“It’s hilarious. Once she stopped giving any fucks, everything started happening for her.”
The scene: happy hour with my dearest K at Essex, our favorite spot for half-priced drinks and a sassy Australian bartender, who has been serving K and me Grey Goose martinis and Bulleit rocks (respectively) for the past few years. We were chatting about one of his close friends, a girl I adore, who’d been in town that past weekend staying with him; the discussion had reached her recent reveal that she’s in the photos for the new Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett album artwork, and may go on tour with them in the next year. K said that to me in reference to the wild success of his wildly talented friend, and we laughed at the absurd truth of such a statement. It made me pause for a minute, though, and has been running on repeat in my mind since then: while drinking coffee, on the subway, in work meetings. Admittedly, part of it is wondering how many less fucks I’d need to give to be best friends with Taylor Swift so we can bake cookies and hang out with our cats forever, but on a larger scale, it’s an interesting concept for someone like me.
I’m the kind of person that gives a lot of fucks. Like, a lot. Almost all of them, really. It’s not that I get embarrassed easily (clearly), or I’m fraught with fear and anxiety in daily situations, but my personality is one that tends towards extremes, a pendulum swinging from listless to passionate, and in many situations I give way. too. many. fucks. Most of the time it’s over nonsense: I’ll see someone haphazardly glance at me on the subway and start caring about how everyone sees me: am I standing awkwardly? Is there something in my hair? Can everyone see how much I’m sweating right now? Am I in everyone’s way? Other times it’s at work, when I’m taking a few minutes to update a draft post here, or checking
the news fine, Daily Mail, in between projects, and a boss walks by my cube: Did she see my screen? What if she thinks this is all I do? Is that side-eye intentional? Does she think I get my news from the Daily Mail? Don’t even get me started on how often I think “Is everyone around me thinking about how bad I am at this?” in yoga class, breaking concentration to give a fuck about what strangers think of my ass in Lululemon. It’s really silly to give that many fucks over situations that are generally created in my head, but really, that’s just how I’ve always been.
I don’t want to imply that giving a fuck is a bad thing, because it’s not. Most of the time, caring that much, giving that many fucks, is a great thing; it’s the part of my personality that feels things as deeply as I do, cares as much as I do, wants as much as I do. I give a fuck about my career, how much I wish the past few months had been more about learning and growing, and less about pulling myself out of the hole I dug while giving too many fucks about someone who didn’t give a fuck about me. I give a fuck about my friends, enough that they can do something I disagree with completely, and I’d still be the first one there any day of the week, with a bottle of wine and a shoulder to cry on, when things don’t go their way. But I give too many fucks about myself, and how things aren’t going the way that I thought they would, and I really give a fuck that I don’t know how to handle that.
The idea of letting go of the things that keep me chained to insecurities and anxieties is an intriguing one, something I’ve thought on before but never in this context. I’ve tried telling myself to “stay in the present,” and “focus on what you can control,” but nothing has resonated as deeply as “just stop giving that many fucks.” It feels like I’ve been shamelessly throwing around these thoughts and cares and worries, working my way around a big pile of IDGAF and not stopping for three seconds to figure out if it’s really worth wasting a finite level of Cares in favor of watching where something leads. If you take the assumed aggressive tone out of “I don’t give a fuck” and apply it to the little things, like what the cashier at Bravo thinks of me when I’m buying a 6-pack of pumpkin beer and cat food in pajamas on a Wednesday night, or what the guy at the bar who’s been eyeing me for a minute thinks of my Bulleit-fueled dance moves, it calls to mind a carefree abandon, a nod to unpredictability and a “fuck you” to all the minor insecurities. I’ll never be someone who can stop giving a fuck, never be someone who doesn’t pause for just a minute when debating things like what people will think of a public blog entry that’s filled with profanity. But I can be someone who can stop letting all of that dictate my days, weeks, months, years, save all the fucks I give for something important, and let everything else just Happen around me along the way.
(Just in case you were wondering: Fuck count: 20, or two minutes in a Tarantino movie).