Learning to Say F*ck It

In August of 2012, I entered into a period of my life which I fondly refer to as The Age of Learning to Say F*ck It.  One month prior, I had gotten braces.  That’s right—I under duress voluntary became a brace-face at age 20.  Despite the fact that I needed them and the orthodontist—a good friend of mother—gave me a very kind deal, it was the first time in my life I had ever felt truly mortified to speak or smile in public.

Me in clear brackets & my mom as a much more cooperative model
Me in clear brackets & my mom as a much more cooperative model

I was standing in the kitchen waiting for a friend to pick me up for a Childish Gambino concert in Detroit.  My mom was sympathizing with my self-consciousness about the painful protrusions glued to my teeth.  The last thing I wanted was my photo taken, but my dad told me to kindly suck it up.  Hours later, after the concert openers and the excruciating gap waiting for the main act to start, I was dancing within arm’s reach of the stage.  While the lights pulsed and the heat rose, I kept catching myself every time I started to smile, hissing inside my head, “Don’t do that, stupid; I don’t want people to notice I’m a college aged brace-face.”  And then I got pissed.  While Gambino started into “Sunrise” I berated myself for caring what anybody else thought.  This was my experience.  I was so close to the front I could reach out and touch Childish Gambino, and I was letting some ridiculous fear of what strangers thought ruin it?  That was stupid.  The lights pulsed, the bass rocked through my chest, I put my hands up, swiveled my hips, and let my lips pull back into an enormous smile.  “F*ck it,” I thought.

Me being happy
Me being happy

Now it’s January of 2014 and my face is once again braceless.  I’m sitting in the makeshift vanity I made in my closet, listening to Pretty Lights and taking pictures to remember what I and this space look like right now.  I set my camera to snap pictures in succession, and at first I just sat there and smiled.  The photos looked like me, but they told you nothing of substance.  Then “I Can See it in Your Face” stared to play, and I thought, “Ah, f*ck it,” and danced around in my seat while the camera clicked.  I figured I would look a little silly, but the result was a snapshot of myself as I honestly felt: decently unconcerned with anything besides loving that song.  The Age of Learning to Say F*ck It produced in me a new kind of honesty where I can finally say, “I am what I am, you like it or you don’t.”  And that has been such a liberating experience that I hope everybody goes through, in their own way.  Entering the Capstone course, I hope very much that I can successfully carry that honesty over to make a new portfolio that abides by no one else’s expectations and that is purely, unapologetically me.

2 thoughts to “Learning to Say F*ck It”

  1. I love this! Have you noticed this attitude benefitting or changing your writing at all? It is interesting that the major change in your attitude is connected to music. It’s almost as if certain sounds send a message to your brain, inspiring this carefree attitude to take over. I’m wondering if you could somehow incorporate this into your ideas about road-tripping and literature. How could you connect these concepts to music and to your “f*ck it” attitude?

  2. I love your attitude, and I love that you describe the process of letting go of what other people think as “a liberating experience that [you] hope everybody goes through, in their own way.” I think it’s definitely something everyone needs to do at some point, but most of us (including myself) struggle to the point where we ignore the issue altogether for a long time. I know I always have this narrative running in my head about what people are thinking about me and most of the time it’s probably not even real – even if it is, “f*ck it!”

    I think Karly’s right – there’s definitely a way to connect the ideas in this post to your ideas about road-tripping. There’s something to be said for learning to be at home with yourself no matter where you are, to accept experiences as they come to you instead of building your life entirely around external factors (income, prestige, etc.) I think that’s part of the beauty of taking a gap year: taking time to learn about yourself before you plunge back into another 293742 years of school and work!

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