It took me a while but in March of this year I officially kicked off my Year of Yes. Since then I have said yes to things that normally I’d have hesitated to do. I had the time of my life getting coated with Faygo soda at an Insane Clown Posse show; I’ve gotten a stupid amount of ink in the past year (I just got tattoo number nine — eight of which have been done in the past 10 months); I got hooked on PokemonGo; I went back to school; I spent a weekend volunteering; I dressed up as a Pot Brownie for Halloween; and last night, I willingly sat in an audience and got sprayed with red gore (unsweetened kool-aid, I think) while watching Evil Dead: The Musical.
One of the key threads in there is something most people wouldn’t think about but is a big shift for me: The ICP show, playing PokemonGo in (almost) all weather, and the Evil Dead show all feature me getting sprayed/wet/soaked. Up until very recently, that was a hard NO for me. I stayed away from waterparks, squirt guns, and heavy rain (unless I was well-prepared and dressed appropriately). A lot of it goes back to my 19th birthday when, while on the phone to my Mom from my job in the UK, one of my coworkers upended a bucket of water over my head. That incident left lingering anger and mistrust for a long time.
However in the last year, one of my biggest achievements has been unlearning a bunch of toxic emotions and knee-jerk reactions. When it comes to getting splashed or sprayed I was quick to outrage and overreact. My ex could tell plenty of tales of outings that were curtailed or ruined because of my out-of-proportion reaction. Summer BBQs and beach visits were always a minefield as I tried to avoid any kids playing with super-soakers; any activity that meant extended time in the rain was suspect.
Really though? Humans are water resistant (I mean, we can’t be submerged in water for any length of time…) and clothes can be cleaned and dried. For both ICP and Evil Dead I wore clothes that, if destroyed, I would not weep over their loss. For PokemonGo I will run out in the pouring rain for a chance at certain rare Pokemon, knowing I can dry out again (and taking care to keep my phone relatively dry). So while I still wouldn’t enjoy having a bucket of water dumped on my head while on an important call, I can react more appropriately to other events where I might get wet — purposely or accidentally — and prepare for those where it’s a given.
The other big Year of Yes change has been in letting go of being worried about who I hang out with. As a kid I was acutely aware of the hierarchy in the classroom and playground because while I was near the top academically, I was subsequently near the bottom socially. This only got worse as I moved up through the grades and everything from fashion to food choice seemed to put me in an ever smaller box of people I could hang out with. In the past there were many times it was made clear that I could not spend time with certain people so I lost touch with some and others, well, I made the call to stay in touch a little more clandestinely. Not ideal. Even without that influence, I still had preconceptions of who I should or should not be seen with that lingered from high school — what would people think?
Now I’ve discarded all of that and I hang out with whomever I please, and I am more likely to go to gatherings where I know only one person or even no-one. Sometimes I look like I belong, and sometimes I don’t (there’s a great photo of me at a BBQ with about 20 other people where everyone is dressed in black except me, in my orange hoodie) but I am getting better at finding common ground no matter what group I am with and feeling comfortable with who I am in relation to who I’m with. In all, it is part of my commitment to being authentic, transparent, and honest. I think it’s working.
So. Year of Yes is well in hand, and in May I wrote about milestones and doodled a bit of a bucket list. It seems that list is ridiculously fluid though because some of the things on there are less important to me even 6 months later. There are also a few things on a separate bucket list that won’t ever show up on this blog. Still, it’s somewhere to start.
In discussions of consent we look for not just yes but an “enthusiastic yes” — and I am ready to yell “HELL, YES!” to more experiences and shenanigans — so what kind of trouble shall I get into and who would like to help me?