What if you didn’t give a shit?
Really didn’t give a shit. Not the “I don’t give a shit” you bravely spout after someone has stomped on your mojo and you’re protecting yourself from embarrassment/shame/hurt.
What if you were attuned to the voice inside—you know the one–in the deep recesses? The one that sometimes only dares to come out late at night when you’ve coaxed it with wine and solitude and, possibly, cupcakes?
Oh, the things you might do.
Things that might get talked about.
Instead of sticking with a patriarchal church that celebrates women only in “appropriate” roles, you church shop for the Sunday peeps that will speak to your soul and celebrate you in any role you take on.
You may have to sidle through the Church of Overly Artsy People Who Only Wear Black Turtlenecks, the Temple of Those Who Believe in Forest Nymphs and the Chapel of Overly Effusive Huggers, as well as the Bitter and Excommunicated So We Formed Our Own Group Filled with Toxic Sarcasm. Rest assured, you will eventually find, or form, a group that feeds your soul. But only if you don’t give a shit while the Judgers tell you to come back to what you know, even if it’s all wrong for you.
What if you told everyone that deep down inside, you really do think you will publish a play or a book, start your own bakery, golf the perfect game? What if we all shared the “impossible” dream we keep a secret because, Sugarpie, wouldn’t we look foolish if everyone knew?
Psst. Guess what? The ones that applaud this dream are the keepers. The naysayers will just gossip behind your back and still show up for your debut smiling beatifically and stating they “knew you could do it all along.”
What if you finally admitted to yourself that you’re bored to tears with the Wednesday night crowd you’ve hung out with for the past several years? And you faced your fear of loneliness by enrolling in a class, a volunteer group or the Church of Solo Wednesday Nights, knowing temporary discomfort is better than feeding your soul with sheer boredom?
What if you didn’t hide your child’s struggles with drugs or depression? I’ve seen families come clean with a simple phrase, “heroin addiction,” after the death of a child. It hurt. I could see it hurt. But they had moved beyond caring about what people thought and into the space where they cared more about saving other people’s kids than about judgments regarding their parenting.
When you become truly authentic, you get finely tuned bullshit radar, like it or not. As someone prattles on about the latest vacation or the twins’ college choice, you see right through it. And silently predict the divorce that comes with the empty nest. I wonder how it would have felt had she been able to share her despair earlier instead of glossing over it with ski trips and college visits.
You end up, when you don’t give a shit, giving a shit. You silently send the prattler love and are the quiet presence that for some reason she cannot explain, she finally opens up to with a torrent of tears. You wish the people in all the various weird and sundry churches well and move on without judgment. You buoy up friends as they bake for their first function to see if their goods stand up to the taste test. As they act in the community theater play. As they join a golf league.
You don’t participate in the gossip that precedes the death of a child from heroin, the prolonged absence from school due to depression, the “sudden” divorce.
People who don’t give a shit heal the world in a very unorthodox and revolutionary way. They may not have set out to but living their truth transfigures everything. Sometimes, this is to their chagrin but always, it is to their advantage and ultimately, that of those around them. It’s hard to find fault with authenticity.
Armisted Maupin said: “The world changes in direct proportion to the number of people willing to be honest about their lives.”
Translation: Learn how not to give a shit.
Which will really make you give a shit, but only about the things that truly matter.
So you will live your truth because the voice is your truth and you have learned to trust it. It may even begin to speak to you in crowded rooms, sans wine and cupcakes.
And the world will spin and change, despite the fact this may never have been your intention.