Learning to Say “No”

Written by President ELLA

The first step towards getting what you want, is to stop accepting the shit you don’t want. But that’s easier said than done, I know. In order to be efficient, I need to make sure I’m doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way (I learned that in a leadership course at work). I need to get rid of all actions (and people) in my life that don’t add value. While I want to be “loved by all” I don’t have the space in my heart to help everyone, do everything or be everywhere. I’ve learned the hard way to say “no” to shit that can potentially fuck up my life, no matter the “time we put in” or whatever sob story I’m given. I have the right to control my life; I have the right to say “no”.

“Why would you do this to me?” I finally got out through the tears. I don’t know if I really wanted to know why or that’s what you say in movies. “It was done to me,” he shrugged back at me, because it really did explain it all: hurt people hurt people. I couldn’t understand why he was cheating. Why he was stealing money from me. He said he loved me and aside from all the bullshit, I actually believe he did. He was taking something out on me he didn’t have a chance to do to her. Hurt people hurt people.

Sometimes, I think people want to do the worst to you, just so that you can prove you love them. “It’s been three months, you were supposed to pay me in a week. I feel like you’re taking advantage,” I tried to explain. Instead of understanding, I was given more reasons as to why the 1 week loan turned into 3 months; meanwhile, I can’t tell the bank any of that shit. We’ve been friends 12 years, so there’s no possible way you can take advantage of me? We’ve been friends 12 years, so I decided to help. We’ve been friends 12 years, so I should be fucked paying your bills? The reason I was most hurt by this situation was because I loaned him the money to pay for a bill his partner left him fucked with. I can’t pay for someone else’s relationship issues. If being a good friend and inherit your stress and debt? Nah fam. That’s not friendship. The truth is, trauma is the real bitch in life, not karma.

I’ve been taken advantage of more than I’d like to admit because I don’t want to come off as a bitch. I’ve stayed in relationships too long because I’m not weak and I’m not a quitter. If my partner or friend needs a bit of extra cash to help pull them up, I want to be able to help; don’t want to be robbed, scammed and abused. I’m the type of person to pay you back early, or call you and let you know the payment will be late. I’ll practically hide under a rock to save my money and pay someone back. Have you ever seen someone who owes you on social media, spending the money they owe you? Well, I’ve never been that person. The problem is, you never know who that person is going to be. To be a “good” person, you look passed all those the things the bank asks for (a credit check, downpayment and signature on a contract) because of things like love and friendship… but those things still don’t pay the bills.

Life gets expensive when you’re trying not to come off as a gold-digger. I don’t think it’s easier to go out and find “sponsors”, but it’s not easy to have to budget your life and explain to people that whatever you have extra belongs to you. It’s crazy when people see you doing well for yourself and think that you have enough for them, too. In my years living in New York City, with a bullshit salary right after college, I felt overwhelmed with embarrassment when a homeless person would ask me for a dollar and a really didn’t have it. My salary and my taxes are all based on a family size of 1. Anyone who doesn’t understand that I need everything I have, doesn’t respect me and my desires. Why should I work hard to pay your debts if you’re not doing the same for me. We all have the same 24 hours. I’m not busting my ass for someone else (that I didn’t give birth to) to live good while I struggle.

I’m willing to lose lovers and friends, if and when they become painful or expensive. I’ve simply worked too hard for anyone to take advantage of me twice. I’ve been through too much. I have a really big ego and if I feel like I’m being played in the slightest, I call it out. Even if I’ve let something slide in the past, I’m way too grown for this shit now. From now on, the first time someone plays me, is the very last time. If someone has a problem with me not being able to help them, then we aren’t friends. I can’t always be there for you, because I have to be here for me. Also, I’m never lending out money or my signature again. People will really take liberties when you’ve helped them get to a good place. I’ve gotten into a rough place & tried to call the same people I lent money to and got nothing but voicemail because… I shouldn’t be asking?

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Don’t feel bad saying “no”. It’s OK to take care of yourself. “Helping” people out is why some people in our communities get fucked up; boyfriends using girls for rent money, girlfriends using guys for bundles and parents using their kids social security numbers for a new couch and big TV. We’ve got to learn to take care of our TRUE selves and that means YOU, the person attached to that social security number. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together or have known each other. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done for each other in the past. It doesn’t who “would if they could” you have the right to protect yourself right now. If the bank asks for references, so should you. If the landlord asks for a security deposit, so should you. A real friend doesn’t just let you get free shit and allow you to walk all over them. A good friend does right by you even if they could do wrong… but you don’t learn who your friends are until it has to be proven. I’m learning to judge people by their immediate actions. I know mistakes happen. But, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t correct your mistake? A friend can’t be mad at you for protecting yourself. A friend can’t be mad at the truth. So the next time you can’t or don’t want to, say “no” #SoWeKnowItsReal

-Ella

These are just my thoughts. Just what I’m feeling at the time.

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