Yesterday I broke down how a closed mouth don’t get fed and the importance of not allowing rejection to stop you from achieving your goals. Today, I want to touch on a motto that I think we need to implement in not only our business lives, but out personal lives.
The Art of Saying No.
It’s really hard for me to say no in both my business and personal life, and if you’re someone like me who can’t say no, you’re adding tons of unnecessary drama, pressure, stress and anxiety into your life. We gotta learn to #SayNoIn2018.
As someone who’s very new in the comics industry, I’ve been approached to participate in tons of anthologies, in addition to pitching projects to editors – and it’s totally overwhelming. I should be excited and even grateful that someone wants me to work with them, and I feel if I say no, that I’m ungrateful. So in order for me to not feel that way…I say yes. I say yes to so many projects, knowing good and damn well that I have no time to do any of them.
Roxane Gay recently spoke on the fact that she’s bad at saying no, and while I’m totally paraphrasing here, “We should be lucky to even be considered at all as Black women, so we say yes and accommodate people and show our gratitude.”, this part, right here, was an instant gut punch.
Personally, I don’t feel that there are many opportunities coming my way in the mainstream comics industry. If I want something done, I have to do it myself. I mean, Marvel finally hired a Black woman writer after 75 years and while many believe it’s Roxane Gay, it’s actually Nilah Magruder. (No shade to Roxane Gay at all, she’s hella dope.) This just shows that as a Black woman, you have to be someone of extreme importance and in the literary world to be noticed by Marvel. I’m the first Black woman writer with a book at Image Comics and when it comes to these “firsts”, you feel obligated to take what’s being offered to you.
Next thing you know, you’re breaking out in stress hives, because the deadline is approaching and you have 5000 kickstarter books waiting to be mailed out, PLUS, you have two other pitches that companies are looking for. Ya can’t say no, cuz, when you’re a Black woman, you damn sure don’t know when the opportunity is going to come a-knockin’.
I can’t operate like this anymore. Last year was entirely overwhelming and not good for my mental health. I’m stressed out just writing this and I didn’t even begin to talk about how your family can suck you dry.
You’d think if I can’t say no to work related things, I can say no to family and friends, right? NOAP. Surely cain’t. I actually think family/friends are worse.
What’s the #1 thing family and friends ask for? Yep. Money. Family and friends will bring you a sob story – and while it might be 100% true – you fall for it and next thing you know you’re digging in your wallet or transferring money from your account to their account. Now, not everyone asks for money, but they all do ask for your time in some capacity.
It could be a ride somewhere, watch their kids, or even want to unload on you their jacked up situation that has them depressed. Sometimes for your sanity, you gotta nip that shit right in the bud and EARLY. Cut the conversation off at the pass. People need to learn to respect your boundaries and if you don’t make it clear what your boundaries are, people will suck the life out of you.
We need to learn how to say no to friends and family. Sure, they’re going to get mad, but they’ll eventually get over it, and if they don’t…that’s on them, not YOU.
It’s time for peace and serenity and it could be just as simple as saying NO. Won’t you join me this year and #SayNoIn2018?
I’ll be back this week with another 2018 motto. If you have any mottos you’re doing this year, leave a comment below and let’s chop it up.