The "hilarious and poignant" story of one chronically anxious woman's quest to become braver by seeking out the kinds of experiences she's spent her life avoiding (Cheryl Strayed).
For most of her life (and even during her years as the host of a popular radio show), Courtenay Hameister lived in a state of near-constant dread and anxiety. She fretted about everything. Her age. Her size. Her romantic prospects. How likely it was that she would get hit by a bus on the way home.
Until a couple years ago, when, in her mid-forties, she decided to fight back against her debilitating anxieties by spending a year doing little things that scared her -- things that the average person might consider doing for a half second before deciding: "nope."
Things like: attending a fellatio class. She did that. She also spent an afternoon in a sensory deprivation tank, got (legally) high in the middle of a workday, had a session with a professional cuddler, braved twenty-eight first dates, and (perhaps scariest of all) actually met someone who might possibly appreciate her for who she is.
Refreshing, relatable, and pee-your-pants funny, Okay Fine Whatever is Courtenay's hold-nothing-back account of her adventures on the front lines of Mere Human Woman vs. Fear, reminding us that even the tiniest amount of bravery is still bravery, and that no matter who you are, it's possible to fight complacency and become bold, or at least bold-ish, a little at a time.
Hameister, former host and head writer of the Portland radio show Live Wire!, undertakes an amusing, if perhaps overly insular, rumination on various experiences she has subjected herself to in order to combat severe anxiety. Those with similar conditions will find her tone encouraging throughout, as when she describes the reason for taking on her "Okay Fine Whatever" project: "I thought if I could create a situation in which I was forced to try new things... I might actually become braver... I might even eventually become a badass." She describes a wide variety of small boundary-pushing experiences, including 90 minutes spent in a sensory deprivation tank, forays into polyamory, and an evening at a vegan strip club, which she leaves feeling "far dirtier for pretending to be chill' than I did for watching naked women gyrate all night." She also shares personal reflections, most notably on her desire for male approval. Her amused, sometimes snarky writing style will surely resonate with young hipsters but seems less likely to reach a wider readership. Nonetheless, Hameister's frankness about her struggles with anxiety may prove helpful to readers facing their own internal confrontations.