Some Fucks I Will Try Not to Give in 2014


I came across Chantielle MacFarlane’s list of fucks she refuses to give in 2014 on Medium. By fucks she refuses to give, Chantielle means anti-resolutions of a sort: rather than trying to do something or change something, she wants to stop caring about or trying to change things that she’s realized don’t really matter or aren’t worth making an effort for.

I know I’m about to sound silly, but this is revolutionary. It is still difficult in our culture, especially for a woman but really for anyone, to say, “I am good enough.” I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t need to keep lifehacking and self-improving. Maybe I have goals I’m still working on, but I do not need to keep trying to level up on every single conceivable attribute.

After I read the post and shared it widely and argued with some rando who called Chantielle “selfish” for not wanting children (can someone please explain this convoluted reasoning to me?), I thought about the things that I care about way too much and want to stop caring about, or the things that I’ve been half-heartedly trying to change and have now decided it’s time to give up on. Here is my own list of fucks I don’t want to give anymore, but since I’m a little less optimistic than Chantielle in this regard, I’ve called it “Some Fucks I Will Try Not to Give in 2014.”

1. Wearing nice/cute shoes.

I came to New York in August with my prodigious shoe collection that I have nowhere to put and thought, Wow, I finally get to do cool fun things and wear all these shoes. LOOOOOL. The first half of that definitely came true, but most of the shoes are now stuffed under my bed or in the storage space above my closet because it’s just not happening. And I know everyone does that thing where they wear comfortable shoes to take the subway and walk to where they’re going, but bring nicer shoes to change into while they get there, but honestly, hauling around an extra pair of shoes is a pain in the ass. I need the space in my bag for books.

So yeah, I’m not really going to give a fuck about this anymore. I love my walks through the city, whether they last five minutes or five hours. I’m not going to let cute shoes ruin them.

2. Obsessing over whether or not I am qualified/talented enough to do a given thing.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this, but the first thing I do upon hearing of (or, in fact, being offered) an opportunity is to conduct a thorough mental inventory to decide whether or not I am qualified to accept this opportunity. Yes, even if it has already been offered to me. Hello, impostor syndrome! I live in fear of agreeing to do something, doing it poorly, and never being offered any opportunities ever again because the world has finally learned how utterly talentless and undeserving I actually am.

The last straw that made me put this on my no-more-fucks list was a recent incident in which a friend recommended me for a radio show about social work that she had been interviewed on. One of the show’s staff emailed me and asked if I’d like to be interviewed. I asked for some more information about the show, and she replied with a brief description and mentioned that previously the show has interviewed authors, community organizers, etc.–basically, professional social workers.

I immediately started drafting an email saying that I was very thankful for the invitation, but that it seems that I’m not exactly qualified to be a guest on the show because the other guests are all professionals and I’m just a student who hasn’t really done anything worthy of talking about on a radio show.

I was about to hit send when I noticed a line in the email that I’d completely missed the first time I read it–the one that said that the show’s producer had seen my blog and liked it, and was therefore interested in having me on the show.

And that’s how I nearly said no to a cool opportunity because I didn’t even realize that my writing could make me a worthwhile radio show guest and that that, in fact, had been communicated to me by the person who invited me.

Even after that, though, there was still a part of me that was like…really? You’re interviewing published authors and actual people with actual jobs and then some random student with a blog? But ok, they said they wanted to have me on, and I wanted to do it. (So I will in fact be doing it later this month and will post a link when it’s up.)

Then I started wondering how many other opportunities I had thrown away in the service of Making Sure I Never Seem Too Confident Or God Forbid Full Of Myself. I’ve had offers to be a staff writer for various online outlets, I’ve had people ask me to submit posts to well-known blogs and websites, I’ve had people ask me if I’d be willing to come speak to their secular group. I’ve somehow managed to ignore or deny most of these. And those are just the opportunities that straight-up landed in my lap. I have no idea what I could accomplish if I actually pitched articles to websites or asked for opportunities myself.

I don’t think 2014 will be the year I stop abhorring the very notion of self-promotion (for myself, not for others), but it can definitely be the year I stop giving a fuck about whether I’m good enough to do things that people invite me to do, and just fucking do them.

3. The fact that I am not particularly invested in pursuing serious relationships at this point

Over the past year and a half I have accomplished a previously unprecedented state of being: I don’t care if I’m single. I even kind of like it. At the same time, I’m open to the idea of getting into a serious relationship at some point soon, and there have even been a few people I would’ve wanted one with, but I’m a passive coward (that’s another story, though).

But over the second half of 2013, in a feat of meta that few could even aspire to, I found another thing to worry about now that I wasn’t worrying about being single: the fact that I’m not worrying about being single. Yes, I’m concerned that I’m like never going to have a relationship again (let alone ever get married or have children) because I just can’t be arsed to do anything about getting one. And while I’m happy to be single now, I’m not sure I still want to be single in 10 years.

A lot of the worrying came from watching my close friends make major life decisions based on people they’re romantically involved with: where to move, which jobs to take, whether to be polyamorous or not, and so on. I was happy for them, but I also couldn’t see myself ever doing such a thing. I want to live where I want to live (here) and do what I want to do and be polyamorous. Maybe–I thought with a deepening horror–I am way too selfish and uncompromising to ever have a serious relationship again.

Well, if so, then so be it. I will not leave my beloved city for some guy, I will not give up my weekends of reading and exploring the city because I’m expected to see the exact same person every weekend. If I find a way to have a serious relationship without feeling like I’m giving up my life, that would be wonderful, but for now I’m going to try to stop giving a fuck about the fact that I’m not pursuing one and give myself permission to be cold or selfish or inflexible or whatever the hell I constantly accuse myself of being. (Not that those accurate are even accurate.)

(Please do not leave any patronizing comments about how This Is Just How Young People Are and When You’re Older You’ll Understand About Relationships.)

And besides, I now own a makeup bag that I take everywhere I go that literally says, “New York is my boyfriend.”

4. Whether or not my Facebook posts could possibly be making someone feel bad or annoyed

I spend way, way too much time carefully curating Facebook lists that I use to selectively hide various Facebook posts from various people. Some of this is for my own good (as in, I don’t want a given person to see something because I just don’t want them to know it), but most of it is to prevent anyone from feeling in any way bad.

The reason I hide all of my political stuff from anyone I know on my friends list who’s conservative isn’t because I have a problem with the conservative comments they would leave, but because then I would argue with the comments and then they would feel bad. The reason I hide most of my personal stuff from most people on my friends list isn’t because I don’t want them to know it (wow so I went on an expedition to Union Square and its bookstores, again, big deal), but because I don’t want them to feel annoyed at seeing random personal babble from someone they don’t know well or haven’t seen for a long time.

To some extent, this has done wonders for my peace of mind and ability to enjoy Facebook. But on the other hand, sometimes there are bugs in the system and those bugs are WHAT IFFFFF SOMEONE SEES THIS AND FEELS BAD FOR FIVE SECONDS UNTIL THEY EITHER KEEP SCROLLING OR HIDE ME FROM THEIR FEED OR UNFRIEND ME.

I’m so, so tired of giving a fuck about this.

5. Whether or not I’m about to arrive at the subway station just as my train is pulling away.

The trains go every 5 minutes. I will survive. Enough said.

6. Whether or not anyone is going to care about the blog post I’m currently writing.

Slightly similar to #4 above, I often obsess over the fact that I may post something on my blog that people don’t care about and will be annoyed that they saw in their feed reader until they mark it as read and move on and forget that such a thing was ever written.

Luckily, as you can see, I’m already making fantastic progress on not giving a fuck about this, because I’m writing this post, hopefully with the intent of publishing it after it’s done.

And I seriously had this thought that I should put a little note at the top about how this is a silly personal post and if you come here for the Super Srs Feminism Discussions then you should skip it, but then I thought, my god, so someone will waste five seconds until they realize they don’t care. It has fuck in the title, for heaven’s sake.

As someone who writes independently, I can not only put “fuck” in a blog post title and also in the post itself (fuck fuck fuck fucking fuck), but I can also not care how many people read my post or how many times it is shared on Facebook/Twitter/Reddit/Tumblr/Pinterest (yes, that’s happened). I’ve done a great job of not caring about this thus far, so my concern with posts like these isn’t so much “But what if nobody likes it?” as “But what if someone is annoyed that I wrote it?”

Well, it’s time to stop giving a fuck about that, because as a feminist atheist woman with an attitude, every word that emerges from my keyboard is going to annoy someone. This sentence is probably annoying. Sorry. (Not really sorry though.)

7. I can never go home again.

I cannot go back to my childhood home. Sure, I can visit for a few days at a time, but I can’t go back. There is nothing for me there except crappy old memories and awkward smalltalk with strangers. I will never spend summers with my siblings at the pool again, I will never go biking with my parents every weekend again, I will never be forced to help my dad rake leaves again, I will never drive past my old high school and stop to hear my old marching band practice again.

The time I spend with my family from now on will be limited by how many plane tickets I can afford and how many vacation days I can eke out. And that’s if I’m lucky to be able to afford any plane tickets and have any vacation days at all.

Shortly before the New Year I actually had a legit depressive breakdown over these hard facts.

In 2014, it’s time to try to get over it and stop giving a fuck. So this is adulthood. Nobody gets to see their family all the time who isn’t fortunate enough to have grown up in a place they love and can get a job in.

8. Trying to fit all of my possessions into the proper storage spaces.

Ever since I moved here I have been waging a war against my room and its paucity of storage space. I won the latest battle by spending too much money at Bed Bath & Beyond and installing some sort of rudimentary storage system into the bottom half of my closet.

However, the uneasy cease fire between my room and me will not last long, as inevitably my mom will buy me even more clothes, I will buy even more books, and/or somebody will buy me the keyboard piano I have been desperately wanting for years.

(No, I’m not going to throw or give away my things. I paid good money for them and I value them. Fuck that.)

9. It will be a long time (if ever) until I have a job I like, a sense of financial security, and a comfortable living space.

Knowing and accepting the fact that I have made two choices–moving to New York and getting a degree in social work–that, together, make it nearly impossible to have all of the above three things and to have any of them any time soon has been a struggle this past year.

It’s hard to find people who understand, because people seem to either sanctimoniously preach at me about how some people have it so much worse and anyway I should be focused on Making A Difference rather than affording an apartment in which I don’t have to leave all my stuff lying all over the floor and call the super every few days because something is broken, or they roll their eyes and patronizingly tell me that I should’ve gone into software development or finance and then prattle about how they would never accept a job offer that doesn’t include a relocation package.

To both of those types of people, I pretty much have only two words left to say: That’s nice.

In my life now, lots of seemingly contradictory things are true. I’m passionate about making a difference, but sometimes I wish I could have an apartment building with a laundry room and maybe even a little gym. I think being a therapist would be really fulfilling and awesome, but sometimes I wonder if it might’ve been better to get a boring job that pays a lot of money and use that money to make a difference outside of the office. I don’t care about having “status” in the financial sense, but it would be so amazing to be able to take my possible future children to see other countries, to visit their relatives in Israel and Russia. I don’t need a lot of money to be able to live comfortably, but I also hope to spend my life in one of the most expensive cities in the country, which is rapidly growing even more expensive. I refuse to ever marry “for money,” but when I think about spending my life with someone who makes as little as I will, all I can see is a once-beautiful relationship torn apart by financial stress.

Yes, it’s easy to say that money doesn’t matter as long as you’re “making a difference,” but some really wonderful things do require money. How will I visit my family? How will I see my amazing friends and partners in other cities? How will I donate to causes I care about? How will I make sure I’m healthy? How will I continue my education? (Yes, some of it can be free, but much of it can’t.) Money.

It will take me a lifetime to figure this out. It will also take a while to decide whether or not Making A Difference is worth not having enough money to do anything with my life but that. (All I can say is, it’ll have to be an amazing job if it’s all I’ve got going for me.)

But for now, I hope that in 2014 I can at least make some progress towards not giving a fuck about any of this. I have time to figure it out, and it doesn’t have to be right this damn minute.

Here’s to a year of much fewer fucks. (Of the not-fun kind, that is.)

Comments

  1. queequack says

    I do something like this pretty much every year, and it never really works. I’m not very good at not giving fucks. I guess part of it is that introspective self-consciousness is just in my nature. It always has been, as far back as I can remember. Last year I tried to adopt a what-the-fuck attitude toward my appearance and what other people thought of it, and so much for that. I think maybe I need to accept that I will always have a certain level of anxiety in that department, and learn to accept it, deal with it, and just try to minimize it.

    Speaking for myself, I like reading “personal” posts on the very few blogs I frequent. Also, this being a social justice blog the comments tend to attract some heat, and to be honest I’m sick of arguing on the internet.

    I identify with your gradstentialist crisis. This year is likely one in which a particularly high concentration of fucks will be given, because I’m applying to two grad programs, one a PhD in a somewhat esoteric field, and the other a professional degree in finance. The choice I make will have a profound effect on the rest of my life. My dad wants me to go with finance, and sometimes it’s hard to argue with him- the salary prospects are very, very bright, especially since the recession has reduced the number of applicants. I’d also make money in the academic field I’m considering, but a. not nearly as much, and b. it would take a hell of a lot longer. And I wouldn’t even be Making A Difference; I just really like the subject. Frankly sometimes I just envision myself writing masturbatory monographs that no one will ever read. Maybe that’s my shoulder devil talking, but at the same time, maybe it isn’t. I mean, who the fuck reads dissertations if they don’t have to?

    Anyway, this isn’t some disney channel movie where everyone follows their heart or whatever. It’s entirely possible I’ll go with the professional degree, and I think I’d be happy with that. Being financially comfortable would be very nice.

  2. John Morales says

    Call them whatever, but I find these “anti-resolutions” are indistinguishable from ‘resolutions’.

    (There is little novelty in undertaking New Year resolutions — however phrased)

      • John Morales says

        But I do see the obvious; I even noted it.

        How is resolving to adopt certain attitudes—indifference included—towards certain issues not a resolution?

        • says

          You know, John, every time I think about writing a personal post, I almost don’t because I just know someone’s going to show up and be an asshole to me about it. But then I think, how unfortunate would it be if I let some sad asshole who has nothing better to do than to try and make strangers feel bad keep me from writing something I want to write?

          Unfortunate, indeed.

          And in fact, the assholery often takes the form of self-righteous semantic or grammatical nitpicking, whining that the post wasn’t really about what I said it was about, and other indications that the person has absolutely no substantive ideas or opinions to discuss and therefore has to resort to squabbling over the meaning of a single word.

          There is little novelty in that, either, John.

          We may both be entirely unoriginal and boring, but at least I am not unoriginally and boringly mean.

          Any further comments from you on this post that are not an apology will be deleted. To be frank, and in keeping with the theme of this post, I absolutely don’t give a fuck about your semantic nitpicking.

        • HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

          I’m not sure what exactly you’re attempting to accomplish by being pointlessly nitpicky about self-care stuff someone else is doing for themself.

  3. voidhawk says

    The only New Years Resolution I ever made and stuck to was ‘Fuck It, Why Not?’

    It saw me agreeing to go out with a girl I wasn’t entirely sure about (She had the same attitude to asking me!) We’re still together three years later.

    It saw me undertaking the most amazing, yet unconventional holiday of my life, travelling across Russia into Mongolia and China on the trans-Siberian railway.

    It led me to actually trying to get my novel published (no luck so far!)

    These anti-resolutions sound like a fab idea!

    • says

      I like the story about the date! It’s sort of an annoying trope that significant relationships only begin when both people are Certain That This Is The One and whatnot. In fact, many great relationships begin with a lot of uncertainty; not everyone falls in love at first sight.

      That trip sounds incredible, too.

      • voidhawk says

        Absolutely, On our second valentines day (I cook her something I’ve never tried cooking before. No cards, no presents, etc) I wrote her a poem basically slamming the whole notion of The One or ‘destiny’because I don’t want to be compelled to love her because of some cosmic boardgame, and I wanted to say that I’ll try never to be complacent or take our relationship for granted because ‘we were made to be together.’

        The trip was fantastic, Moscow really changed me as a person by forcing me to be more forthright and assertive, to be more confident in who I am and not be worried about expressing it. It isn’t the prettiest or the friendliest city in the world but it is one of my favourites.

  4. Oob says

    I can safely say I’m actually interested in doing half the things you’re giving up. Namely, I simply cannot abide a messy room, so I will always ALWAYS keep my stuff stored and avoid being a pack rat. I can’t decide that’s not worth it, because it totally is to me. I also intend to continue assuming I’m bad at things until I can self assess otherwise (or someone else can assess that) because I’m terrified of becoming a quack selling “zero point energy”, and not being able to see whether or not you are actually qualified to create something like that is exactly how such charlatans arise. It’s just too easy. Failing on a task I’m not qualified for doesn’t just hurt me, it hurts the others falsely convinced (by me perhaps) to dedicate time and resources (and perhaps all of ONE shot at a project) to me that could have gone to someone with actual talent. I’m basically just catching up on the ridiculous 80’s “give them self esteem” nonsense that tried to convince a whole generation we could do ANYTHING, when reality itself was screaming “No, literally only one person gets to be president, it is STUPID to think it would be you, less people are president than win the lottery, do basic statistics!”. (That’s ignoring the fact that becoming president and being capable of performing the job are increasingly unrelated.)

    Sorry, I think I suffer the same issues of self confidence as you (though I’m very likely far less capable, I’ve never written a book or made a log, these are facts), but I’m basically convinced at this point that I didn’t “miss” any opportunities, I just realized I’d probably kill someone somehow if I pretended I could do more.

    Never met someone with imposter syndrome. That’s when you can’t recognize your own reflection in the mirror and assume it is a stranger right? I always wondered if it was possible for someone with that condition to intellectually realize it is their reflection even if it doesn’t click on an emotional or remembered level.

  5. says

    I think it’s great that you’re doing this. Deciding what it is that you will not care about is important for someone with depression, especially if they are of the socially-minded “I care about the entire world and everything is so awful” sort of depressed person, like you seem to be (and I am, and others I know are).

    Not Giving A Fuck about things that don’t matter can be a powerful means of self-care.

  6. says

    Frankly I wish more people would adopt your #5. Almost saw someone break their neck at the Astoria Blvd. station again today because they were running for the train.

    • queequack says

      Once I saw some average-looking guy in a really nice suit actually throw his briefcase at the closing doors of a subway car. He missed, it banged off the siding and fell between the tracks and the platform. After the train left he climbed down and got it, completely soiling his suit in the process.

      I’m done with this city after I graduate.

  7. lpetrich says

    For me, New Year’s Day is a rather arbitrary temporal landmark, so I don’t make resolutions on that day. But that’s just me, and I concede that I like New Year’s Day celebrations.

    As to #5, I don’t think that I ever did that very often, even with more infrequent trains like BART (San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit). On weekends, each line runs every 20 minutes.

  8. smrnda says

    Great idea. I never resolved *not to care* about certain things, but sometimes I realized, one day, that something I used to really give a fuck about I no longer did. It felt good, even when it’s something minor.

  9. Johnny Cake says

    In response to #6, you write great stuff, and it’s generally easy to set aside the parts I disagree with to enjoy the parts I like. My theological qualms are ones you are unlikely to assuage and I do not expect you to change. If you agreed with me on everything it would be boring.

  10. Natalie Millman says

    Lol since you never mentioned the radio show thing to me again I imagined you were just disinterested, so I’m glad to read some follow-up post the email exchange! Moreover I’m glad it was the final straw that pushed you towards being more self-caring, that’s awesome. I know when they first contacted me out of the blue after they saw a post I put on the CUSSW page, I was like WTF but then they told me how they found me, and I was like, okay! So I went through the same imposter syndrome process for the very same show.

    BTW you definitely should follow up on the other blogging thing I sent you, that’s specifically oriented towards students and I think it’s really important for social workers who are alumni *who apparently follow CUSSW with great interest* to read your blog and become better versed in activism and social justice terminology.

  11. says

    some rando who called Chantielle “selfish” for not wanting children (can someone please explain this convoluted reasoning to me?)

    There is no reasoning whatsoever involved. Just a veneer of rationalization. People with this point of view are simply being assholes. And I resolved some years ago to not give a fuck if I respond to their crap and offend them in return, no matter how nice they are otherwise.

    Awesome list of things not to give a fuck about there. And your personal posts are both excellent and well in keeping with the core nature of weblogs. Rage on.

  12. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I think I need to print out #2 and keep it in my bag for occasional reread, until I manage to stick to it.

  13. says

    Soooo I’m roughly two months late here, but just wanted to reach out and virtually high-five you on your fuck it list. When I posted mine over on Medium I had no idea the response it would get. I honestly just did it to get over some of the crap and negativity that had been bouncing around in my head for far too long. So kudos to you, and to anyone else who’s committed to just letting shit be this year.

    I hope you’re sticking to your list as best you can. It’s not all that easy to stop giving a fuck sometimes. (Also, if you want to get rid of any of those cute shoes, I’m a size 9 – 9 1/2 and I’d absolutely take them off your hands…)

    All the best,

    Chantielle