Alternately titled “YIP, YIP, HOORAY!”
I have the yips. And if we’re being honest, I’ve had them for a while.
Side bar: “Yips” sounds like an STD (a STD?), but something particularly embarrassing. Something Tiger Woods would’ve gotten from one of his 15 prostitutes. I really don’t know why I’m starting this post by talking about El Tigre.
I’ve had the yips ever since I wrote the post about suicide and depression. It got so many views (roughly twelve times more than I’m used to) and the resulting feeling was a deer in headlights. But that doesn’t feel quite right. More like when you disturb a rock and the beetle that’s been making its home underneath freezes, suddenly aware of the vastness above it. I’m the beetle in this metaphor.
And since I’ve been made aware of the vast curve above me, I’ve realized that people might actually be reading what I write—a concept that had not been fully concretized in my head—and having opinions about my writing, and that’s led to the yips.
I do much better when no one’s watching—actually I do much better when people are actively rooting against me. In my freshman year of high school, my track coach knocked me back one running group. We would run in heats, so Group A would start their sprinting lap, then ten seconds later, Group B would start, and so on and so on.
He called out my name—well actually, he thought my name was “Murphy” so he called out “Murphy”—“Go to Group Six.” Group Six was the slowest runners—I had previously been Group Five, which was the mingled remains of runners who were not quite slow but not quite fast (Groups One to Three were largely interchangeable in speed, Group Four was always vying for the chance to jump ahead, and Five was largely content to swim in its own pond). Six was the asthmatics and the fatties.
Instead of being shamed into embarrassment, the demotion kick-started dogged stubbornness, and I roiled internally.
Group Five would go into their lap. Ten seconds. Group Six, me poised at the very edge of the line, would go. I sprinted, pumping limbs, and caught up with Group Five. The next round, I would pass the slowest member of Group Five. Then the next slowest. After every lap, I would stand, gasping, and make direct, combative eye contact with my coach. He didn’t notice, but I knew that I had made my point.
This anecdote tells us a few things. One, I might not know when to quit. Two, I’m very aggressive. Three, I succeed with flying colors when no one has any possible expectations of me. The minute people expect something, I deflate like a bouncy castle at the close of a middle schooler’s birthday party.
And it sucks, because I don’t want to have the yips. I want to use my blog for what it’s meant for—complaining about boys, writing veiled personal essays to catch certain people’s attentions, and cutting up pop culture for general consumption.
So I’m officially casting off all expectations. Most people have very low ones of me already, but shed those too. Because mama’s back, and there’s some good shit we need to discuss.
I don’t know if I should talk about them here….or….?
See, I started writing this on Tuesday and now it’s Thursday and I was going to write more but I was apparently distracted—probably by, like, a butterfly or I went to get something to eat. Regardless, I did not finish this post, but I want to. I think I’m going to go back to my roots and start forcing myself to write biweekly posts, yips be damned.
Side bar: I’m writing this having just woken up from a nap. I was reading Kim Barker’s book The Taliban Shuffle (which became the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot with Tina Fey) and that is one book you don’t want to be reading when you fall asleep because all my dreams were about the Taliban and me wanting to go to the mall.