Home > Love, Parenting, Personal > I Don’t Give A Fuck What You Think

I Don’t Give A Fuck What You Think

I was born of two abusers.

From my father I learned what I didn’t want to be.

From my mother I learned parts of who I wanted to be–not the shrieking, paranoid ones, but the hopeful, loving ones that reflected her belief tomorrow could be something altogether brighter than today.

One minute before I took this picture, I stood with my hand on my mom's doorknob and wondered,

Forever

My car has no hubcaps.

One of my then coworkers was concerned when the fell off. “That’s terrible!” he opined.

“Terrible? Really?” I asked. “I’d save that word for a cancer diagnosis or car wreck.”

I called my mechanic. “Do hubcaps provide any structural support?” I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Are they for show, or do they help keep the tire going strong?”

“Oh, they’re for show.”

“Thanks.”

I thought of my hubcaps again only when others commented on them, and then in split-seconds.

Walking Ra home with my husband and kids after work a couple of weeks ago, a man waved a bunch of bills at me. My husband noticed, but I didn’t. I was busy talking to my five-year-old.

A block later, a lady parked in a van with a car full of kids rolled down her windows. “Puta!” she said, nodding toward me.

Whore!

Nothing I said in that moment wouldve changed her mind. I said nothing. I was sad for her kids, but I didn’t give a fuck about her or her useless, hateful commentary transmitted as fact.

I don’t give a fuck what you think, for the most part.

If I do give a fuck about something, it’s about what you do.

From watching my dad and mom I learned a simple test:Β Can I learn to love better by your positive example?

I’ve learned from my dad and countless others since what I don’t want to be. I don’t need these kinds of negative examples to guide me anymore. What I need–and what I give a fuck about–are examples of what I want to be.

The rest is noise: ceaseless, irrelevant jumbles of nothing trying desperately to be something bigger.

Today I caught several blatant “you came out in that?!” looks.

After the third such look, I asked my five-year-old son to take one single picture of me. Whatever he took would be fine. I wouldn’t ask for a retake.

Here’s what he took:

just so

Me, unedited

My belly’s a little round. My hair’s unkempt. My clothing, comfortable maternity leftovers.

Do you think I’m too fat? Too plain? Too untidy? Too anything? Or maybe fine as is?

Here’s the thing: any which way, I don’t give a fuck what you think.

I want to be better.

I want to be better by my own measure.

I want to be more full of love. More full of hope. More full of willingness to change pieces of who I am to be be closer to who I want to be.

I get there not by listening to noise, but by collecting a certain kind of moment. Not crappy, broken moments full of words as cruel as they were unnecessary; I more or less know already who I don’t want to be.

I get closerΒ by collecting moments of extraordinary kindness and compassion. By witnessing the beauty in those moments’ actions and telling myself, excited, I will find a way to bring that into the world, too!

“I don’t give a fuck” sounds harsh, but it can be equally hopeful.

It is trusting and warm to yourself: an acknowledgment that you can trust yourself to separate wheat from chaff. That you’ll be better off taking the bull and leaving the crap.

That you know you are better than anyone else can know from a glimpse.

Show me your love. Shower it upon the world. Save brilliant bits of it for yourself, because you need them, too.

I will collect those moments of love you bring into the world by your action. I’ll examine those moments with wonder and aspiration as I make them part of future-me.

I don’t give a fuck what you think, but those loving acts are everything.

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  1. August 16, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    There are a lot of ways to express this philosophy, but you say it very well! Look for the good. Don’t let the turkeys get you down. Pick your fights. I love the positive appreciation of life behind your don’t-give-a-fuck stance. Treasure the good things in life, those special moments. Perfect!

    • August 16, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks, Patti! Today’s a sweltering day, but there’s lots to appreciate in all the hubbub surrounding my two busy boys. ♥

  2. August 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Sadly I often do give a fuck what people think. Way too many fucks.
    Sad and bad.
    And yes, what you do, and what I do matters much more than anyones thoughts. Actions are almost always worth giving a fuck about.

    • August 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Sometimes I can get a little caught up in what I did not do so great just a minute ago. Then I remind myself, hey, that’s being human. The point is to not do it again … but to make new and different mistakes tomorrow! πŸ™‚

  3. August 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    This morning was our last at the beach and I realized this weekend I had not allowed any photos of myself. I did not exist in the photo-documentation of this trip. I was not there. When my kids look back on the pictures I would be absent. It had been planned. I like how I look less and less these days, I did not want to be reminded of what other people see when they look at me. As I was driving away I suddenly felt terrible. Overwhelmingly sad. So I bit the bullet and had a few pictures taken of me with my kids. Screw letting other people dictate my presence in memories for my family, I thought. Sooooooo glad I did it, flabby arms and all.

    • August 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Aaaaah! I got something in my eyes reading this. I’m so glad you stopped and took those pictures.

      In my case, because my mom destroyed almost all of our photos, I have few photos of her. Each is precious to me. Someday, your kids will be glad to have the feeling of you in their hearts … but they’ll be glad to have those pictures, too, to look at those flabby arms and remember how comforting those arms were when wrapped around them in love.

    • September 2, 2015 at 8:58 am

      I’m glad you took the pictures! I used to nanny for a little boy whose mother told be she destroyed all pictures from the time surrounding his birth. ‘I was SO fat. I was gross. I didn’t want to be remembered that way.’ I sympathized, and get it. Recently she tragically passed away, and her son is only 10. We never know how many years we have to waste on worry – I applause you choosing not to worry or feel terrible!! Your presence is so much more valuable.

  4. NotAPunkRocker
    August 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    First, you look beautiful and like someone running around town on the weekend. I know I get looks when I go out, mainly because I am fat and dumpy, but it’s no surprise. I know what I look like already, I don’t need someone else to tell me and I’m not likely to change anytime soon.

    Second, I completely get what you mean about how we learned to parent by doing the opposite of what we may have received ourselves.

    We’ve been through the war, essentially. We have a kid/ havekids that are loved and compassionate all the more because of how we choose to consider mistakes and missteps. Everything else is just stuff, decoration, etc.

    So…fuck the haters and rock on with yourself.

    • August 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Sometimes I wonder if it’s just Los Angeles. Like, wait, am I supposed to be glammed up for a trip to the discount store? Because, no. (If someone else wants to or derives joy from that, more power to ’em! It’s just not me.)

      I used to be so fearful of making mistakes. Now … now I see that some of the greatest joys in my life have come from experiences I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t braved making the mistakes.

      Love your conclusion! Yes and ditto!

  5. August 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I wrote a similar post in the past! I used to care so very much what people thought about me. Ever since I have also realized there are such bigger things, than myself or my problems- I’ve felt lighter. Like you said, that doesn’t mean I’m just going to neglect my kids it life, it just means I have more important things to worry about!

    • August 16, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      To me, it feels like the opposite of neglecting the important stuff! By acknowledging what’s important–kids, spouse, volunteering, learning, whatever it is–it’s so much easier to identify not-that and work to avoid it. πŸ˜€

  6. NotAPunkRocker
    August 16, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    (and i should say, I DO care what people think but it’s also a losing battle. plus they have to compete with what I think of myself and well, sometimes strangers are kinder. the point is I am not going to change just because of this)

    • August 16, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Hear that on all counts! What change is going to change from that? Not likely anything positive!

      I do have moments when I care about those extraneous things. When I’m feeling a little lost and my temporarily wonky compass makes careless words look like due north. I work my way back to normal, glad that by now I know how to feel the way.

      (You are lovely. And hilarious!)

  7. August 16, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    I’m an odd duck that I have never given a damn what people think since I was a young child. But, with this fact in mind, I also was highly isolated because I didn’t want to be with the other girls, kids, or teenagers my age because I didn’t care about having conversations with them. I tell people my philosophy of really not caring what people think. And, I’ve had those people tell me I sound like I’m 50-60 years old because it took them that long to not care. I totally agree you should never apologize for being yourself! I’ve always enjoyed your voice and who you are and their opinion just doesn’t matter in the end.

    • August 16, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      I’ve read many blurbs about “authenticity” over the past few years. I’ve thought, hey! I’m authentic! Being exactly who I am, no hold barred.

      But the truth is, I wouldn’t have posted this a year ago. I’d’ve gotten maybe 85% there and been too nervous about the other 15% to go the full distance. More and more, I’m feeling OK that most the people who most inspire me won’t look at anything I’ve written on the blog and think, “Now all of her kind and silly actions are meaningless, because this!” And more than that, I’m feeling comfortable in the knowledge life will go on even if they don’t, with me learning and growing and lifting/being lifted in turn with whatever days I have left. ♥

      (My mom always said she was jealous of how I knew exactly who I was. Maybe this is what she was talking about, and she’d have said the same about you. :))

  8. August 16, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I…love…this! I have been singing this same tune for quite a while. And I’ve been asking my husband and myself if there’s a better way to express what I’m saying. But the answer is: nope. This is just fine cause it encapsulates exactly how I feel. It also goes beautifully with a phrase I just saw “I’m on the zero fucks tour.” Love the post.

  9. August 16, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    I admire your attitude. I also think you look fine in your picture!
    I’m ashamed to admit I have and do let the idea of other peoples opinions affect me, I’ve avoided trips that involve swimmers, I’ve gotten dressed only to see myself and then change, when I run I run on my treadmill so no one can see and there are no photos of me from at least the last 10 years. Maybe this says more about my own self confidence but the idea that other people will judge (as they did you) is a big part of why I care.
    I hope one day I too won’t give a f*ck.
    Vanessa

    • August 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      I don’t think there’s any shame in being influenced by them! I think everyone is, to some degree. For me, the being impervious is a most-the-time thing; some days are rougher than others, but overall, this is the “home” I keep coming back to. *hugs*

  10. August 16, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I will never forget when I was called “puta”. I had two children with me, under the age of two. I was covered from wrist to ankle, in loose clothing. I had done nothing to deserve it, just taking a walk with kids in a stroller. Some haters just hate to hate. You live in an area where women are expected to be put together at all times, and that is where I experienced my similar moment. Now I live in a rural area, where people can just be themselves. You look better than I did, today! You look lovely, actually, like someone I would want to get to know.

    • August 16, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Much as I love where I live, I do miss my hometown more than others somedays. Whatever I wore was fine, and my utter lack of make-up most days was the norm. I’ll take the trade for the weather … but I do hope for something a little quieter and a little more forgiving overall, someday.

      While I’m not glad to hear you were called “puta” (truly showing someone doesn’t see you! your words, so thoughtful, inspiring and healing), hearing this really does go to emphasize haters really are just gonna hate. It’s another little sigh of letting-it-go-completely.

  11. August 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    No fucks given has been my motto for a few years now. It baffles me sometimes what people get worked up about. Save your fucks for things that matter. Looks isn’t one of those things.

    • August 16, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      One of my girlfriends told me a few years ago about how her friends would check their pockets for fucks when they were getting worked up. “Look at that! No fucks. No fucks to give!” I swore that’d stick with me … and it did, for a couple months. Smiling now to remember, and oh! Hear, hear to your conclusion!

      (I feel like a lot of the time I’d spent worrying about things melted away with Littler J. There was no longer time or space for it, save for in bursts of a few seconds apiece.)

  12. Sreejit Poole
    August 16, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Amazing that you were able to take such negativity and turn it in to such a positive article. I tend to fall into my Fuck-em-all attitude when confronted with such people (yes I was a Metallica Kill em all fan…) People yelling something at me from their cars would definitely send me over the edge. It’s hard for me to let those things go… My recovery rate has grown faster over the years – from weeks to days to hours – but for some hours the world would probably suffer my anger… Keep the light shining.

    • August 17, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Reading your Metallica comment surprised and delightede, while underscoring I, too, make assumptions! Based on your warmth and acts of bringing folks into sense of community, I think I’d imagined you listening to classical music in a place of endless light. :p The reality is of course both more complex and fascinating!

      • Sreejit Poole
        August 17, 2015 at 10:18 am

        That’s pretty funny… well my Metallica days were when I was a kid. I went to concerts almost every weekend when I was 14 but after that I changed course a bit, but my love of music – all music – never changed, though I never really listened to classical music in the light and all. πŸ™‚

  13. August 16, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I started singing Weezer’s “Pork and Beans” in my head when I read this title.

    As someone who mostly wears jeans and tees and gets looked at like she’s the scourge of the earth by the other moms, I relate. I have hang ups over a lot of stupid shit, but I’m past giving two shits about what anyone else thinks about my appearance at least. Comfort FTW.

    • August 17, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Agreed. I favor comfort physically and otherwise! Not everything will be comfortable, but man, discomfort sure is a great motivator.

      I think maybe that’s why I’m not as concerned with my happiness as is A. Happiness isn’t as fulfilling to me as other things, though I enjoy it being a part of where I’m at more moments than not. Comfort gets closer, but I still haven’t found the right way to express “it” yet.

  14. August 16, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    You’re so right! I need to be more like this. I wanted to lose some weight because I felt unhealthy but do you know what stopped me picking up my running again? The fear of what people would think of me in my saggy old jaggy bottoms. What I realised though is that other people don’t give a fuck about what I’m wearing for the most part either. I’m still self conscious when I run though. I can’t seem to get that message through my head.

    • August 17, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      You hit on something that has really guided me thinking here! My mom suffered some pretty profound paranoia the last several years of her life. Part was medical, another part–I believe–the product of many encounters that would reasonably inspire paranoia.

      My mom always thought people were watching her, talking about her, focused on her. I argued–nearer the beginning–that most people were too overwhelmed by their own stuff to think about her more than fleetingly. Everywhere I looked, I sae indicators of that truth. Witnessing the discrepancy in my mom’s case made it easier for me to identify moments where I was probably worrying overly much.

      Now the worry is usually fleeting. There’s so much else to marvel at! πŸ™‚

  15. August 17, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Ahh! I meant to hit like and I hit unfollow so I had to hit follow again… awkward. I’m going to reply to this after I get over the awkward. πŸ˜€

    • August 17, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Heh. I was unsubscribed from a whole bunch of blogs. At first, I thought it must have been manual error. Now there are just too many … and each time I discover someone new, I leave a note of apology and explanation!

  16. jottlings
    August 17, 2015 at 5:16 am

    I don’t get the someone waving bills at you. Money? Why would someone randomly call you puta? Where I think you live, is hardly super fashionable. I am sure many were walking around in similar summer comfy clothes. However sometimes things just don’t make sense. The kids reminded me of the time 12 year old boys were blowing spitballs at me and my kids on the bus in London. Or the time I was walking home from work with my kid beside me and another kid of mine in a stroller and a teenage girl passing smiled at me and then literally spit at me. I was so shocked. I am olive skinned, half Mexican but I don’t believe it to have been a hate crime in regards to race etc, more just hate in general. More about her than about me. Love what you say about making new and different mistakes tomorrow. I often wonder if I am dressed up enough. I love the other thing I’ve read about how to have a bikini body. Put a bikini. On your body. Bikini body – presto.

    • August 17, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      I was actually still in my dressier work clothes, which might have stood out enough to catch the guy’s eye. Ra was dressed adorably, too, though, so–???

      I was startles when that smile turned to spit. WTH?

      Love that bikini body bit. YES!

  17. August 17, 2015 at 5:22 am

    Other peoples opinions of me are not my business, but the reality is, my priorities are different from theirs that day and I’m okay with that. The fact that they don’t know my story makes it hard for me to take them serious. I am happy with me, as I am, right now and thankful for all that my body has supported me through, whether I’m dressed to the 9’s or running to the store πŸ™‚

  18. cardamone5
    August 17, 2015 at 5:53 am

    I think you look great, and you are a nice person who has her priorities straight. Who cares about the rest? not me.

  19. August 17, 2015 at 7:29 am

    I always say, “The meaning of life is comfortable shoes.” Why wear something not comfortable just to appease idiots? Some people are willing to hurt their feet in order to fit in and run with the pack towards the nearest cliff. All I can add to your wonderful post is, “Right on. You rock.”

    • August 19, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you. πŸ˜€

      (I still wear the crazy shoes I find adorable once in a while, but only when I’m hardly walking … and then I tend to kick them off and walk barefoot, despite Carrie Rubin’s gentle admonitions against doing so. Better bare than broken, maybe?!)

  20. August 17, 2015 at 7:36 am

    You go, Deb! That’s a powerful, positive attitude that we all need to adopt.

    But I don’t understand the part about the man waving the bills or the woman calling you a puta. Are these just random, mentally disturbed strangers or are there stories to go with these incidents?

    • August 17, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Their closeness in time got me thinking how much people assume based on almost no data. The guy waving bills at me saw my business casual attire as one of two women with one man in an area where prostitutes sometimes walk and–despite the kids present–assumed I was a prostitute. Then, maybe two minutes later, another woman decided I was a bitch … based on that same attire? Or maybe she assumed Ra was the nanny, and I–by default–a bitch boss? It’s all speculation, but the closeness in time of those two otherwise unrelated events was pretty illuminating!

      • August 17, 2015 at 3:29 pm

        Whoa. Hard to believe you run into two idiots practically at the same time. Was there a full moon?

  21. August 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Lol just do YOU…as you say, the rest is all ceaseless chatter longing to be more then it deserves. Good for you, Monster! Love the attitude with a soul πŸ˜‰

    • August 19, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Thank you! I’ve read some affirming things since that make me phew-sigh and feel like I am on just the right track. πŸ™‚

  22. August 18, 2015 at 2:51 am

    Trying to catch up on reading and writing after a somewhat terrible weekend. I think you look beautiful, maybe not in the way others look for beauty but in the most important way. Like you have found that ‘it’ that makes you comfortable in your skin, that peace that means you don’t have to give a fuck. That is the best of all, being able to wrap not giving a fuck around you and be peaceful. Some days, for weeks at a time even I am there then something explodes in my head and I do briefly.

    I don’t know Deb, I think loving is what it is and you have that in buckets.

    • August 29, 2015 at 10:14 am

      I’m sorry for your terrible weekend. Where you at now?

      I’m trying to do better about replying to all newer blog comments*; in my head, I reply to them all, but with my hands I’m not as diligent. The good thing about not always being quick doing so is getting to revisit wise comments and soak up their goodness. I’m glad to revisit this particular one and be reminded of the goodness of “that peace that means you don’t have to give a fuck.”

      I love you.

      * I have this pipe dream that someday I’ll reply to EVERY SINGLE ONE ever left. Hahahaha.

      • August 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm

        Me too, that I will write everything I think about. Reply to everyone, always. All of it. It is a dream.

  23. August 18, 2015 at 7:01 am

    You are a beautiful soul inside and out. This post said it all for me. I honestly feel the exact same way, especially now that I’m getting older. Life is so fleeting and our outward appearance is the least important thing about any of us.

    • August 29, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Agreed–as I’m getting older and realizing a good portion of my life is behind me, I’m also free to be a little wiser about how I spend the portion that’s now. Tomorrow. It’s not to say I’m always wiser … but overall, I’m learning day by day what’s worth the energy and what’s not. It’s a lovely thing, and you, you, too, are a lovely soul, inside and out.

  24. August 18, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I just fucking love your blog and the words that come out of your mouth… or fingers? Would the words come out of your fingers since you’re typing them? Who cares! There are so many people in this world that feel sorry for themselves and let the shit they dealt with in life be an excuse for being assholes. To those assholes, “we don’t give a fuck what you think.” Good for you!

  25. August 19, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I’m a lot like Sarahnsh. I’ve never really been all that concerned about what people think of me. My life has been too interesting for me to have the energy to really care what people think. My ex-father-in-law told me something once. I was expecting my 4th child and he sat me down and said, “You have too many children.” Instead of making an argument I asked a simple question. “Okay. Which one should I give away?” After he got done with his impression of a motor boat, he decided that maybe he didn’t want to tell me things like that. Often when people are rude to me I give them a compliment back. It is amazing how often they are offended. LOL. You are a beautiful woman, a good mom and are in the same boat as many of us. Just trying to do the best you can at the time with what you have. Keep it up.

  26. August 19, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    If you can transfer this security and assurance to your children, and I’m confident you will, what a gift to them and to others. I don’t think it’s possible to live our lives authentically and with strength if we are figuratively whipped about my the shallow opinions of others. It took me a lot longer to learn this than it has you! I like the way you think, and admire the way you write about those thoughts. πŸ™‚

  27. August 22, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Where do folks get off commenting on others in such a way? My word. But you nailed it, Deb. Who gives a fuck? Not me. But, you look perfectly fine — comfortable and happy. That is what matters.

    I’m way over weight. I care about it and shunned cameras for a long time. More recently, I’ve come to accept how I look, but to strive to be better. But there is photographic evidence f how I look now which will give me great pleasure someday.

  28. September 2, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Just read this – I loved the part about believing in yourself and what you are beyond what can be observed in a glance. Yes. Too often I give ‘glances’ too much weight. Thanks for this.

  29. September 13, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Powerful energy. Your authenticity shines through. Thank you.

    • September 14, 2015 at 5:08 am

      Thank you! It’s taken me a while to really embrace it, which is part of what makes the journey to getting it so exciting. πŸ™‚

      • September 14, 2015 at 8:54 am

        I understand, me too. Enjoy!

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