You know what? It’s okay to just say no. You can say “I don’t want to.” without further explanation. It’s okay to have feelings and commitments and values that are not the same as somebody else. Nobody is the boss of you, except for you.
I just read I am not sorry by Gala Darling which spurred me to write this post. Caitlin has also been mentioning that she wants to stop apologizing for things…and I agree. She should, because she is awesome and funny and isn’t saying anything terrible or mean! So why does she feel she has to apologize all the time?
I’ve been really trying to live true to myself, especially lately, and I’m much happier for it. I don’t let others make me feel bad for my choices anymore, even though it’s hard sometimes.
Here are a few things I’ve been trying:
1. No more disclaimers in my “controversial” blog posts. It feels good to make clear statements without hedging and trying to show both sides of an argument on every thing I say. This is my blog and these are my opinions. I say what I want to say, and you can like it or lump it.** Just leave if you don’t like what I have to say. Go on, scram.
2. If I am invited to something I don’t want to attend I do not say yes. I do not say maybe. I say “No thanks.” and tell the person why I don’t want to do the thing. “I’m tired.” or “I’m not interested.” or “It’s too far away and my bus doesn’t run very late.” or whatever the case may be.
I find that generally people are pretty receptive to the truth, even if they’re a bit disappointed. It saves me the hassle and the stress of saying maybe and then coming up with excuses or lies to get out of the thing later on.
3. I have been asking people to shut up.You know what people always want to do when I’m on the bus? Talk about my tattoos. Always. And sometimes I’m like “yeah whatever I’ll chat I guess” and sometimes I just want to sit and daydream. So I will politely say “I really want to get my reading done” or “I’ve had a long day and don’t feel like talking right now.”
In my class, if a table-mate is talking during a lecture I will tell them “I’m trying to listen right now.”
Again, most of the time people will respect that. And sometimes they will call me a snobby bitch, but I guess that’s the risk I have to take to get what I want. Because guess what? It doesn’t matter if a random person calls me a snobby bitch on the bus, does it? I mean really, does it? No.
4. If something is annoying me, I will get up and move. On the bus I will absolutely change seats if someone is coughing too much or is being too weird. In my classroom I will change seats if that same someone still won’t stfu beside me while I’m trying to listen to the lecture. There’s one girl in particular who drives me fucking bananas and I hope she finds this and reads it someday and realizes that I moved seats to get the hell away from her. Also, she’s dumb and she smells like hairspray.
5. I’ve decided I don’t have to be friends with everybody. My mantra in my class right now is “I’m here to learn, not to make friends.” and I mean it. Do I want 23423980 casual acquaintances to whose every whim I have to acquiesce*** and attend every art show they put on, or do I want 4 really great friends who get me, treat me well, and leave me the hell alone most of the time? (You know who you are! I love you, awesome friends.)
As Amy Poehler once said:
“Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good, kick them to the curb, and the earlier you start in your life the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it.”
It might be easier for me than most because at work I am “the mean one”; I’m the one who forces people to leave deposits, won’t let 34 friends watch someone get a tattoo, who check IDs and turns away the underage kids. I get a lot of practice having strangers get mad at me.
I know this kind of thing is hard to do, as silly as it might sound. You can come off as a jerk and not everyone is going to like you. You have to just be okay with that. There’s always a fine balance to life, and you really have to make sure you’re happy with what you are putting out there to the world. Is it what you really want to put out, or are you making compromises so strangers don’t think you’re mean? And is that worth it to you?
*** I just really wanted to use the word “acquiesce” and that was the only sentence structure I could come up with. Yikes.