Membership requires that you give zero f*cks about what anyone thinks about your life. Want in?
I am bearing down on 38 hard and I couldn't be happier about it. Oh sure, there are some potholes along the way, but all of those are of the physical variety. What's going on inside my heart and mind more than make up for the sagging tits or the way that after three kids my belly button isn't quiiiite sure what it's supposed to be doing: Am I in? Out? What is my purpose, WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME? (Would it be too much to admit my vagina appears to be suffering the same identity crisis?)
That's A-OK, though, because stuff is happening inside my head that cannot be stopped. Major, life-altering awesomeness that I keep getting glimpses of during my quieter moments and am now busily trying to lasso like the star of the damn rodeo.
I've got a few things to say about being a woman/mom/ex-wife and whatever other titles the world has bestowed upon the various stages of our fair gender. The thing about it is quite simply this: I know what I'm doing. Also: I have no f*cking clue what I'm doing. Basically, I know enough to know I don't know sh*t. And that's enough. If more people knew enough to know they don't know sh*t, the world would be a far better place, believe me. The people who hit the highest highs in life are the ones who fake it better than the rest of us. They don't know more, they just do a better job faking it. The people who think they know everything are the most dangerous. Truth is, nobody knows what they're doing. Not even your mother-in-law or your Great Aunt Edna who cannot shut up with the advice. Don't discount everything, there may be a few gold nuggets in Edna's dirt pile because she's lived a few decades longer but don't assume. Look for the gems that make sense to you and toss the rest.
Zoom out, Google Earth-style. Long lens. Look at us going about our days. A massive herd of cows wandering around, bumping into other cows. Oh, we're going this way now? Gluten is bad? OK. Wait, what? CrossFit is the way? That's the thing? Well, alrighty then. I'm doing it wrong if my kid still sleeps in my bed? Wait, he was never supposed to sleep in my bed? He's supposed to be potty-trained by when or I'm an abject failure of a parent? I've permanently damaged the light of my life if I do it this way? OK. Wait, so I can never smoke a joint again because I'm a mom? Oh, I CAN smoke a joint, I just can't admit it publicly or I'm an unfit mother? What about alcohol? No at playdates, yes at a party in my own home? Even if my kids are present? I can't let my kids play outside anymore unless I'm there? Can I be drinking wine at that time? So confused. Who's making up the rules? You know who's making up the rules? Other dumb a**es who don't know sh*t. A million Aunt Ednas and a couple money-grabbing 'experts' who write books and then live for giving soundbites to CNN and Today to promote said books are making up the rules and perpetuating them and making you feel less than.
Guess what? F*ck off. All of you. With your ideas and your suggestions and your finger-pointing and your Pinterest pages. Oh my god, the Pinterest pages chock full of all the perfection in life that you will never attain. You failure. You. If a talking cake baked around a stuffed animal you hand-sewed yourself is what gets you off and makes you feel alive as a woman and a mother then GO ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF. I'm not judging. But if you're just doing it because someone else is doing it and she's doing it because she saw it on Sarah Jones' Pinterest page and everyone knows Sarah is the best mom on the planet ... just stop it. Free yourself from the chains of Pinterest and the notions about what constitutes a good mother. Join the Zero F*cks Club and just live your life. Upon joining the Zero F*cks Club, one of the first things I learned about myself is Pinterest projects are not my game. I have no patience and the one or two "restoration projects" I did try turned out the same as pretty much every elementary school art project I ever attempted: a hot mess. And that's okay; I excel in other areas. I can drink a 6-pack and not turn into tearful, whiny, drunk girl (although it still happens from time to time) and I find that far more impressive than your stuffed animal cake.
Similar case with the endless online debates over how to raise our kids. The 10 tips for this and 7 ways for that nonsense. You know some idiot blogger wrote that stuff for a couple nickels or for pageviews or their ego. You wouldn't give that person two cents of your time in the produce section at Walmart, so why are his or her words from God's lips to your ears when viewed in print? Sure, read the article and maybe you'll score a few takeaways but view it at worst as entertainment and at best an opportunity to connect with someone else who (say it with me): HAS NO EFFING IDEA WHAT THEY'RE DOING. Wanna know how I do it? I'm a feral parent. Let your kids do what they're gonna do/eat what they're gonna eat/wear what they're gonna wear while I try to ensure they don't die doing it. And, sure, okay, I'll teach 'em kindness and manners because that's the stuff that makes the world go round. What doesn't make the world go 'round? The age at which your kid should be reciting the alphabet or sleeping alone or eating an organic, Gluten-free diet of pureed peas. Life's too short to spend even fifteen minutes negotiating vegetable intake with my kid. Eat it. Don't eat it. But that makes your hunger in thirty minutes your problem, not mine.
Let yourself let go. Everyone you're so afraid of judging you is just as worried about being judged. You got a thing for nose rings, but you're not sure if they're tacky for 42? F*ck it, get a nose ring. Like wearing a shitload of eye make-up because it makes you feel powerful? Pile that shit on. Completely over high-heel shoes because who made those things, a dude? Stop wearing 'em. Only like to wear the color black? Get it on, sister. Love short skirts but feel like you've maybe reached a certain age where you might be too old for 'em? A 'certain age' my ass! Put that itty bitty skirt on and rock it out. Anyone that judges is locked in their own cage of self-judgment and you should care not for their two cents. In fact, the more intense the judgment from someone the worse they feel on the inside. Know this when dealing with a**holes. It's not about you, it's all about what's going on in their solar system. It makes it easier to feel compassion while brushing off their judge-y bullsh*t like lint on your shirt. Look at it the way I do sometimes:would you rather watch a movie starring you with your black eyeliner and short skirt giving zero effs as the main character or you as Pinterest Mom? Case closed.
I urge you to sit quietly and feel zero f*cks taking over your body, like a massage or the slow body burn of a shot of Vodka. Feel how liberating it is to no longer care what people think about you. Contemplate the days of your life wasted on caring what others think about your choices. I look back and giggle with the ridiculousness of all the hours I've spent worrying what people think about me to the point that I avoided parties, developed a pretty serious social anxiety issue and hesitated to even call my landlord if the water heater flooded the basement because I didn't want him to think I was an annoying tenant.
ZERO F*CKS. Feels good, don't it?
Say what you wanna say. Do what you wanna do. Live how you wanna live. Just be kind. Especially to yourself.
This article was originally published at The Girl Who. Reprinted with permission from the author.