Maybe it was after the wind blew my skirt up around my waist, exposing blue panties and brown booty cheeks in the middle of a busy intersection. Or maybe it was after I picked up my miserable, teary-eyed, runny-nosed, diarrhea-stricken ball of toddler from daycare, accepting the fact that she was banned for the next 24 hours. Maybe it was when I tried to pay for groceries (with an unhappy baby in the cart) and my debit card chip decided to malfunction. Or maybe it was when I finally stepped in my house – squeezing through a narrow doorway while cussing at the pile of shoes blocking my full access, and wondering where I was going to find time to clean up.
It doesn’t really matter which moment it was – all I know is, by the time I flopped down on my couch, I became completely aware of the fact that I’m a mama with no fucks to give.
Through a combination of crossing that threshold into the 30s where you apparently stop caring so much about what others think, and being in a phase of motherhood where your toddler ensures there’s little room in your brain for nonsense, I – somewhat blissfully – don’t give much of a damn anymore. And it’s a blessing in two ways.
For one, this new fucklessness has helped me to dull the nerve endings that made me super-sensitive to what people thought of me. I have a tendency to take things personally at times, and used to spend a lot of time and energy asking if people liked me/why didn’t people like me/what did I do to make people not like me/etc. Now? There’s not much room in my mental or emotional space to consider that as much as I used to. My blood pressure used to shoot up when I heard that someone said something shady about me to someone else – how was I going to address it? What would I do the next time I ran into this person? I used to practice cuss-outs to keep in my back pocket just in case – because there’s nothing like having a confrontation with someone, walking away, then thinking of all the soul-crushing things you could have said.
That was a tiring existence. Without actively trying to embody the saying “What other people think of me is none of my business” (which I always had a hard time understanding), that concern has been eroded by the simple fact that I don’t have the time. If someone has an issue but doesn’t raise it directly, it doesn’t exist to me. I don’t second-guess myself as much anymore – when I have an opinion, I state it without trying to overthink it. I used to criticize myself so much – especially what I looked like – and I don’t have time for that shit anymore. I honestly think I’ve shed some of my self-consciousness and embraced confidence by seeing Little Magician move through the world with such self-assurance and fearlessness. I never want her to lose those traits, so why have I let mine go?
The other benefit that fucklessness has brought me is the fact that I am even more empathetic to the idea that life is not one size fits all. In most cases, especially for personal, innocuous matters that don’t affect me directly, I have stopped giving a fuck when giving a fuck looks like filtering someone’s life through my own biases and judgments. Everyone doesn’t do things like I do, but if the way you’re doing things works for you and isn’t putting anyone in danger, go ‘head! I am much more cognizant of giving people the space to live their lives as they see fit, leaving my well-intentioned advice to the wayside if I recognize I’m offering more judgment, less perspective. Every move you make as a mother is picked apart, criticized, and measured against someone else – I am well aware of how that feels and recoil at the thought of doing that to anybody else.
Finding your way to fucklessness isn’t a cake walk – there may be bare buttcheeks, failed transactions, diarrhea-having babies, and messy houses along the way, as I’ve learned. But I’ll tell you what – once I sat down, chuckled at my peep show, thanked God for my credit card, changed Little Magician’s diaper, and put one dirty spoon in the sink (hey – baby steps), I realized that removing my fucks from spaces where they were wasted, and directing them to areas where they were needed, felt like freedom.
The freedom of fucklessness. It’s a movement. Let me know if you’re down.