*** Out of F’s to Give…

So, apologies in advance for the language, but if you know me at all, you’re already expecting this…

Many times, my friends and acquaintances get caught up in that youthful game of caring way too much about what others think. I know exactly how it plays out – doubting your self worth, doubting every decision you have ever made, becoming convinced that nearly everyone you know/encounter hates you for any one of a million reasons you are convinced you suck, and just all around being miserable because life hates you, your family hates you, any SO’s (or at least their families) hate you, work/school hates you, and so on and so forth, ad nauseum.

I know all these things, because I was, EMPHASIS here – WAS, one of the worst offenders of all time. I think the worst incidence of this that always stands out so horribly in my mind was somewhere in the late 90’s. I was a young, insecure 20-something, relatively newly married, convinced ALL of my in-laws hated, well, every single thing about me, etc. My now former MIL had all 4 of her biological children home with her for … I want to say a holiday or something…maybe her birthday? I don’t really remember, other than they were all there. My now ex-husband, his three sisters, and any the associated children (as I can’t recall the exact year, I don’t remember which were with us and which weren’t yet).

Okay, so long story not short at all, my MIL had decided that she wanted a picture of all her children…for a Mother’s Day Gift or Birthday Gift or Christmas Gift or whatever. I don’t remember who was married/coupled, either – maybe everyone? So the girls all got gussied up, put their faces on, and off we went down to the “Wal-Mart” to take some pictures…

Now, I should mention, I am the UBER-low maintenance type. I rarely wear makeup, as I never feel natural or good in it. I don’t do my hair up because it never stays nice, being long and full, but super thin strands that resist styling. So, the three sisters were all fancy-haired and made up to look all pretty and crap… We’re at Wally World…and my MIL drops the damned bomb that maybe she wants a picture with spouses, too.

SCREECH TO A HALT. Like, WTF? You couldn’t have given me more heads up than 15 minutes before we were going to take pictures that we were even going – admittedly, it might have been more than 15 minutes, but I would have needed time to shower, style, and make myself up. We had traveled from out of state, and with 10+ people in the house, shower time was at a premium. So I felt like leftover refried horse crap anyway, then I don’t really have time to do myself up right, and she drops this bomb on us WHILE WE WERE AT THE PICTURE PLACE, 45 minutes from her house…

And of course, the other 3 people that would have been included in the picture are MEN. Who all they needed to do would be run a comb through their hair and they look fabulous, right? They’re all military men, if I remember right, and so yeah, they are well groomed by default. Knowing me, I’d been up all night helping care for whatever nieces or nephews were already with us. I tended to get baby duty because it came naturally to me, and I enjoyed it… For whatever reason, I just felt…inadequate.

So, today, I’d laugh my butt off, attempt to have someone help “tame” me as much as possible, and I’d take the damned picture, making a joke at how funny it would be, but also how completely snapshot of real life, with me never quite looking all Stepford wifely or put together or just whatever.

What did young 20-something me do? I literally threw a tantrum (not screaming or having a fit, but just…freaking out) and flat out refused to get in the picture. I was so caught up in being insecure that I really just didn’t understand. Years later, I would completely get over my loathing and hatred of the camera…when a younger than me best friend died unexpectedly, and due to her hatred of the camera, she left her children with almost no physical memories to remember her by. And by contrast, when my MIL died (way too young and within a week of getting sick), there were a million pictures of her enjoying every aspect of her life. They were both obese, both pretty happy people, but with completely different outlooks. My friend was embarrassed by her appearance and positively hated being seen that way. My MIL had been out of F’s to give – for as long as I’d known her…

But I digress. So like a petulant child, I blatantly refused to get in the picture. Inside my head, I had this scenario playing out, 3 beauty queens and the white trash trailer park ho…7 people looking all nice, and the token black sheep embarrassing ME staring right off the screen. I couldn’t see past my own insecurities then to know that my family saw me as I was, even if I didn’t like what that was then, to see that my MIL just wanted a picture of the kids she loved – and she considered all of us, even married in, her kids… In that moment, I allowed my insecurities to cause me to act like a embarrassment… Only later did I realize how immature my actions really were.

I decided in those moments following my friend’s funeral that I would never duck out a picture again. Ever. Even if my hair was a mess or I’d just woken up or I had paint on my face or I felt like a horrible fat cow, or any of it… NEVER. Because my daughter (by this point she was with us) and my now ex-husband, as well as the rest of my friends and family – they saw me exactly how I was EVERY SINGLE DAY. And even if I didn’t like that image, that would be how they would remember me… So I realized that not taking a picture, petulance or not, would just be like trying to stop the rain. The snapshots in their memories would hold me exactly as I was, fat rolls and messy hair and no makeup and all that, even if they didn’t have pictures.

So not taking/being in pictures was just an attempt to avoid acknowledging the truth to myself, to behave like a child, and to expect the world to magically make me something other than myself. I honestly think that it was my friend dying that woke me up from that fog I’d been living in and it made me realize that life is simply too damned short to worry about crap like that.

So, in that moment, somewhere in my late 20’s, I think, I stopped giving a F. About anything that wasn’t truly important. Dishes in the sink not done? That’s fine, I’m making memories with my kiddo. Hair not perfect for work? Oh well, I’m still as professionally dressed and groomed as I could be… And so on and so forth. Somewhere in the next few years, I realized that I also had stopped caring so much about what others thought of me in my … disastrously beautiful but wonky life…

So, when my best friend died, I ran out of F’s to give, and honestly, I don’t think that stock has ever been replenished. Please, before you have a moment of acting like a foolish child or petulant teen throwing a fit over a fleeting moment of drama, stop and give some context to the moment. Will you remember this thing in 5 minutes? 5 Weeks? 5 Years? In 5 years, will a single day of eating 5000 calories be something you remember? Really? Will what your Mom said that destroyed your mood be remembered? Will the disaster your child made right before a party or performance really matter? Will the fight with your SO/partner about the remote control or a missed oil change appointment really change the way the world spins? Will that coworker who hurt your feelings or the boss giving you an unfair review matter? Truly? Go further down the road if you’re still struggling. In 10 years? 25 years? 50 years? Because I cannot think of hardly a single thing in my daily life that isn’t already spectacularly important that will matter to me in 50 years… Not. A. Single. Thing….

So, just in case you need a few more words of motivation, here is a link to the article that sparked this mood today…and another of my favorites…about having no F’s left to give.



I’d include some of my favorite meme images, too, if I had ready access to him. But since I don’t, you’ll just have to use your imagination, and see if you, too, have too many F’s to give…because believe me, that is a waste of your time, your energy, your emotions, and your life to worry too much about things that seem to be EVERYTHING right now in this moment, but really, with some perspective down the line won’t matter.


Find your inner fairy (or biker, I suppose, is the corollary), and LIVE YOUR DAMNED LIFE.

2 comments on “*** Out of F’s to Give…

  1. Lori says:

    Bad ass.

  2. aunt Amy says:

    wow, I 2nd Lori’s reply – bad ass. You really hit the nail on the head with this one….

    It IS about ‘get in the picture’ for posterity after all.

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