Gangster Rap and the F*%^ it Phenomenon

After having Wallace, I suffered from a minor identity crisis.  Completely letting go of my physical self was traumatic, albeit expected, but I also parted with some things that weren't anticipated.  I stopped drinking in excess and with college nicknames like "Jamie Barfer" and "Blackout Barker," you know drinking was deeply imbedded in my world.  I cut off my hair and started wearing only vintage men's wear.  This drives my husband crazy (in a bad way) but this clothing fits really well on my postpartum body.  I have grown a really thick layer of skin on the bottom of my feet, which I thought only happened after you turned 70.  I forgot what I enjoy eating because my diet was so drastically different when I was pregnant.  I have discarded all of my padded bras and went from an A to a DD to a (low) A-.  I started caring about what others thought and became self conscious about insignificant things while at the same time, have never felt more confident in who I am.  The letting go and holding on has been confusing but one part of my old self that has recently returned is Gangster Rap and suddenly, I have been revisited by the Fuck It Fairy. 

If you aren't familiar with this particular fairy, that's okay because I made it up as I am a real sucker for a good alliteration.  Although Fuck It Fairy doesn't qualify because technically "It" doesn't start with F, I liked the flow, so threw it in.  I digress, back to Gangster Rap and not giving a Flying Fuck.  A month ago I started listening to rap on solo car rides and gradually my outlook has shifted and my confidence is returning even though, nothing notable has changed.  I still drive a Pruis and wear my dirty hair underneath an over-sized sunhat but somehow, I feel hard.  Maybe it's because my hair is finally grown out but I have got my swagger back.  Rap music has also helped me hone in on what's important.  First, one of my favorite takeaways from rap is the emphasis that is put on family.  Your family members are the only people who will truly be there on your darkest days and while I hope that all of you make some lifelong friendships as well, just know that your blood relatives are you true ride-or-dies.  Rap artists also do a great job at calling out phonies and people who try to bring them down.  This is perhaps one of the most empowering parts about the music because at the end of the day, very few people actually matter.  I mean people matter of course but like really, really matter to the point where we should take their criticisms seriously, that list is very short.  If you've got people around that don't appreciate you, fuck it, doesn't matter, keep it moving.  Find yourself a group of homies and stay loyal to them (thanks MXB).  There is an aspect of rap, the sort of FTW mentality, that I don't completely subscribe to but can definitely get behind in some capacity.  I feel that there are so many things that do matter, that it's not as much FTW as it is FTPSTDM (fuck the petty shit that doesn't matter).  Because right now, we need to stay focused so if I spend any energy on people or things that don't, it's a complete waste.  However, if I spend energy on positive change, it will come, I am working with likeminded people, and being a force of good.  It's also very liberating to limit who and what you care about and feels good to remove a few things from the worry list.  

I must warn you, the liberation that comes from the Gangster Rap Fuck It Phenomenon can be overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of living for yourself without trying to please others, it raises happiness levels immensely.  I used to watch this R. Kelly video when I was in my 20's and my favorite lyric was "what they eat don't make us shit," and I have always felt a special connection to this sentiment.  I have spent a considerable amount of time worrying about others and at the end of the day, none of that matters.  Not giving a fuck is probably the best thing you can do for happiness.  You are more compassionate with yourself and others quit expecting from you.  You'll will still get judged because that's how humans are, but it's your new nonchalance that will take the power away from those haters.  Want to wear pajamas everyday, me too.  Want to eat the cake at the party but can't find a fork, we were made with hands, please dig right in.  Want to indulge in some meat when you claim you're a vegetarian, more power to you, your body is probably telling you exactly what you need.  The point is, if people don't like it, who cares.  You do you.  

I often quote one of my favorite books in moments of social insecurity and as Dr. Seuss would say, "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter."  Love your family, find your people and stop giving a fuck about everything else, it simple doesn't matter.   



How do you stay present as a parent?

Since the elections results came in and the new administration started making drastic changes, my phone has been a non-stop distraction machine.  Sure, social media has been a time-suck since it started but now, with news too compelling to ignore, what used to be mindless meandering has become very time consuming and as a result, I have not been a present parent.  In my case, everything starts with a simple news update.  Then like clockwork, boom, message, boom, response, and suddenly, I am at the beginning of the rabbit hole.  Before I know it, Wally is unraveling toilet paper in the bathroom and I am brining the bad news out of my phone and into my home.  I overreact to Wally, who is only trying to get the attention he deserves and am not the best mother I can be.  It's hard to remember this, but our children have no idea what is happening in the world and we can either choose to create a safe space for them or we can bring the outside in.  Too often I choose the latter so have been looking for inspiration on how to create a more peaceful living environment.  

A few weeks ago I attended The Early Riser Companion Workshop, and it completely brought this idea home.  There are many things that feel out of control right now but we do have control over our home.  I can control how I wake up in the morning and establish a high vibration for the day.  I can filter what comes inside our home and choose to focus on Wallace while I am with him.  I can leave my phone in another room, so I am not tempted to check it and I can restrict my phone usage altogether.  To help each other, Bryan and I have also started giving out subtle reminders to leave the politics for after bedtime, so that while we are with Wally it's light.  Somedays are more difficult that others but this is something that I am being mindful of, because if the next three years are anything like the past three months, it's going to take a lot of work to keep the peace inside our home.  Deep breath.

These are just a couple of ideas that I am implementing to try to stay present while I am with Wally.   

What about you, do you have any ideas on how to be a more mindful parent?  Leave a comment below.