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The Fuck Bucket

I was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in 2015 after taking an antibiotic I was prescribed for a suspected infection; I developed one of the side-effects listed in the fine print. That prescription changed my life. I went from being a very active, fun-loving, highly functioning person to being wiped out from walking down the stairs to do the laundry.

This story isn’t about the risks of pharmaceuticals or how broken our healthcare system is. My MD was a great advocate. She helped me navigate seeing specialists, testing and finding relief for an incurable condition. She also helped me see that I had to learn a new way of being in the world. My nerve damage made me more “sensitive” to my surroundings and my nervous system would get overwhelmed by things that used to bring me pleasure, like live music and crowded dance floors, physical touch, or long bike rides.

This story is about my learning that I have access to a limited amount of energy and that I have to choose wisely when spending it. Nerve damage is painful and it takes a lot of energy to do life with pain.

I slowed way down after my diagnosis, but I was still finding myself flaring up and feeling overwhelmed with what I thought was a light load. At one point my son told me that I needed to master the art of dgaf. He said the problem was that I gave too many fucks about things I didn’t need to. Feeling both called out and curious, the fuck bucket practice was born.

Each morning I wake up with a bucket of fucks to give to my day ☀️

In this metaphor, each fuck in the bucket represents a unit of energy needed to perform a task. I start my day with a limited number of fucks, and every activity, no matter how small, requires me to "spend" a fuck. Once I run out of fucks, I might not have the energy to do anything else that day, so I have to be discerning about my fucks. It helps me define my boundaries and be sure I have enough fucks for what’s important to me.

The fuck bucket helps when making decisions about how to allocate limited resources throughout the day. I’m sharing this story because as we continue to live into the future, it’s going to be more and more necessary for all of us to be mindful of where we spend our fucks.

A chronically dysregulated nervous system creates a mind that can not access rational, logical, imaginative, creative thought. If we’re burned out or stuck in hyperdrive, we might have ourselves convinced that we’re seeing clearly and taking right action, but the reality is we’re riding the momentum of survival.

It’s not only good for your discernment, physical, mental and emotional health to manage your fucks. It’s also revolutionary. Dominant culture asks us for an infinite amount of fucks, just as it expects the same of the Earth. When we choose to respect our fucks, we can choose to spend them in regenerative ways. We can divest from unsustainable ways of living and harness the imagination and creativity needed to meet the future we are living into.

On what would you like to spend your precious fucks?

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