say yes

Say Yes: Making a Fool of Yourself by Carolyn Busa

Last year when I realized my days as a woman in her twenties were dwindling, I got concerned that I never learned the infamous dance to Janet Jackson's 'If.' I immediately found a tutorial, set up my Flip cam (RIP) and spent an afternoon teaching myself the dance. 

I never had the courage to look back on that video until this past week. While I am a gangly mess, the end result is not that bad. Right? RIGHT?!?! What do you think?

(Not Wanting To) Say Yes: Goodbye Grandpop by Carolyn Busa

One of my absolute favorite people, Grandpop, passed away on January 1, 2015. 

He was in the hospital over Christmas where I was fortunate enough to see him, make him laugh and even give him an impromptu fashion show. Grandmom loves buying me clothes, but Grandpop liked it when I showed offthe clothes. It gave him an excuse to say things like ‘That’s my girl!’ or ‘Looking good, babe.’ Admittedly, he would also say those things to his favorite waitresses at the diner but it always came with a bit more sincerity when said to me.

I’m not exaggerating when I say Grandpop was my biggest fan. And I his. This was partially because I was Grandpop’s drinking buddy. 

He loved it when I shared a beer or Bloody Mary with him but I never ever saw him drunk, even in his days of sipping Old Grand-Dad with my Uncle Cas. I was his personal bartender at family functions. ‘Get us some more Old Grand-Dad! Just a little water. You know what you’re doing.’ He always trusted me with his drinks be them alcoholic or caffeinated. I would prepare my grandparent’s morning coffee for them as a child and at family get-togethers. ‘Carolyn, get me some coffee!’ he’d demand after dinner. I’d sometimes be annoyed that it became expected but he would always be grateful despite my eye roll. 

When I started drinking coffee, Grandpop made fun of all the milk and sugar I would bury deep in my cup. ‘One day you’ll drink black coffee.’ he warned me. I’m down to just a splash of cream. I’m almost there. 

As a child, before the conclusion of a Daisy meeting, we would all hold hands in a circle and follow the tradition of squeezing the hand of the person to the right and making a wish. My wish always went to the health and long life of my grandparents. When we celebrated Grandpop’s 90th birthday, I gave myself a mental pat on the back.  

Six months after his death, our family was told that Grandpop would be honored and laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery. My Grandpop, a Navy veteran, was very proud of his time during World War II. He and Grandmom would go to monthly Navy luncheons, he’d wear his flag pins on every suit, and he loved it when I visited Washington DC and show him pictures of the various memorials. Truly an honor for Grandpop. 

The morning of the ceremony, after spending a sleepless night at a Motel 6 somewhere in Virginia, I walked through the entrance to Arlington Cemetery. I pushed through the tourists and class trips and was reminded of my one and only visit there in 6th grade. I’m pretty sure I took a picture of a gravestone that had ‘Dick’ engraved on it. Some things never change. 

I met my family in a dimly-lit waiting room and we talked of DC traffic and stomach pains. Distraction, distraction. A woman came in and had my grandmom confirm some things, sign some things, and looked into her eyes as she gave her her condolences. We were going to drive to the ceremony site, Grandpop leading the way in this woman’s vehicle. 

“If one of you wants to place the remains in the vehicle, you can, otherwise, I’d be honored to.” the woman said. 

I heard Grandmom whisper something to my uncle and I knew it was coming. Grandmom asked me to carry Grandpop’s remains to the car. I felt dizzy as I said yes.  When a doctor springs a blood sample up on me at a routine doctor appointment, I’ll confidently say, ‘No problem!’ and then turn white once I smell the alcohol on my arm. But I suck it up and I do it and I don’t pass out. I wasn’t so sure this time. This was going to be extremely difficult for me. 

The woman explained to me that her car would be outside waiting and how I would place the remains on the seat. I listened closely and silently, a scared student. With one exhale I could start crying and I wanted to be strong. She handed him to me and had me follow her through the building, my family waiting behind. We walked past other families and I wondered if they saw my fear and sadness and I wondered if they soon would be making the same walk. We got to the car and she opened the backseat for me and told me where to place them. 

Whenever I would pick up Grandpop for a ride, he’d climb in my front seat and I’d buckle him before departing his driveway. I buckled him up so many times and I wanted so badly to buckle him up this one last time. She closed the door and the wave of sadness took me under. My mom found me on the sidewalk and with one look we both broke out into tears. 

The ceremony was intimate yet overwhelming. ‘Is this all for us?’ I exclaimed as we neared. Soldiers greeted us in all directions and on the opposite side of our tent a group of Navy members stood holding the infamous rifles I was not prepared to hear. 

The weird part about a death are the selfish thoughts that creep in your head. ‘Oh my god, I’m going to be such a mess.’ ‘I can’t handle it.’ ‘I hate funerals.’ All statements I thought in the weeks leading up to Grandpop’s ceremony. I cried a lot of tears after Grandpop’s death. I was not looking forward to revisiting that flood. But when the ceremony started and I looked to my right at Grandmom, a woman saying goodbye again to her husband of over multiple decades, a woman like me who tries so hard to suck it up, make a quick joke and save her emotions for a closed door, I took her hand in mine, no longer thinking selfishly, gave a little squeeze and made a wish.

Saying Yes to 5Rhythms by Carolyn Busa

My sister, Jen, is (and has always been) 5 years my senior.

We are told all the time we look like twins.

There are some pictures I see it: 

But most of the time I don't:

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I remember once on a family vacation to Disney World being told by the Peruvian employees at the World Showcase* that I looked like the older one. At the time I was thrilled! Especially because I was a 15-year old, gangly mess experimenting in short hair and covering my body in all things Old Navy, while my sister was a beautiful woman entering her twenties with some fashion sense. Anyway, my sister and I may share similar physical attributes, but to us, we are very different people. 

Except when it comes to dancing. 

The Busa sisters need to dance in order to shake things off. There are videos of us shaking it off at an early age in our living room to New Kids on the Block or Bette Midler as well as countless dance recital videos recorded by our father. 

While my sister’s dance trajectory took a more professional route (dancing throughout college, splits, flexibility), mine stayed pretty simple (box steps, dancing in my underwear, etc.). We both continue to dance today but our stages for dancing have become much different. I find release in the chaos of a morning rave, my sister through a practice called 5Rhythms. 

5Rhythms, as described by Jen in her own blog“is a meditative dance/movement class, described most fully in founder Gabrielle Roth’s book,Sweat Your Prayers…students are led through a ‘Wave’ of motion. 5 distinct rhythms comprise a single Wave: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness, in that order. The music, which can range from classical to country to techno, is carefully selected to guide students through each segment; equal time spent in each rhythm ensures the ebb and flow of movement become natural, rather than choppy and disjointed.” Jen has been doing the practice for over five years now and truly loves it. She always wanted me to join her so when she happened to be in the city on the same day as a class, she begged me to try it. Being tired but still inspired from the museum sleepover the night before, I said yes

The class took place at the Joffrey Ballet Studio. We rode a shady elevator up to the 5th floor. I gave Jen an eye roll as the elevator crawled and probably quoted something from Tower of Terror. The Busa sisters love Disney too, can you tell? The doors opened and we were in the cramped quarters outside the studio. The fee for class was $20 so I asked if there was a ‘New Student Discount Fee.’ No, she apologized, 'But there are New Student Hugs!’ 'Booooooo’ I thought as I accepted the hug. 

Jen knew a bunch of the people there so while I stood alone by a trash can awaiting instructions, she exchanged pleasantries. I felt like the comedian from out-of-town at an open mic, not knowing how things worked or to whom I should speak to. HoweverI noticed people filling up the studio so it was then I decided to shake off my negative energy by embracing the situation full force.

“I’m going to act like I fucking own this.” I said to Jen as I walked into the studio with blind confidence. 

I sat on the floor of the studio and began stretching. Or at least my version of stretching. I lay on my back. I pulled a leg close to my chest. I pulled the other leg close to my chest. I was ‘stretching’ for awhile! “When’s this going to start?” I thoughtto myself. I was waiting for the instructor to bring us together and give a pep talk, a speech, a smudging, I don’t know, something! But then I realized, shit, it did start. People’s bodies were moving differently. Some remained on the floor but others were up and about. My god, we were Flowing!

Flowing is the first of the movements in 5Rhythms and it’s when the pace picks up a little. I knew from my morning rave experiences that I was capable of sober, AM dancing but I was struggling to feel the flow. Every movement made me feel weird. I put my arms over my head and felt like a creep. 'Get over yourself!!’ I repeated but it was hard! There were mirrors everywhere and you know me and mirrors! I HAVE to look at myself. 

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The room looked like it was about to break out into the world’s weirdest orgy. All sorts of ages, races, body shapes were slinking around. I was half-expecting someone to get naked or to suddenly feel a tongue in my ear so I started moving around the room with a bit more purpose. “You’re not gonna catch me!”

A woman in the room picked up a mop and started using it as her dance partner. Yes, I admit, I judged her for this. Another older man found joy in clapping, my sister, always a beautiful dancer, was making her way around each corner of the room. I felt like I was invading her privacy, like I was watching her do something intimate. She was in the zone and I wanted to join her.

When I dance, I look to the DJ to provide me my next move. While the DJ doesn’t actually dictate my movement, they do serve a great purpose in my dance journey. This was different. Yes, there was a woman in charge of music and every now and then she provided some words of wisdom, but really, the journey was all mine to decide. 

I finally started to feel more like myself once the Staccato and Chaos rhythms began. The beat was alive and my hips relaxed. I didn’t recognize all the songs being played but there were definitely familiar tunes. I think that’s what my biggest fear was about 5Rhythms. I was afraid the music would be something out of the lobby of a new-age, salon, ‘plinky plunky’ sounds as Phoebe Buffay might describe them. 

At first I thought a two-hour class was way too long but when I suddenly realized an hour had passed just when I was getting comfortable, I was grateful. We completed our first wave and it was time to start the next. 

It was during this second wave I felt it. The hair came down, the hands in the air, aaaaaand I began making eye contact! There were moments when my mind lost control and my body took control. This was fun. 

I looked at everyone dancing around me, practicing their art. Then I thought of how I practice my art: open mic, show, open mic, show, record, listen, edit, record, listen, edit. How nice it felt to be doing something fulfilling for my brain and body and not have to worry about saving it to fix later. No one in the room was recording this or ever going to repeat this performance. It was there. It was happening. And it was going to be gone very soon. It wouldn’t live on camera and it wouldn’t live on my phone. Done.

During the last Lyrical and Stillness rhythms of the wave, I found myself dancing with other (sweaty) people. We played off each other and there was never a move that felt wrong. I felt accepted. I felt good. And I felt like a strong woman. I was turned on and it was me who was doing the turning. 

My sister writes this: 

Certain music, certain movers will extract that essence out of me, and I feel wise, vibrant, strong, feminine, proud, daring. There is a head-to-toe, bone-to-muscle-to-blood connection with myself, and I feel so whole, so womanly, so pure.

Likewise, even though I don’t necessarily feel “grown up,” dancing has certainly given me comfort in my femininity and allowed me to move beyond the boundaries of girlhood.


Later that evening, while still riding my 5Rhythms high, I got caught in a sudden downpour. I stood under an awning but only for a moment. 

Soak up. Grow up. Say yes. Those are my rhythms. 

Saying Yes: Follow Your Dreams by Carolyn Busa

I never knew which came first for the lesson plans of my mom, a sixth grade teacher: the book or the made-for-TV movie. My mom used to read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler with her students and once complete, they were rewarded with an easy afternoon of watching the movie she recorded off our VCR. Every few months I too would watch the VHS, commercials included, even though I never read the book.  

The main girl in the movie was a nerdy, middle school-aged redhead who sported glasses and the thickest of braids. A true hero of mine. She runs away from home with her kid brother with the mission to seek adventure. They stowaway in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and end up in the middle of an art history mystery with Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, played elegantly by Lauren Bacall. 

There are two things that always stuck out to me from that movie. The first being a scene in which the kid brother, suffering from a bad fever, wakes up in a bed of some famous king or queen and the sheets are covered in sweat. Claudia (aka braid) is ecstatic at this and says something like, “You sweat your fever out! You’re healed!” Now, this is great for the continuation of their adventure but when I think about those 16th century sheets loaded with some prepubescent boys sweat, I can’t help but shudder. 

The second, and more important, thing that sticks out is how cool it was for them to stay the night in a famous museum. This is why it was very easy for me to say ‘yes’ at the opportunity to participate in the Rubin Museum of Arts annual Dream-Over. 

The event, which is described as a ‘Sleep-over for Adults’ is way more than that. It involves not only sleeping at the museum but the opportunity to have your dreams interpreted by dream experts as you sleep under a specially assigned piece of art. 

I called my sister to try and convince her to come too. “There’s gonna be a Tibetan monk! And midnight snacks! And dream experts! And bedtime stories and I mean come on, we’ll be sleeping in a museeeuuuumm.” 

She said yes, I said yes, we all said yes!   

The event is known to sell out quickly so when tickets went on sale I was glued to my computer. I wasn’t this serious about ticket sales since the Spice Girls reunion of 2008: 

I happily confirmed my reservation for the evening. 

A few weeks before the event, we were sent a questionnaire that asked us some personal questions. These answers would be used when deciding our assigned piece of artwork. A few nights before the event, we were sent an email reminding us to arrive in our pajamas and how tents were prohibited, you know, normal museum-y, sleepover-y things. 

My sister and her partner came up to New York for the event. It was such a lovely evening that when 8:30 rolled around, we weren’t looking forward to spending the next 12 hours in a cold museum. However, the second we stepped into the Rubin, sleeping bags and air mattresses in hand, I was happy with our decision. 

Every dreamer was assigned a docent that would be your guide throughout the event. My sister and her partner went away with their guide. My docent, Dawn, found me in the lobby and took me in the elevator. I found she participated in the Dream-Over and soon after started working at the museum. I heard this a few times from people which made me think this museum must be something powerful. 

On our elevator trip up, I was taking notice of each level and what was on each floor. I noticed the 6th floor was masks and, as a former painter, made a silent wish that I wouldn’t be sleeping there. You can guess what happened next.

The doors opened on the 6th floor. Dawn led me to where I would be spending the night before leaving me to ‘get to know’ my art. Under my art was a notebook and some notes that explained why I was given the Japanese Noh masks:

“Carolyn, During waking hours you perform on stage to make people laugh, but tonight while you sleep under the Noh masks perhaps you will find yourself on a different stage; that of the world’s oldest living theater tradition.” 

I immediately fell in love.

I was lucky to be put in front of not only one but three pieces of art. Plus, I’m always in a state of ‘WTF’ when it comes to my comedy career, so the fact that my art was asking me try a different stage for a change, even if asleep, made me very excited. I unrolled my sleeping bag and proceeded to get to know Noh. 

The mask floor was full of ritual and religious masks, most quite scary:

Fortunately, the Noh masks put a sense of calm over me. Probably because they were all women.

Hannya, Ko-omote, and Otafuku, each represent a different type of woman. Hannya (left) is vengeful and jealous and in the beginning stages of transforming into an evil fiend. Ko-omote (middle) represents a beautiful but not yet mature woman while Otafuku (right) with her full cheeks and friendly smile stands for idealized feminine beauty. Dawn told me these masks never covered a performer’s face completely. The performers had to keep their faces still as to not disrupt the emotions of the mask. 

At 10pm we met in the theater for a discussion with Tibetan Buddhist, Khenpo Lama Pema Wangdak and dream facilitator Dr. William Braun of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. I burst into the theater looking for my sister.

“I’m having the best time!” I squealed. My sister told me all about the painting they would be sleeping under: The Medicine Buddha and His Assembly. She had recently been in and out of doctor appointments. We both looked at each other with that look we had given each other so many times as sisters. Weird. 

While we waited for the discussion to begin, they asked us to try and draw our art from memory. The theater, except for the ambient sound of what you would expect to hear while waiting for a discussion about dreams and Buddhism, was quiet while we all sketched.

I scribbled some notes throughout the talk: 
divination through dreams
in reality we are obscured by sense, dreams - no longer delimited by senses
receive teaching through dream
isolation on earth/not real
grasping/obsessed = demon
ego - you can’t focus
resist reality
when we are driving, we are free
focus like matter of life & death
loving kindness compassion
tense is dead

After the discussion, each floor met as a group to get to know one another and share what we wanted from this experience. Everyone was there for a different reason: Loss of family member, fear of being alone, I like sleeping, a friend backed out and needed someone to go with, my wife’s pregnant so this may be the last good night’s rest I get. I mentioned turning 30 soon and questioning my career and relationships and wanting to sleep in a museum and being obsessed with dreams and tried my hardest not to sound like a goof. Another girl in the group made a point to say she too was freaked out about turning 30 soon. She helped calm the red in my face. Our dream expert reminded us some of us might not have the experience we expect or even dream at all. But, she assured us, we would indeed be having an experience. I walked away from meeting my group very open, like I had just had a group therapy session. I loved everyone.

After our midnight snack of traditional Tibetan snacks and tea, we went back to our art to get to sleep. Once I was settled into my sleeping bag, Dawn came back to my side and asked if I was ready for my bedtime story. I wanted to say, “F**k yea!” but I grinned and nodded instead. 

My story was called “The Women” and was written especially for my masks. It told of each woman’s dance, starting with Otafuku and ending with Hannya. It described the specific details of their movement, their dress, the color of their fans. I found myself drawn to the story of Hannya’s dance. Her moves were awkward but deliberate.

It was time to dream. 

I was trying so hard to clear my head. I didn’t want anything to disrupt my experience. My hands were a little sticky with toothpaste and I feared I would end up having a dream about sticky hands. My head was facing Otafuku, my favorite mask, but I realized, reflected in Otafuku’s case were three skulls of a facing mask: 

I didn’t know if I should move so I couldn’t see them anymore or maybe I wanted them in my view, a gentle reminder of my mortality. You get pretty dark when you’re alone in a museum. The next day I saw the skulls were from a mask called Sendom, a lion deity that protects against evil spirits and curses. I was glad I kept them in sight.

I tried downloading a meditation app on my phone and got agitated at the slow download speed. “My meditation app isn’t downloading fast enough!” said the world’s worst Buddhist. 

At Khenpo’s recommendation, I repeated the phrase, “This is a dream. This is a dream.” In the lobby six floors down, someone played the sitar and I imagined I was eating dinner in the East Village. There were chimes. And breathing. And I think I’m about to fall asleep. “This is a dream. This is a dream.” 

I don’t think I’m sleeping until I am jolted awake but either a cough, the ding of an elevator or the sounds of a body shifting on an air mattress. The night before I had been woken up by the sound of gun shots and within seconds was sleeping again. Now, an innocent air mattress was keeping me awake. 

Every time I found myself awake again, I’d look to my art for comfort. Of course it was still there, they were still there. The security guards that were stationed on each floor were also still there, probably earning overtime and a good story to tell their friends: “These idiots, sleeping on the floor of a museum!” 

“This is a dream. This is a dream.”

It wasn’t my best sleep but I slept. And dream. Mostly about the experience. The bulk of my dream was about being in a museum trying to sleep and trying to dream, interspersed with symbols and things that I’ll keep to myself for deciphering. I explained all this to my dream interpreter who gently sat by side around 6am, taking notes and probing me about my rest. 

We all met again in the cafeteria to a light breakfast, yak tea included (and then immediately discarded by me). After breakfast, we met back with our groups to discuss our dreams. There was a theme. We all dreamt about being in a museum trying to sleep. Again, within each dream there were symbols and things that held meaning for each dreamer but I loved how we all shared this commonality.

By then it was close to 9am and our night at the museum was coming to an end. I said goodbye to my group. We only spent one night together but it felt like summer camp. “Keep in touch!” “Never forget the yak tea!” 

I went back to the sixth floor one last time to say goodbye to my masks. I imagined the next 8 hours for the three women. Strangers staring, taking pictures, doing what museum-goers do. I smiled and they smiled back. 

—–

The Rubin Museum’s annual Dream-Over was also featured in The Wall Street Journal. Read more here. 

Saying Yes: I Just Want to Dance by Carolyn Busa

I had recently discovered the musician Peaches and all I wanted to do with my life was dance in a club to ‘Fuck the Pain Away.' 

I wasn’t yet 18 but I yearned for the dance floor. I’d look through the club sections of the local Philadelphia papers. There were little symbols next to each club that when you went to the legend showed you the genre of music that would be played. I’d find all the ones with the little electronic music symbol, probably a swirl or a lollipop, and I’d stare. I knew I was years from legally entering these places but I thought if I stared hard enough I’d be blessed with a life full of dancing in clubs as soon as I turned 21. I admit, I loved dancing in the high school musicals and 'Uga Wug’ will go down in history as one of the best times I’ve ever had dancing.* But I needed more!

I promised myself as soon as I could, I would begin a life of sleepless nights coming home covered in sweat. To help pass the time and years, I even came up with my own Peaches-esque group that I named mAL (That’s bad in French!). My hit single, which was never released, recorded or ever anything more than a thought in my head was 'Where are my panties?’ I was ready.

But theeeeeen comedy happened (ugh, right?). And I spent more nights coming home covered in sweaty handshakes than the grime of a dance floor. I did dance a little. There were some memorable nights in Philly dancing to Spank Rock, the Beyonce/Britney Spears/Gaga mash-ups at Sisters were a hoot and hey, even the nights in Jersey dancing to the oldies with the oldies at The Coastline hold a special place in my heart. But the thirst high school Carolyn had has never been fully quenched, even at the age of 29. 

And then, one fine Facebook day, my friend Miz Stefani put a message up asking who wanted to join her for a Daybreaker. I clicked: 'A morning movement that will start your day off like anything else.’ Daybreakers are dance parties that take place from 7am-9am. No booze. No drugs. Coffee and snacks included. Just dancing.   

I said yes.

We got to Verboten in Williamsburg and there was a line. A line to a club at 6:59 in the morning.  Not only that but you could hear bass. Hearing bass pumping before hearing the sound of your computer start up is a very odd feeling. But it all made sense once we got inside.

It was dark, the place was packed and the dj was providing life to the waking dancers. I couldn’t stop giggling and feeling like I was a little kid that got away with doing something bad, I mean, mal. A lot of people were on their phones taking pictures. 'Look at what we’re doing at 7 in the morning!’ It was distracting trying to dance with a bunch of people taking selfies but I soon forgave them when I took one of my own. 

As the minutes passed, things went from weird to freaking great. I was covered in sweat. Partly because I was severely overdressed. Mostly because I was finally dancing my ass off. This was something I could get used to. 

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And I have gotten used to it. I can’t stop raving about morning raves. No one is there to do anything but dance. When someone bumps into you, it’s not because they’re drunk, it’s because the horn players got in the way. When you go to the bar, you’re not waiting for a bartender to serve you an overpriced drink, you’re grabbing a Kind bar or chocolate, coconut water. I don’t care if I’m being marketed to while I dance, look at these treats! 

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Plus, after a handful of morning raves, I think I finally got the correct wardrobe down. Note, denim jacket is a no, neon is a yes. 

Listen, I still love dancing at normal hours of the night, I’m not a monster. But now, when I find myself at one of these clubs, whiskey won’t have as much work to do to get me on the dance floor. 

You know what the craziest part of all of it is? As soon as I start living the Peaches-inspired life I always wanted and writing about it, guess who comes into my life? Peaches:

Peaches, who appeared at WORD Bookstore promoting What Else is in the Teaches of Peaces, talked about feminism, comedy, music, photography, vaginoplasty, even jizz. But the thing she said which resonated most with me had to be: 

“Don’t be afraid of your age. We’re all getting older and as a universe we’re living longer, you know, so can’t stop, don’t stop and don’t feel like you’re too old to do something.” 

I won’t, Peaces. 

*It’s from Peter Pan, you dummies. 

Saying Yes to Stories by Carolyn Busa

Four years ago, Hillary Rea put me on her first Tell Me a Story show at Shot Tower Coffee in Philadelphia. I was nervous because I never told a story on stage. I only told jokes. Despite my fear, I agreed to do the show.

Storytelling, which is still very scary for me, is exciting because it is very real. As a comedian, I am broken down, forced to find the story and not the punchline. 

I was so happy that she asked me to perform on her fourth anniversary show, partly because I still had the same outfit I wore four years prior, but also because it gave me another reason to ‘say yes’! 

My story, which was inspired by my ‘say yes’ phase, is about a recent trip to Graceland. Thank you again to Hillary Rea, Shot Tower Coffee, and Bob Sweeney for filming. 

And a BIG thank you to my genes for keeping my body the same shape for the past four years.

Say Yes by Carolyn Busa

Not that I’m counting (I’m counting), but in about 150 days, I’m going to turn 30. Heavy sigh.

I remember falling asleep after my 23rd birthday.That particular birthday (Wednesday, October 29th), I had invited a bunch of my friends out to sushi. The place had neon blue lighting and cool roll names like the Awesome and OMG Roll. Perfect for a bunch of giggly, twenty-somethings. We had a great dinner and I would’ve been happy with that being it. But my boyfriend at the time wanted to continue the night at the continuation of Game 5 of the World Series between the Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I don’t know.” I wined. I found myself regurgitating some of my mom’s favorite phrases:

“It’s going to be crowded!”
“It’s kinda chilly!”
“How will we get home?!”

But after some persuasion and probably another Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (my favorite beer of my early twenties), I said yes. And, holy crap, I was glad I did.

Hours later, after the Phillies big win, I was skipping down Broad Street with friends and strangers. We hugged. We laughed. We handed out Obama stickers. It was the best.

Not all birthdays have been that easy to digest. And I’m not sure how I’ll sleep the first night of my thirties. But that night I went to bed so happy I said yes.

My impending thirties has made me realize, I don’t say yes as much as I should. I get stuck in safety and routine. Why sit with my back straight when slouching is so easy? This is not who I want to be. I want to put my shoulders back. I want to open myself up to the universe.

Jim Carrey made a movie dedicated to this way of living, Yes Man. You probably never saw it or maybe you saw it on a flight and it’s now one of your favorites as is the power of the in-flight movie. Either way, it’s the one where based on the simple idea of saying yes to everything, Jim Carrey and cutiepatootie, Zoey Deschanel, get caught up in some goofy, wacky adventures. This, for the most part, is my inspiration.

Listen, I’m not trying to do bucket list, life-threatening shit here as you’ll see in the entries to come (Spoiler alert: I almost get a tattoo). I don’t need to jump out of a plane. Yet. I simply want to go to bed on the last night of twenties, and every night after, with the satisfaction that I gave yes a chance.