I was kind of inspired by Chantielle MacFarlane’s recent article 14 Fucks I Refuse to Give in 2014. Inspired, of course, to write my own list. I don’t know that I’ll get to 14. I’m kind of doing this on the fly — haven’t really thought about it in advance.
A couple of notes before I start. Notice the wishy-washiness of my title. Because unlike Chantielle, I actually find it hard to refuse to give a fuck. I’d really like to not give a fuck, but more often than not, I actually do. So learning to refuse to give a fuck is a skill I’d like to work on developing. Also, note the use of GAF in my title. In real life, I almost never swear. I find it useful in writing, but as far as spoken language goes, it’s just not for me, after I had this weird out of body experience at a local fair when I was like 12 and heard myself swearing and thought it sounded horrible. I’m not offended by it, I just don’t really do it. However, my boyfriend swears enough for at least two people, so everyone can rest assured that the balance of the universe is maintained. I just couldn’t bring myself to use the word “fuck” in the title of a post. Not yet anyway.
So with that, here’s my list.
- What other people think. This is number one for me because the more I get to know myself, the more I know that probably the primary driver of every moment of anxiety, stress, guilt or shame I feel is driven by what other people think. Or more accurately, by what I think other people think. Truth — I don’t know what other people think. And what other people think is not of my business. So fuck it.
- Guilt. Another big one for me. Probably for a lot of women. I feel guilty because I don’t feed my kids (they are 12 and 11) healthy enough meals, because you know, I should be able to force vegetables and non-breaded/non-deep fried meat down their throats the way those geese and ducks are fed to make foie gras. Then I feel guilty for not cultivating a love vegetables in their younger years. I feel guilty for being grumpy in the morning and nagging them to get up and get to school on time. I feel guilty for not being more involved in their homework. I feel guilty about not having them in more extracurricular activities. I also feel guilty about some non-kid related things too. Mainly I feel guilty about not exercising enough, about spending money (on anything, even groceries, because I always feel like I’m spending too much money, no matter how much is spent), and about drinking wine on the weekend. Oh, and sleeping in. I feel guilty about that too. And if I thought hard enough about it, I’d probably feel guilty about feeling guilty. So fuck guilt. It’s a waste of time.
- Shame. I feel shame about two main things. My weight and the amount of debt I’ve managed to accumulate. I can’t really hide my weight, but I do hide the debt. Neither of these things really have anything to do with anyone else. I’m not asking anyone for money, and my family remains well provided for. And I’m fat. So what. Shame doesn’t help me move past any of this, so fuck it. Important note: me writing about feeling ashamed of being fat and having debt does not open the topic up to discussion — I am no seeking advice.
- Forcing a smile. Just read what Chantielle said in her number 4. I look like Grumpy Cat when I’m not smiling. Don’t take it personally.
- Romantic idealism. Most women have been ruined by the Hollywood version of what a romantic man should look like. Giving flowers and presents and waiting on you hand and foot. While having 6 pack abs and just the right amount of body hair. And feeling extremely passionate about you, gazing into your eyes, holding your hand and kissing you all the time. And if the man in your life doesn’t do all of those things and more, you’ve somehow settled for less than you deserve. You know what? Fuck that. I have a man in my life. He is a long, long, long stretch away from perfect. He burps and farts too much. He doesn’t not have a six pack, other than a 6 pack, or more likely a two-four, of beer. He does quite a large number of things to annoy me on purpose. He gets pissed off easily. He doesn’t buy me many gifts, mainly because he has no money. Sometimes he drinks too much. And he takes the garbage out every week (I’m pretty sure I haven’t touched the garbage in 5 years), makes sure the snow is cleared out of the front walkway, mows the lawn in the summer (I definitely haven’t touched the lawn mower in at least 4 years) renovates the house, fixes everything that’s broken, sets up Minecraft servers for my kids, keeps every computer in the house working, spends 3 hours hanging pictures on the wall because I want him to, hauls up endless bins of Halloween decorations, and a smaller amount of Christmas decorations and helps me put all the damn things up. He listens to all my work bullshit and angst, of which there is much. Many of these things are things he pretty much doesn’t give a fuck about, but he does them because he loves me. He’s also been known to paint my toenails, make me a fancy dinner for my birthday and buy me diamonds when he does have money. So fuck this idea of perfect romance. We all have a choice to make. We either choose to be alone, or we choose to settle. Nobody is perfect — it’s not possible to spend your life with another person and not settle in some way.
- Becoming a morning person. Chantielle had this on her list too. If I had my way, I wouldn’t be out of bed before 10am and I wouldn’t have to do anything outside of my house until noon. However, sadly, the world does not revolve around me and there is an expectation that I will show up for my job before noon. And also that my kids go to school. On time even, at least some days. So I accept that I have to get up in the morning, but I refuse to try to start liking it.
- Being good at everything. Early on in life, I got it in my head that I had to be really good at everything I do. When I realized I wasn’t good at some things, I stopped doing them. Which is really too bad, because I liked doing some of them. Like singing, and running. So fuck the need to excel at everything. If I like doing it, I’m gonna do it. I’m already good at a lot things anyway.
- How I look in pictures. I am not photogenic. See the aforementioned grumpy cat face. I cannot fake a smile without looking like an asshole. Whoever said the camera adds 10 pounds is a liar. The camera adds like 100 pounds. And for some reason, every picture I’ve ever seen of myself seems to accentuate the worst of my features, like the squint line between my eyebrows or the mole on my left cheek that I refuse to pay $500 to have removed. For many years, my hatred of how I look in pictures has led me to staying out of them. For 2014, I refuse to give a fuck about how I look in pictures.
- Liking the winter. Living in Canada, if you complain about the winter, you’ll always get somebody who thinks it’s helpful to respond with “well you choose to live in Canada, you should learn to like the winter.” You know what? Fuck winter. It’s too long, too cold and too much of a general pain in the ass. It irritates me to have to rearrange my life around it. That doesn’t mean I should leave the country I love. It just means I reserve the right to complain about winter. I’m pretty sure it’s a right protected by the Canadian constitution, and if not, we should be seeking an amendment. It also doesn’t mean you should get all uppity with me if you see me out doing something wintery, like making snowman, snowshoeing or looking at the sparkly snow and icicles. I’ll do those things from time to time, but I’m over trying to find an activity that makes me enjoy winter. Unless drinking wine counts.
I wanted there to be a number 10, but nothing is coming to me. So this must be all of the things I’m going to try to refuse to give a fuck about this year.
Happy new year!