I spent much of my high school evenings stretching a too-short ethernet cable across the living room to the safest corner of the couch (my back to the wall, ready to click out of a chatroom if my mom shook out of sleep to check on me). I wore that side of the couch out—no matter how much I tried to reinforce it later, it couldn’t be unsunk.
This is where I learned how to say yes, all those miles of underground wires to keep me safe. I crawled inside of a self that wasn’t the self, a self to become. Yes to what I didn’t know. Yes to who I didn’t know. Yes to what I wanted. Yes to a new name, a million names. A new vocabulary to get lost in the yesness of. A confidence I didn’t have. A desirability I hadn’t ever had access to before. Yes to the parts of me anyone liked best. Yes to the newness, the hereness.
Late night screen glow, warm palms, nervous hands. An ache behind my pelvic bone I didn’t have an explanation for.
I learned how to say yes on the internet, which taught me how and when to say no in real life.