For nearly ten months of the year, I am a high school teacher. I breathe in adolescent angst and release grades--in a timely manner. I rarely wear my floppy hats and, even more rare, I go out once in a blue moon. I've become comfortable in my hibernation. Like a groundhog; I come out to signify the end of the school year.
However, summer has taken on a life of its own. I've begun saying "yes" to the opportunities around me. Everyone is going over to the bar? Yes. Everyone is meeting early for dinner? Yes. Everyone is going dancing on a Tuesday? YES. Life has taken on a new philosophy: yes. Within moderation. But that's a horse of a different color.
On Sundays, I go to The Waystation: It's one of the things I've missed most about life over the past ten months. Late night 'Nerdeoke' with some of the most wonderful humans I've ever met. For whatever reason, the steampunk Doctor Who themed bar off Prospect Avenue is a place that welcomes your tired, your poor,
your nerdy--your restless, with open arms and a wild list of karaoke tracks. From there, the experience is up to you.
I am not a yes-man by default. "Yes" has its place. At work, I say yes more often than no, filling my plate with the work of an army because I like a job well done. This week, a man I admire told me that I am a "workaholic" but that workaholism isn't a love of labor--instead, it is recognition of the work we have to do and a desire to do it well (a labor of love). I feel indebted to this definition, to this understanding of me and my ethic. This same man reminds me that I am a romantic and that I do not belong in my generation.
So where do I belong?
The Summer of Yes has taught me that there is a vast discrepancy between what it means to be "open" and opening up. Each “yes" closed me up a little more. Made me feel more vulnerable and, in turn, more inclined to crawl back into myself. I am told that means I'm doing something right. Right and wrong flirt with one another, in a bar on the Lower East Side, and-truth is-they are one-in-the-same. The difference, maybe, is that Right feels a responsibility to save-face. To do more good for more people. Perhaps right is acting as a shell for societal norm. And Wrong is spinning on a bar stool. Wrong wears 'rebel' in the lining of his vest--Wrong thinks Right is wrong. Right thinks wrong is wrong.
Both are living in a binary. The Summer of Yes has taught me the value of "ish." Of everything in moder"ish"ion. But to be open-ish is to go through the motions while never letting go. Which turns out to be nothing at all like being open. To my detriment, I am annoyingly introspective. I l overthink, like this, all day. And maybe that’s the cause of my new-stutter. I am thinking my voice out of words.
I am trying to be open to happiness and opportunity, wherever it can be found, but I am finding that it isn’t enough to attempt open, when I am really just afraid (afraid of ending up with the wrong person, afraid of not being enough, afraid of falling apart again).
So when I say that I am open, or that this is The Summer of Yes maybe what I really mean is that I am a creature of habit—a “fake it ’til you make it—a hopeless romantic who is feeling more hopeless than romantic these days. If these are all the words I have left, I hope they’re good ones. But I’m open to suggestions.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal. Married to my best friend and planning a lifetime of adventure!