The “normal” systems you have in place, the social rules you’ve forced upon yourself, the standard frameworks—they don’t work when answering a question like this. You are forced to shed artificial constraints, like shedding a skin, to realize that you had the ability to renegotiate your reality all along. It just takes practice.
Start your DGAF project today
A DGAF (Don’t Give a F—k) project is a project you do, on purpose, to flex and strengthen your DGAF muscle.
Did you even know you have a DGAF muscle?
That’s right. You do. Or something similar. Let’s call it a muscle because I’ve taken a serious vow to not look up random things on the Internet when I’m writing and I can’t remember the name of the brain-section that governs this sort of thing so just pretend it’s a muscle, okay? Okay.
The DGAF project is about learning how to let go.
“How to let go of what, Annie?” you ask. I’ll let Katniss answer for me:
LET GO of E V E R Y T H I N G that SLOWS YOU DOWN
Why not? It’s only slowing you down. It’s not stopping anything, only delaying it. And in that delay, there’s tension. There’s internal conflict. There what you want, and then what other people will think.
How often have you let what other people think stop you completely from doing and being what you want?
How often have you let that kind of anxiety slow you down, make you hesitate, freeze you in uncomfortable tension, hold you down with indecision?
Why delay the beautiful eruption of your mighty being? It’s inevitable. Self will be self. You’ll get there sooner or later. Might as well be sooner, huh?
A DGAF project is a fast-forward button on the process of learning not to care what others think about you.
It’s about expanding your comfort zone by forcing yourself to push against the edges of it, burst through the invisible wall it creates, and find yourself still alive and whole on the other side.
“HOLY GARGOYLES!” you will exclaim. “I DID NOT DIE! THIS IS FABULOUS.”
There are many ways to do a DGAF project, and many kinds of DGAF projects that you can do✹:
You can make it something specific to the areas you’re most afraid of, and force yourself to face some major fears.
Or you can go a little more gentle into that good DGAF night, and choose an area that’s less intimidating. Baby steps are still steps, and they can get you far.
Huh, well, I guess when I say “many kinds” I actually mean two basic kinds of DGAF projects: 1) jump right in, headfirst, plunge into the deep, or 2) baby-step for a while in the shallows.
Both are excellent.
One of my favorite DGAF projects is very simple and very effective. I call it DGAFWPT (DGAF What People Think). It’s pronounced da-gaf-whoopt. Here’s what you have to do:
Every day, do one thing, publicly, that embarrasses or makes you uncomfortable.
You maybe need a hefty masochistic streak to take on a DGAFWPT project. At least at first. Because—at first—it’s kinda tough.
Then it gets fun.
In the course of my last DGAFWPT project, I sang loudly in public, wore ridiculous clothing, made jokes at inappropriate times (that’s actually kind of a reflex I have, but it does embarrass me, often, so I think it counts?), and did terrible parkour at a skate park while teenagers side-eyed me.
In each of those individual moments, I started off feeling embarrassed and self-conscious and very uncomfortable. Every single time, something magical happened: the embarrassment faded, and I started having fun.
And —here’s the really beautiful part—I started feeling powerful. Big. Strong. Mighty. A literal goddess of awesomeness and hilarity.
There is something very moving, very freeing, life-changing, about looking embarrassment, discomfort, and shame in the face and walking straight into it.
After that, what’s left to be afraid of?
Plenty of things, I guess, like crocodiles and tsunamis, but the point is this: we don’t encounter crocodiles or tsunamis very often. We do encounter situations that embarrass us, or have the potential to embarrass us, often. Many of us live in a state of anxiety because of self-consciousness and fear of discomfort. Those feelings exert a huge influence over us. They limit us. They constrain us to what feels safe, but so much of life is on the other side of what feels safe.
A DGAF project is a way to move forward, to make a choice, to meet those feelings on your terms and start exerting your power over them.
Will you become completely confident? Will you forever banish embarrassment and shame? Will you transform into a Magical DGAF Divinity who lives above such petty things as self-consciousness and social pressure?
But you’ll get closer. And you’ll have fun.
✹ ARE YOU GONNA DO A DGAF PROJECT?
If you do…. I want to know. So much. Tell me about it. Or if you’re not sure: tell me about it.
What would a “jump right in” DGAF project be for you? What are you most afraid of? What fear slows you down the most?
What would a “baby steps” DGAF project be for you? How can you try it out in a way that’s gentle and kind on yourself?
There’s no commitment to this kind of thing. It’s a try-and-see endeavor. What have you got to lose? (I DON’T KNOW, A WHOLE BIG TRUCKLOAD OF FEAR MAYBE?MIGHT AS WELL DUMP THAT SHIT NOW AND START HAVING MORE FUN. OK BYE.)