I don’t think I really learned to hesitate until I came to college. I learned to hesitate before making important decisions. I learned to hesitate before deciding what to eat, what to drink, what to say, what classes to take, and who to talk to. I thought I was being smart, over thinking what I should be doing, analyzing every possible situation and outcome. I thought the decisions I was making now are important, “life-changing,” and should be thought about carefully at all times, but realistically, I was fooling myself.
3 days a week from 2:30-5:30 I babysit a 10 year old boy named Jesse. Tell Jesse your birthday and he can tell you what president was born on that day. Ask Jesse where his favorite place in the world is and he will tell you Tatooine. Jesse hates blackberries and sliced apples, but he loves strawberries and any snack that you are eating that he has never had. He loves reading non-fiction because it’s real, it happened, and it’s something he can see in his mind. Jesse is also high-functioning autistic, which for many of you that don’t know, it means that most things in life are very black and white to him. For example, in my room I have pictures of myself and my friend’s hanging on my wall. One day Jesse walks in, points to a pictures, and matter of factly tells me: “Sarah you don’t look so good in this picture.” Most of us would be embarrassed, feel angry, get defensive, but I laughed. I laughed because it was true, I knew I didn’t look good, and I laughed because it was the truth and no one ever really tells you the truth anymore.
Most of us walk around telling people what they want to hear, beating around the bush, and softening the blow for anything and everything. But then again who really wants a friend that tells you the blunt honest truth? Who wants someone that is going to say how things are no matter the consequence? Oh wait, we all do! As I was picking Jesse up from school the other day I watched him walk up to a girl he didn’t know on our way back to my house. He lets go of my hands and runs up and taps her on the shoulder and says “Hi I’m Jesse.” It’s simple, but when do we ever do this? I am amazed at his fearlessness to walk into the unknown, to take chances, and to say EXACTLY how he feels. It is refreshing and liberating to know that when I am with him I don’t ever overthink, I don’t ever have to guess how he is feeling, and I can in turn be the same way.
I recently read a book given to me by a friend titled “How to Get Naked,” and no this book is not about stripping clothes and learning to unbutton pants, but instead how to get naked emotionally. I used to think self-help books weren’t for me, that I could figure things out on my own, but as usual, I was wrong. This book told me to do things that made me sweat with anxiety and now that I look back on it, it was because this book told me to tell people exactly how I was feeling. This is scary, actually this is a nightmare. I normally keep things to myself or tell everyone around me BUT the person I actually should be talking to. I either think hey eventually someone will tell this other person making it easier on me, or eventually these feelings will just pass so it’s actually good I never said anything? WRONG. I was scared, nervous, and did not want to tell anyone how I felt because that would mean they would know I liked them and could possibly like me back?! It’s silly now to think about how nervous I was, and still am at times, but then again someone once told me if you aren’t nervous, it means you don’t care.
I recently told someone that I had feelings for them, someone that I had liked for a while. I did it for Jesse. I did it because if at 10 years old Jesse can be so brave, why can’t I, and I couldn’t think of a logical enough reason why I shouldn’t be. I told them exactly how I felt, yet at the same time I allowed them to not like me. That’s really the key, but it is also the worst part. To allow someone to now want you , to not share the same feelings as you. In the end, this person said they don’t feel the same, that they had not looked at me in this way. It hurt, I would be a liar if I said it didn’t. I was bummed and sometimes still get nervous when I see this person, but the best part now, is that I have nothing to hide. I walk around feeling like a weight has been lifted off my shoulder because I said exactly how I felt, I left nothing up to mystery, and you know what? It was worth it. Even though I was rejected, even though I was sad, I know I have options, we all do. We all fear the unknown, the things we cannot control, and we all assume and predict the worst in situations. We hesitate. When we learned to do this, I am not really sure, but we need to stop. The moment we pause, the moment we overthink, and the moment we believe we can’t do something, we have in that moment proven our fears to be correct. We are losing time because we are pausing, when we should be acting. I am blessed to have such an amazing person in my life like Jesse to teach me that life is simple, words are powerful, and saying things black and white is how it always should be.
I am still learning, I am still trying to make sure I say how I feel, to stop hesitating, and it is hard. For the past 4 years of college I have over thought and it has gotten me no where and left me wishing I had said or done something. There are no rules in life, in talking to someone, in becoming who you want to be, so stop over thinking everything. Go make yourself uncomfortable, go make yourself sweat, be nervous, be scared, because this is living. Waiting for the perfect moment, waiting for the perfect decision to be thought of, it will never come, you just passed it by waiting. Amy Poehler once said: “Great people do things before they are ready,” and if you think about it, its true. We are never ready for anything in life- relationships, tests, death- yet it all comes and we all have to face it. So why not face it now? Why not be honest? Why not let things be black and white for a time? If a 10 year old can do it, we all can.