There is a background soundbite that made the rounds on Instagram Reels and TikTok that goes like this:
"I only have time for fuck yes energy nowadays.
Fuck yes, I want to hang out with you.
Fuck yes, I like you.
Fuck yes, I want to give you my time and energy.
Anything short of that --
Fuck no. Hard pass."
Every time I hear it, I think: "YES! That is what I need from the people in my life!"
I carry high energy. My truest nature is boisterous and active. I jump from one thing to the next, idea to idea, interest to interest. And I am all-in, 100% invested in those things. (ADHD? Totally. Without a doubt. My personal style of gung-ho, Fuck-Yes Energy is what I bring to the table.)
And more than anything, I positively adore people who match that Fuck-Yes Energy.
"Oh, you have a new idea for FUN?! Fuck-Yes, Whitney, let's do it!"
Basically, I want every relationship in my life to be grounded in a mutual expectation of pure, uncensored HYPE.
(And okay, I understand that not every moment can be hype-time.... right? Sure, I'll accept that. Still, I strive for that standard of energy oozing from every inch of my life.)
It is my biggest request of my husband when I approach him to present my NEXT. BRILLIANT. PLAN! for an extraordinary life. Every few days or so.
"Match my energy, Bro! Let's MAKE. THIS. HAPPEN!"
I believe my expectation for Fuck-Yes Energy has only grown over the past few years through my caregiving experience with my medically-complex son.
As a caregiver, your priorities in life change dramatically. The small worries no longer matter quite so much. The big stuff consumes your life. Your primary focus is life-and-death, inclusion versus exclusion or segregation; basically, right versus wrong in terms of social justice and general human decency.
But caregiving is hard. Being a medical parent of a complex and, sometimes, very ill child is hard. And it is easy to get down about it. It is easy to let yourself spiral into despair, anger, resentment over everything. You see this often in various parent support groups where negativity rules the roost.
I understand how and why caregivers reach that point. My own caregiving experience has been extremely challenging -- sometimes, downright terrifying. I am naturally suspicious of authoritative systems, and I hold a high degree of cynicism in areas where our caregiving experience, and my son's disability experience, meets with injustice, ableism, and policymakers who don't seem to really give a damn.
But, for my son's sake, and for my own, I cannot allow myself to live in negativity, to live awash in my fury over broken systems, to dig in and call home a trench of despair that is of my own making. I cannot do it.
Instead, as caregivers, in our family, we make a conscious effort to lean into the Fuck-Yes Energy. We work hard to be the voice of positivity in our son's corner. To be his cheerleaders. To be the HYPE for each other.
If we choose to do something, we go forward full-steam ahead, no holds barred, with confetti cannons and streamers ablaze.
In whatever we do as a caregiving medical family, we are going to show up as our full selves with a whole lot of Fuck-Yes Energy. That is how we roll.
Last week, our son experienced a very bad seizure. His worst yet. It was a scary situation for everyone involved that ended in a critical-care hospital admission. It was bad -- I cannot stress that enough.
In the days that followed, my husband and I talked a lot about the future of our family. We shared our thoughts on what it means to live a "good life," and also had that fairly common conversation about "quantity versus quality" of years and what that means for each of us. What does a "quality life" or a "good life" look like if my husband dies tomorrow, or I die, or, gods-forbid, something happens to our son?
No doubt, my husband would describe the outcome of that conversation in different terms, but for me, what it comes down to is following your own Fuck-Yes Energy.
Does something make you happy? Do you want to do something different with your life? Do you want certain people in your life? Does something truly matter to you?
If the answer is anything less than an exhilarating "Fuck Yes!" (with, at least, one exclamation point! probably two!!), then we are moving onto something different.
From now on, that is our guidepost for Malachi as well. If the mention of a particular therapy does not elicit an exuberant squeal of excitement, if he doesn't smile and laugh while he is there -- we are out. If what we're doing with homeschool doesn't plaster a smile on his face -- we are doing something different. If he starts feeling down and anxious because we've stayed at home for too long -- we're getting out and planning another trip. We have decided as a family that we are no longer doing things because "we are supposed to do them." Therapies that "encourage future independence," but make Malachi unhappy right now in the present moment, they are not for us. If people, groups, organizations don't match our Fuck-Yes Energy when it comes to inclusion -- fine, whatever. We'll go somewhere else. We'll find better people. I'm not wasting a single moment of my life fighting for our family to be included in spaces that don't really want us there. We'll take our HYPE elsewhere. We're here in this life to have fun, to love, to experience, to explore. We're here for the Fuck-Yes Energy and the Fuck-Yes people -- and nothing less. Match that energy.