You Know That Thing I Said?

My post about not giving a fuck generated some unexpected reactions. I got some “right on!” responses, a few “you go, girl!” type texts. Those made sense. Someone else thought it was funny. But a couple of people were concerned: “Is this a good thing?” someone asked. Another worried, “Are you okay?” Others said, “lots of love coming your way.

I guess I can see how saying that I don’t give a fuck about anything anymore could maybe sound, well, suicidally depressed. But as I was writing, I wasn’t depressed — rather, I felt empowered. Strange but wonderful things were happening in my very being and you guys were the first people I wanted to tell!

But perhaps, in the first flush of excitement, I overstated my case.

‘Sorry, Honey, Let Me Explain…’

I certainly didn’t express myself well to my husband the morning after I posted the blog. He came to me asking a work question, which is a totally valid and normal thing to do because we work together and make decisions together all the time. So at my response, he was clearly taken aback. Because, while my mind meant to say, “I’ll think about it and get back to you later in the day,” what actually came out of my mouth was, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

I didn’t sound petulant or angry. But I also didn’t sound like I was joking. I was calm and forthright and I meant it with every ounce of my being. The truth is that at that moment, I really didn’t care. I had other things on my mind and I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to consider the question. And where I would normally try to shift gears on the fly and give the question due thought, my new I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude answered for me.

Free to Go Off on a Tangent…

You know what? I think it’s about freedom. Okay, this is a tangent, but stick with me and I think I’ll get to the point eventually: The other day I made a list. I titled it “101 Things I Want Now” and started writing. I imagined it would be hard to come up with 101 things, but in fact, they flowed out of me like they’d been on the tip of my tongue, just waiting to be spoken, for months or even years. The list included big, spendy items (like, “I want to travel somewhere that has waterfalls over high cliffs that I can jump off and land in sparkling, crystal blue waters”) to the mundane (“I want my fingernails to look nice”). When I read the list through later on, though, I realized there were a number of themes repeated throughout. And one of them was freedom.

I want to be free to say what I think. I want to be free to do what I want or need to do, when I want to do it. I want to be free of constantly worrying about other people. I want to be free from the need to “fix” my loved ones. I want to be free to own my thoughts and feelings, good or bad. I want to be free of constantly having to answer questions or justify myself to the world. And I want to be free to not care about the things that I’m supposed to care about.

Unfortunately for Paul, all of this was still sort of churning in my heart when he asked me the work question. And my response of “I don’t know and I don’t care” was simply my way of giving myself the freedom, at that specific moment, to not answer the question. His question wasn’t what I wanted to be thinking about right then. In fact, I wasn’t in the mood to answer any question. I mean, sorry, honey — seriously, I’ll work on my early morning communication style because my response was rude and I really love you tons — but the truth is that I was drinking my first cup of coffee of the day and just wanted to be left alone.

So when I say that I don’t give a fuck about anything, maybe what I’m really saying is that I’m giving myself permission to not give a fuck, if that’s what I want. If someone gives me the finger because I cut into their lane without looking (which I really try not to do, you guys, but you know, it’s me we’re talking about), I give myself permission to not give a fuck about that person and not fret over the fact that they might not like me. If I don’t feel like showering and look messy and go about all day in my workout clothes without brushing my hair, then I give myself permission to do that and not feel like a loser.

On the other hand, sometimes I do care that I’m a mess, so I shower and put on makeup, and that’s fine, too. The point — see, I got here, thanks for sticking with me — is that it’s my choice. I can give a fuck if I want. Or not. But it’s up to me and nobody else.

Some of you are probably like, “Well, obviously you can skip a shower and shouldn’t feel like a loser,” or, “Obviously you shouldn’t care that some random driver vented their road rage on you,” and if that is the case, I applaud (and am jealous of) your lack of people-pleasing behavior. Who taught you to be so mature? But if you’re like me and need some freedom, try giving yourself permission. I bet you’ll be glad you did. But if not? Well, sorry, but I don’t give a fuck. No! I didn’t mean that. I was going for the glib ending but it didn’t feel good. I always give a fuck about you guys. Always.

Lots of love and have fun til next time,

Jen

XO

PS: Hey, if you can’t give yourself permission to not give a fuck because it feels too weird, I give you permission. Now you can tell whoever gets mad at you for your new cavalier attitude that Jen told you to…

PPS: H’m. I just stopped giving a fuck about this blog post. Time to quit revising.

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