November 16, 2012
Devil's Advocate Hat
On a day-to-day basis, I play things safe.
I tried desperately to remember the last time I did something... risky... and except for that whole precarious-move-to-the-big-city thing, my mind remained blank. And when your life is in a perpetual phase of BLAH, "risky" means anything more stimulating than needlepoint.
That's not to say I haven't had any chances. Over the past few months: I chose an avocado bagel and being well-rested for a job I don't like over a night out with friends I hadn't seen in a while; I chose awkward silences and facepalming myself in the bathroom over kissing someone I really liked; I chose to stay in a smelly subway car and be yelled at by a crazed Jamacian woman instead of walking through the pass-through doors while the train was moving.
If you haven't seen through me already: I'm terrified of failure. In regards to the aforementioned scenarios:
If I had risked a long night out with friends (because every night out in New York is long), I would have fallen asleep at my desk (again...), gotten yelled at (again...), gotten fired and escorted off the premises, and eventually would've become homeless when four months of failed job hunting lead to a swift eviction.
If I had kissed said someone-I-really-liked, those few moments of heart-pounding fulfillment would have been demolished by a metaphorical snowplow of doom when, as I slowly pulled away, he would've said "Jason, I really like you, but..." I would then start sweating profusely, and while slowly backing away proclaiming "No really, it's totally fine!" I would've stumbled over a crack in the sidewalk, cascading to the ground into a pile of soggy embarrassment.
If I had walked through the pass-through doors from the rancid car to one of relative sensory-safety, I would have fallen through that small space between the cars and been pulverized into a fresh sushi buffet for the hordes of underground rats and mole people.
And especially in a place like New York, which regularly uses peoples' lives as a porta potty, I've told myself over the past year that I can't be a risk-taker here, because if I give this city just one, tiny, itty-bitty-piggy of a chance to bring me down, I'll be hitchhiking back to North Carolina with my tail between my legs.
In fact, the only facet of my life where I don't seem to be scared of relative consequence is the clothing department. A man expressing feminine affirmations is inherently pushing the boundaries (in most parts of our society, anyway), yet I have no problem going way beyond that - walking out of my house in a poncho and a homemade nail crown at two in the afternoon. It's exciting - somehow fulfilling - not as static as the rest of my life.
So, next time I come to a spork in the road, I'll put on my devil's advocate hat, and try not to choose the safest course. No no no, this doesn't mean I'm going to walk out into traffic or go home with the next guy who grabs my ass on the subway. But nothing happens if you don't take a chance, and nothing is learned if you don't fail trying.
[Yes, this post is basically a wordy version of #YOLO, but fuck you. I'M NEVER GOING TO SAY #YOLO. *toast slap*]
Labels: Must Wear Many Hats