The phrase has seen a bit of a resurgence lately. You will be forgiven for immediately linking it to American politics. But populist hypocrisy aside, I have struggled with this phrase a lot in the past days for entirely different reasons.
You probably don’t know this, but I turned 30 recently. This has led me to reminisce about the past ten to fifteen years, and to realize how strikingly apt “fuck your feelings” seems to encapsulate it all.
While I’m sitting here writing this, listening to “Medio-Core” by NOFX, I’m pleasantly reminded of a period in my life that I like to call “peak edge”. You know, too cool for school, nothing matters, everything is dumb sort of thing.
Retrospectively, however, one could perhaps more fittingly refer to it as the “overwhelmed with everything” period, when puberty, feelings, and unmitigated nihilism combined to form a creature of ultimate suppression and aloofness.
In the years that followed, that confusion was slowly replaced by understanding. I discovered my strong capacity for empathy, which I now see as a likely reason for my reflexive suppression of everything at the start of it all. This is undoubtedly a success, although I’m under no illusions that this journey is over.
Empathy is great and important. For countless reasons, it is crucial to a well-rounded and happy existence and I am grateful for that capacity to understand others I seem to possess. But it has a flipside.
To be clear, a “fuck your feelings” is not a great approach when it comes to others. At best it’s a protection mechanism, at worst it’s ultimately life-denying. The issue that slowly dawned on me, though, was that by overcoming a “fuck your feelings” approach towards others, I slowly morphed it into a “fuck your feelings” approach towards myself.
In a nutshell, instead of far too readily disregarding the opinions and feelings of others, I far too readily disregarded my own. And this is where I’m coming full circle, I guess. Just in time for my 30th.
Sitting here, listening to “You’re Wrong” by NOFX, I think I’m ready to re-embrace some of that “fuck your feelings” energy – but in a good way. The goal, after all, is that the feelings and opinions of both others and myself are in a healthy balance – and nobody gets fucked.