I was on holiday in New York recently (ooh, get me, lahdeedah!) and it was fucking fantastic. I was there once before three years ago and then I loved it for its architecture, atmosphere, yellow cabs and cultures. This time I loved it for the ridiculous, mind-bending, giggle-making, eye-popping experiences it gave me.
I did things that if told about beforehand, I admit I would have said no to. With a heady mix of peer pressure and ignorance pummelling my brain, I said yes. And yes was good.
After a year in which, being bravely and exposingly honest for a moment, I’ve suffered and overcome the worst health of my life, this trip was a beautifully-timed lesson in remembering to step outside my norm, be more willing, cut the negatory – in short, do more.
But here’s the rub: I’m in the middle of an experiment which essentially involves me doing less – less looking, less ogling, less flirting, less eye-contacting, less chasing, less chatting, less enjoying. It’s all about saying no when all I really want to do is say yes. (Not to everything, mind. You know, in case someone on the interfuck wants to film me re-enacting some of Catherine the Great’s legendary manoeuvres in an isolated hut that once housed the Unabomber. Or something.)
I don’t want to be checking my behaviour every five minutes as the not-looking rules make me do. I want to say yes to all the good things, see where they take me, try out some world, do shizz. Jesus! I’m in danger of turning into Danny bloody Wallace but without the monobrow and meeja specs. (Not that I’d sniff at his book deals.)
Reaction to the announcement that I was thinking of stopping not-looking has been mostly of the lovely and pride-making “Oh, but I really enjoy reading your blog” kind. A couple of people have mocked how little of the full year I actually sustained it for. Well, here’s a revelation for you – I knew I’d never keep this gig up for 12 months. The writing, yes, I could easily do that; that wasn’t going to be the problem. But the not-looking? Hmmn…
I’d thought what would prevent me gestating my not-looking baby to full term was going to be the length of time it would take me to stop looking. I’d imagined it taking so many months to wean myself off the desire to look at men that I’d simply be defeated by the task. Shockingly – for me far more than for anyone else – I managed to stop within a matter of weeks. Hurray, right? No, not hurray. Not by a long chalk.
The ‘achievement’ of not-looking has made me realise several things about me and my situation: I don’t like telling myself no; I don’t like restricting my movements; I don’t like keeping to stupid sodding rules; I don’t like holding back on learning about people because I can’t look at them, ask about them, have a little giggle-flirt with them; I don’t like preventing myself pushing the odd button and boundary; I don’t like staying in because I can’t be bothered; I don’t like wondering what might be; I don’t like missing out.
For the perspective not-looking has given me, I am absolutely, categorically, undeniably pleased I started out on this whole venture. But at this tranquil point at the end of a tremulous year, I think it’s time to stop doing things I don’t like and start doing things I do. Not-looking feels like a negative and I want a positive.
With that in mind, I’ll not leave you bereft. Soon I shall unveil a new plan. I hope you’ll like it. It shares a common idea but has a different way of looking at it. Intrigued? Good. Just not too much; it’s a lot of pressure for a little person.
You’ll have to wait while I get it all sorted out before I tell you what it is, though. Plus I really need to put some washing on. And clean my flat. Seriously, it’s a wreck. Embarrassing almost. Crumbs everywhere. Dust you can write your name in. It’s highly likely I’ll be out a lot more in the near future and it’s best I get it ship-shape while I can.
So until next time, if you see me looking I’m allowed now, ok? Yes.