So we come to the end of our first social experiment here at FEMINHISM, and what a week it’s been...
#SAYYESWEEK began after a conversation with my best friend, and technically co-founder of Feminhism, who for now shall remain a silent partner, as she is still yet to write a blog for us (she’ll do it when she’s ready!). The conversation that sparked this was about why we instill so much negative energy on ourselves. Over the last few months, we have both found ourselves perpetually on a cycle of ‘NO’. Shall I apply for this audition? No, I’m probably not pretty/skinny/good enough for what they want so I just won’t bother. Shall I wear this banging tight dress? No I’m probably not pretty/skinny/good enough if, you catch my drift? Getting out of this NO game, seemed like a far and distant dream. As we have drifted into adult life, since graduating/working it becomes more and more difficult to just say YES to whatever opportunities are given to you. As a ridiculous creature of impulse myself, I found myself feeling somewhat out of character. A few weeks ago, I moved out of London (best decision of my life…I’m sure you’ll all follow suit pretty soon). I initially thought that was the main reason for this negative outlook, being in an environment where I constantly was saying NO to myself because of money/time/distance. I thought that taking myself out of that scenario, then everything would change immediately, but I began to question how far this NO went. I realized just how much NO is part of my routine, it factors into my life hugely and on a daily basis. If anything, #SAYYESWEEK has taught me just how much I say NO. How often I deny myself opportunities because of fear of judgement, or fear of inability.
Saying NO is a huge part of daily life for some women. Whether it’s saying NO to looking a ‘certain way’, saying NO to eating a blueberry muffin for fear of calories, or saying NO to a life change, a job change. Even simply an act of kindness because we don’t believe we deserve it. #SAYYESWEEK was a self- examination of what happens when I remove these obstacles for myself, and what positive outcomes that might have. It has been wonderful. Exciting. Tiring. And not hugely out of the ordinary. In the HOLLYWOOD version of #SAYYESWEEK, I would be now sat on a beach in Malibu with a Pina-Colada, and would have said yes to a marriage proposal after bungee jumping into the dead sea carrying a baby seal and legally changing my name to Monsieur Bonkalol, or something equally ridiculous. But alas, this is reality. My version of #SAYYESWEEK has been much more intimate than that, and has left me with a feeling of self-nourishment, self-care and ultimately (which I haven’t felt for a while) self-love.
So lets talk about some of the week’s events… My weekly timetable wasn’t hugely out of the ordinary - I began as I normally would, opening my laptop, writing a bit, trawling twitter, and already suddenly “online” became a world of opportunity. I found myself with my first YES! Saying YES to attending the FEMINISM IN LONDON event this weekend. I would have ordinarily talked myself out of this, for a multitude of reasons. The distance, the money, being intimidated by the fact there’s going to be a room full of badass women (and maybe I’m just not useful enough to go). But suddenly an opportunity presented itself, and when your only option is YES, suddenly life becomes incredibly simple. Tickets booked, train sorted, that was already my weekend done. The internet I suddenly realized during YES week, could be incredibly dangerous. So many opportunities and events that I wanted to say YES to soon became something I factored out of my daily routine, because otherwise I would have said yes to being bankrupted. Before my online diet however, I did manage to sign myself up for what might be my favorite opportunity from YES week…The London Marathon. WomanKind, a wonderful women’s organization, and a huge part of their work is aiming to internationally improve the safety of women, and eradicate violence against women, was tweeting about how they were looking for runners, and before I had chance to even think about it, I’d fired off the application form. This was by far the easiest YES of the week. Again, foresight without boundaries or obstacles is an incredible thing. Obstacles which other people have that would stop them from being able to participate in such an event, and which I have neglected so far. I am currently in the selection process and am desperately hoping I get through. This would be a huge lifetime opportunity and shows that saying YES not only for yourself, can have huge positive impacts, suddenly an opportunity to raise £5,000 for an organization I hugely support (fear not, I shall keep you updated on the results of this). There are other great things I’ve signed myself up for - an event in Brighton, by an arts collective a great friend of mine is involved with whom I have never been to see an event yet (They are called MINICLICK and If you are a Brighton dweller you should definitely get to an event!). A trip to Glasgow where I haven’t been in about 5 years, Mackerel fishing sometime in the near future, and running up the steepest hill in my town with an incredibly brutal hangover. Perhaps that was not my favorite moment of #SAYYESWEEK, but it just shows what you can overcome. Most of the things that were asked of me were from friends, to visit their homes, which I’ve always said NO to before, because of ‘other things’ that have always gotten in the way.
Saying YES makes you way, way, WAY more vulnerable than saying NO. Saying YES is taking a chance. It’s allowing the possibility for you to change your mind. It’s allowing sometimes for other people to lead the way, it’s allowing for you to define your OWN boundaries. There were of course a few rules I allowed myself to have during the week, such as, I can’t double book my YES’s (so you can’t let people down) and nothing illegal (my knowledge of the law however is questionable, so that one is perhaps somewhat looser. I did have to say NO to a naked cartwheel outside a pub, because I could potentially get arrested, however I did suggest an alternative, more legal spot). These rules are simple. My mind after this week is somehow lighter, and this is the easiest blog I have written. I am not second-guessing myself as much, and my anxiety hasn’t crippled my want…and what a joy that is.
I am not turning my back on saying YES. I want this to be a continuous part of my life. Too many opportunities have passed me by for me to ever look back at this opportunity to change my mind. The final promise I made to myself of this #SAYYESWEEK is to continue it. Even if it’s one day in a month, then one week a month, then one month a year until saying YES instead of NO is engrained in my mind. Yes for us, is not just about instilling positive change, it’s about removing obstacles that are put there by ourselves, or by others. Get rid, and just say YES.
Saying YES this week has made me realize how this is wider than myself. Its and engrained negative energy, handed down to us by maltreatment, or the constant discourse of mal-treatment against women, telling us we don’t deserve to reach our full potential, or aim for our true happiness. #sayyesweek has taught me that the only way to find our truths, is to try and eliminate the negative noise that doesn’t resonate with us. I say Yes not only for myself but for the women that can’t. And will continue to say YES to any opportunities to support other women to say YES! To themselves. It is not just an act of positive change its an act of politics.
FeminHism is always looking for more people to be involved in the blog. Want to try your own #sayyesweek then get in touch, and become one of our YESSERS! Feminhism can offer support and discussion, for those that are interested in experimenting with positive change.