I love this quote that has been doing the rounds on social media this past year: “Unfuck Yourself. Be who you were before all that stuff happened that dimmed your fucking shine.” You can find it everywhere and it’s largely unattributed but Padhia Avocado (surely she made up that name!), a street artist and writer in LA said it first (even if she did spell Fuk wrong). You can read more about her here.
Whenever it crops up on my social media it gives me pause. I don’t consider myself fucked up (not most days anyway) but I do think I’m burdened with an awful lot of excess baggage that I happily use to carry the opinions of others in.
It’s these opinions and supposed assessments of me that stop me being completely carefree in my life. And the barrage of media ‘reality’ that I tune into daily doesn’t help either. I’ve become much better at not giving a fuck these past 12 months, since I’ve learnt to light my own fire, but I have to work at it. I think anyone does. I’ve spent too much time listening to the haters, the nay-sayers and the doubters and I’m finally turning that energy around to put it to work for me. I’ve realised that diving into the complex, insecure and small worlds of the unnecessary opinionated just causes me more stress. If I keep things simple and stick to my own lane, I’m less anxious, less stressed and can work on my shine.
But I have wondered lately, when was it that all this “stuff” happened to me. When did I actually start to give a fuck about what complete strangers thought of me or what I was doing with my life? When did I become so self-conscious that being a happy and healthy size 14 (and bigger) wasn’t good enough? When did I actually start giving credence to the opinions of others and why do they even matter?
As we go along in life we acquire layers. Layers and layers of life. Layers that get put on us or layers that we choose to put on. How we wear our layers is a combination of genetics, life circumstance and our own sense of wellbeing.
When I was a little kid I had no issue wearing a bikini. I was happy to strike a silly pose for my parent’s camera without asking to immediately see it back (not that cameras had that ability in 1975). I was also pretty damn happy to run around the house sans clothing of any description.
In a nutshell, I was carefree…and not just because it was the 70s and “social media” was having the TV on while we were gathered as a family at dinner (ahhh simple times, remember them?). No, my lack of inhibitions was because I quite literally was care free. All my needs were taken care of by my parents and the biggest worry I had was learning to ride a bike or master my new roller-skates (neither of which I did very well!).
And then I started school and the world at-large entered my world at-play. I met other kids who needed me to be a certain way so that we could play. I met teachers who expected things from me so they could report that my education was on track. I had to learn to sit quietly, to listen and participate when asked and to play nicely and share and dress appropriately and tie my own shoelaces. All of which are perfectly normal and not unreasonable expectations, I guess. But as the years marched on it became a natural inclination to do as I was told, not question the adults and make sure I didn’t upset too many people. Basically I acquired a few layers to make sure I complied.
Heading into my adult years my life and thoughts were pervaded by un-reality. The images and stories I’d read in magazines, on television in movies and in the last decade, social media. Which only exacerbated my need to seek the opinion or validation of others. And quite honestly, I don’t know why. Why was my own opinion and my own standards not enough to measure my success and happiness with?
I have a love hate relationship with social media. It’s almost impossible to be in business without it. I have to use it. It’s simply the way of my world today. But as I use it I have to try really, really hard not to burden myself with unnecessary layers.
The social media lens is ridiculous. I’m not a fan of perfectly cultivated selfies that have been filtered to within an inch of their high cheek bone duck pout BUT at the same time I’m totally guilty of taking 20 selfies to find just one that I settle on before also applying a filter to shade my 45 year old puffy eyes to perfection!
So, it’s a challenge this unfuck yourself business. It’s hard not care and honestly, I don’t care if I waver in my purity of unfucking myself. I’m far from perfect. So what if I compare myself to an unrealistic ideal from time to time? If it helps me strive for something more in my life, then good on me… but the minute it makes me feel rubbish because that bloody filter can’t be applied in real life…then I need to give myself a stern talking to.
The bottom line is. It’s my life. My rules. I’ll unfuck myself if I want to and I reserve the right to rewrite my own story at any stage.
Don’t you think?
JOIN ME & SIMPLY KIM READERS FOR SUNDAY LUNCH
September 10, Federation Sq, Melbourne
If you can relate to this post, and have ever felt less at a time when you thought you should feel more, then join us for lunch (this blog is turning one so the champagne will be on me).
Let’s get together and lift each other up, share secrets and enjoy some fine food with the company of people just like YOU.
I am also beyond thrilled that maverick, vigilante and non-fuck giver extraordinaire Catherine Deveny will join our soiree to offer her special brand of inspiration.