By Charlotte McDougald
Welcome! I’m so glad that you’re embarking on this journey. With this foolproof plan, you are guaranteed to be rid of all of the pesky emotions that get in the way of that exhilarating life you’ve been yearning for. A life with no cares, no worries, and definitely no attachments. What more could we all ask for? By following my personal journey and steps, you’ll be able to come out of this giving less of a fuck than you ever have before. Let’s get started.
Make sure you start out with no real attachments. Begin with two parents who work full time in New York City. You’ll spend the afternoons bored reading your mother’s self help books about love and sex and alcohol before you fully understand what any of that means. The pit in your stomach of missing will start to feel familiar, a passing cloud that you can swat away. You’ll learn how to do things yourself, and how to shut up when something is bothering you, because chances are, you can sort it out alone.
Get a boyfriend during the summer after eighth grade, during the summer before his senior year of highschool. You’ll feel uncomfortably cool most of the time, and a lot smaller than most of his friends. He’ll teach you about things like sex and weed and drinking and driving around at 2am on heavy heat-wave summer nights in a black Saab. He’ll whisper things that you weren’t ready to hear, he’ll try things that you weren’t ready to feel.
He’ll teach you what it’s like to be disposable, and you’ll understand that everything is a little bit disposable. Used once, and then one day, thrown away.
You should read Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot after the break up, and take it a bit too literally. This line especially:
“our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.”
There’s nothing like remembering that we live on a lonely speck in the darkness to remind us that nothing really matters. After this, you shouldn’t cry over something as meaningless as a boy again.
Develop a distorted dependence on all things that make life feel softer.
Like humor, because you should learn how to make everything a joke. It’s all pretty funny when you look at it from far away. You can learn that from your father.
And alcohol, to make the hard feelings go away for a night. Nothing can be that bad, or feel that deep, when you’re drunk. You can learn that from your mother.
Turn everything into a game, especially with boys and men. You’ll get the hang of this in highschool. Be the only girl who drinks herself into a blackout on a Wednesday night, so that way you don’t have to remember the horribly boring, sometimes painful sex with the random, gangly boys you hang around. Always leave their beds in the middle of the night, even if the feeling of their embrace makes you feel human, makes you feel whole for a second, makes you feel safe.
Untangle, unattach, get out.
Let go of fear. You’ll be afraid of a lot, you’ll be unsure of even more. Never show it. Soon, you’ll forget you even felt fear in the first place. Another cloud you can swat away.
Get to college, and do coke off of a washing machine your freshman year with the boy with the accent. He’ll fall in love with the way you don’t care, he’ll fall in love with the way you don’t text him back, he’ll fall in love with the way you move so effortlessly through life. And you’ll lie to him, and take Molly in a bathroom stall with a different boy that has his sister’s name tattooed on his wrist.
A few months later this one will slap you across the face in your kitchen at 3a.m. because he wants you to “FEEL SOMETHING!” (direct quote)
And you’ll laugh after when you’re alone in your bed, because everything is funny if you look at it from far away. Remember?
Move away for six months to a country on the other side of the world. Find yourself in the mountains and in the reflections of your face in the lakes. Lose yourself in the feeling of being a lonely speck, a tiny speck, a 21 year old speck in the million, trillion year old oblivion.
Take surf lessons, jump off cliffs, jump out of planes, meet new friends and fall in love.
I mean really, really fall in love this time. He’ll love you because you write postcard essays and poetry. He’ll love you because he likes the way you make him laugh in serious situations. He’ll love you because you smoke cigarettes and do drugs and that’s not like most girls he knows. You’ll fall in love with his sweet eyes, and his quiet calmness to your tangled up mind, and his gentle way of making you feel understood. You’ll love his innocent way of looking at you, his innocent way of looking at the world.
You’ll love the way he makes life feel softer without any distorted dependence on anything other than him.
You’ll be the bright shock of light that wakes him up in the middle of the night. But after a while, he’ll go back to sleep. And he’ll be exhausted.
And you’ll be alone at the first light of dawn. You won’t laugh this time, but you’ll swat it all away. Keep swatting it away.
You’ll want to stay in bed for days, you’ll want to bury yourself in a bath of tears. But that’s not what chill girl does. Get up, put on some concealer and mascara, a little dress, and take a shot of vodka. Sink back into the comfortable feeling of missing.
You’ve been here before, and you’ll be here again.
When your roommate sees you out at the pregame in between your second line and your fourth drink, she’ll say:
“I’ve never met someone who gives less of a fuck.” And she’ll laugh, and you’ll laugh back.
And voilà! Chill girl who doesn’t give a fuck.
Warnings and Cautions:
Readers should remember that there will be many bleak mornings with headaches that feel like they cut into the core. Readers should also consider that swatting away doesn’t always work. You’ll often find yourself waking up on a pillowcase stained in tears and stale mascara and you’ll bury yourself in the darkness of your bedroom, and in the aloneness of it all. You’ll feel drained and raspy from the secret tears you let go behind bedroom doors. You’ll lose your appetite, you’ll lose some friends, you’ll lose love. You’ll miss your mother and you’ll only crave to crawl into bed with her at the end of it all.
You’ll want to scream out, into the middle of a crowded night,
OF COURSE I GIVE A FUCK.
OF COURSE I FEEL SOMETHING.
OF COURSE I FEEL EVERYTHING.
Charlotte McDougald is a recent Chapman University graduate with a BFA in Creative Writing. She enjoys writing poetry, the personal essay, and fiction. The power of language has always inspired her, and she plans to continue her writing career in Los Angeles!
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