Lately, I’ve been thinking about the term reckless abandon. And how much it bothers me.
Probably because of how I read the word abandon.
For me, abandon means rejecting external voices and conditioning in favor of one’s internal truth. I think of Patti Smith who said, “In art and dream may you proceed with abandon”. And Wynonna Judd, who said, “I’ve promised my inner child that never again will I ever abandon myself for anything or anyone else again.” So why would that be reckless?
It is reckless if your act of abandon threatens others. It is reckless if you challenge the status quo, if you demand respect, if you raise your voice, if you dress in a manner that confuses, produce art that confounds, tell the truth about a family accustomed to telling and re-telling lies, and if you put your needs above the needs of others. These are definitely acts of recklessness.
Or are they acts of self-assertion? Authenticity? Self-love?
I think it is more reckless to abandon ourselves. Perhaps, then what needs to be abandoned is the need to please and the shame that drives it. I am reminded of a line from Melissa Febos’ collection of essays Girlhood, “Free from the gaze of another, my own softened.” Let us all be free, and soft, and maybe a little reckless.