The Intentional Art of Not Giving AF

I recently had a major life epiphany: I was twisting myself into knots trying to prove points to people who didn't matter. Even worse, I was doing so at the severe and often dire detriment of my own health and well-being. I was becoming someone who allowed fear to guide my decisions. I had rushed into choice after choice without taking a moment to ask myself with true consideration of what I actually wanted. I was afraid I could not complete the task of writing a book. Of completing a great body of work, of surviving the editing process, of committing to a topic and seeing it through. So I got my PhD and I wrote a dissertation to prove to everyone that I could. Only, no one had ever doubted me, I was the one who doubted myself. 

When I realized how pervasive my self-doubt had been in some of my most pivotal life choices, I was ashamed. I couldn't believe how far I had gone to try to win some competition that no body else was competing in or even watching. I wasn't trying to be better than any person in class, I was trying to be the most exceptional student my teachers would ever come across. I wanted to be memorable. I wanted to be adored. I wanted to be Ferris Bueller. My parents can attest to my obsession with the 80s cult classic and my subsequent love-affair with red Ferraris. I wanted to be the guy (girl) who got away with whatever she wanted but also always managed to have her shit together. I made one B my entire Pk-12 career. One, in biology with Dr. Marshall. Never mind the fact that I rocked AP Chem, I remember the B. Biology. The failure. The failure not in my earned 'B' but in my lack of finesse with my instructor to talk myself into anything better. 

You see, I wasn't the best student, but what I was, was attentive. I could give a compliment that spoke straight to your soul and I could issue a cut so deep that it would unravel you in an instant. It was my gift; reading energy. Speaking Energy. Having it be my first language and never for a moment becoming influent. I remembered through music. Then words and poetry and opera. Then music and words. The movies and words. Then just words. It's not just what you write, it is how you write it and I had become some masterful with words, my recipe left people having felt they'd just dined on their favorite meal. I put people in touch with something deep and honest because that was the language I spoke. In it's light its charisma, that something special that you can't put your finger on that draws you in, and leaves you lingering on for more. In it's shadow it's manipulative and ego-serving, believing her own hype and denying the God in her art. 

And at it's worse, it was denying her light. It was asking her light to prove itself over and over again. Go to college. Get a masters. Get a doctorate. Become faculty. Or put yourself of the path the VPSA. Pick a path. Do the things in the way that you "know" you can do to get an outcome that is good enough. It will be secure. It will include moments of joy and small pockets of excitement. It will sometimes be monotonous, but it will give you a sense of security that is intoxicating. You will begin to develop an aversion to the poverty you were so recently acquainted with. You will think of vacations you want to take. You will consider outfits you want to buy and happy hours you want to attend. And you will give in to a life that in no way embodies the potential that you have. 


You could stop giving a f*ck. You could be audacious in your intent to create a life as an artist. A creative. A full-time, You. You could schedule music lessons midday to wake you up when you feel most lethargic. You could hike at sunrise and take a long lazy meditative morning. You could write when the sun is high and work until the chill tickles the nape of your neck. You could move back to the beach. You could follow your callings as they come. You could pray and wait for answers without consulting with another living soul. You could wear shoes less. And you can make your life your art because it's becoming a daydream you can't escape. A reoccurring vision you cannot shake. A feeling of longing for a life I know I am supposed to be living. It would be intentional. An intentional not GAF. A way of reclaiming myself and asserting myself as the authority on my own joy. Radical freedom. It meant taking responsibility for my own actions. It meant being in love with the process and accepting that even on days where I do nothing, that rejuvenates me on a day where I create three masterpieces. 

The craving I was having to STOP givingAF was becoming more and more undeniable. It wasn't depression. It wasn't my disorder that was keeping me from wanting to wake up and drive to work in the mornings. It was a deep knowing that I wasn't supposed to be there. And a fear that I had in admitting that out loud. A fear I had in what would come as a result of my ownership of my feelings. But wasn't that the problem? I was getting bored with fear. I was getting bored with the game of living up to standards that I didn't set or even agree with. I was getting tired of the race of fastest, best, most, newest. I just wanted to feel at peace with myself at the beginning and end of every day. And it was time I started taking seriously my pleasure. It was time to start thinking about how I could step fully into my life of not giving a fuck. My life. MINE. 

Jessica WilliamsComment