Back in late July 2017, Congresswoman (Auntie) Maxine Waters gave us the clapback that we never knew we needed. Auntie reminded us that we have time that we need to be out here reclaiming and we mobilized as a mighty black-ass army to spread the phrase all over the interwebs. We circulated the hashtag and created songs, t-shirts, mugs, and the like to catapult this concept into the mainstream black lexicon but did we really actually stop to reclaim our time? I didn’t. But I am now. You probably should too.
Now, Auntie was reclaiming her time from white male mediocrity, something we all should be out here doing as much as possible. The black interwebs also offered up a slew of things we all need to reclaim our time from but in revisiting Auntie’s wisdom, I had to ask what/who was taking up a significant chunk of my time from me? There are the obvious things: work, grad school, laundry (Lordt help!). But there are also other, more insidious things that take up too much of my already limited time and something has to change.
If I was good at math, I could come up with a really fancy formula but in an effort to keep it simple: f*cks = life – time
The more f*cks you actively give to stuff, the less time you have but giving a f*ck in itself isn’t the big time zap for me. It’s all of the time-wasting thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that come with f*ck giving that actually drain me.
Ok, this is the part where I stray from my original post and get really real.
The day after I drafted this post in its original form, I became completely undone in a way that I’ve never experienced before. I was afraid for my sanity and, honestly, my life. I’m ok now with help from friends, family, and my therapist. I’m still actively working hard to keep this ship afloat and not go back to that place ever again. I’ve been struggling trying to figure out how to write about what I went through and debated writing a totally new post and shelving this one until it something happened that made it freshly relevant but then I realized that it’s absolutely relevant to what I went through.
My experience was directly related to a f*ck delegation overload. I was fresh out but I kept trying to give and give and give and I fell apart. Not only is giving a f*ck time consuming but it’s stressful af too! It involves caring about so many things at once often at the expense of your own happiness and sanity. What’s worse is realizing that the f*cks you’re giving weren’t even requested. There was no explicit request for them. I was giving them out due to my own hangups and ego. Needing to be needed. Wanting to be liked. Not wanting to be a disappointment. Not wanting to say no because it’d make me look weak. I was running myself ragged worrying about issues that were only issues to me.
Now I realize that what I need to reclaim my time from the most is myself.
Currently, this reclamation is being powered by epsom salt baths and The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. (Shoutout to Auntie Oprah’s podcast for putting this book on my radar.) I also plan to write more about my experience (perhaps it’s time to start writing my book eeek!). The time spent rehashing all of the factors that led to my undoing needs to be reclaimed and channelled into creating something that can prevent me and anybody else from getting to where I got. Whatever comes next, I know that something must come next. The shift in what this post was before and what it is now is glaringly obvious. Before, the this post was more light-hearted, less resolute. Being where I was two Sundays ago, feeling what I felt and then – even scarier – not feeling much at all makes this not just another great read, but a call to action.
If you’re reading this, hold me accountable. Randomly ask me what’s the last thing I did to reclaim my time. Then examine what you’re doing with your time. Question how you’re allotting your f*cks. Before you give a f*ck, ask who it’s important to (hint: if the answer is anybody other than yourself you probably shouldn’t be so quick to give it away.) Lastly, and most importantly, don’t ever waste your time justifying doing anything for you. We spend more time talking ourselves out of being kind/gracious to ourselves than we do before doing the same for others. It’s ok to put yourself first. Dorian, it’s ok to put yourself first.