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Not giving a shit and having no fucks left to give. Two popular phrases, and two phrases that have likely been uttered more since 2020 than in the entire existence of the English language.
We often use these terms interchangeably. You're over it, you don't give a shit, you don't have any fucks to give on the matter. But these two phrases actually have two different meanings and the nuance is important.
Guess it's a little late in the piece to warn you that swear words will be used. But I figure you’re a grown-ass woman, you’re not only old enough for such words, but you’ve also lived such life experiences where such a foul word was the only appropriate thing to utter.
We, my friends, are of an age where we have earned the right to swear and the maturity to choose whether or not to use it. And that choice leads us right into the difference between not giving a shit and having no fucks left to give.
The difference between not giving a shit and having no fucks to give is another four-letter word.
Not having fucks left to give is when you stop caring what others think.
Not giving a shit is when you stop caring.
See the difference?
It’s easy to stop giving a shit, especially this year. What’s the point, who is going to see us? Who cares?
Not giving a shit can be freeing… at first.
But what you find is that when you stop giving a shit, you stop giving a shit about yourself. You don't care about the opinion of others but also stop caring about your own.
When you have no more fucks to give, you stop living life for others. But you’re still living. In fact, you’re thriving. By running out of fucks for others you’ve found you have fucks to give for your own happiness.
When you don’t give a shit your hair goes gray because what’s the point of coloring it? No one cares what you look like. You have nowhere to go. No one will notice. It doesn't matter. You have no one to impress.
When you have run out of fucks, you go gray because you choose to. You make this decision for yourself, whether or not others will see it.
When you don’t give a shit you may stop buying new clothes. Who cares? You live alone, or your household also doesn’t give a shit what you wear. It doesn’t matter, so why spend on it? It kind of just happens.
When you stop giving a fuck and stop buying new clothes? You're making a decision. It may be a financial decision or an emotional one. Maybe it's because you care about the environment or labor practices or maybe you're challenging yourself in some manner. The difference is that you care enough to decide.
These two perspectives on these two different acts will look the same on the outside. That person will still be walking down the street with roots down to their earlobes in a faded sweater. The difference, and what truly matters, is self-care. And self-care is damn stylish.
Style isn't what you wear, it's how you wear it. It's how you walk into a room, or how you choose to not even enter the room at all. It's how you merge what's inside with how you appear. It's not about appealing to others, but appealing to yourself.
They often say the most stylish thing you can wear is confidence, but confidence can be false. That’s something you learn when you become a grown-ass woman. You can likely recall those times you felt confident AF but in fact, you were running on fury, or on vodka, on power, on fear, and often on fumes. With those life experiences that justify four-letter words, you begin to learn that the most stylish thing is not confidence but self-care.
Self-care isn’t bubble baths and bottles of wine. Self-care is making yourself a high priority. It’s remembering the oxygen mask theory: you can’t help others if you don’t first help yourself. Self-care is taking the time to understand your body, even if you two never become friends. It's learning who you are, where you are, and what you're doing, and if you don't like what you find out, changing the story. It’s giving fewer fucks about others and deciding to use that time and energy for the person who truly deserves it – yourself.
It’s easy to slide from running out of fucks to not giving a shit. It’s like a friendship or relationship, such a way of life requires attention and it requires care.
A person who has no fucks left to give is in fact, a very caring person. It's just a person who doesn't waste their time on what doesn't matter.
In December 2017 I quit my job in Corporate America to focus on blogging full-time. When sharing that news here on Wardrobe Oxygen, I wrote this piece and within it, this paragraph:
Not giving a shit is passive, running out of fucks to give is active. When you run out of fucks, you make a decision, and just like quitting something, you are initiating change. And just like quitting what is unhealthy or unproductive makes you a winner, running out of fucks makes you care about what is most important, and that is stylish.
The past few years had me questioning a lot. I questioned my purpose, my job, my value, my actions, my beliefs, my shopping habits, my past, my priorities, and my personal style. I went through highs and lows of not giving a shit to not giving a fuck to caring too much about what doesn't matter to finding small moments of it all aligning and finding growth and self-care.
I think many can relate to this. And I think that when you look at what life has thrown our way the past few years, how we've handled it has a lot to do with care. Caring for others, caring for the environment, caring about the future, caring about ourselves. Caring is stylish, and caring prevents one from not giving a shit.
Here's to having no fucks to give but still giving a shit. Here's to wearing what makes you feel authentic, knowing that's a hell of a lot more stylish than what any magazine or website tells you is a must for the season. Here's to not having it all figured out and possibly questioning even more after the past few years. And here's to looking forward to the journey toward the bliss of having no fucks left to give and doing it in style.