Sunday, May 19, 2013

Saying No

Saying yes is so easy.  Like when someone asks you if you want to eat cupcakes, or if you'd like a second-helping of tater-tot casserole.  Besides the obvious pleasures of eating cupcakes and tater-tot casserole, even saying yes to things that require responsibility or money or time, happen to carry a sort of incredible satisfaction to them as well.  Perhaps you may disagree with me, but I love to see people's smiles when I tell them, "Yes."

It's exhilarating.  Intoxicating at times to see the happiness it can bring to others when you say, "Yes, I can do that", or, "Yes, I'd love to help, or buy that, or take that off your hands, or give you this, or watch that, or make myself completely at your disposal..."  Adaptability at its best; the ability to say yes in almost any situation and believe it's what you want.

In my last blog, I wrote about doing what you want.  Doing what you want because it is your life.  This blog is about the harder side of doing what you want.  This is the blog about learning to say no, learning to do the things that might mean you have to tell people, maybe the people who matter the most to you, "No."  Because the truth of the matter is that there are people out there who want to tell you what to do, and they don't want you to say no.  Maybe you aren't a people-pleaser like me, and if you aren't, I'm glad.  If you are, then you understand how hard it is to say no.

Over the past couple of days, I've had to set several boundaries with a person who I had become extremely close to emotionally and physically.  There were several reasons for my boundaries, all of which culminated in the idea of creating a healthier and more stable relationship between us.  These boundaries meant saying no.  And they meant saying no hard.  They meant pushing someone away.  They meant making someone angry.  They meant that I had to not please someone.  They meant I had to think about my personal health and safety first.  And they were hard to put in place.

And then they were ignored.  Un-sacredly and purposefully ignored.  These boundaries that I had so strategically placed around myself were ripped down, trampled over, and ravished by a person who can't hear, "No." 

Saying no is something we all need to learn to say.  No is a word that protects.  No is a word that can open doors for us to say yes.  No can be the word that shushes the thoughts in our heads that tell us we aren't good enough, that we can't do something, that we are not worth this or that or someone or something.  No is the word that can obliterate and shatter the lies that we have believed all our lives, the lies that a darker evil in this world would love us to believe and say yes to.

Saying no can save us from living a life that we never wanted, from marrying someone who we never really loved, from doing things that don't actually make us happy.  Saying no to tater-tot casserole and cupcakes is all well and good for your health, but it's even more important than that.  Saying no is really about understanding who you are and how important you are.  Your thoughts, your beliefs, your ideals, your boundaries, they all matter.  And if you don't like something or you don't want to do something, you have the right, the God-given power, to say, "No."  Because you and I are that important.

We are so important that we have been given the right to tell other people, "No, I don't want to do that, or buy that, or watch that, or give you that, or be completely at your disposal."  You are that precious, that strong, that much in control.  Don't let anyone ever tell you differently.  Take your life in your own hands, and learn to say yes and no when you want to and when you need to.  And never forget that there will be people who will push you and try to take away your boundaries and rape your no's, but there are also people, the good ones, the keepers, who will always support you and love you for your no's as much as your yes's.  Those are the ones to keep around, ignore the rest.  And if you ever want support in saying no, I'm right behind you, rooting for you all the way.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What to do when you don't know what to do

First off, unless you are completely put together like nobody's business, I'm sure you have found yourself in the place where you just don't know what to do.  For some reason, I feel like I keep finding myself in this place, this place of uncertainty and indecisiveness.  Exactly a month ago, I wrote a post concerning my uncertainty about returning to the United States.  Things have only become more complicated.

So what do we do when we don't know what to do?  Well, me personally, I listen to passionate, emotion-filled music that makes me want to move and dance and throw my arms in the air and embrace everything I just don't quiet understand yet.  I also find that letting out my uncertainties in drawings and paintings is quiet useful.  And then there is journaling and blogging.  Being that I have already done the first two things to do when you don't know what to do, I'm now getting to the third one, blogging.

I was raised in a church which taught me that judgement was the ultimate thing to fear and the most powerful tool to use.  I learned from a young age that every one had an opinion on what you were doing and how you did it and if you didn't do it right, you were going to hell.  In this environment, I learned to judge and be judged, to shame and to be shamed, and to place other people in a position of incredible power over my life.  My life.  Maybe that's why I dyed my hair crazy colors and styled it outrageously.  Maybe that's why I left the United States in the first place way back in 2007.  Maybe that's why I left the church.  I have wanted to direct my own life.

After talking with my Dad today, I was reminded of how it feels to not be judged.  My Dad may not be a saint, and we have had our rough spots, but if there is one thing he has always done right is to never, ever judge me.  I know that, no matter what I do, he will support me in it.  I was reminded that when I find myself in a place of indecision, feeling guilty for wanting something that doesn't please every body, that the real truth of the matter is, my life, is my life.  Plain and simple.  No one else has to walk in my shoes, no one else gets to choose what I do and where I live.  In the very, very end, it is all on me.  Maybe I will choose the "wrong" thing, but it was my choice.  Maybe it won't please every one, but at least it pleases me and I'm the one who has to deal with me, all the time, for the rest of my life.

Life is crazy, and there will be times, many times perhaps, where you and I will find ourselves in places where we don't know what to do.  In this instant, when every thing is acting whirly-twirly around you, sit yourself down, take your own hand, and remind yourself, this is your life, don't let anyone else try to live it for you.  And then turn up some Florence + The Machine and rock out with your hands up in the air, ready to take life by her big gorgeous hands and dance with her all the way through.  It's my life, and I will live it big, and loud, and how I think is best for me.  You only live once, right?