This story is over 5 years old.

Girl News

Girls and Giving Up

Giving up and giving in to just being regular is like finding a new continent made of fleece.
April 6, 2012, 5:00pm

My face is so hot. I am so sick. Waking up, I knew my throat-of-knives would feel better in an hour, after I’d popped a cold Coke Classic (did you know that you can do the 90210 orig theme song anytime at all if you have two unopened Cokes? “Dunna dunna, dunna dunna, PSHHH PSHHH!”) but in the moment it’s just you and your hot head and your throat-knives, heavy on a pillow, being the fuck done with life. I gived up, I think, for now. Also heeeeey welcome back to Girl News after I hiatused forever, because while I was technically happy in an Excel-formula way, I was also shaking with some gnarly existential WTFs. Working felt like a hilarious, complicated joke.

Also: how long can you be “having sad times” or “going through something” or intermittently—like, three days a week?—spending six hours waking up and infinity more hours barely getting through your basic 9 to 5 stuff, and getting sick every week, and having allergic reactions to thinking, before the No Wave of moods climbs up on itself, all skinned hands and knees, from your subtext to your text? Because the A plot of the narrative of my month, and months, has become one of uncommon duress, a consuming blankness and a dangerously slippery knife-handle (different than throat-knives, which I just have because of this cold/flu/Paleolithic anxiety taking over my human self; ‘tevs, my mom is out buying me oranges right now).


So, wait, again: how long can you be sad and bored and done before you just… give up? It’s extra pronounced when usually you go like six, ten, 28 days as smooth as a cartoon bird. And it’s been much longer that I’ve been in the very plum-middle of being, like, “Wait, what?” all the time. I think it’s called “constant shock,” when your circumstances are so shittily-perceived-by-you that you just can’t fucking believe it. “Wait, WHAT?” A bad while used to be kind of fun because melancholy feels good, and then everything after is so much better, but then there’s this kind of time when there’s no after, when you don’t understand any choice or any reality as yours anymore, when you are literally repulsed by the way you thought you wanted to be. And then all your friends Gchat you like, “How’s that thing going?” meaning when you were irritatingly, averagely depressed-seeming (except, it’s not “depressed,” it’s “shocked”) and you have nothing useful to say about it. Giving Up is for when you arrive somewhere in your life that feels different to you than it is supposed to feel, I think. And you have to give up to care again, right? RIIIIGHT?


One thing that happens when you give up is you get real annoying on Twitter. Real, real annoying. Guess how many followers I lost today after I was all BUUUUUUUH? Ten! The good thing about not trying is when you’re like, oh, of course, there are reasons to try.



Since every aspect of American life except porno salaries is a stacked deck against girls there is an absolute imperative for non-dummies to be enraged every moment. It is exhausting, though. There are after-effects of toiling in the psychic and emotional fuckzone of stupid boys and Hunger Games-ing with every other girl and worrying about how much value lives in your titty geography, and so after a while of that, just… stopping, just giving up—not accepting, but not caring—is a Jacuzzi for your feelings. I stopped reading the news because my eyes started just being red and sour all the time from crying. I think of it, like, as a “soft coma.” You have to come out of it sometimes but giving up and giving in to just being regular is like finding a new continent made of fleece.


Deciding that I really like Zooey Deschanel’s hair and that she is probably just fine was giving up (on you-know-what, kool thing) and I don’t give a shiiiiiiiiiit!


The supposed way to happiness is to let everyone be who they are and be all zen garden about it and only worry about yourself, but doing that is also fucking ridiculous and selfish. On Facebook a girl I know wrote something about how she is going to think just about herself, and how she isn’t responsible for other people’s feelings. And while I get it, of course you’re responsible for other people’s feelings, unless you are, like, a claymation human instead of a for-real one. Maybe everyone being in therapy and self-helping themselves to boundaries and “I feel” statements is sort of good but also, it is supposed to be really hard to be a person. Do whatever you want but a lot of those attempts to outfox hurtie feelies is just giving up on other people.



OK here’s the rad part to cave your dimples in since everywhere else here/today/lately (DO YOU GET IT? I FEEL FUCKED UP) I have been a downer of military-dad proportions: increasingly I feel like I know the ending to almost everything. Like, a cute, white, neurotic, creative, city-ish smart guy asks me out? I can definitely tell you how that’s going to pan out. Ex-act-ly. But, so? It’s cool that I know that, even though what I know is just numbing and trag. So instead, how about not expecting much from anything and just kind of giving up and doing whatever you feel like, because there’s almost no way to be truly successful and satisfied in the way you thought you’d be at the end of it, and fuuurthermore when you look closely at everyone you know, all of them are making disfiguring compromises all the time and just faking their way through. !!! Just do whatever you want! Whatever! You! Want! It’s the best and only way. Related: since sex, drugs, food, alcohol, work, fun, and feelings are going to kill you anyway, just, seriously, do whatever. WHO CAWES?


The new show Girls is so good and so smart and that fervered WHOOOOSH you heard last night was the sound of the premier party, but the premise is this thorough distillation of how much girls give up on kind of everything, and just have sex with terrible guys inside a sexy cloud of contempt, and I guess it’s just that I’ve never seen it all done so explicitly before.



And wonder when you handed off the stick or the reins or whatever, and to whom, and why for the first time ever you’re not completely in charge of how you feel.


The scarier eventualities are the surest, so why not get right up close to them by indulging your sense of your own life being ruined (see above, re: everything you have created for yourself being incorrect)? Why not! WHO CAWES, REALLY?


Did you see girl’s new Tumblr? Did you see it while you were sick in a bed at your parents’ house on a sunny day in the suburbs? (Somebody come over and watch TVs with me.) Did it make you want to die a lil’, but also why not go back to Jamaica on vacay? Such heady lifespo.


Have we been over this yet? Have we gathered in a semi-circle and squatted close to the pavement (we’re rolling dice in this scenario) and talked about how freeing it is to STFU? Basically, a bit ago, some stuff happened (yeeeah, some stuff, roll dem dice) and instead of frantically assessing and reassessing it with everyone in my first string I just… didn’t. I just didn’t! It was revolutionary and I learned something about those terrifying men who keep everything inside: until you go fucking crazy, it works.


Spring should be mitigating in a thesis of giving up. A stiff breeze is more effective for motivation, change, giving-a-shit-ness than tens of thousands of dollars, than habit, than ambition. Which is why all this giving up—and there has been so much of it—feels OK. Because spring portends giving half a shit, and then maybe a whole one, and maybe even two. Because giving up isn’t for real or forever, it’s just a controlled forest fire, a way of being in it, bad. Do it long enough and you have to come out on the other side, scarred and coughing, but clean.

Previously - Girls and Porn

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateCarraway