For the purposes of this editorial I want to make clear the act of not giving a fuck versus apathy. Apathy is total disinterest, defined by a lack of enthusiasm or concern. When you’re apathetic about something you don’t care. It is the true opposite of love, because hate is always a symptom of caring too much. Apathy is the interest killer, and the slayer of emotional connection. It is not what I mean when I talk about not giving a fuck.
The art of not giving a fuck is simple. In clear terms it means, living your life. Now, I know you’re sitting there thinking, well that’s fucking common sense, Lynnie. Everyone lives their lives. It’s all they do until they die. That’s very true, Internet Stranger, but I’m talking more specifically about living your life your way, without carving out space in your mind for every other asshole in the world.
A truth about the world that no one tells you when you’re growing up is that everyone will have an opinion on you and what you should do.
Your parents will have one version of this, your extended family another, your friends as well, and then teachers, principals, professors, employers, religious leaders, the hot-dog stand guy, significant others, ad nauseum. Everyone will, at some point or another, attempt to foist off their idea of you onto your shoulders and expect you to balance along all the other ideas of you the people in your life have.
You end up with all the pressure and responsibility of these alternate reality yous, where you are dictated to by society, expectations, and often limiting roles of what it means to be successful, happy, and a contributing member of society. You’re then told that the things you might find joy in are not acceptable. You can’t dress up like a viking past the usual age of Trick or Treating. You can’t read every book in the library because that’s not cool. You can’t enjoy something because you’re too old, too young, too tall, or too excited.
If you let the world do it, it will suck all the fun out of living.
People like to control things in order to manage their reactions to them, and that all too often means controlling you. They like to feel like they know what’s around them and if they should panic or not to this thing they can’t understand. People at large are fearful when they should be curious; eager to conform when they should be searching for who they are. They should by trying out the world and the wonderful things within it instead of getting everyone to behave. Short answer is that they don’t know how to human any more than you do, they just don’t want you to be something that they have to think about too hard, because that is scary to them and you changing is easier than them putting in the effort.
It’s not healthy. It’s not fun. And it’s certainly not the way we should treat ourselves.
We have enough to contend with – Mental disorders, jobs, stress, our favorite characters being treated unfairly, children, parents, school, and on and on. These things add up, and when we have society’s expectations placed on top of them, we often lose ourselves and our passions.
How fucking boring is that?
The art of not giving a fuck, at its core, is about joy. It’s looking at all these things that people expect from you and deciding, “You know what, fuck them and fuck expectations.”
It’s in celebrating what makes you special, weird, and what brings you happiness, no matter how outside of what other people think you should do. As long as you are not hurting others or yourself, or spreading hate, then why the fuck not do it? Why the fuck shouldn’t you ignore everyone else who is afraid and bored and do your own thing, your own way?
If you’re only answer is that you’re afraid of what people will think, then I invite to try on not giving a fuck for size. You’ll be freer, you’ll stop wrapping your worth into other people’s approval (which you will never get), and you’ll get to have joy without someone else stomping on it.
The tenants of not giving a fuck are this:
- I don’t give a fuck if you think I should. What matters is if it’s right for me or not. No one knows what the fuck they’re doing, so why not do things my way?
- I don’t give a fuck if you think you can control me. I am not a puppet or a thing. I will only do the things that feel best for me.
- I don’t give a fuck about what is appropriate or proper, only what is kind and good.
- I don’t give a fuck what you think of me. I care what I think of myself.
- I don’t give a fuck if other people get it. I don’t need validation to enjoy the things that give me that swoopy feeling of joy and excitement.
- I don’t give a fuck to the toxic, mean thoughts that are drilled into my head by a society who wants to get you to buy things. Yell fuck off to the thoughts, and live your best life.
- I don’t give a fuck if I fail, at least I tried. At least I did the thing. That’s far more important than any fear of looking like a loser or a failure.
- I don’t give a fuck if anyone thinks I’m too old, too young, too female, too male, too nonbinary, too straight, too gay, too lesbian, too asexual, too dark, too light, too anything to do or be something. Fuck them, and fuck the system. I’ll do what I want. Just try to fucking stop me.
- I don’t give a fuck about people who don’t value me entirely, be they family, friends, or other. Fuck society telling me I have to love a family that is abusive, or stay with an abusive partner. I am worthy of loving myself first.
Honestly, not giving a fuck can be hard sometimes. Because there are so many voices vying for attention, no less than that angry, low self-esteem voice in our owns heads, but it is so worthwhile. People fear a person with no fucks to give, because they realize that they’ve become irrelevant, redundant, and the person will be just fine without them.
Life is too short to be anything less than authentic and happy in whatever version of self-improvement, happiness, and love you cultivate for yourself.
Begin with not giving a fuck about what the rest of the world thinks, and terrify everyone you know by being that person who knows exactly what you are worth and how you want to find your joy, your weirdness, or your spark. It’ll make your enemies quake, and make the people who love you cheer.
So next time anyone tries to flatten your joy, hope, kindness, excitement, or authenticity, yell fuck you, even if that person is yourself.
Live with no fucks to give, my friends. It might not change the world, but it will make you happier, and that is truly worth a lot.
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Not a robot...yet. Writer of books, such as Grey Haven, The Watchers, and Revelation. Collector of stories, researcher of life, and curator of people; not for robot reasons. That would be weird. Everything is Lizzie's fault. Connect with me on Twitter @lynniepurcell.