What do you mean?

Marissa: Yeah, last Thursday. Oh, you forgot your birthday, didn’t you, Frank?

Frank: Damn it. I’m such an idiot.

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