I come from a family known for being open, fun, wild, kind and for usually telling it like it is. Now and then we throw out a shy offspring and immediately put them in a Radish Training Program so they can learn how to laugh into the wind and especially laugh at themselves.
On my Radish Family limb my beloved father, Richard, also taught us to stand tall and repeat this phrase, “Who gives a shit?” Oh, and also the word shit is not a swear word in our family. We were brought up to think of it as a cute little adjective. Mrs. McCall, every Radish kids third grade teacher, did not agree, but you know, who gives a shit?
This was not meant as an unkind way to respond to people because we were also taught to say it under our breath or when looking into the bathroom mirror. It was taught, I finally learned years later, as a way to realize what is really important about myself and life.
I care about how I look and what I do and yet there are so many things that no longer seem important. Yes, I am getting up there even though my brother Jeff is still older than me, but really I worked hard to look this bad. I am riddled with skin cancer scars, birds occasionally nest in my grey hair, I could use the bags under my eyes for flotation devices, I refuse to stop wearing the same pants and shirt that have adorned my body for three years, yes, I have a stomach now that I named Chardonnay, half my clothes will never fit again, I lift weights so the BMI index is full of crap, and my once-blond hair, blue eyes, and Denmark heritage mean it’s best just to keep most of my body covered at this point in time.
Except on those days when I don’t give a shit.
What’s important is all that stuff no one can see but surely can feel…kindness, strength, the ability to forgive and to be gentle with tender souls. A true appreciation for the gifts the earth keeps giving me like the stars and birds and how spring today smells like the soft face of a sweet lover. The daily phone calls with my mother and the other calls from my son and daughter. The laugh of a dear friend and the arms of all the others who hold me close even when they are not here.
Life is full of crap but we do not give a shit about that. I am urging you to let go of all that unnecessary “stuff” and to embrace my favorite adjective. You already know what’s important like I do, even though I sometimes forget.
Go put on something disgusting, drink some wine before noon, and then call someone you love.