Focus on the invitation of “I dare you” rather than the shadow of “should.”
That was my self-challenge for the weekend. Really, it will probably become a self-challenge for what remains of my life. I have lived under the shadow of “should” for long enough to be somewhat comfortable (as comfortable as one can become) in its dusky darkness.
“I dare you,” though, is playful. Satisfaction is more likely to be found in the playful self-challenge. Conversely, the looming shadow of “should” is often paralyzing. “I dare you” is the posture I can take when invited to show up:
Do you want to ride? No.
But, I dare you to ride. Hm. Okay.
But, you should ride. Fine, but fuck you.
Efforts born of “should” are resentful, reluctant, and often unsatisfying. Efforts born of “I dare you” are possibly tentative but are more energized and are efforts made with a healthy pride. To dare myself and to then take up my own dare is to show myself my own strength.
I don’t know if it works. But now I have a post-it note on my bulletin board that reads “I dare you.” Annie, I dare you to read the Faerie Queene. Annie, I dare you to try your take-home quiz. To reply to that email. To say yes to a bike ride. To meditate. To practice mindfulness. To breathe. Annie, I dare you to live.
I dare you.