why i'm not going to italy.

because, i was. for a hot second.

you probably didn't even know it was a thing to begin with. i barely knew it was a thing to begin with. but, it began. with a conversation over coffee, with a friend who suggested i look into being an au pair. which, if you don't know, is one of those international nanny situations you see in the movies.

we talked about what an incredible experience it would be, but it wasn't something i thought i would actually do. in fact, the idea felt a little intimidating to even approach, like one of those dreams you set aside for later, while it gathers dust in the corner.

once i realized the fear of saying yes was the only thing causing me to hesitate, i changed my mind and created a profile for myself.

if there's one thing unemployment has taught me, it's that unless you are financially unable to, you can say yes to everything.

and so i did. unless i had a legitimate reason to say no, i said yes. but i treated it more like a hobby than something i was actually pursuing, turning down most of the conversation requests, taking my time replying to the messages i wanted to follow up with, and even (accidentally) missing a few opportunities to meet families over skype. and while i was serious about giving it a chance, the truth is, i think i was expecting to find a closed door. i was saying yes after yes, waiting for it to reveal itself.

but even with my casual approach, things kept moving forward until i was offered a position with a family in italy. suddenly, it went from seeing what happens next to having to actually decide.

it caught me off guard at the time, but now i think god was just calling my bluff. when a door doesn't close, and you don't have a real reason to say no, do you still say yes and walk through it?

i didn't know what to do, but something inside me knew my choice didn't really matter. this was one of those things that didn't have a right or a wrong answer; i just needed to decide.

i thought about how it all played out, about how i put in almost no effort and still ended up with a job offer. i thought about the timing, and how i would probably never be in this position again. i thought about all the reasons i thought of for saying no were only excuses.

so i said yes. i decided i would keep saying yes until i had a real reason to say no.

but there was a part of me that was still hesitant. even after making my decision, i still played around with the idea of changing my mind. it reminded me of that time i had to decide whether or not to stick with my original plan for moving to nashville. everything was set for me to move in early may, except for this nagging feeling that i shouldn't.

it wasn't fear. it wasn't anxiety. it wasn't anything i could wrap words around in attempt to explain it. there wasn't any logical reason why, i just knew the answer should be no.

it's a frustrating thing to feel, when what you want is good and exciting. it's hard to let it go and keep waiting, when you're not sure when you'll have the opportunity again. it makes you want to fight against it.

i thought i owed it to myself to keep going, to move forward, to see where it led. until i realized that all the things i thought were reasons to say yes were actually reasons i was scared to say no.

italy began as something i was afraid to say yes to, but somewhere along the way it became something i wanted, something i was comfortable holding in my hands, something i wrapped my fingers so tightly around. somewhere along the way, italy became something i was afraid to let go of, for fear i would never be able to taste it. (LITERALLY.)

eventually, i did end up moving to nashville. as it turned out, the three month gap in between when i was supposed to move and when i actually did made all the difference, for reasons i can tell you about and reasons i haven't yet realized. saying no was the best thing i could've done for myself, but at the time, it only felt confusing and terrifying.

and so, on thanksgiving morning, i changed my mind and decided not to go to italy. because the thing about being able to say yes to everything is that you learn how to press into the fear of what happens when you do. but sometimes, pressing into the fear means saying no, and finding out what happens when you choose to stay.

sometimes, taking a leap of faith doesn't start with a yes. sometimes, it starts with a no.


posted on the day i was supposed to land in milan, i guess this means what happens now is what happens next, because i quit my job and then i chose to stay.