How To Do Whatever The F You Want

…And Not Care What Other People Think (Mostly)

Or, how to use the crappy things that have happened in your life to really be yourself, and thereby be happy.


A Helpful Story (or Two) On Being Told ‘No’

A few days ago, in Facebook,  I posted something that prompted a friend to write, “How do you say things and not care what other people will think?”

It was meant as a compliment, and I took it that way.

But it also got me thinking, how did I learn to do that?

It was not inherent in me, this rebellious streak. It’s something I developed over time.

And this is how I think it happened.


1. I Never Got Asked on a Date In High School

This is true.
I was never asked on a date in high school.
Not once.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t go out.
I did. A lot.

And had a handful of boyfriends.

But I never was asked, I did the asking.

Every date I have ever gone on was because I asked the guy.

Because I figured, “the worst he can say is ‘no’ and I’m totally fine if he says that. It’s his choice, I get it.”

Some of them said ‘no,’ some of them said ‘yes,’ and some of them said, ‘yes!!!’ (which was always nice).

What this taught me about doing whatever the f-ck I want is that if I’m okay with the worst that can happen, I can be brave and do it. 

If I post this thing on Facebook, with an emotional title or phrase, and the worst that can happen is someone unfriends me, I can handle that. And so, I go forth and do whatever the fuck I want.

The flip side of this is, of course, what if you don’t like the potential outcomes, or can’t deal with them?

Well, then you can’t do whatever the fcuk you want.

Or rather, ‘whatever the fuck you want’ changes.
You move from wanting to do this one thing, to not wanting to do it, based on potential outcomes. That’s fine. That’s mature. Go find something else to do.


2. Haters Gonna Hate / Those Who Love You as Your True Self are the Keepers

When I was in high school (apparently I learned a lot there), I was in a church youth group. And one night, I started dancing wildly to Fishbone’s “Skankin’ To The Beat.”

Which is not exactly a church song.

Nevertheless, my dear friend, Melissa was digging it. She was laughing and dancing and having an awesome time with me. We went crazy and it was fantastic. Both of us felt totally alive.

Then she started the music again and invited the entire youth group to come watch us. We had fun again, but only a few others from the group joined in or clapped with us. Lots laughed or were bored.

What I learned was that some people- probably a small percentage of the whole of my group – were going to LOVE what I did when I was fully myself.

And a slightly larger group would be appreciative, or find it funny, or entertaining.

Another part of the group would not understand, or be bored, or be frightened.

All of these reactions are fine.
I don’t begrudge anyone their personal preferences (unless they hurt others).

The deepest lesson I got was that when I’m fully myself – not giving a fuck about what other people think – the people who are there WITH me are my tribe.
They love me.
And they love me being fully me.

As well, the rest of the people – and their opinions – I’m not going to worry about them.

Their opinions are important (and maybe I want to be sensitive to them in other situations, because I value tolerance) but I’m not going to give their opinions so much weight that it holds me back in the full expression of who I am.

If you’ve ever lost a friend, because of being who you truly were, you know this truth already.

When someone stops being your friend after you’ve done, said, or expressed something that was from your best, deepest, most true self – it hurts. Especially if you were close.

But you also know, if that person cannot accept the full expression of who you are, they are not really your friend.

And what good is it to have them around, harshing on your mellow?

If you have ever had a relationship end because of who you really were, you have the skills to do whatever the fuck you want.


dance like no one is watching artwork; almost the same as doing whatever you want

(This image is artwork by Kal Barteski- found on Google. You can find her work here.)


3. Self Love + Self Forgiveness

Not a high school story again. Yay!

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that being prepared for the worst and knowing who’s opinion does matter are important in doing what you want and living how you want to live.

And so is self love and self forgiveness.

It was one of the hardest, toughest, most painful lessons for me to learn to love myself. It took a lot of curiosity (‘how do I love myself, anyway?’)
and practice (‘well, I could like my wide grin, for a start’)
and therapy (‘I’m not crazy for feeling unloved as a child?’).

But I learned that self love does whatever the fuck it wants. Because self love activates the deepest sense of knowing who you are and what you’re about – and standing strong in that knowledge.

And when you are strong in knowing who you are and what you’re about, it doesn’t matter what the haters say. It also kind of doesn’t matter what the lovers say – it matters what I say.
And what I want.
And what I think.
And what I know about life.
And what I want for this world.


Sometimes,  though, you make a mistake.
And that’s where self forgiveness comes in.

Sometimes you do pick the wrong thing to say, or do, or express.
It upsets someone you don’t want to upset.
It gets you in hot water with the wrong people or organization.

And you have to apologize and fix it (if it’s fixable).

But you also have to forgive yourself for making a mistake.

And the mistake was not in doing whatever the fuck you want, the mistake was in mis-understanding the consequences of your actions (or not imagining potential consequences well enough).

And you have to forgive yourself for that.
You’re not perfect.
You’re a learning human being (at least, I hope you learn from this!).
And it’s okay to make mistakes in the course of learning to be who you are.

There have been plenty of times when I put something out on Facebook, or said something in a room full of fancy people, or danced a little too wildly at the wedding and it got me consequences I wasn’t anticipating.

For instance, hucking a Hershey’s kiss at a former boss, during a group skit about the editing process, was probably not a great idea. But I forgave myself and went on with life. (And the boss did not harsh on my mellow, thankfully.)


How To Do Whatever The Fuck You Want

1. Prepare yourself, as much as you can, for people not liking you doing whatever the fuck you want. If you can deal with the worst outcome, you’re good to go.

2. Who you are is who you are. And who you are is amazing (we need you!). If some people don’t like that, it’s fine. Plenty of people will support the true you.

3. Love yourself enough to be who you really are and do whatever the fuck you want. And forgive yourself when doing whatever the fuck you want backfires. You’ll live through it. And you’ll learn.

When you’re 19, doing whatever the fuck you want has consequences, but maybe they’re not as worrisome for your future. When you’re 39, the consequences can be bigger, but with some imagination and self-awareness, you can still do whatever the fuck you want- and make life truly yours.



The Masculine and The Feminine: Our Basic Instincts

Conversations, Themes, and Questions

I’ve been listening to a lot of conversations lately– in cafes, on Facebook, television, radio, etc. Some of it I actually listen to, some of it is just overheard snippets (cafe, library and the like). I’m also taking an online course about Feminine Power (I’ll share more details later – depending on how it goes!).

And I’m starting to get a sense of the basic instincts and questions that drive the masculine and the feminine.

[Let me be clear: ‘masculine’ does not equal ‘men,’ just as ‘feminine’ does not equal ‘women.’ The masculine and the feminine are ways of being and attitudes that we can use to look at the world. We all have a little of each inside of us. Which is important, useful, and necessary.]

Over and over, the underlying theme I hear in the masculine is: Can we do this?

The answer to which, almost always, is yes.

Yes, you/we/us/them can do this.

Build a ladder to the moon? Yes.
Let stock traders trade in whatever ways they want? Yes.
Make plastic shit until the cows come home? Yes.
Cure cancer? Yes.
Fight wars for misguided reasons? Yes.

We can do it!


Over and over, the underlying theme I hear in the feminine is: Should we?

The answer to which, almost always, is let’s think about it some more.
And, who would it help if we did?
And, who would it hurt if we did?


Build a ladder to the moon?
Okay, but why? And couldn’t we use that money for, say, education?

Let stock traders go rogue?
Um, no. We tried that. Several times. It doesn’t work. (And every time we’ve tried it, it hurts a lot of people. So, no.)

Make plastic shit until the cows come home?
No. Let’s use plastic responsibly.

Cure cancer?
Go Right Ahead. (And use all the plastic you need.)

Fight wars for misguided reasons?
No. Never again. (It costs too fucking much and hurts too many individuals and families.)


a masculine energy in blue and a feminine energy in red and oranges, sharing between them a whole energetic field

Basic Instincts

Listening to these various conversations and starting to see these themes, you get the picture that the masculine wants to push forward.

To make shit happen.
To get things done.
It imagines.

And this is awesome.

There are a lot of good things, experiences, and miracles we would not have without this desire to push ahead.

But the feminine concerns itself with how these pushes forward change the world for everyone. The question of relationship arises beyond the excitement of imagination.

It’s great to have a cool new cell phone every two years – look at all the fucking amazing things we can do with them. But what happens to the kid in Bangladesh who makes $0.11 an hour (or a day) to mine the minerals we need to make the cell phones?

The feminine cares about him, too.
(Would you want your kid doing that?)


Neither of these is better. They are both necessary.

But, we get better results (by far) when they work together and listen to each other. 

More grace.
More beauty.
More good.


Can we do this? Yes!
Should we? Let’s talk about it…



The wind, one brilliant day

This is from The Soul Is Here For It’s Own Joy, edited by Robert Bly. Worth buying.

The wind, one brilliant day

-by Antonio Machado

The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.

“In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I’d like all the odor of your roses.”

“I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead.”

“Well then, I’ll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain.”

the wind left. And I wept. and I said to myself:
“What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?”

– – – – –

Growing a garden, or just a flower, takes time and nutrients (soil, water, sun).
What flower is your life asking you to tend?



Divorce Meditation: The Death of a Marriage

The Mid-Life Divorce Stage

I am in that stage of life where many, many people in my circles are either contemplating getting divorced, in the process, or have recently completed the process. A friend’s recent announcement about this got me stewing on the topic: a divorce meditation.

I will say, it is a strange and unnerving thing for me to witness all these divorces. My husband and I feel, as keenly as many of these couples did, the hope to stay together over a lifetime. We revisit our relationship almost every time another couple we know decides to break up. Our communication and check-ins are probably not a bad thing, but we do find it somewhat distressing that so many around us are divorcing.

We feel saddened by the loss of their couplehood. We wonder if we’ve missed something that may make our relationship implode later on. And we know of the healing that must come if anyone is to truly move on- and what hard work that is (and how few undertake it).


‘Til Death Do Us Part (Right?!?)

When I officiate weddings (I was counting them up as I wrote this: it’s somewhere around 30 now), each couple is deeply in love and writes amazing things for their vows. They talk about the heights they have experienced and the depths they will go to in order to support their shared love, their relationship.

But I will tell you, in all honesty, there are some couples who I would bet money will not make it for the long haul. (I don’t judge and I don’t counsel: everyone has got their path, and the couple is usually so in love at that moment they would never hear my concerns or questions.)

One thing you hear on both sides of the wedding-and-dirvorce path is this: ’til death do us part.

We say it in the vows- that I will not leave your side until we physically die. That I will remain with you, through all things, until the last breath leaves your body. It is a wonderful sentiment and so very true in the moment.

I think that, if we’re really honest, we discover, further into the complexities of marriage, that there are actually plenty of times we feel like leaving. (My husband and I have approached this edge, with true intent of leaving, at least twice in our relationship. How couples deal with these moments says a lot about the health of the relationship.)

We also say it when the vows are well and over, as a threat: “You told me it was ’til death do us part!” We hold that phrase in anger and fear and throw it at our former beloved as proof of their weakness.

Quite the opposite of the vows.


A black and white picture of a dead dandelion and its flying seeds, a symbol of death and moving on


Death Is More Than The Physical

But what if ” ’til death do us part” isn’t just about the physical?

For most people I know, marriage is a union of much, much more than the physical bodies. It is about a union of hearts, values, and goals. Marriage is about a union of spirits and dreams and experiences. Marriage is also about creating and maintaining a strong and deep emotional connection, not just  physical support.

There are many examples of couples who loved their partner even after one had died. Their connection ran soul-deep, not just in this physical realm. Death did not part them.

And if we turn that idea on its head- the idea that the vitality of a marriage can extend beyond death- we can see that, in the same way that death does not part some people, different types of marital death (beyond the physical) can cause divorce.

For instance, what if the soul of a marriage dies?
Like life support, does it matter if the bodies go on living when the soul is dead?

What if the deep emotional connection dies?
Should we continue to chain ourselves to someone who cannot or will not share intimacy with us?

What if the mutual support– on any level- dies?
In our Western world, marriage is about the full development of two people, as a couple and individuals. What if support for full individual (or couple) development is stymied, ignored, or denied by our partner?

What if the shared goals, perspectives, or values change radically?
This is also a kind of death due to poor proximity. Long-distance relationships – which is what un-shared values point towards – are rarely sustainable.


We Can Only Live Into the Answers

I don’t have answers to these questions. And I know that each couple has to answer them for themselves (some will be able to come back from the brink, some will not).

But I know this for sure: the death of anything is not just a physical occurrence.
Death involves the spiritual, the mental, the emotional…and so much more.

A marriage can die under many circumstances, therefore. And when a marriage dies, under whatever circumstances, we need not tie ourselves to it forever. It is a blessing of growth to let it die and to let it go.



Modern Hymnal Candidate: ‘Lifted’ by Naughty Boy

One of the main tenets of my belief system is that the Divine is everywhere.


But most especially that Divine truths are hidden in everyday places- especially pop culture.

And so, with that in mind, I would like to offer up candidates for songs that should be placed in a Modern Hymnal. (Or, a Hymnal for Modern Believers? Well, either way…)

Such songs should express some long-held or multi-faith-tested Truth.
But they should make you dance.
Or sing.
Or want to laugh as you spin in a circle under a tree on a sunny day.

They should rock your ears and your soul.

With those guidelines in place, I offer the first candidate for this new hymnal.

It is ‘Lifted’ by Naughty Boy, featuring Emilie Sande.

(Actually, I should say, everything from the U2 albums “Joshua Tree” and “Achtung Baby” have already been included in the hymnal. Oh, and this mantra [which will be one of those songs everyone knows the chorus to and mumbles through the verses! Anyway…].

I just love this song. It speaks to both the light and dark of spiritual journey. And I love the images- how we feel we are dancing alone, but we’re not. It’s just gorgeous to me.

What do you think? Does it make the cut?

What makes the cut in your personal hymnal?
Tell me in the comments!