The Rise and Fall of "I Don't Care"5:24 AM
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.