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  • Aria M. Mason

Here Goes Nothing

Three years ago yesterday, my heart beat normally for the last time. Three years ago today, a nurse noticed I wasn't being my usual upright, downright, nutty self, and checked me out. Called the crash cart. Jumped me like an engine. And that didn't do the job alone, so my mother and I started saying our goodbyes to each other. Not long after is when they found out I had endocarditis (an infection of the heart valves), and the treatment took two more months, but saved my life. It wasn't my last brush with death, but it was the closest.

I made a vow when I finally left the hospital-better known to most of my friends and family as "the slammer"-that I had finally had enough of fear. All my life, I had been afraid to fail. Afraid to embarrass myself after I stuck my neck out. Afraid to be rejected by yet another person. And I decided I was done with it. I knew that the combination of a progressive neuromuscular disease and a newfound heart condition (or two) would mean a shorter life than most and I wanted the chance to savor every moment and truly embrace every experience that came my way. Eat life. See shows. Go to therapy. Forgive wholeheartedly. Wear dresses above the knee. In the words of the immortal Philip Frohnmayer, to "live until I die". If God wasn't done with me, I didn't have the right to give up.

So the next year got me outchea trying things out, being bold in all aspects of my life (despite return trips to the slammer). Wearing large earrings and whatnot. And then two years ago today, I went to a longtime friend's birthday party. My darling friend Meredith had a "come as your favorite feminist dance party" for her birthday. I, as Ida B. Yoncé, showed up and showed out. And someone bumped into me from behind...the young man who used to drive me home from school and escorted me to my sweet sixteen, Henri, looking all good. 

The fear said, "Don't put yourself out there now and get rejected." I told that heffa to shut up. Instead I said, "How are you?"

He said "Single. And I'm moving home in two months."

So two years ago I started something wonderful, and in a few months, we'll be embarking on an entirely new adventure: marriage.

Today's anniversary got me thinking: if fear is behind me, and I am going forward, it's time to stop keeping myself from embracing telling my story.

So that heffa is going to have to talk to somebody else.

Who am I? A larger than life and larger than death Black Creole Catholic handifabulous woman with natural hair, a marvelous life, a Brahmin bag and a bad attitude.

And it's time I spoke my peace.

Here goes everything.

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