My Final Goal for 2015: I am Going to Not Care
This sounds rash. I know. But I mean it. One of my greatest flaws is my inability to not care about situations or people who set out to harm or otherwise negatively impact me. In 2015, I am letting that go.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to just be “carefree”. I like the goals of the “carefree Black woman” movement – to show that Black women do things beyond stereotypes like riding bikes, eating brunch, and hanging with friends. I’m just not overly concerned with perception here. I am making this goal an introspective, self-centered one. On purpose.
I definitely think we need to care about plenty of things like social (in)justice, economic wealth disparities, unequal access to healthcare, or increased unemployment across Black communities in this country. I plan to continue to devote my intellectual abilities to asking questions about Black women’s self-making and politics in this country. And, I don’t plan to abandon my research in post-racialism or media framing of violence against Blacks. I support the notion of self-care, but I am not seeking ambivalence here. Instead, I just want to stop caring about how others feel more than how I feel about myself. I want to stop caring so deeply for people that I support hostile or unjust social groups and institutions in the name of solidarity.
This is something I struggled with at my first job out of college. I had grown up adoring Disney. My favorite childhood movie was Cinderella. I knew all the words. I knew all the songs. And, when I was asked to interview on those hallowed grounds, I felt beyond honored. But, what I wasn’t prepared for – in my naiveté – was the fact that everyone working there was human. Deeply human. They weren’t princesses or princes. There were plenty of villains but no fairy godmothers. Well, maybe a few. In my blind devotion to the few people there who I cared deeply for and to the brand itself, I lost sight of myself.
I was miserable. I neglected my health. I neglected my relationships. I neglected my family. All of this because I cared so much about the Company and what the people there thought of me that I rationalized my increased distance from the things and people I valued most.
Yes, that was a long time ago. I’m not a 22-year-old ball of insecurity and nerves. I am 30 now. But, I still find myself in unhealthy situations simply because I care too much. The truth is, when some folks realize that you’re an over-caring person, they will see that as an opportunity. Being a Black woman in a society dominated by White heteropatriarchy, my bleeding heart is a liability. It’s an invitation for exploitation.
I can list out several instances where me caring about people made me do incredibly stupid things. I have bought gifts (that I couldn’t afford) for people I cared so much for that I was willing to go overdrawn. I have committed to attending outings with folks to support them even when they never showed a lick of support for me. I have even given money to people knowing full well they would squander it. But, hey, I cared, right? My inability to not care has set me up over and over again for failure. I’m not here for that anymore.
As I move into academia as a full-time profession, my goals of owning myself and discernment are important. But, I believe my ability to not care will be invaluable. They say, in any altercation, the person who cares the least has the least to lose. Maybe they are right. It is no secret that the most successful business persons in the world are often some of the shrewdest individuals too. Now, I am not saying I aspire to that. I just think there is some merit there.
We recently picked up our family of five, packed up our home in sunny SoCal, and moved to Illinois. The teamwork, patience, prayer, tears, losses, and gains enmeshed in that process have inspired a lot of thought for me. I simply don’t have time to waste anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. But, I am certain I don’t now. I can’t waste anymore time letting my heart-strings bind me up, hang me, or leave me stranded over a gulch.
I still love folks deeply. I can’t stop that. But, I can stop caring. I’m going to. 2015 will be infinitesimally brighter because of it.
Happy New Year loves.
I am very serious about setting goals each year. I have my overarching goals (listed above) and my task-based goals. I like to have self-improvement/introspective goals set separately from career development/external goals.
If you want to see my task-based goals on my Vision Board for 2015, follow me on Pinterest: @JennMJack.
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