There was a time when I said ‘yes’ to almost everything that I was requested for or felt was expected of me. Then came a time when I had to learn to say ‘no’. That lesson was a hard one to learn, to balance between self-care and being selfish. Then came a time when that too got easier as I figured out the things that I wanted to say ‘yes’ to in my life and the stuff that I no longer care about… the ‘no’s if you please.
Most people struggle with that. How do you say ‘no’ when you feel obligated? when the obligations are familial? cultural? or part of part of your corporate environment? What happens when you want to say ‘no’ but can’t because you know that the repercussion will be one that will be hard to handle?
But what happens when you are constantly saying ‘yes’ to everything? The activities and obligations that take up all your time and energy, are they enriching your life? or just draining you? or are you drifting through life, wading through a sea of obligations, wondering when it will be your turn to live your own life?
So, tell me, what are you saying ‘yes’ to today?
“It matters because we’ve all had heroes, and in an age where athletes, celebrities, and musicians are these untouchable forces on pedestals, young girls look at Misty Copeland and think, “Hey! She looks just like me!” It matters because entire life courses have been altered due to the belief that our weaknesses overshadow our strengths, and WE have let this happen without accepting that one cannot exist without the other.
That’s true for both genders.
Imagine if Misty Copeland had said, “I get it. I don’t look like a “typical ballerina”. I guess I should go do something else with my undeniable talent and potential.”
Yeah. Let that blow your mind.”
When two members of senior management at GYK Antler approached me with an opportunity to speak with Digiday about Misty Copeland’s partnerships ranging from Under Armour to Barbie, why brands were seeking her out, and why it matters at all, my first instinct was, “HELL YEAH!”
I am a woman who has worked in advertising for the last five years. I have witnessed agencies and brands alike pull appalling stunts on behalf of women. But honestly, I (initially) said yes because I just love Misty Copeland. She’s a rock star.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, or have been living under a rock, Misty Copeland is a professional ballerina who grew up in poverty, spent her childhood not knowing where she was going to sleep, if she was going to eat, and dancing to Mariah Carey to keep her spirits up. Oh yeah, and she had no experience in ballet until…
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Love how well she has managed to capture the fine line between not giving a fuck to caring about the one’s who really matter. End of the day, ‘treat people as they treat you’ is what I stick to
I’ve had the same 5 or so best friends most of my life. I’ve also met a few people in the last couple of years who have come into my life and changed it for the better. Collectively, this is a tribe of girlfriends whom I know would still support me if I woke up one morning and decided I just had to be the next global pop sensation. I mean they would DEFINITELY try to drag me out of the studio by my ponytail and talk me out of it (bless!), but they’d also be the first, and only ones at my concert.
That’s important. Because from how big you mess up to how big you make it, it’s critical to have friends who have your back regardless.
I also have a group of people I see super casually, and it’s GREAT when we run into each other. It’s usually in groups…
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I have stood here, at the edge of the cliff a million times before. At the edge of darkness, of madness, looking into the dark depth of the human soul. The selfishness & greed that drives people to treat humans like objects and objects like precious possessions. Conventional wisdom fails me. I don’t get how any body can be that inconsiderate or self-centered to justify or rationalize their behavior or conduct. It sickens me, angers me…. My head is on fire, full of disgust & icky feelings. Some people I would rather puke on, then be polite to.
Yet I can’t.
I was brought up in a way that certain teachings (right or wrong) were drummed into me from a very young age. I am the eldest, so I will have to be extra-vigilant, forgiving, loving, giving. I am born a woman, so nurturing is expected of me. I am expected to give and to keep on giving long after I have sold my soul & emptied my coffers.
I am expected to jump through hoops, to endure trial by fire, to be considered worthy. My value & how much I will be found worthy of love depends on me, on how many tests I pass. How much I can endure & then some more.
Last week we were on a field trip and I met girls married off as early as 12 and told to start producing kids so they can settle into the new family. I have talked to girls who needed emergency medical care but their concerns were brushed aside with comments like… Woman have been having children just fine since the dark ages.
There’ something really fucked up in this world when we demand & coarse children into having more children. When the permanence of a marriage depends on her ability to produce heirs for the family line to continue. Children who go on to become her responsibility to feed, clothe & care for, while her husband washes his hands off the rigors of child rearing.
There’s something fucked up about the mentality that your worthiness in the eyes of your own parents, siblings become directly correlated with your ability to put up with abusive relationship in order to remain married in the eyes of the society. Of when relationships are acknowledged, measured & valued based on the size of your cash contribution to fill everyone’s need but your own.
At the edge of the cliff I look deeply into the human soul & I hear a soft voice saying ‘no more’. I am done. I have walked away & walked into peaceful existence. There is no place for your filthy, selfish ways anymore. I do not have a moment more to waste on you and neither do I want to. Your chapters in the book of my life are over.
I am looking outward now, into the future I had dreamt for myself. The landscape is vast, and I have miles to go before I can sleep. But I will embark on the journey with no past baggage, a smile on my lips & a finger raised to anyone who wants to limit our possibilities or detract us. Our body, our lives, our rules!!!!!
So let’s dump a drum of oil into the dark depths & light them up with fire, passion & knowledge. And lets march on… as we always do… through a mine field of adversity … cause we will triumph in the end.
The ability to read, write and to love the written word is perhaps the greatest love affair that I will ever have in my life. As a bookworm, the greatest gift I can be given is in the form of a book that opens the window to a different reality, a new culture, a different way of thinking, of knowing, of feeling and making sense of the world that we live in.
A book can transcend boundaries. It is the ability to travel without leaving the comfort of your home. It is music to the heart and window to the soul, bringing in fresh air and getting rid of the cobwebs that build up in the corners of our hearts and minds.
If we read, not with preconceptions but with an open mind to understand others – what would we find? What would we discover in the religious books of others? In the historical accounts written by natives and not by conquerors? How would we judge cultures, civilizations.. if we learnt about them from the people who practice them?
Would we be as bigoted? as ignorant? as harsh in our critique of the ‘other’? would there even be an other? cause what is the other but one that is not ourselves, and yet, the more I travel, the more I see that we are all alike underneath our superficial differences.
Perhaps the love of traveling sprang from my love of reading. I know my passion for the African continent was fueled by stories I read of ancient Abyssinia, the Queen of Sheba, the fierceness of Zulu & Masai warriors. I know I will forever be fascinated by tribal lore, shamans and healers, ancient knowledge and traditional medicine, of oral traditions that trace back history to generations long since gone.
When I look at my continent, our own history, I no longer see the narratives set by British conquests or how we were described in western narratives. I see what existed, what flourished for thousands of years even as invaders of all types came, went or assimilated. I see civilization that has evolved and a lot that has managed to remain the same. Holding on to some things are worth it, even as we fight to change others.
But for now … these quotes are dedicated to my love for the written word… that express things like nothing else ever could…
Just looking at this poster today, I knew I had to stop and write something. The first three months of the year has flown by and the year shows no sign of slowing down. There’s always something that needs to be done, always new plans to put into action and new things that are around the horizon. I say this every year but it holds true for this year too …. 2016 will be the best year yet😉
Partly it’s the optimist in me. Partly its my OCD. Partly it’s my tendency to have plan A, B, C and even D & E as backup wherever / whenever needed. Partly it’s the fact that hope is endless, partly the fact that my life has only gotten better with every single passing year.
A lot of it has something to do with the fact that the more years I live on this earth, the more time & opportunity I have to figure out why I am here. It’s living by values & dreams that lend meaning to every day that I wake up to.
There are times when I have too many days in a row, of waking up groaning at the thought of facing the day ahead. Times like that calls for courage, for strength to look within and to take a hard look around, to see things as they are. Things that I can change. Things that I have to accept. Things I have to address or let go of.
Sometimes I get analysis paralysis. I would love nothing more than to just forge ahead but I cannot help but think things through. To slow down and ponder and wonder over whether I have played out every possible scenario. Sometimes people & situations surprise me, more often, I am glad that I had considered all possible outcomes and was ready for whatever happened.
This year is playing out extremely hectic so far – lots of activities and traveling and getting things done while starting new things. It still holds promises of the unknown and perhaps that’s the best way to go. To not know but forge ahead, in hope and courage…. and absolutely freaking brilliant people to share that journey with me
I was looking for a valentines wish but one that did not exclude any of the people I love and value in my life and this was the closest I could get😉
Now I read this somewhere today
“Unfortunately, not everyone is always lucky enough to have someone special in their life at this time of year. Speaking from past personal experience, being single on Valentine’s Day can be mildly annoying at best to crushingly depressing at worst. In those days, my favorite February holiday was actually the 15th – when all the unsold Valentine’s chocolate was 70 percent off! You have to find ways to find your joy in any situation, y’know?”
My time line is overflowing in valentine wishes and couple’s looking all cute and celebrating. I have a date too… with my couch… as soon as I can get off work and leave office. No, that’s not depressing😛 You know why? Because the people I love, I celebrate having them in my life through out the year and they know who they are and how important they are to me.
As I explained this weekend to an 11 year old, I deserve to get a valentine’s card from her because I love her and I know she loves me too. And the same can be said to everyone who is or isn’t celebrating this special day of love. We live in love, in communities, in tribes, in a visible or invisible network of people who share our lives with us. Why limit the love to only one or two😉 Share the love, put a smile on someone else
Its not selfish to say “no” to others so you can say “yes” to yourself.
End of the day you have to live with yourself, even if no one else. So when you look over your life – as it is right now – are you content?
If not, what needs to change?
Do you want more time?
Then take stock of where your time is spent & re-evaluate how you spend it.
Example – you are too busy to have time for your family. Busy with what? Work/social commitments after office hours? Before you say yes to the next event, ask yourself..six months from now will it matter?
Actually thats a good question to ask in ANY circumstance. I ask myself that when I get upset / angry / depressed / stressed….. six months from now will I even care? If the answer is “no” then my energy is better spent on something else.
I haven’t blogged much this year but after much procastination I finally figured out why. Its because I am spending more time on things that need my time now. So the allocation of time & energy (or lack thereof) to this particular activity has taken a back seat. But this is not the only factor for lack of posts.
I had to reevaluate how much I want to share of my private life & thoughts … and how best to get across the reason of why I started this blog in the first place. The last 3/4 months have been draining in my personal life, betrayal & loss of relationships have left me empty.
Corporateskirts is about women & our lives as we juggle through the day with a million balls up in the air. My inspiration comes from my life & those in my surrounding. My downfall is the same..yet I find myself unwilling to air or propagate negativity. Finding the balance is easier when I have time & space to objectively or passionately address the issue of the day. And lately I haven’t had the energy to do much of that.
So here’s to a new year… and more posts (however far in between) of things that keep me optimistic & hopeful… of talking more on self-care & self-love & being your own cheerleading band for your life.
In that spirit … I invite you to share your experience of times & trials which you endured & triumphed over or maybe tackling or going through now.
May we take off our masks & be more real with the issues we uncover and find ways to deal with in this Year of the Monkey.
I wrote this post a couple of months ago when 31 American states said they would refuse admittance to Syrian refugees. This made me deeply angry, not only because states DO NOT have the power to do this (the Federal government decides who can and can’t immigrate to the United States, and refugees can move to whatever state they want to) but because I am ashamed to be part of a country where racism and selfishness have become something to take pride in. If we intend to stay a “super power” in the Aquarian age we’ll need to hold our morality to the same high standards that we do hold economic growth.
We are born onto this earth with nothing save for what our circumstances provide. For some of us that is quite a lot, but for most of us it is hardly anything. From that moment on we are making choices. The choice to fight or give up, to share or to withhold…
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