I’m well into 2015 when I realize that the Year of Yes should have ended several months ago.
The concept of ending my Year of Yes leaves me with a hollow feeling. I walk around for a few days thinking maybe I’m coming down with something. As I get ready for bed that night, I realize that what I am coming down with is a very bad case of fear.
I am only just beginning to understand that the very act of saying yes is not just life-changing, it is lifesaving. I now see two paths—a ragged rocky one that goes up to the top of the mountain and a nice easy one that heads down under it. I can fight to make the rocky climb, get a few bruises, risk getting hurt. And I can stand on the mountaintop and breathe the rare air in the warm sun, taking in the whole world before me. Or I can take the easy route underground. There’s no sun down there. No air. But it’s warm. It’s safe. Oh hey, and there’s a big supply of shovels. But really there’s no need to work that hard. The dirt is nice and soft; if I just curl up on the ground, I’ll slowly sink deep enough to form my own grave. The years and years of saying no were, for me, a quiet way to let go. A silent means of giving up. An easy withdrawal from the world, from light, from life. Saying no was a way to disappear. Saying no was my own slow form of suicide. Which is crazy. Because I do not want to die. As I lie in bed later, I realize that I don’t want to be done with my Year of Yes. I am a work in progress. I’ve just figured out how to have a little swagger. I can’t stop now. I don’t want to stop now. Do I have to stop now? What began as a small challenge from my sister over chopped onions on Thanksgiving morning has become a life-or-death endeavor. I am now almost
afraid to say the word no. I can no longer answer any challenge with no. That word is no longer an option for me. I know that I can’t afford to say it—the cost is much too high. The fear that I may slide back down to the bottom of that mountain, the knowledge of how easy it would be to do so, how comfortable life at the bottom of that mountain is . . . well, that is enough to keep the word no from my lips. I can experience life or I can give up on it. What would happen if I gave up again? Who would I become? How long would it take me to begin to climb again? Would I even have it in me to begin to climb again? Or would that be my ending? I’m not ready for that. I can’t end. This is not the end. This isn’t the finish line. I’m unfinished. And so, no matter how much I want to, I can no longer allow myself to say no. No is no longer in my vocabulary. No is a dirty word. Time was up. The year was done. But I was not. Which is how the Year of Yes went from twelve months to forever. I can do that. I can change the challenge if I want to. It’s mine. Besides, I’m not running on regular time anymore anyway. Have you checked my clock? I am fully synced up with Badassery Time. Saying yes . . . saying yes is courage. Saying yes is the sun. Saying yes is life.
Excerpt from Year of Yes
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