I have a Facebook friend who is unconditionally self-governed. Her favorite two words are “fuck ‘em.” Before we became acquainted — and I say acquainted because I haven’t actually met her — I would never utter even one small expletive on my wall nor in any of my Facebook groups. It never seemed particularly necessary, and I was always afraid of appearing too unrefined. Of course, in private messages to friends, I would swear and say things like “fucking bastard LOL,” but after all, that was private. What I found was that every time I’d say “I could or would never,” that it would set me up for doing the “never.” “Oh I could never love a dog or dress a dog or even take a dog everywhere like all those crazy dog ladies” and “I could never let myself lose control and gain too much weight” and “I could never fall for a married man” and “I could never live alone again.” Every single time I said that word “never,” I would do the “never.”
So this story is about exposing myself, coming out, being myself no matter what the consequences. It’s about freedom and determination to be who I am and who I want to be. Back when I was in college and worked at a restaurant with a group of other college students, I remember going to the beach and later going back to someone’s apartment to hang out some more. I also remember feeling displaced, not belonging. I wasn’t treated differently; in fact, just the opposite, but I felt that I didn’t really fit in with the others. I would stand there and look around the room and think these people have no idea I’m feeling anxious and introspective. They think I’m one of them because I look the part — — pretty, sociable, funny, but not too bright (the way we were taught we should act so boys would like us).
I have no idea what became of that girl, but she‘s gone. She learned to leave when she wasn’t having a good time, to ask for another table if she wasn’t pleased with the first one, and that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as she treats others with respect and lives by The Golden Rule. She learned that she can absolutely fall head over heels in love with a dog, gain unwanted weight, yearn for a man who wasn’t hers, and live happily by herself. She also learned that although it can be pretty frightening to write a story for the world to see, it can be undeniably exhilarating to be autonomous enough to click send. She is genuinely grateful to her Facebook friend for showing her that it’s all right to say “fuck em”and be proud of it, too.