I Pretend I Don’t Care

A woman who doesn't care
Unsplash / Hai Phung

I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t give a fuck. Who can hear a nasty rumor about themselves or get into an argument with a complete stranger and shrug it off because they couldn’t care less about anyone else’s opinion. Because they are happy with who they are and have no desire to change.

I am not like that at all. I care too much. I care about the way I look when I leave the house. I care about what people say behind my back and in front of my face. I care about the way I present myself on social media. I care about my appearance. I care about how much money I make. I care about how many friends I have. I care. I care. I care.

I like to pretend I don’t give a fuck. I will act heartless in order to protect myself. I will use sarcasm as a defense mechanism. I will push people away when they hover too close. I will act like someone means nothing to me when they secretly mean the world.

But in reality, when I have strong feelings for someone, it’s hard for me to resist liking their Instagram photos or texting them twice. It’s hard for me to keep my walls up high. It’s hard for me to play pretend for such a long time.

Eventually, I will crack. I will become clingy. I will make my desire to please every person I meet obvious.

I thought not giving a fuck would come naturally to me as I grew older, but it has only gotten worse. Now, there are more things to worry about than before. Whether my career is advancing. Whether my friends keep in touch. Whether my apartment is clean. Whether my coworkers respect me. I care now more than ever.

However, I am trying my hardest to care less. I am trying to leave the house without obsessing over whether my hair looks okay. I am trying to hold conversations without overthinking what I should say to impress the other person. But it is difficult. There has always been a part of me desperate to be liked.

The one thing I am getting better at is pretending things don’t bother me. When someone looks at me funny or makes a snide comment, I will not cause a scene. I will laugh it off. I will ignore it. I will not let them see they have caused a ripple in my world.

Of course, as soon as they are out of eyesight, as soon as I am alone again inside of my car or drifting off in bed, whatever happened earlier in the day will bother me. I will replay what they said on a loop inside my mind. I will feel lingering embarrassment. I won’t be able to forget it.

I wish I was the kind of person who gave zero fucks — but I do. I care more than I would ever admit aloud. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Holly is the author of Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection.

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