The Rise and Fall of "I Don't Care"

5:24 AM

Whoever invented makeup needs a good spanking, and whoever instituted the cultural trend of wearing it ought to be hung up by her pink-painted toenails (as the Bergmann saying goes). Blush looks like sunburn. Mascara streaks the skin. Eyeliner pencils poke eyes out upon application. Eye shadow has the tendency to turn humans into raccoons. Lipstick is tolerable until eating comes into the equation. Actually, makeup as whole wouldn't be so bad were it not for the fact that we must blink, cry, sweat, sneeze, kiss, sleep and live.

That is my estimation of the whole matter after wearing it for less than two hours and doing nothing but computer work. Yes, I am seventeen, and no, I do not regret running around pimply, pale and free for that many years. It's a culture-shocking choice, but not for the usual reasons people shock culture. I have no scruples against wearing it. The only thing that held me back (besides scrubbing mascara out of my eyelashes every night) was this: I didn't want to become one of those girls who always made a point to apologize to everyone if their makeup wasn't done right, who went on for a couple minutes about it though I never would have noticed otherwise, who concluded their remarks with a light and confident (or tired and rundown), "I know I look scary, but I don't care."

I have enough self-esteem problems without worrying if my mascara's running or my lipstick's smeared. And the frightening thing is that most of the girls who say this are already stunningly gorgeous and confident and feel comfortable in public without their makeup. Those of us who don't fall into that category -- I don't even know what we'd have to say to justify our makeup-less presence.

In any case, it got me thinking (in an extremely roundabout way) how Idontcareism pervades society. We aren't really allowed to care or be bothered or speak true feelings. We're supposed to be confident, not vulnerable, tolerant, not passionate, sincere but silent. You can say anything as long as you back it up with "I don't really care -- doesn't bother me." It's not just in the makeup department. I hear this all the time: a long tirade against something followed by "but I don't care what you think. Whatever floats your boat. Won't hurt me." We care, but we don't. We're bothered enough to bring it up and then shrug it off. Tolerance.

In comparison to being hit over the head or slammed or pushed up against the wall, the "I don't care" line works. Thank God for someone who won't put me in a choke hold if I don't believe the exact same thing he does. It's refreshing to take a different road and tentatively ask, "You're offended, aren't you?" and hear, "What? I don't care what you do." It's freeing in the short term. It's nice to be left alone.

But nobody really wants to be left alone.

With so much tolerance nowadays, people stand comfortably at arm's length. Nobody bothers to check in on whether that religion or idea is working for you anymore. Nobody dares connect depression with bad habits or beliefs. Nobody speaks up when you're heading down Heartache Road. Nobody calls you out when you're acting out. Because it's not his life. It's not his business. He doesn't have to care -- and in the end, maybe he doesn't care at all.

More than people who tolerate, we need people who love -- people who have a genuine passion for people. People who believe in something bigger than their own personal bubbles. People who help out in the messy business of thinking through hard things, changing and turning around. People who believe in a truth that transcends their opinions and lives and preferences. People who care about you so much that they'll say, "I think you're wrong, and I want to help you."

The world is full of self-absorbed bigots whose only thought is to tear others down to build themselves up. The world is teeming with those who love to point out the specks in others' eyes and ignore the logs in their own. The world is also full of people who tolerate and don't care or care but don't speak up. The problem is we don't listen enough. The problem is we listen too much.

My life has changed for the beautiful because people got in my face and told me I was wrong. I have joy now because someone made me uncomfortable yesterday. I didn't always appreciate it; it wasn't always given perfectly; I usually wished they'd mind their own business. But when the offense settled to the bottom of the cup, the truth and the love shone through: Someone cared enough about me to ignore silent tolerance, to go beyond "whatever works for you," to love me so much that she put herself in a position to be hated.

I want to care like that.

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7 impressions

  1. Great post. :)

    And I'll give you a strong "amen" on the makeup discussion! I don't wear it and have no desire to (though it does drive me crazy that people assume I'm younger than I am because I'm makeup free. I want to look my age, you know?). The few times I've worn it for special occasions, the thing I remember most was not how pretty I felt but how uncomfortable I felt! I'm insecure and self-conscious enough, and I've got better things to do than worry about whether my makeup is smeared or not. Also, I think I would be one of those girls who, if I started wearing makeup daily, I would feel like I had to wear it anytime I went out. And I don't want to be enslaved to something like that, so I just refuse to wear it. :)


  2. You know I totally agree about the
    make-up. Sure I wear a little mascara
    but I hate washing it out and so most of the time I just go without it. I am thirteen and thank for posting that. Totally agree.


  3. This is SO true:

    "The world is full of self-absorbed bigots whose only thought is to tear others down to build themselves up."

    It's like we all have decided not to get too personal, because we don't want others to see how weak and unsure we are in so many areas. No one wants the world to know how much they go in their rooms and cry over hurt, confusion, and misunderstanding(thus smearing said mascara). I know I struggle with it.

    I want to care like that too, but it takes bravery, because most people nowadays don't want to go deep...they play it safe, keeping offensive subjects almost taboo. (and, like you said, saying they didn't care either way).
    It gets me too thinking about how much Jesus loved us when we did not care...and we can never care enough for Him! It's mind-boggling.

    Thank you for caring, Bailey.

    We need more people who care.

    (Hey, out of curiosity, are you OK with us in-confident girls who DO wear makeup? Because I wear makeup, and I have to add that I have never apologized for makeup not done right...I'm not constantly re applying, I'm not always running to the mirror.
    I think there are lots of us girls out there who can wear makeup and enjoy it without being obsessed...I guess what I'm saying is that it sounds rather like your against the wearing of makeup altogether. Are you? Or are you alright with people like me, who feel much more confident with a little "face-booster"?)

  4. This post started so light and frothy about the make-up I was really surprised where it ended up. You make an important point and one that is often ignored or denied, probably because, well, caring is *hard*. It is much easier, and safer, not to care. I particularly love your final line: "Someone cared enough about me . . . to love me so much that she put herself in a postition to be hated." Powerful stuff.


  5. Beautiful, Jillian...beautiful. You hit the nail on the head.

    About makeup...I really don't care. ;o) Just kidding. It's not makeup that bothers me (I wear it, after all) -- it's just the attitude of obsession and insecurity that saddens me. I think confidence and innocence make faces more radiant than eye shadow and mascara, but the latter have their place too, and it's up to individual girls to decide how they want to present themselves.

  6. very true thoughts! I wear a bit but not much (and if I ever do, I'm quickly told so! :)) but I love your humor. I get tired of the people that apologize about it! :) Loved how you ended this post! blessings as you continue to grow in Christ!

  7. I love makeup. I really hate the way my eyes look without makeup; I don't feel like myself. Maybe it's because I've worn it on a daily basis for the past seven years? I definitely have a lot of respect for girls that don't feel the need!

    And being apathetic is so much easier than caring. Putting yourself into a position to be hated.. sometimes I feel like the only thing I can do is pray. Other than that, I just sit and watch the trainwreck happen (a few of my friends make some pretty bad decisions). Of course I care. Do you just wait there to catch them when they fall, or risk killing a friendship?

    Tough choice.


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