No.

People don’t like to be told no. Why? It’s the small verbal representation that you live on this planet with other human beings and you can’t do or say what you want. In fact, you should be mindful of others. As someone who believes people are mostly selfish barring divine intervention, I’m not surprised that a lot of people think this sucks.

I’ve been trying to embrace “no”. Why? “No” is not a bad thing. You’d think it was. This past week, I’ve seen a lot of inspirational saying on Pinterest that tell you to drop everything and say “yes” to yourself. I like to call these “Treat Yo’self” Nuggets because they’re all about making you feel good and entitled and instantly gratified. I’m not against saying yes. I think that phrases such as, “Yes, I am capable,” “Yes, I am worthwhile,” and “Yes, I am strong,” should be in everyone’s vocabulary. But, sometimes you just have to say “No.”

I’m not talking about saying no to alcohol, drugs, or sex. Although, there are times where you should definitely say “no,” and have that no be respected. What I’m saying is be conscious of when “no” is the appropriate answer. I have a small-scale, arguably silly illustration for that:

I am female, and therefore suffer from a monthly period. [PANIC. She said period. PANIC. Stop freaking out and take the tampon out of your bum.] There are distinct symptoms that I suffer through in the name of being female. I won’t list them out for you because you don’t actually have to know all that for me to get to my point. You do have to understand that there is a delicate science around me straight up NEEDING chocolate so my cramps don’t cause me to murder the closest person to me. Bodies pile up and the great state of Michigan frowns upon that.

The beautiful thing about my life is that I work with roughly twenty-four females. I don’t know if we’ve necessarily synced up, but I do know who starts their periods before me. When they start complaining, I start taking bathroom inventory and girding my loins. Recently, I also made the BAH-rilliant decision to pre-buy a candy bar for when it happens. It usually happens at work because the world hates me, so I kept the candy bar at my desk.

Of course, this is also the same week that everything feels like it’s falling apart and I want to cry. I’m stressed out. People are dumb. I want that chocolate bar more than my life. If I said yes to myself and ate the chocolate, would I have been happy? Yeah. I would have been real happy. It would have been awesome. Except. I would have started my period, started cramping like a she-wolf, and would have had to make an extra trip to Meijer to buy candy. See how many opportunities there are for rage fits?

Instead, I said no. I said no that whole week to eating the chocolate. I even said no that first day of starting. I took the chocolate home with me for my weekend and at it on the second day of my period when my uterus threw a tantrum in my abdomen like a three year old in a store that wants a toy. Now, let me tell you, that chocolate soothed my soul in a way that was second only to Jesus.

But see how rewarding no can be? I’ve been saying no to a lot of things. Say no to Starbucks and fast food. Say no to books and movies you have to pay for. Say no to that extra hour of sleep you want but you now will make you hungover on sleep and feel like an extra hot steaming pile of dung. And what’s the benefit?

I see a light at the end of the tunnel with my finances. I see that I can start living closer to my budget because I’m developing this wonderful habit of not spending money I don’t have. I also have more time in the day. I sleep eight hours and then when I wake up at eight in the morning there’s so much time for activities! And writing! And reading! Or being lazy! I’m an adult. As long as I pay my bills for the month, I can use those sixteen hours to do whatever the hell I want. That’s the true brilliance of adulthood.

So say “no.” It’s okay. Because oftentimes it’s just saying yes to something else—something you may not even have realized you wanted or needed. Maybe it’ll allow you to say yes to a situation you didn’t even anticipate. Saying no is healthy. It’s a healthy habit to foster, but remember to only say it when necessary. Don’t hold yourself back, but be smart. Be conscious not only of the present but of the future. Saying yes all of the time can get you in as much trouble as saying no all of the time, but thinking things through honestly keeps you from being that asshat everyone hates. But that’s just Marissa Theory.

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