A couple of months ago after listening to a few inspirational speakers, I decided to commit myself to a Season of YES. What, pray-tell is that? Well, I suppose it’s different for everyone, but for me, it is a period of time (end date undetermined) that I am willing to just simply say YES. Of course, this requires a level of discernment since saying YES can be a very unwise thing to do, especially as a woman. That said, discernment and judgment in place, I forge ahead. Now don’t send messages asking for money or ridiculous favors! My Season of YES is not meant to be a “dare skewed” game of Truth or Dare, so my answer will likely be a hard “NO!”
Now, let me share some of my results so far.
- I created the CreativelyAble website and started this blog! This is something I had been thinking, pondering, rethinking, over-analyzing, and procrastinating about for at least 2 years, possibly more. My blogging experience has been invaluable to me! The writing has been cathartic, and healing and has given me a platform for my thoughts. My stress level is lowered, and my frustration about my disability experience in public has been reduced. Reading about the experiences of other bloggers with disabilities has been a huge help to my psyche and has created a great sense of community. I have experienced great joy hearing about how my stories inform, inspire, evoke emotion, create laughter, or help people consider a point-of-view different from their own. I also said YES to writing a book about my life experiences. I am on chapter four right now!
- I have significantly improved my physical body! I say YES to me every day! If you know me or have followed my blog you know that I enjoy working out. There are days, however, that I wake-up saying “Are you kidding me girl? You kicked your own ass yesterday, take a break!” If it isn’t my one day per week I give myself to recoup, I reply…”The hell you say, girl.. have you seen how much progress you’ve made, and how good it feels afterward? Git cho’ ass up and get moving.” In other words, I say YES. Intensifying my workouts has aided in reducing the intensity of the nerve pain I experience every day, which is far more valuable than how my body looks externally.
- I started a Health Coach Certification program! I said YES to seeking a way to combine 20+ years of coaching and interviewing at all levels in corporate settings, with my commitment to health and fitness. I said YES to helping people manage stress holistically, from the way they think to the foods they eat, balancing work and life, incorporating physical activity, and dealing with life’s ups and downs. I considered backing out because of the mixed reviews on coaching certifications in general. I was getting lost in all of the internet noise on the subject. There are certifications that can be obtained in hours, days and weeks, and certification really isn’t even required to call yourself a coach. I still said YES to a 6 to 8-month program! My goal is to learn, experience, and combine 2 things I love, AND I wanted to do so in a very real way (for me) that will benefit others, not just for the purpose of “making money.”
- I’ve significantly enhanced my professional network! I said YES to “coming out” about my disability on a professional networking site. I also opened up publicly about my apprehension in doing so. At last check, the posting received close to 2500 views (so far), and visitors to my profile have increased by 20%. I’ve also received multiple opportunities to connect with people who are hiding disabilities and seeking my thoughts and by those who were inspired by my words. None of this was my reason for “coming out.” I had been thinking about it for at least a year until one Saturday morning my Spiritual Self asked: “why not?” I sat up in bed and started typing. Being vulnerable in this way is not advised until YOU are ready, we all know discrimination is alive and well, but we don’t have to focus on it or subscribe to it. Admitting disability when you don’t have to is a personal choice.
- I went on my first date in more than 4 years! I opted out of the whole dating scene several years ago (click here for my blog on dating). Recently, my Spiritual Self asked me “Girl, what are you hiding from?” So I said YES (reluctantly) and signed up on a paid dating site. I let my guard of judgment down, except when men posted pics with their shirts off. That’s where I draw the line! I think they look smarmy, or porny. Beyond a certain age, a dude should not be taking pics without a shirt “tryna git a date”. Well to continue my story…I started online chatting with a nice man and instead of being afraid, I said, YES when we exchanged numbers, and YES again when he asked me out. I enjoyed meeting him, found him engaging, funny, smart and kind. Although we won’t be moving forward (dating can be complicated), I have broken the dry spell and plan to leverage the momentum and date more. I did say “no” when he asked to take me on a weekend trip in a few weeks… again, back to discernment! My mama didn’t raise no fool!
- I have enjoyed connecting with people who are important to me. I said YES to plans with friends. I have had many healing lunches and dinners with good friends. In the past, I made excuses, and/or canceled plans frequently. Although I never shared, much of this was caused by the fatigue and nerve pain associated with my disability, coupled with my fear of going to unfamiliar places where I was unsure about accessibility. I recently rekindled a connection with a very dear friend. She and I had been out of touch for 12+ years due to a misunderstanding. Her picture showed up on a networking site and my Spiritual Self asked: “shouldn’t we reconnect with her?” So I said YES. She accepted me back into her life with open arms, and it has been as if we were never disconnected.
There are several other things that have happened (and that are in progress). I can’t share (yet) because this IS the internet after all, and you never know who is reading, but when the time is right I will do a follow-up!
At the start of this journey, I had no expectations except to move beyond some of my long-standing fears, blind spots, and misconceptions (about myself). And I wanted to roll out of my comfort zone. I am learning to love, and trust my body again, thereby recovering and repairing the most critical relationship of my life. The one with me!
When my illness occurred, I never fully recovered trust in my body. Apparently, I’ve been operating (in silence) by handling myself delicately for fear of a physical break of some kind. Unfortunately, I forgot to think about my emotional health, but that’s a whole other blog post.
Love & Light