I have always been an incredibly opinionated person.
I have always been loud, very sure of when I think I am right, unafraid to ask for what I’m worth, and unapologetic about saying what I want to say when I want to say it. This has, for most of my life, been both my greatest strength, and biggest insecurity. It has gotten me instant respect, or made people call me “perpetually angry” or a “bitch.” It’s either made people love me for saying what they’re thinking, or hate me for saying something they disagreed with so adamantly. I’ve heard that I’m intimidating and “she’s actually REALLY nice” said about myself and to my face more times than I can count.
I have always been an incredibly opinionated, generally fearless (unless we’re talking heights) person.
And sometimes, that makes me unlikable. Sometimes, that makes my personality a turn off. Sometimes, it has made me the subject of gossip and whispers. Sometimes, it’s been a problem.
Because of this, for a long time I would (all though admittedly ineffectively because I’d eventually snap and then it’d be a goddamn mess) try to repress this aspect of my personality. I would be quiet when I disagreed, I would avoid parties where I knew there would be someone present who had called me a bitch in the past so I couldn’t add any fuel to their fire. I would vent tirelessly and endlessly to my parents (still do, thanks mom and dad!) who loved me and understood me and my frustration with feeling like I was being silenced and misunderstood all at the same time.
And it made me so damn tired, and so ridiculously uncomfortable in my day to day life.
So, one day, I stopped. I stopped making myself smaller so that other people could be comfortable. I stopped apologizing for having an opinion simply because I knew people weren’t going to like it. I stopped asking for permission to speak and just did the damn thing.
I stopped being a person who, frankly, gave a shit.
See, I give a shit about so, so, so many things in my day to day life, so I’ve decided that what people think about me or have to say when it’s just unproductive (outside of my friends, co-workers, and family) doesn’t really need to be one of them.
I care about women’s rights and building a community for budding writers and tweeting hilarious jokes about how stupid it is that we care so deeply about celebrity culture. I care about saving enough money to one day buy a house and making sure my dog is healthy so she’ll live a long life of barking at children and shedding all over my clothes. I care about the environment and having healthy discussions about issues that I may disagree with some on and also making sure that I’m responding to emails in a prompt manner. I care about continuing to kick ass and take names in my career and building something that I’m insanely proud of myself for accomplishing.
I care about so much stuff. So the outside opinions of other people who don’t like that I’m being so loud about it doesn’t need to be a thing that I care about.
When I’m wrong, I can admit when I’m wrong. But being self-aware and being obsessed with making sure people like you and aren’t afraid of what you have to say are not the same thing. At all.
There is a difference between being mean and being fair. And as long as I’m sure I’m being latter I really don’t care if you call me the former.
Sure, I want you to like me. But if you don’t, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Sure, I want the work that I produce to resonate with you. But if it doesn’t, I’ll be okay. Sure, I care about a lot of things.
But impressing absolutely everyone and trying to not be too “intimidating” anymore? Absolutely not on the list.
For a long time, I gave a shit. I cried about not being picked for certain roles in plays and stressed about what people were saying about my choices from everything to who I was dating to how I paid my rent. I kept myself up nights pacing and giving myself anxiety over the hypothetical things being said in the same sentence as my name, and had a miserable time in so many situations because I kept my mouth shut when I wanted to do the opposite.
But the truth about not giving a shit?
Because when you decide you no longer give a shit, you are taking those pressures away. You are taking away their power to have any say in how you act, think, carry, and conduct yourself. You take back control, you take back your own self-worth, and you just do the damn thing. You take back the choice of what to care about and what to shrug off, and you give yourself the ability to be fearless once and for all.
When you decide to no longer give a shit, really, you’re simply deciding what is worthy enough to actually care about, and what is not. You are deciding what is worth your time, and what is white noise. You are deciding to live, unapologetically, for yourself.
And that, in my humble opinion, is simply the fucking best.