i don't give a damn.
no, not like that.
think of something on which you don't want to spend your valuable emotions.
now, say it again: i don't give a damn.
if you're an average human who feels sympathy on a regular basis, proceed to not feeling guilty. just feel free.
recently i expressed that i didn't think a particular something was a big deal. it indirectly related to children. i was quickly provided with information that said it is a big deal—to people who have particular concerns. their particular concerns are valid; however, they are not my particular concerns, and in this case i found that to be a reasonable observation, so i said my original opinion was unmoved. i was promptly, passive aggressively told i'm ignorant. harsh! off the mark, too. if i become any more aware, my brain will probably unravel and slither out my ear in defeat. i was also told that i'm among the type of parent who is seen in public ignoring her child's cries or telling her kid to buck up. an insensitive parent, that is. the poor public parent, at the mercy of unforgiving eyes and ears of strangers. i've certainly judged mothers in public—like the one with a lit cigarette hanging from her lip while feeding her infant or the one loudly cursing her toddler for not walking fast enough. right or wrong, i feel justified in that. i'm less inclined to judge the parent not tending to cries and the like. maybe mom is frazzled. maybe dad is too. maybe the kid is a master tantrum thrower. i don't find it impossible to think a child could in fact need to buck up. unless there's some straight-up meanness happening on the part of the parent, i'm not bothered. too much coddling or not enough: we're all doomed to screw up our kids somehow. welcome to parenthood.
i'm not mad that my character and my (assumed) parenting style were insulted. i was at first; then i decided to respond with sarcasm, and it felt very me, and i liked that. then i went more into me, writing and thinking and writing.
my initial goal for parenting was to be calm, always. then i had the baby. oh. there's way more to this than feeding and diaper changes and making sure i don't drop him on hard surfaces or smother him with my newly giant boobs while night-nursing in a state of semiconsciousness. when he was an infant, i tended to his every cry. as he got older, i let him cry without immediate attention, because i began to realize the positive correlation between taking good care of my emotions and taking good care of him. now that he's two and a half, i look for teachable moments. now, i look at parenting as not a relationship between baby and caretaker but a responsibility to build a healthy relationship between two individuals. my standards are up with the eagles, and while i'm proud that i don't fail often, i do fail. i have yelled at my son during 1 a.m. battles of wills and naptime power struggles. i have been less than loving toward the little creature i created, whom i cannot kiss and hug enough. i have hated myself for it. then comes "forgive yourself. start anew. be better."
i want to equip my son to deal with his own emotions. i don't want to send a human off into the world thinking his problems are for other people to fix, nor do i want to cultivate in him the belief that other people's problems aren't important. i want my boy to be resilient, because if he's anything like his mother—both brave and
emotional—he'll need it.
my mind is easily provoked and often burdened to analyze things that really don't matter. in that light, i think i should say i don't give a damn more often. when used wisely, that five-finger phrase can be freeing. it reminds me that i'm here to be good, not perfect. giving myself permission to not care about my problems plus yours feels like the best of these summer days, when my beloved blinding sun sits suspended in a bodacious blue sky, and there's me and my boy and my dog with the foulest-smelling breath on earth and there's nothing wrong. sometimes you simply have to step away from the big, complicated world and enjoy the smallness of your own.