The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: The F-It Stage

September 6, 2009

The F-It Stage

I'm not sure how I got here, but I'm officially in the F-It stage. Yes, F stands for exactly what you think it stands for, as in, "Starts with an F and rhymes with duck."

I'm at the point where I actually no longer care. I have decided that enough is enough. I have decided that consequences should be played out. I have thought, more than once, "If this is how it's going to be, fine. F-It. I will not fight this. Let it be. If it's ugly, let it be. If it's petty, let it be. If it's painful, just let it be. If it's stupid, just let it be. If it shows the meanest, most disappointing parts of human nature, let it be."

Is this the point in the grieving process known as "acceptance?" I find that hard to believe. This doesn't feel like the ease and relief of letting go. This feels like death. Death of believing the best. Death of wanting the more excellent way. Death of hope.

And yet, F-It has its benefits. It's been incredibly liberating to not have to care. It's been a relief to do what needs to be done. It's been freeing to do what is best for me with precision and what feels, oddly, like callousness. It's allowed me to step forward, stand up, and raise my formerly downtrodden head. It's been a great shield to fend of accusatory voices from both the present and the past. So you think that, do you? F-It, I don't care.

Truth be told, it actually feels pretty great right now.

In my journey of healing, I've found there to be a thin line between protection, and self-protection. In protection, we fight and stand for life -- our life, to be more specific. I believe that God has made each person with a desire for whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, anything of excellence and anything worthy of praise. Whether or not we know it, we crave this in our lives. Whatever threatens these will naturally make our hair stand on end and make us go, "NO."

But this is a fallen and broken world. Our God-given tendency to reject anything that threatens the good, pure, lovely and praiseworthy can so easily be turned on its head. In self-protection, we fight against life -- the hurt, the pain, the damage that life on this earth inevitably brings. We assume that life is something bad, something to be cautious about, something to be held at arm's length because of the many dangers. But in fighting against life we also shut out the wonderful and glorious things that life could bring, the love and grace of those around us, the touch of God, the joy of believing in and hoping for the best.

The thing about self-protection is that if done well, it looks a lot like protection. There will only be a subtle difference seen by a very perceptive few, and known to only you. I can say this with much confidence because I've masked self-protection as protection with great skill. I did it for years.

This is why I worry about this F-It stage. The stage has its purpose, but over time may be more costly to my soul than I'd like to think about. Sure, tales of the F-It stage are hilarious when shared over Happy Hour cocktails and finger foods. Sure, the F-It stage inevitably garners responses such as, "You go!" "Don't let The Man get you down!" and "Good for you!" But every time I hear that, I wince a little inside and wonder, "Is this really good for me?"

For now, the F-It stage may have to be a coat I put on once in a while, like the fancy coat I pull out on rare, cool Los Angeles evenings. F-It may get me out of bed and out the door for now, but it can not be what sustains me.

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