The Freedom of “Not Caring” (in school addition)

When I was younger (ages 10 to 14, I’d say), I had this idea that all of shirts needed to be tight. I also needed my shirts to be pulled down at least halfway over my bottom. I didn’t feel like I looked good if this wasn’t the case. I can’t really explain why I felt this way, but I did. This was only relevant to the clothes I wore when I went to school. At home, I was always in shorts and tank tops running around the backyard.

All throughout grade school and into my first 2 years of college, I would hold my pee until the end of class because I didn’t want people looking at me as I walked out the door and also when I inevitably came back.

While being early to anything is generally a good move, there might be such a thing as being too early. I am still this way today, but for different reasons. Today, I am early to all my classes so I can choose the best spot and have some quiet time before the lecture. However, in grade school I was only early to school/class so that there would be less people to look at me as I walked in.

I used to have SUPER long hair (I’m trying to grow it out again!) and when I wore it in a ponytail, for a period of time, I was convinced that I only looked good if it swung back and forth when I walked. Thinking back on that now, I laugh.

I used to not blow my nose in class because I didn’t want people looking or hearing the ungodly noises coming out of my nostrils.

Okay, so I will stop writing of all of my past insecurities to interject with this: Today, I don’t care about blowing my nose in class, getting up to pee, walking in a little later, the shape of my shirts, and whether or not my hair swings.

Between growing up a little bit and getting more comfortable with all parts of myself, I just don’t care about the general public’s opinions anymore. I figure if I don’t really pay attention to people getting up to pee in class, why the hell would they be paying any attention to me when I’m getting up? Also, I don’t care about people’s clothes- either I like them or I don’t. I don’t make any substantial assumptions about someone if their shirts aren’t tucked or shaped a certain way.

I mean this next sentence in the nicest and most reassuring way possible: The bottom line is that you and I are not of enough interest to people to be constantly judged or shamed or looked at. 99% of the time, people are thinking about themselves and if they are the ones looking weird. They don’t care about you in that way! So, please, just be yourself, look good for yourself, be nice to yourself, and give yourself a fucking break.

Go pee, ya’ll- no one cares.

For Me, A Big [and difficult] Decision

Ever since I can remember I have been involved in extracurricular activities in school as well as additional hobbies outside of school.

Between 1st and 12th grade, I remember being enrolled or a member of gymnastics, dance, soccer, Concert Band, Marching Band, Environmental club, Science Olympiad, Gay-Straight Alliance, German club, and a sort of anti-genocide/genocide awareness club. Starting in 10th grade, I also started working after school and after marching band practice.

At age 15, I started juggling school from 7am-3:45pm, marching band practice from 4:30pm-6:30pm, and when I didn’t have marching band, I would instead go to work from 5pm to 10pm. In between those three activities, I tried to hang out with friends and family, but it was a lot.

It’s seven and a half years later, and I’ve never slowed down since then. Today, I am enrolled as a full-time student with 6 classes, I hold a 35hr/week job, and I commit to working weekends at my uncle’s bike shop, as well as dog-sit/house-sit for my grandma when needed. Among all of these activities, I am also trying to make time for family and friends, as well as a new person in my life who is very special and important to me.

Yesterday, for the first time, I was told that I didn’t have to deliberately put such a heavy load on my schedule. When it comes to family and friends, I think they see me somewhat as invincible- and I think I tricked myself into believing that as well. Sure, I can put all this on my plate and I can get through it- but at what cost?

So, after my meeting with my (1,000th??!!!?) advisor next Monday, I will formally withdraw from my Marketing class. It’s not a difficult class, but it has added a lot of extra “stuff”. I will also be telling my grandmother that I cannot dog-sit/house sit in October; the drive from her house to school and my work is too much to do for one week. When I am at her house, it also requires me to work more from home since I have a dog to take care of, and that isn’t always ideal. Lastly, I will probably tell my uncle that there are a few Saturdays that I cannot work due to school.

The main point here is that I don’t know how to slow down. I don’t know how to say no to family. I don’t know how to budget my time so that it involves leisure and fun. I don’t know how to make myself accept that I am, in fact, not invincible, and that I don’t need to put myself through this all the freaking time.

So, I’m figuring this out. I’m going to do my best to put what I learned in therapy to use. I’m going to learn how to not be so hard on myself. I’m going to learn how to budget “fun” into my schedule and make it mandatory. I need to accept that saying no does not translate into being weak.

It’s a tough habit to break, but here’s to slowing the fuck down.