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9.11.2012

say yes. and yes. and yes again.


I have three photos from college that I keep together. They were all taken on the same night, in the span of five minutes, in a room that was warm in that way a room gets when everyone's drinking and dancing and celebrating the end of something really big. 

In the first photo I'm sandwiched between two boys--two men--and there's a girl to the left of us. I can't tell you that girl's name. I can't tell you what instrument she played or why she was there that night. I haven't a clue who she is, but it doesn't really matter. It's not about her. The taller of the two boys--the two men--was holding my camera, using his long arm to take a photo of the four of us. The camera was on the wrong setting so two lines of light streak across the frame. Three of us are staring at the lens, all smiles, but the other boy--the other man, the one with no camera in hand, the one just on the other side of me, has his lips pressed against my cheek, his eyes closed, no smile. What I remember most from that moment is knowing that the other two, the boy and girl on either side of us, hadn't a clue what he was doing. There we were, sandwiched between them, in our own private moment--a moment that lasted no longer than the the length of the flash. 

The second photo is just the two of us. This time, the camera is at the end of my outstretched arm. I'm looking straight ahead and this man is in full profile, looking right at me. 

I laughed good and hard as all this was happening, both endlessly tickled and endlessly frustrated. Would you just look at the thing? I begged him. Can't I just have one photo of the two of us together?

I don't remember his response--what he said or if he smiled, but the third is the two of us, our faces pressed together, looking straight at the camera. Click. 

None of the photos are high quality. The lighting is wonky and the pixelation is grainy and I look tired in all three---a certain puffiness having just settled onto my face--one that would span and define the story of the next several years. And yet I value few things more than this set of pictures.

The second one in particular. Because it answers so many questions. Because it is the story all at once, in a moment, a single click. 

I never told that boy--that man--I loved him. I don't regret this. I don't regret it because there was some sort of bone-deep-knowledge--that said not yet, not now, another time, perhaps

And bone-deep-knowledge, having nothing to do with fear, is the sort of thing that must always be listened to. 

What I regret is that I never gave him my own version of that second photo. And I don't mean a physical photo, I mean I never looked at him with the full weight of my love for him. I never looked at him as though he was the man who split my world into a before and after, but he did, and he was. And if I ever revealed that, it was at best a glance from across the room, or a glimpse as I rolled to my other side, a fleeting sort of thing, done before it really began.

I was so good at seeming fine. Seeming detached. As though the thing between us wasn't terribly important. As though he himself wasn't terribly important and never was there a thing more untrue. 

If I could go back, if I could do it again, I'd look at him as myself--as my totally naked and in-love self. I'd look at him with all that I felt and all that I could not say. 

There has been so much I haven't said over the years with a few different men for fear that those would be the words that would drive them away. And yet they left anyway. They left in the absence of my words, in the absence of my gentle unfolding before them. 

So say yes. To coffee in the morning. Or tea. When he asks you for a second time, after you've already said no, you should be getting home, please just say yes. It may amount to nothing. It may be just what it is, a cup of coffee or a cup of tea. Or it may be the beginning of everything. Say yes to the shower offered. Say yes to a man's fumbling attempt at kindness. Say yes to saying what you're afraid to say. Say yes to being bold and appearing uncool and revealing just how deep you're in it. Say yes to the full power of your femininity--to the full extent with which you're capable of love. Let him pull you in close  and nestle in the slope of his neck. Kiss him that second time even if he's already late and rushing out that door. Make him a little bit later. Say yes to what is so damn pregnant with potential that it utterly terrifies you. Say yes to anything that might count as experience or adventure--even if the adventure at hand is navigating the long, grueling road of heartbreak. Say yes to letting the guy help you get the dresser in the apartment--self-suffiencieny don't make you more of a woman and it doesn't protect you from the good, the bad, the ugly. Accept love when you want to accept it, accept help when you can, and accept that it'll be the second photo--the one you didn't plan for--that'll give a certain shape and meaning to everything that comes after. 





37 comments:

nicole said...

speechless. this is... so beautiful it made me cry. wow.

awayaswego.com said...

Bravo, I love the honesty and potential of your statements. So much truth.

Jennifer Bosse said...

This is absolutely beautiful

Hillary said...

you have no idea how much I needed to hear this in my life right now. it truly is beautiful

Lottie Simm said...

i really liked a guy but was too timid to do anything about it but lukily he wasn't and when we were chatting and i was about to walk away he grabbed my arm and pulled me back and we kissed. and i am so thankful that he gained the confidence to do it, even if it might have been dutch courage, because otherwise i might never have got to marry him :)

JessLa said...

Just 8 days ago, I said yes to a sushi date but no to the kiss at the end of the night. I did it in an effort to respect another undefine-able relationship I had just recently become involved in, but one I knew wasn't going to last. This guy, this sushi guy, I thought, is way more real but I still denied him a good night kiss, because I was scared of bad karma. I wrote him an email to explain my strange behavior, but it has gone unanswered. In fact, he hasn't called in over a week. Wish I would have said yes.

I love your writing. It's so beautiful! So poignant .

Jenna | The Paleo Project said...

I can say, with first hand experience, that at the tender age of 20, I said yes yes yes to all of that when I found the guy I now have been with for five years, moved in with two years ago, and am slowly, carefully, planning our future together. It's worth every ounce of insecurity it caused, every fear it birthed, every part. Fabulous advice.

heatherhxo said...

Meg, you honestly are the perfect writer. Your words make me feel like you've crept into my head and my heart and picked out the things I needed to hear and couldn't tell myself. Thank you, as always, for your words.

Cassie said...

Yes, yes, yes!

Laura Marie Meyers said...

Your best ever. Couldn't love this (or you) more.

Cue me calling you tonight.

Robby Spratt said...

Wow Meg!
I've really liked a lot of your posts over the years, and even said several times that one was your best post...but this truly is your very best post! I've never read anything like this before!
That last paragraph made me a little emotional.
I have several friends that I am going to pass this on to.
Thank you!

ahlin said...

THIS.

Magdalena Viktoria said...

This was so well-written. Beautiful. and I agree with your words.

look a little closer said...

yes. <3.

Anonymous said...

Can this also means saying yes, yes to therapy? To not knowing where it will take you, what it may uncover for better or for worse, in hopes that, in spite of the fear, you won't regret taking that leap?
- A lonely, confused student

Caley-Jade Rosenberg said...

This is very special. Thank you for sharing and reminding us about these moments that you don't want to miss... x

Kelle said...

positively lovely.

tulipbuzz said...

Wow I am so moved.

Emily said...

your words take my breath away. although i have been married for 9 years to my sweet hubby, thank you for the reminder of what it means to love with all your heart, completely vulnerable and open.

you are an inspiration.

JacPfef said...

such great advice. and yes, to those photos. I was just going through some last night and my favorites are the ones i was so frustrated with back then - the "won't you just look at the camera" photos.

le sigh.

colleen said...

saying yes always leads to some great adventure. perfect advice.

Diana said...

Perfect.

And what ever did happen with that helpful neighbor of yours?

Kmarie said...

So true. I said yes ten years ago...and two weeks in, when he freaked me out with the words "I think I am falling in love with you." I turned and replied, "Oh that's nice..." and had NO IDEA what to say back...(it was two weeks in...) but three months later I decided "this guy is tender, affectionate, handsome and into me- why am I not expressing my interest as avidly back?" and then I took the vunerable leap. We were married in that year and still have delicious moments of wonder and partnership.
Lovely post.
And Dear Anonymous...say yes to therapy. Just find a good one. Therapy saved my life, my friendships and my marriage in one particularly rocky year. It's so worth it to grow and understand self.

Chess said...

Robby sent me to this post. Thank you. It's just what I needed to hear.

Holly said...

I have more of your posts saved that I just come back to again and again... This one's going into the archives. So much good stuff here.

Kathy said...

this was so beautifully written, in fact all of your posts are. But this post resonates with me. Definitely going to share this to my friends! :)

southerngirltravels said...

I said no then yes again to the same man. He said no after my yes but that doesn't mean I will never take the leap and say yes. Saying yes is just so hard sometimes because you are fighting with every self preserving bone in your body! But man when it works it is so worth it.

meg fee said...

@anon: absolutely. i have a therapist--tom. i've told him that i want him to dance at my wedding. because he'll have gotten me there. but @Kmarie is right--i went through a lot of therapists before i found Tom. a good therapist is like a good relationship--you'll know when it's right. and few things are more rewarding.

lori shackleton said...

Love, love, love! As the mother a young man looking for companionship and a daughter dating, I couldn't agree more with what you say. But what is most striking is the way you say it. You have a beautiful way with words and a deep understanding of the experiences you have had in life. Thank you for posting and reminding all of us....in relationships or not....to say yes!

Anonymous said...

Meg - this is gorgeous. I've been reading your blog since the beginning (you don't know me but we have a mutual acquaintance and one day he said to me - "you should read meg fee's blog"). Your journey has been so different than mine but ultimately similar - my life has also pushed me towards a deeper sense of self, truth, and personal happiness (while standing on the plank - figure it out or drown). I just want you to know that in these few years your blog has been a source of inspiration and comfort to me - your desire and journey to authenticity had ok'd mine many times and this post - just, phew. Thank you for your journey and your willingness to relate it to us - your beauty, physical and verbal, remind me that I'm fine. We're fine. xN

Keiko said...

I am reading this while sitting on a couch in England, after having left the love of my life to study abroad for a semester. When I return, he will have graduated. What we had was some kind of magic- people go their whole lives searching for it, and to just let it go felt so silly.

But through all the heartache i've learned: sometimes we must say "yes" to letting go. Yes to the goodbye. Even- especially if it means going on an adventure across the world to find more parts of yourself you didn't even know existed. To find more love.

So to the young lady who sent you this email, my advice would be, Say yes to what sparks a fire within you, and if that means taking that plane to a foreign land- take it. Go with wild abandon!

If loves meant to be, it will be there when you return... at least that's what is keeping me going.


Thank you, Meg Fee. You are a dream! xo

seacreatures said...

this is the best advice ever. and here i am at 22, finding reasons to say no. thank you for reminding me how important it is to say yes- to heartbreak and to happiness.

xo,
b
http://www.seacreaturess.blogspot.com

Kate said...

I love this so.

Diana said...

Meg - How did you know when your therapist was the right one? I've been seeing one for years and I feel like it isn't right, but I'm not even sure what I should feel or how the sessions should go. I just don't feel like I'm getting much out of it.

Mallory said...

this is incredibly beautiful.

Little Mommy Kim said...

what a great post! so glad i found you

Savannah Layne said...

Well. I'm currently sobbing like a baby in a Barnes and Noble cafe.

Thank you for this.