If you’ve had a conversation with me, it’s come up.
If you’re my friend on Facebook, you’ve seen me like five million things in this regard.
If you’ve read my blogs, you know.
I MAY be a LITTLE BIT of a Grey’s Anatomy fan.
The odd thing is I never even started watching until about season 11 and I took a crash course and watched IT ALL in a five week period. I was out on medical leave, don’t judge me. The character development is phenomenal. It was like Beverly Hills 90210 all over again where I felt I KNEW these people and they were my friends. Again, don’t judge me. I had three very young children in the early nineties and didn’t actually have time for REAL friends, so Brenda, Brandon, and Dylan easily made the cut. I have never related to a character as much as I have Christina Yang, other than the fact that I do indeed have children that mean everything to me. Her cold, independent, I-Don’t-Need-Men-Or-People attitude has been that golden ring I’ve reached for for years. And then a Burke or an Owen comes along eventually crashing through that ice and left her a dripping pile of emotions and snot. Just watching it left me a dripping pile of emotions and snot. Christina sobbing uncontrollably and yelling to Izzie, George, and Meredith to sedate her left me uncontrollably crying and laughing all at the same time. How does one write a scene that manages to bring about two very converse emotions in just one brief moment? Great writing.
My point here is not that I watch too much TV (however true that might be…), it is that the writer did an amazing job of sucking me in every time I turned on that television so when a book popped up on my radar that Shonda Rhimes wrote I bought it and devoured it.
The Year of Yes.
Relatable (to me) premise: Single mom, introverted, career oriented, social anxiety, afraid to break outside of her comfort zone, says NO to things/invitiations/people/dating/kinda everything. She promised a year of saying YES to these things that scared her, she did it, and “TA-DA” completely changed her life. I know it sounds horribly cliché, but I love soaking up this positivity shit. It’s good for my soul and she is funny as hell, so that was a surprising bonus. She’s real, she swears, she’s awesome. Read it, trust me you’ll like it.
I’ve read the book through twice already. I’ve let the whole “saying YES” to things sink in. I haven’t acted on any of it yet….. Ask my friends and they will tell you how many times I’ve turned down invitations or cancelled last minute. I don’t date much, but trust me it’s not for a lack of guys asking. I’m not boring by a long shot. Although I am a planner I can be spontaneous as well (I’ve picked up and gone on last minute adventures often). It’s just that I do my thing in my little bubble and it’s hard for me to break out of it. I like my bubble. Routine is my friend and I find comfort in knowing what my day is going to bring. Saying YES to things that scare me, well IT SCARES ME! Not knowing what could happen freaks me out a little. I’ve been called a control freak, but I really do prefer the term “highly managed time engineer”. It sounds a tiny bit less crazy and makes me feel a little important. My need for “control” is much more of a safety zone than a I-gotta-be-the-person-in-charge thing. It keeps the anxiety at bay and my brain away from the high cliff wanting to take a nose dive off. So although I truly have loved Shonda’s mantra of saying YES and I desire to be a person more like this it freezes me dead in my tracks.
Here I stand.
Being scared of what could happen.
What could happen? If you’re not into reading the whole book check out the excerpt (or you can check it out on YouTube if you’re not into reading) of Shonda’s commencement address at Dartmouth College in 2014. One of the most successful writers of television in this decade speaks repeatedly of being terrified of literally pooping her pants while speaking in public. She addressed her fears while facing her fears.
And guess what? It didn’t happen.
So, here I stand. Frozen, hiding, afraid, saying NO.
Let me try this again, this time really, truly, honestly thinking about it and making a list: What could happen?
I could try dating again and allow someone the opportunity to abandon me and rip my heart open, leaving a trail of blood between here and Alabama.
I could go in to work every day and get a paycheck every Wednesday and just do my job and live a life of monotony and without a passion for said work.
I could highly manage my time every day knowing exactly what is going to happen each and every grey and muted minute and never let anything unplanned or uncontrolled into my bubble.
Is saying NO working for me? Not even close. It keeps me sane, yes. It keeps me protected. It keeps the anxiety from breaking out of its restraints and taking over the functioning part of my brain. But it doesn’t work for me.
I want to be fearless. I want to be hopeful. I want to say YES.
So usually we get to this point of my posts and I promise to do the things I’ve written about and I can assure you that up to this point I have made good on my promises.
I had a wonderfully Christmassy-Christmas.
I have learned to see love more in the little moments than the grand gestures.
I have tried to listen more when people reach out in times of emotional need.
I have let go of people and memories that hold me back.
I try to speak positively to the people I love and to not leave any “ghosts” behind.
I’ve come to terms with not being a perfect woman.
These are all lessons I’ve learned and written about in the last few months. Today, though you may be slightly disappointed in me because after all of my ramblings of how I admire Shonda Rhimes and her ability to say YES and change her life, I just can’t commit to that. I would 100% set myself up for failure. And it’s not that it necessarily scares me, it’s more that I’ve lived for so long keeping that bubble up around me. It has protected me from what life has tossed at me that I just can’t shed it cold turkey. It’s there for a reason. As much as I find it to be a pain in the ass it has helped me through so much. It has been the hero I needed as a child, a teenager, and a woman. It has gotten me through a rough childhood, teenage drama, a just barely out of the teenage years unplanned pregnancy, being married to an alcoholic/addict, a nasty divorce and custody battle, and all of the normal chaos that has ensued since. Life is pretty damn calm these days, comparatively. Why rock the boat?
Changing course so drastically now may not be the best thing for me, BUT I will promise you this: to have a year filled with more “Umm……OK, I guess if I have to….” moments.
Here I stand. Frozen, hiding, afraid, but wanting to move. Promising to be open to shuffling my figurative and stubborn feet once in a while or at least more so than I have these last few and far too many years. Promising a year of saying OK to things and dragging my ass along whether I want to or not. Maybe not always, but once in a while. Not out of obligation, but because I need to.
I’m kinda OK with this promise.