When I was a child, we had a dog who responded to the word "no" like it was his name. He was told No so often that every curiosity or too long of a sniff was wrong, and he started thinking No was what we called him. Poor guy. He was always fxxing up.
Much like my dog, I've also grown up under the dark umbrella of No. There was a time in my pre-teen days where I was scared to speak in public at all. Scared to order takeout over the phone. Scared to read aloud in class. Scared to say hello to new people, or even people I had known for years. I was anxious about saying the wrong thing, because very often I'd be embarrassingly corrected for fuxxing up.
Clearly I've gotten over this speech paralysis, and perhaps have even made up for lost time. Because now I talkkkkk. The younger me was made fun of and even punished for talking too much, but the grown me makes a living off of this word surplus. I definitely say things that make me want to shove my foot into my mouth, but now I'm no longer afraid. I've fallen in love with fxxing up. Well, I'm learning to love it at least. Learning to appreciate that imperfections and "mistakes" are nothing but opportunities. They are chances to learn, moments to reflect and experiences that embed character. Show me a perfect person, and I'll show you how their mere perfection is a fxxk up in itself.
My relationship with the word "mistake" has been evolving lately. I can't even bring myself to write it outside of quotation marks these days. It's not because I think that life is preordained and every move was meant to be, so how can there be mistakes. Though some might argue that. But for me, it seems increasingly arrogant to cast a right or wrong judgment on anything. Maybe it's a mistake when you make a typo on your tight, tiny touch screen keypad. Or when you order the sweetened juice when you meant to get the all natural one. But to say that active decisions you've made were mistakes, might just be overreacting.
No is a word that most of us have grown up with as a mantra. Like my dog, I'm sure many of you reading this felt No had something to do with you personally. You don't deserve things. You are misbehaving. You are too much. Too little. You are fuxxing up. Today, I'd like for you to change your relationship with No. Instead of having it stop you, and making you divert your direction, I want you to think of it as a sign. Every No means that you are pushing a boundary. That you are being adventurous, maybe dangerous. Daring. Different. Brave. Think of No as the voice of a challenge, egging you on to try your luck or to be safe. No decision is a wrong decision. Forget mistakes. Embrace your flaws and sculpt yourself out of error and valour. Because not fuxxing up, is still fxxing up, just with no edge.
Written by Stephanie Ramlogan