Growing up we are taught to say no to two things: drugs and sex. And while I understand the emphasis on these topics, what about…oh, I don’t know, EVERYTHING else?
Now, this isn’t to say that you become a disagreeable hermit of a negative nancy. This is just to open up the idea that the word NO can be used at any time. It doesn’t always have to be used when feeling peer pressured into decisions that the general public has decided will send you into a downward spiral with no other choice but becoming a photocopy of a character from the movie Kids.
For so many years, I said YES. If there was a club, a position that needed to be filled, or a volunteer shortage, I was your girl. I was a human pinball with a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Ask my friends. My schedule was presidential. My father even wrote me a letter in high school expressing his concern about having time for myself.
Time for myself? I don’t think I knew personal time was even a thing. I was too social, too curious, too anxious, and entirely too friendly. I was that girl. I was a walking Disney Princess. I was constantly surrounded by people. Being sent to my room was a death sentence-I used to lean on the door frame with my head poking out apologizing profusely if anyone could even hear what I was saying through the tears of pure devastation, begging for it to be over. You would have thought I was a prisoner next to the Count of Monte Cristo. Nowadays, I WISH someone would send me to my room.
We learn at a very early age that NO is bad…but I am here with all of my non-professional semi-genius wisdom to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.
Do you want to come see my improv show? No
Would you like a glass of Chardonnay? (Throw up noise)
Wanna go see that Vin Diesel movie? No
Would you like to help the starving children? No. And don’t look at me like that.
Wanna help my Go Fund Me project? Sure don’t.
Wanna hear about what I’m selling? No. My Facebook feed is covered in it.
Do you wanna give me a ride to the airport? No.
Do you wanna help me move? I don’t want to help myself move.
(keep in mind with the last two, if these questions are coming from a good friend don’t you dare expect that favor in return and, on a further note, saying no to the last one makes you a shitty friend. Friends who help you move are the unicorns of life. They are rare and don’t you forget it.)
Even today, I have a hard time saying no. It has such a negative connotation with it and saying no makes you feel like you’ve let someone down. When someone wants something from you: a favor, your presence, to borrow something and you can’t deliver, there’s a whole slithering of guilt that comes with it.
Well guess what? Tough. Start making yourself and your time a priority. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule. This isn’t a promo for you to go out and be a selfish narcissistic a-hole. I’ll cut you. But you gotta do you. At the end of the day you should be able to look in the mirror and know you were good to that person because THAT person needs just as much love, attention, and respect as anyone else. That’s what I’d tell my younger self…although I don’t think she’d have the time to listen.