This past week I was out for a run in Central Park. Mid run, and I mean mid run, headphones in, a man stopped me to tell me he thought I was attractive. He asked for my number and I said no. He said "well at least lets exchange instagram handles..." Again, the answer was no. I told him in a polite way that I was not interested in exchanging any form of contact information. I went on to say "I hope that you're a nice guy and mean well by this but I am simply not interested in any form of communication with you at this time."... To no surprise, he went on to call me a stuck up bitch and continued cursing as I put my earbuds back in and finished my run.
*edit: this was 10 in the morning and there were many other joggers around. At no point in the encounter did I feel threatened by him.
There was a moment where I thought "you know, I feel bad because I'm not giving him my number so maybe I should give him my instagram handle." WHY DO WE AS WOMEN FEEL BAD SAYING NO?? As I was replaying the conversation in my head at no point was I wrong or should have feelings of guilt for the way I responded especially with his concluding remarks.
This has happened countless number of times in my life, where I felt guilty for not meeting someone else's exceptions. This does not just include men. I've lived off fear of someone else's reaction to my "shortcomings". I am a hard working young woman and give my all in my work, my relationships, my life, my art...so the pressure of constantly pleasing is exhausting.
This past year I've realized some areas where I don't need someone else's validation to tell me I have what it takes to have a beautiful, full life. This encounter was another reminder that the freedom of saying no and not pleasing everyone is an important concept to work towards, especially in my art. I am working to no longer need that validation and confirmation that I'm doing what someone else wants from me. Instead, I'm finding the things that I want to say yes to for me and not for someone sitting behind a table making notes on my work.
I've taken a bit of a break from singing lately to find my why for me. I've been learning how much of my art I've been producing for someone else and not because I love it. I am finding that love of singing for myself again, and I am loving every minute of the journey. I know this is only strengthening the person I am becoming and the job I was made to do. I don't know exactly where this path is taking me but I am excited about the little steps and progress that comes from saying no, (or yes), based on what it best for me.
I am actively saying no to pleasing other people and saying yes to the opportunities in my life that are a by product of letting go of that controlling fear.
Just some thoughts.