I am at the very threshold of giving away all of my fucks - just letting all the fucks go. So close. Can't quite seem to reach the jumping off point. The Desperate One is still in me, always whining, sometimes screaming: like me love me approve of me PLEASE. I need your approval and love like I need air. I know we barely know each other but LIKE ME. I know you've treated me abhorrently, but I NEED YOUR APPROVAL. I know you used to be my best friend and have now rejected me since I changed my mind about how I view the world, but all I want is for you to be ok with me, ok? LOVE ME.
I know you comment on my appearance and weight every time you see me, and I see the disapproval or condescension if I've gained weight or am not wearing what you think I should be wearing. I'm aware you judge me based on how I look and dress but please, you have to approve of me or I'll crumple up and never recover.
I see you eyeing me like the object you think I am, one you would like to possess, and I hear the catcall and the whispers of invitation as I walk by. I'm highly uncomfortable by it but I don't want to hurt your feelings, and your approval of me is more important than my self-respect and pride.
I know you make inappropriate sexual comments about and to me, you assault me with your words and that creepy hug. But God forbid I hurt YOUR feelings or make YOU uncomfortable by telling you to STOP.
The Desperate One begs to stay with me, warm and comfortable yet tearing at my soul like deep splinters of brokenness and lostness. The Desperate One inside is as she has always been, trying to mold me into the sweet girl, the nice girl I've been told to be. "You be a nice girl, you hear? Yes, I know he treats you terribly, but look at the good things he's done for you. You be nice and things will get better."
"Be quiet and stop that crying. There's nothing to cry about."
"Yes, I know he sexually abused you, but we musn't ruin his family's lives, so let's just keep this to ourselves."
"You're sad? Stop crying, it's too uncomfortable for me to handle. Be a good girl."
Be quiet, stuff it in, be nice, other people's approval is more important than your actual feelings.
Except...those are voices from the past. Real voices, to be sure. They still live with me but they no longer need to rule me. And here I am at the threshold again and again, ready to shed all the fucks I cared so much about, the ones that have controlled so many facets of my life until now. And it hits me how much of my life I've lived this way...dear God, what kind of example have I set for my daughter? Please don't let it be too late to show her how to let go of her own fucks. Can she start shedding them decades earlier than I did? And a line from a beloved favorite movie of mine and my daughter's comes to mind, from a beautiful good witch telling the bad: "Oh, rubbish! You have no power here, Now begone..." The fucks have no power here.
Melissa Hammack is a writer who is learning to be ok calling herself a writer. She's pretty sure she is descended from fairies and unicorns, and tries to live accordingly. In her everyday life, she is the slightest book fanatic, movie-lover, and filled to brimming with adoration for her wife and young adult daughter.