That’s my attitude. To hell with it all. Let me explain.
Three very life-changing things have happened/come into my life in the last month. I want to detail them in this post, and I hope you will find encouragement in them as well.
The first: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
Incredible book. Incredible title. Incredible change in my mindset. This book is not about becoming a nihilist or flipping everyone you meet the bird. It’s about choosing what you give a fuck to. See, you’re given so many fucks (or cares, sorry Mom and Dad) in your life. It’s up to you to decide what you give a care to. For example, that bossy team member at work that seems to critique your every move? Don’t give that your fuck. Someone thinks ill (and probably wrong) of you? Don’t give that your fuck. Your fucks should go to you and yours, not them and theirs. Get your priorities straight. That’s my shift lately. I give all my cares and effort to my husband and child, myself, my God, my family, and my students. Not to an offhanded comment, not to someone else’s perception of me, and certainly not to anything that has the potential to bring me down. This book is so rich, and is about way more than bad words and cool attitudes. It’s about an outlook on life that will get you through life, sane and whole.
2. homecoming queen? by Kelsea Ballerini
I’ll link the video below because it’s that important to me that you give this song a listen. For the record, I was not homecoming queen of my high school. That went to a junior my senior year (conspiracy theory) but I digress. This song resonates with all the good girls, the try-hards, the yes men, the people pleasers. We hide behind a smile, say “fine” when things are not, and spend every ounce of energy on other people’s emotions and validations. My favorite line: “what if I told you the sky wouldn’t fall if you lost your composure, said to hell with it all.” Abso-freaking-lutely. To hell with it all. To hell with social media and doing everything for everyone else and fitting into a box I’ve outgrown. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here for truth and honesty even if that’s ugly and can’t be influenced. I’m sacrificing my composure to be true to myself. Taking off the metaphorical crown and replacing it with the ball cap of authenticity. To hell with it all.
3. Teachers, Write! in Houston, TX
Somehow, I conned some people into letting me take two days off work to go to a writing conference. At said conference, we were encouraged to take off our teacher hats and think of ourselves solely as writers for two days. Easy enough. But it challenged me in the best ways. I wrote pieces about my sweet husband that brought tears to his eyes. I wrote about my own disorder, read it to a group of forty strangers (while convulsing), and also made my mom cry. I cried too. It was an emotional experience. It made me grow as a writer and as a teacher. It truly changed me.
The most noteworthy occurrence of the whole conference happened on day two. Day one was spent writing fictional works, which isn’t my strong suite but was fun. Day two was spent writing nonfiction narratives. My cup, nay, my kettle of tea. However, the instructor made it quite clear through her text selection and response to my writing that she is less than fond of white women. Probably white people in general, but I got the feeling that she wasn’t impressed with the story I had to tell. After I vulnerably shared my piece on my growth as a wife, she responded with a simple “okay” and moved on. However, when the outspoken, young, black female shared her story of being a Southern Baptist who wore jeans to church, she gave a response worthy of Maya Angelou herself. “The shift in your perspective was phenomenal. I don’t know if that was on purpose but wow incredible job.” Okurrrr.
I understand that as a white person I have no room to talk about oppression or being a minority or being under or misrepresented. But in a society (or from a person) that preaches inclusion and acceptance, it would have been nice to have felt heard in this space. It felt the opposite of safe. It felt hostile and judgmental. I’m assuming she thought that because I am a young white woman I have no true burden to bear, no hidden scars, no story to tell. But boy is she wrong. My story is hidden in the depths of my heart. Not everyone gets to hear it yet. But it’s a story worthy of recognition and acceptance. It needs to be told and it damn sure matters. Not just to other white women but to humanity in general. She could even learn a thing or two from my story.
I exited the conference leaving only one comment on my evaluation form: “Represent ALL stories. Hear ALL stories. Acknowledge ALL stories. They matter.”
I am charged now more than ever to write and tell my story. I’m pretty sure the piece I shared with the large group today will become part of my memoir. My story.
These blessings and this mental shift have lead me to a new direction. Last week, I felt like the world’s worst mother, wife, teacher, you name it. I considered not teaching anymore to pursue an online boutique for boys clothing. (I know, right?)
But after I shared today, one of my group members said these words: “I could see you writing a whole book on that story.”
Whoa. Hey, God.
That was a God move.
I am right where I need to be, doing what I need to be, and making a difference. I need to stop worrying about what people think or expect of me and start being true to myself. I am a writer, a damn good one, and I have a story that needs to be told.
I hope you’ll look into the things I’ve mentioned, maybe spend a few of your fucks on them, and do something for yourself. You matter. Your story matters. And despite what anyone else says or thinks, you’re doing an incredible job.
Lose your composure and say to hell with it all.