I’ve seen the phrase, “If it’s not a ‘hell YES,’ it’s a ‘hell NO’” floating around the Internet for some time.
Great words to live by. If something doesn’t feel great, don’t go with it. Be picky.
When I first read the words, I cheered out loud. They seemed to so perfectly encapsulate how I felt about many things, including my love life and career.
I’d been dating around, but not quite finding my “hell YES.” I was still trying to figure out what my “hell YES” even was.
Given my very strong desire, however, it didn’t take long for me to find clues.
I knew that what I wanted must exist somewhere already, so I searched and searched for possible examples.
I found them.
Books, stories, songs, all pointing to a great love. The kind that gets better with time, and grows as you do. The kind where you and your partner love and respect each other AND inspire each other to greater and greater growth and fun.
Each data point (as my analytical mind saw it) served as mounting evidence that it was possible. Each one had something to contribute to my “hell YES.”
I played several songs on repeat, feeling goose-bumps raise as I processed the words more closely with each play.
“Hey Soul Sister” by Train spoke to my desire to find someone I felt just got me. “Lucky” by Jason Mraz spoke to my desire to find someone who cherished and valued me deeply – and I him. “Therapy” by India Arie spoke to my desire to have a soul-fulfilling relationship that nurtured and elevated us both.
Those were my three.
They inspired me. They fed my “hell YES.”
Coupled with those songs where two books. Conscious Loving by Katie and Gay Hendricks, and Meeting Your Half-Orange by Amy Spencer.
Those were my two.
The first taught me about what a soul-fulfilling relationship could actually look like and how it could function. What did it mean to love consciously? How does one keep the love alive in a long-term relationship? How does one have an enriching relationship day-to-day? So many questions answered. The second taught me what I needed to do to ready myself for that type of relationship. It involved, first and foremost, with being OK with what my “hell YES” entailed.
So I embraced it. I decided to follow my “hell YES” and have some fun along the way.
I researched and prepared, readying myself for this new type of relationship. The kind that grows as you do.
I spent countless hours imagining what my “hell YES” would feel like. How it might feel to feel secure in myself, and in this relationship. Imagining what it would feel like waking up next to someone I so adored.
Some months later, I found him. Or he found me. We’re not sure which.
Early on, I knew it was different. It felt different. It felt so right.
Later, even as we worked through challenges big and small (to my utter shock, those still exist in “hell YES” relationships), I always had those early experiences to come back to. They made running away – my lifelong survival tactic – really hard to do.
So I stayed, because my “hell YES,” even when it felt momentarily like a “hell NO,” acted as a compass. It forced me to ask what I was really saying “No” to, and whether this relationship had the potential of transforming it.
It did. Every single time, thus far.
Lately, as I’ve been reflecting on the months ahead, I’ve thought back on this journey with deep gratitude. Grateful to have found a partner that I could learn to consciously love and consciously be loved by.
In honor, I wrote the poem below, attempting to capture the emotions I felt in those early days.
I offer it to every Peaceful Dumpling that has ever wanted a big love – your own “hell YES” – whether it has been found or is still waiting to be discovered.
The first time I saw you…when was that, really?
Six months of thinking you were just a representative of a dream-worthy relationship. Sweet surprise to know your flesh.
Lyrics, stories swirling. Whispering, screaming promises of what
So excited. SO excited
To meet you
To smell you
To touch you.
The first time I saw you, I saw myself in male form.
Twin. That’s what you called me.
Early on, something inside of us both knew, both knew. This was different. This was strong. This was comforting.
You felt so familiar. Like reconnecting with a childhood friend.
It was so easy, so natural, our connection.
“Your voice…it’s like I’ve heard it in dreams.”
The first time I saw you, I saw my soul.
It winked at me.
There’s something here. Pay attention. This is what you’ve been waiting for, preparing for.
My heart knew more than my eyes could see.
Time and time, again, I closed my eyes and followed my heart.
I’m glad I did.
It led me to me.
Photo: Johan Hansson via Flickr