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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Saturday
Nov012014

The Zero Fucks Club

I am bearing down on 38 harder than when I gave birth to my son at home and I couldn't be happier about that. Oh sure, there are some potholes along the way but all of those are of the physical variety, what's going on inside my heart and mind more than make up for the sagging tits or the way that, after three kids, my belly button isn't quiiiite sure what it's supposed to be doing: Am I in? Out? What is my purpose, WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME. Would it be too much to admit my vagina appears to be suffering the same identity crisis?

That shit's A-OK though because stuff is happening inside my head that cannot be stopped. Major, life-altering awesomeness that I keep getting glimpses of during my quieter moments and am now busily trying to lasso like the star of the damn rodeo.

I've got a few things to say about being a woman/mom/ex-wife and whatever other titles the world has bestowed upon the various stages of our fair gender. The thing about it is quite simply this: I know what I'm doing. Also? I have no fucking clue what I'm doing. That is to say, I know enough to know I don't know shit. And that's enough. If more people knew enough to know they don't know shit the world would be a far better place, believe me. The people who hit the highest highs in life are the ones who fake it better than the rest of us. They don't know more, they just do a better job faking it. The people who think they know everything are the most dangerous. Truth is, nobody knows what they're doing. Not even your mother-in-law, or your Great Aunt Edna who cannot shut up with the advice. Don't discount everything, there may be a few gold nuggets in Edna's dirt pile because she's lived a couple decades longer but don't assume. Look for the gems that make sense to you and toss the rest.

Zoom out. Google Earth-style. Long lens. Look at us going about our days. A massive herd of cows wandering around, bumping into other cows. Oh, we're going this way now? Gluten is bad? Ok. Wait, what? CrossFit is the way? That's the thing? Well, allrighty then. I'm doing it wrong if my kid still sleeps in my bed? Wait, he was never supposed to sleep in my bed? He's supposed to be potty-trained by when or I'm an abject failure of a parent? I've permanently damaged the light of my life if I do it this way? Ok. Wait, So, I can never smoke a joint again because I'm a mom? Oh, I CAN smoke a joint I just can't admit it publicly or I'm an unfit mother? What about alcohol? No at playdates, yes at a party in my own home? Even if my kids are present? I can't let my kids play outside anymore unless I'm there? Can I be drinking wine at that time? So confused. Who's making up the rules? You know who's making up the rules? Other dumbasses who don't know shit. A million Aunt Ednas and judgers, a couple money-grabbing 'experts' who write books and then live for giving soundbites to CNN and Today to promote said books are making up the rules and perpetuating them and making you feel less than.

Guess what? Fuck. Off. All of you. With your ideas and your suggestions and your finger-pointing and your fucking Pinterest pages. Oh my god, the Pinterest pages and carefully curated Instagram pages chock full of all the perfection in life that you will never attain, you failure, you. If a talking cake baked around a stuffed animal you hand-sewed yourself, including the beautifully crocheted scarf that adorns its neck, is what gets you off, makes you feel alive as a woman and a mother, then GO ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF. If it's your thing, cool. But the perpetuation of perfection is a social media crisis so if you're just doing it because someone else is doing it and she's doing it because she saw it on Sarah Jones' Pinterest page and Sarah's friend Emily put that shit on Facebook and everyone knows Emily is the best mom on the planet... Just stop it. Free yourself from the chains of Pinterest and the notions about what constitutes a good mother. Join the Zero Fucks Club and just live your life. Upon joining the Zero Fucks Club one of the first things I learned about myself is Pinterest Projects are not my game. I have no patience and the one or two "restoration projects" I did try turned out the same as pretty much every elementary school art project I ever attempted; a hot mess. And that's okay! I excel in other areas; I can drink a 6-pack and not turn into tearful, whiny, drunk girl (although it still happens from time to time) and I find that far more impressive than your stuffed animal cake.

Similar case with the endless online debates over how to raise our kids. The 10 tips for this bullshit and 7 ways for that nonsense. You know some idiot blogger wrote that shit for a couple nickels or for page views or their ego. You wouldn't give that person two cents of your time in the produce section at Walmart so why are his or her words from God's lips to your ears when viewed in print? Sure, read the damn article and maybe you'll score a few takeaways but view it at worst as entertainment and at best an opportunity to connect with someone else who, say it with me, HAS NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT THEY'RE DOING. Wanna know how I do it? I'm a Feral Parent. Let 'em do what they're gonna do/eat what they're gonna eat/wear what they're gonna wear while I try to ensure they don't die doing it and, sure, okay, teach 'em kindness/solid manners because that's the stuff that makes the world go round, not the age at which your kid should be reciting the alphabet or sleeping alone or eating an organic, Gluten-free diet of pureed peas. Life's too short to spend even fifteen minutes negotiating vegetable intake with my kid. Eat it, don't eat it, but that makes your hunger in thirty minutes your problem, not mine.

Let yourself let go. Everyone you're so afraid is judging you is just as worried about being judged. You got a thing for nose rings but you're not sure if they're tacky for 42? Fuck it, get a nose ring. Like wearing a shitload of eye make-up because it makes you feel powerful? Pile that shit on, yo. Completely over high-heel shoes because what the fucking fuck, who made those things, a dude? Stop wearing 'em. Only like to wear the color black? Get it on, sister. Love short skirts but feel like you've maybe reached a certain age where you might be too old for 'em? A 'certain age' my ass. Zero Fucks! Put that itty bitty skirt on and rock it out. Anyone that judges is locked in their own cage of self-judgment and you should care not for their two cents. What do you care about what they think, anyway? They don't know what they're doing either. In fact, the more intense the judgment from someone the worse they feel on the inside. Know this when dealing with assholes. It's not about you, it's all about what's going on in their solar system. Makes it easier to feel compassion while brushing off their judge-y bullshit like so much lint on your shirt. Besides, look at it the way I do sometimes; would you rather watch a movie starring you with your black eyeliner and short skirt giving zero fucks as the main character or Pinterest Mom? Case closed.

I urge you to sit quietly and just feel Zero Fucks taking over your body. Like a massage or the slow body burn of a shot of Vodka... Feel how liberating it is to no longer care what people think about you. Contemplate the days of your life wasted on caring what others think about your choices. I look back and giggle with the ridiculousness of all the hours I've spent worrying what people think about me to the point that I avoided parties, developed a pretty serious social anxiety issue and hesitated to even call my landlord if the water heater flooded the basement because I didn't want him to think I was an annoying tenant.

ZERO FUCKS. Feels good, don't it?

Say what you wanna say. Do what you wanna do. Live how you wanna live. Just be kind. Especially to yourself.

*Typed while drinking a beer at 11:27 AM because I give ZERO FUCKS about your predetermined drinking times and also it was the last beer left in the fridge after Halloween festivities and it seemed so lonely. That beer needed me. I am confident I did the right thing. And also I might be flirting with a complete breakdown so read this and take it with a grain of salt because remember: I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK I'M DOING EITHER!

To summarize:

Reader Comments (38)

Awesome, as usual. But also left me strangely hungry, for reasons that really can not be explained.

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChaunie

Welcome to the club!
I'm feeling at a point in my life as well where I want to stand in the street and scream FUCK ALL Y'ALL!

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Wow, what a difference a year makes!! Last year you were the one doling out the advice (while getting paid for your wisdom), and now it's a fuck it all mentality. Is this how your mother sounded when she started over again as a single divorcee? Sounds like the beginning of a mental, albeit a much needed, breakdown. Go on with your bad self. Every once in a while we all need a self examination of where we were and were we want to be, but it just seems a little hypercritical since you used to actually be the person/wife/mother you're now mocking.

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Jones

Sarah, if Pinterest projects get you off, super! I'm not judging or "mocking" and I think I made that pretty clear. Some of us excel at Pinterest projects and others prefer stuffing their faces with Chipotle while watching bad reality TV. Whatever works for you, is the point. Do what it is that works for you and stop caring what others think. Thanks for your really kind comment about my "breakdown" and my divorced mother. I hope you feel better getting that poison out of your system and am glad to provide the venue for you to do so.

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTheGirlWho

ah, i love ya, monica. don't know you in real life, but i've been reading your blog for years now. about some possible breakdown, i think you're stronger than you think. we all have to learn to handle our pain.

do what is good for you and keep movin' on.

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterash

You have beautiful kids, a killer new house and you are a kick ass writer.

Anyone else who thinks otherwise can fuck off.

keep on keeping on.

It doesn't matter what we think, but I think you are an inspiration.

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

This is one of your duller posts. Were you listening to Avril Lavigne?

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGet Yer Ya-Ya's Out

...and THIS is why I have been on a 'news blackout' since May. I couldn't take any more 'experts' or 'pundits' or any of that bullshit anymore. I somehow learn the important stuff and all the other DIN is quieted. I've got a book titled 'Gesture of Balance' next to my bed and I read/nap as I wish.I am tired of people telling us how to be, and especially sickened my the misogyny that continues, unabated (have you seen the video of the woman as she walks through the streets of NYC and all the crap she has to take from all those fucking men? It was on Mo'ne Davis' FB page-- a thirteen year old who seems wise beyond her years.

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

@Ya-Ya - Thanks for stopping by! Double thanks for taking the time to leave a comment even though it was so dull for you! It speaks volumes about your character and shows you really care.

November 1, 2014 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko

Yes! You know what's right for you and your family, and you're doing the very best at it. As someone heading down the separation and divorce path with a similar timeline, I appreciate reading your perspective. Thank you!

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Hahahahaha I love this post. And while I love Pinterest projects and fantasising about how awesome they will look, in my head, one of my favourite things to do is Google Pinterest Fails...go on...do it...it will make you giggle so much! The best thing about Pinterest projects is how ridiculously un-achievable most of them are for any normal human being :D

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTJ

I am just curious as to what this major, life-altering awesomeness is that is happening inside you? Can you elaborate on that? Inquiring minds want to know....

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterntk

Zulu Foxtrot. Been there. Gets better as you age.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGina

I apologize. Not sure why I'm letting your decisions irritate me. It's like you're a character on my fav soap opera and sometimes I get so irritated by the choices your character makes. Does that make any sense? Probsbly not. Sorry and good luck.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Jones

I've been a longtime lurker, but this morning you gave me some much needed laughter. Thank you!

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTawneowl

Try to focus on the positive comments rather than the negative ones, Monica. After all, there are zero fucks to be given. Just do you, boo-boo.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

@Lindsey. Very true. Yes.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

i will be 40 in a few days. i feel the giving zero fucks thing.....my life is going to change soon, my career is going to change and i have no idea what is going to happen or how to do it, but i do know this.....growing up means you acknowledge and realize you know nothing. that's it. i quit facebook 2 years ago and that was awesome. but i have to say i was with you up until you dissed pinterest...i love it and give zero fucks about your judgement about my pinterest use.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I've been a member of the 'Zero Fucks Club' for 25 years. I joined when I was 36 years old. Thing is; I find I have to renew my membership quite often. It's easy to slip back into the fucking 'gives a fuck club'.

That's okay though because the Zero Fucks Club has an open door policy and I can come back in an instant. :o)

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJust Jill

@Rachel I'm on Pinterest. I like it. My point was just that it can make people feel inferior and they shouldn't let it. That was all. No Pinterest judgment. Not that you give a fuck ;)

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

If you truly DGAF, why defend your day drinking? No one would know you're boozing before noon unless you offer up the information.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCantSkate

I'm having a fucking hard day, week, time?

Three kids, separated, dealing with heavy relationship bullshit, mother guilt, "I am ALL alone!!!" panic attacks....

I'm 31. Breastfeed for almost a decade (not the same kid, good god!) and have the sagging tits and big floppy cunt (sorry, I read that on a Berkley mom's thread about vaginal weights and I loved it...I have the vagina of a woman, she said, and then elaborated).

This made me feel brave while crying into a Buddhist meditation book attempting to get it together. Though crying feels so good. Don't do it enough.

Good for you w that six pack! I too turn less and less into a whiny little girl the older I get.

Keep on, Monica. Thank you.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

monica, thankyou so much.
although i've been screaming the same thing for awhile- i still need to remind myself daily.
we are all given the kids that we are because we are the absolute best mother for them. end of story. we all need to calm the fuck down and give less fucks!

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

Welcome to the ZFC! If you lived nearby I would have invited you over to our clubhouse long before now! I'm older than you (51) and I spent many years agonizing over what other people thought of me as a wife, a mother, a person. Do you know what good it did me? None. My mantra as a mother has been, "Do whatever you want, there's no hating here." The only caveats to my mantra were things involving blood, fire, or being unkind to each other. You want to eat pancakes for dinner while watching cartoons? Go for it. You want to eat nothing but PBJ pinwheels with a side of broccoli for an entire year? No problem. You want to wear that Spiderman costume everywhere you go until it's in shreds? Why not? The only way you'll wake up is if I bring warmed chocolate milk to your bedside every morning for SEVEN years? I'll get started on that. You're crying at 6 a.m. because you absolutely cannot show up at high school today? I'll call the office and tell them you're not well.

And you know what? My now 25 year old, 22 year old, and 15 year old children are perfectly happy and sane and feel secure. Their father and I did divorce some years back but we kept taking care of them and indulging them and we worked together and we did what THEY needed. You want me to drive you over to your father's house so you can give him a hug? Get in the car!

Looking back now, with all of them grown or almost grown, the only thing that truly matters to me is that I cared for the children. I nurtured them and humored them and talked to them and allowed them to express themselves freely and as a result they're decent people and they're not afraid to tell me the truth. I also think I've taught them to give zero fucks about a lot of things. Even when the house was a gigantic mess I told them, "Living things first." You take care of the people, the pets, the plants FIRST. Then you do the other crap. Dishes? I'll do them tomorrow. Let's tackle that homework. I presented us as TEAM (OUR LAST NAME). Like TEAM BIELANKO.

I promise you, even in the midst of your current family transitions, you ARE on the right track. Good for you! Welcome to the ZFC. Your children will eventually thank you.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline

'Feral Parent.' This should be the next big thing. Bigger than 'Tiger Moms' and 'Helicopter Parents.' I mean it should be HUGE. Great phrasing around an even greater concept!!

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

@jacqueline ALL OF THIS. YES. Favorite comment in at least a year. Thank you so much.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

I have only just encountered your site. And I totally get it. I am a mum myself and a partner and an ex-partner and generally just my own human person inside and outside and around all the other shit that goes on in my life. And I get Zero Fucks. I wish more people did. Well done you.

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrankie

You rock! Laughed through the entire post and loved every minute of it...and I felt less alone in my messed-up-but-trying-my-best life. thank you.

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJess

My SIL joined that club decades back, now the cats are her only friends.

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUtah L

I want to add something. Why are people so MEAN to you? I don't understand this. As Ani DiFranco says, "Someone call the girl police!" Whatever happened to the sisterhood? Where we all stand together and support each other? It would never occur to me to criticize an article of clothing you're wearing. Why would I do that? When I see or have seen a photo of you, this is what I think...She's going through a MAJOR family transition and has three tiny children at home including a baby (and PETS!) and still managed to get everyone where they're supposed to be and get herself dressed nicely and show up at work. TOTAL SCORE!

Do these people live in some kind of motherhood utopia where everything is neat and tidy and predictable and nobody needs support and kindness? Kindness is everything. It really is. Only unhealthy people poke and prod at other people's boundaries. Please don't let these types get in your head. You're doing a very difficult thing right now so congratulate yourself and keep moving forward. And wear whatever the fuck you want to wear!

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline

Oh, hell, YES. Count me in.

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather MK

Cannonball

There's still a little bit of your taste in my mouth
Still a little bit of you laced with my doubt
It's still a little harder to say what's going on

There's till a little bit of your ghost, your weakness
Still a little bit of your face I haven't kissed
You step a little closer each day
That I cant say what's going on

Stones taught me to fly
Love, it taught me to lie
Life, it taught me to die
So it's not hard to fall
When you float like a cannonball

There's still a little bit of your song in my ear
There's still a little bit of your words I long to hear
You step a little closer to me
So close that I can't see what's going on

And stones taught me to fly
Love, it taught me to lie
Life, taught me to die
So it's not hard to fall
When you float like a cannon

Stones taught me to fly
Love, it taught me to cry
So come on courage
Teach me to be shy
'Cause it's not hard to fall

And I don't wanna scare her
It's not hard to fall
And I don't wanna lose
It's not hard to grow
When you know that you're just don't know

It's not hard to grow
When you know that you just don't know

You sound angry and defiant. Threatened by all that Pinterest perfection that you abhor.
The zero fucks club is for people with a calm and centered stance - who do their own thing and don't paint their sixpack-drinking ways in a defensive shade of badass.
We all give fucks. We're social animals. We should step back and gain perspective and all that, but we shouldn't give a fuck that we give a fuck, I think.
Not that I like Pinterest.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

I admire you for being so honest and raw about what is going on in your life. Hang in there.

November 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjo-jo dancer

"Someone call the girl police!" I love that song. http://xmastime.blogspot.com/2010/05/me-goldfish-horny-chicks.html

November 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime

Just discovered your blog. Stalked the archives to get to speed. I love the rawness of your text. Life is messy. Relationships, people, don't fit into neat little pinterest boxes. Hate reading what you're going through, but appreciate your honesty. This is what feelings actually look like. You've inspired me to start blogging again. Maybe even setting that box to public this time instead of private. Thank you.

November 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDelicateFlora

Just read this and love it! May I say that I dont give a fuck about what any of you think about me, but I do give several fucks when people are mean, especially to my daughter! And to those few, I will say FUCK OFF, because monica is a badass, but also very kind, and would never say it.... But mama will!

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermama

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