Managing the fears that get in your way.
The scene opens. Our heroine sits at her computer, typing out an email. She is focused, concentrated. She finishes the first draft and then reads it and reads it again. She edits it. She removes her personal writing ticks (“
I think that we We should do X”) and adds her personal approach to Emailing While Female to keep the recipient at ease while (hopefully) maintaining her authority (a single “Thanks!” before her name). It’s as good as it’s going to get without obsessing over it (which is what her brain always wants to do but she’s working on managing that impulse). All she has to do is press send. That’s it. Just a quick click. Go ahead.
She sits there.
She checks the To and CC and BCC field three or four thousand times each. She goes to the bathroom to get some space. She rereads the email again. Her brain is starting to do that thing where she’s not very nice to herself while trying to get something done. That voice grows louder and Louder and LOUDER until it’s screaming at her to JUST CLICK THE FUCKING SEND BUTTON! She reads the email one more time. Just once more, she promises the voice. Then she rereads it again.
It’s not going to happen. Not on her own. Everything in it is perfectly reasonable and harmless and she still cannot hit that fucking send button. She calls in reinforcements. She texts her best friend to tell her to send the fucking email. Mouse hovering over the button as the order comes through: “Send it! You can do it!” She clicks before she can question it and whoosh, it goes out into the world.
I wish that wasn’t real. I wish it was just once that it happened. But emails are a place where it becomes so clear how much of an obstacle I can be to myself, even for the smallest things. And while the best friend method is awesome and generally available, I want to be able to do this on my own and have been looking for a method for years.
Then one day, I was scrolling around Tumblr and saw a post pondering why saying “Fuck it” often is the most helpful way to get yourself to do something. Another person responded that it was because “Fuck it” allows for the possibility of failure but encourages you to do it anyway. Gears started turning. (Side note: serendipitous Internet posts are a good 65% of how I find new ways to solve age old problems. #VivaLaSerendipty)
I started using it. Fuck this, fuck that, fuck it all! It was working better than trying to convince myself to do something. But I wanted to up it somehow. Make it more of a method than a saying; some way I could see how much risk I had been taking to overcome those obstacles. Then one day, it came to me (probably in the shitter or the shower): The Fuck It Bucket!
Before I get into this, I want to make clear that what I’m seeking to address here my own fear related to doing certain tasks and getting those “wrong”. What I am not addressing is anxiety or ADHD or depression or any other mental health category that may cause similar obstacles. If this method is helpful for those, hooray! But I reject any notion that people with these diagnoses need to “try harder” or some other bullshit aimed at shaming people for their medical conditions. Okay, now that that’s said, let’s fuck it up.
Whenever I notice resistance in myself to something that I know I can do or am facing my own issues with perfectionism and a fear of failure, I open up The Fuck It Bucket, decide how many Fuck It Points the task is worth, and upon completing the task, I give myself those points. My system is completely subjective. An email one day can be two Fuck It Points and the next ten. Asking for help from someone could be 50 points when I’m having a really perfectionist day and 5 points when I feel very supported by my community. It all depends on how hard it feels to overcome whichever obstacle I’m facing in order to accomplish the task.
And it has been life changing.
By confronting the smaller fears, I have found myself in less and less need of the Fuck It Bucket, though I keep a new one (currently, Under the Fuck It Sea) for whenever I need it.
The fears that once plagued the smallest of tasks, almost never cause me to account for them in my Fuck It Bucket. By facing them, and rewarding myself for doing so no matter the outcome, I have diminished their power. That’s it. That’s the method. Face a fear, fuck it, and grow. And when I find some of these fears creeping back in, the Fuck It Bucket is there to help me remember: I can do this.
How do you confront the smaller fears that get in your way? Drop a note in the comments. If you share your Fuck It Bucket, tag me (@creatingcarrie on Instagram and Twitter).
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