I love it when a book has such a profound effect on you that you think about it every day.
For me that book is Bossypants by Tina Fey. I loved every single word. I read it on the tube to work and it made me want my commute to last longer. This is a significant compliment. I travel to work on the Northern Line, London’s very own moving oven.
There is a chapter in the book called ‘I Don’t Care If You Like It (One in a series of love letters to Amy Poehler)’. If they did wallpaper with the words from this chapter on it, I would use it to redecorate my house. In the interests of the continuation of my marriage, it’s probably best that that particular product remains unavailable.
Tina writes about when Amy joined Saturday Night Live:
“…she did something vulgar as a joke. I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and “unladylike.”
Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said, “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.”
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit. (I should make it clear that Jimmy and Amy are very good friends and there has never been any real beef between then. Insert penis joke here.)
With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it.”
Tina goes on to explain how important those words “I don’t fucking care if you like it” are when you’re coming up against other people’s opinions whilst trying to get to where you want to be.
She says that you should ask yourself: “Is this person between me and what I want to do?” If they’re not, ignore them and move on. If they are, find someone who does think it’s a good idea and, as Tina writes, with time opinions will change organically. You need to have faith in what you’re trying to do. Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.
This chapter was a game changer for me. It never occurred to me not to care. I’ve always cared so bloody much what people think. But we all know that this is a pointless way to live. Whenever I have had any success, I have managed it because I’ve been single-minded and focused on what it will take to get from A to B – and not on what anybody else has to say about it.
As a woman who is often* trying to be funny, I found these words particularly helpful. Even in this day and age when anybody worth speaking to has worked out that hey, guess what, your sex doesn’t decide how amusing you’re capable of being, there are still plenty of people who need to be walked through it. So to read how two of my heroes avoid letting fear of being disliked bring them down was invaluable.
So when I start to feel self-doubt starting to kick in, I just think: ‘What would Amy and Tina do?’ And so should you.
All together now: We don’t fucking care if you like it!
*ok, fine: ALWAYS