My Facebook wallpaper says a thing about the subtle art of not giving a fuck… and I think it’s perfect. It’s a book written by Norman x, who is a couple of years younger, but may as well be a couple of decades older, judging by the wisdom that he shares.
He has a turn of phrase, which turns the phrase of “not giving a fuck” into something that could be compared to poetry.Like… a long long time ago, in a land far far away, there was a fairy that did not give a fuck… LOL
I actually knew that I was going to love this guy, because he starts off by telling us a story about Charles Bukowski (poet and novelist, born in the 1920’s), who happens to be my hero. He speaks of Bukowski actually being a bit of a deadbeat Mofo, who just (you guessed it…) did not give a fuck. He was supremely unambitious and worked in the post office and had a job, sorting letters. When he was not drunk, he’d slap away at the keyboard of his old type writer and after many years, he was discovered by some or other publicist who took a shine to his irreverent tone. Bukowski was a womaniser, a drunkard and still managed to turn out some of the most beautiful and moving poetry that I have ever come across. (Laughing Heart is probably my favourite) — By now you want me to get to the point, so I will tell you what stands on his tomb stone:
His tombstone reads…
You see, Charles did what he did, because he was not all caught up, trying to do what was expected of him. He did not give a fuck about trying to please convention. This meant that he had more energy to dedicate to giving a fuck about his writing. When he was not drinking or womanising, he was giving a fuck about his writing.
Some would argue that you just can’t suppress a talent as edgy as Buykowskies, but I would prefer to say that it was his attitude of not giving a fuck about all the things we are expected to give a fuck about, that gave him the time to REALLY give a fuck about his poems, short stories and his novels.
I look at my 12 year old Tweenager… (she is not a teenager yet)
Ruby Rose is the most caring and considerate person whom you would ever have the privilege to meet. Don’t get me wrong, she is a feisty little one too, but her persona is just beginning to unfurl into adulthood. She’s constantly changing her WhatsApp profile picture because she gives a fuck about what people think about her. She is working her little ass off at school, because she gives a fuck about her grades. She sinks deeper into the carseat when dad turns up the music, ‘cos dads are embarrassing and she gives a fuck about how people see her. This is all good and I applaud her caring. Sometimes, I look at her her exhausted little body hunched over her books on a Wednesday evening and I want to stand behind her and whisper a very unfatherly bit of advice into her ear…
“Rose, realise that you have a finite number of fucks to give in life and you are spending them on stuff that does not really matter. Save your fucks for a time when you really really want to give one and then dish it out with the confidence of an Amazon queen that’s gonna take on the world. Never mind the ‘nth percentile for geometry. Don’t worry about what the pimply faced little dude in the back of your class had to say about your hair. Fucks are finite, — they are yours and yes, you can run out of them when you do, your life will be worse off for it.”
There is freedom in finding the fucks that you really want to give. The noise subsides and it’s as if the aeroplane you’re in just lifts through the clouds…
— side note — (She has literally started laughing over my shoulder as I write this and told me not to use so many swear words….- case in point)
The more we are exposed to Social Media and to the Kardashians, the more we come to expect a world in which motivational tapes and “you’re awesome and you get a golden star, just for showing up” lulls us into a state where problems are seen as a kind of social leprosy — What’s with that?
Let’s face it… The world can be a pretty shitty place and somehow, we find solutions to problems and then, just when we think we’ve mastered the problem, oops there’s another pile of dog poo right in our path.
That’s life…. It’s not all sugar plums and lollipops.
To my Rose, I would say “it’s not the awesomeness and the amazingness that is going to determine your success in life. It’s your ability to work through the pain that you choose to work through in life that will determine where you end up.
Choose the pain!
If you are willing to get into that which gives you pain, learn from it and then win at it, blow by bloody blow, then you will be far far better off than those who put themselves infront of a mirror and repeat a phrase from Oprah a hundred times…. (ooh shite, now I’ve just offended half of you) they are a hundred times.
I will say it again… It’s about the field of hurt that you choose to endure that will determine how strong you become in life.
Sometimes as parents, we should heed our own advice. Sometimes, when confronted with an issue in our own lives, perhaps we should ask ourselves what the advice would be that we would be giving our kid right now?
I think that advice comes from a higher place than the ego so it’s probably not a bad thing.
I’ve had my own share of heartache in the past. (Yeah, love is a work in progress for me)
I’m a dad and I have a daughter. What would I say to Ruby about love if I had nothing but her happiness in mind?!
I have thought about it and would say this: “Rose, true love is about giving a fuck about a person, even when that person has different fucks to give. If you care about a person through all of your differences and you both do this, then at the end of the day, the fuck that you give (about the person) will outlast the challenges. Love will prevail and your story could be made of the stuff of legends.
Fight for what you believe in and understand that it won’t all be a bed of roses. There will be problems and there will be more problems, but if this is a fuck you have decided to truly give, and you do it mutually, then, as bokowsky said, the gods will delight in you.
In the end, sometimes you have to decide to care less, so you can care more about what is important in life. Wether you like it or not, you will always be giving that fuck about something, even if it’s giving a fuck about not giving a fuck. (Like the atheist saying that he believes in nothing, which in turn is then his religion)
The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
— by Charles Bukowski