There is, perhaps, no word in the English language more controversial, beloved, and hated than “the F-word.” Spend 5 minutes in a room with me and you’ll hear it used 6 ways. I effing love it. It’s sharp, serious, frank, and disarming all at the same time. I simply love “cuss-words” as I call them: swear words, potty-mouth, bad language.
When I was a kid, it was taboo. There was nothing more serious than saying a bad word. It stressed me out so bad that I used to take long walks to the park, stand in the middle of an empty field and shout as many bad words as loud as I could. It was suuuuch a freaking amazing release. And to think! I know so many more bad words now! Jeez-Louise.
Ah, dang. Well, it’s an odd duck story about me being a weird loner kid. And, I grew up to be just as strange. No use in hiding it. My co-workers know it and after a fun work party, they left me a gift on my desk—really, they meant it as a gift because they knew I would love it—since I admire the f-word so much. Being a tech company, our office had a lot of social media queues at various stations around the office. At the frosted cupcake stand, we had bright pink, swirly letters that said #frostyourself. So, naturally, I came back to work to find #FYourself spelled out on my desk. Hashtag love it!
This sign has been on the wall in my bedroom since I kicked my good-for-nothing POS ex-husband to the curb over a year and a half ago. It gets weird looks from the furniture delivery guys and lucky visitors who see my room for the first time. #FYourself …welcome to Lindsay’s room. Please make yourself at home.
And no, it doesn’t hang above my headboard like some ode to S-E-X. It’s on the opposite wall so I see it first thing when I wake up and right before I fall asleep at night. And, here’s what the F-word has come to mean for me in the last year and a half…
Since you vanished inside another person. When you’ve finally found a way to sleep again, alone. When you’ve slept for too long and you’re ready to get back out of bed. When you have to face another day and define yourself as the person you want to be, on your own agenda, taking care of yourself, because there’s no one taking care of you. Find yourself in what you love, not in what you hate, or in what others put upon you.
Of the burden to prove to yourself that it happened. That you’re not crazy. That you’re deserving of love. That good things can happen.
Listen to your intuition because you were right when everything felt off and you were being lied to. Follow your hopes and dreams because they aren’t stupid. Because it’s OK to have feelings and it doesn’t mean that you’re weak. It’s OK to choose love and compassion. There’s nothing wrong with you.
For not knowing what you didn’t know before it happened. For trusting. For putting your heart and soul into the wrong person and getting hurt. For trying again anyways. For grieving for the loss of your mother and not having a timetable to share with people for when that’s going to stop. For being vulnerable and authentic and then being surprised when you found out that other people aren’t like that. For expecting it, still, anyways.
Let go of who you tried so hard to be for someone who kept moving the target. Forget all the mistakes you made when they weren’t even keeping score. For how much it hurt to be forgotten, then replaced, so easily.
Learn what you can and try not to let it destroy you. Learn to ask for help even when it’s hard, since, you’re so used to being let down every time you’ve asked before. Even when you’ve overcompensated in the past and helped others (to a fault) in the hopes it would come back to you only to be further disappointed in yourself for trying so hard.
What you feel like eating and make sure it’s good for you. Don’t feel bad for not wanting to be part of the group or for not being able to be around drugs. You’ve seen what they did to your marriage.
Like a laser: Decide what you want. What you’re worth and what you deserve. Let nothing stand in your way or stop you. Your values make you sensitive, sure, but they make you who you are. Don’t let anyone change that. Go for what you want and never settle for the stupid sloppy seconds.
And, when it comes down to it? If it means waiting and being alone, without a solid tribe?