• Katie Marie Strong

The “No” Man.

Updated: Jan 6

- by Katie Marie


A term I use often and heard a lot growing up. So I wonder to myself, if I’m constantly saying “no”, why do I still feel limited, trapped or consumed by my own life? Saying no is a good thing, right?

I’ve said no for all the wrong reasons. In turn, I have missed out on life experiences, people and places, successes and failures. I’ve realized, in a world where we are encouraging others to stand ground for themselves and that it’s okay to say no sometimes, I need to start saying yes. We are a society that spends a great deal of time saying “no”. No to dreams, no to risks - because it’s out of our comfort zone - be, financially, mentally, or even geographically. Let’s be real, too many things could go wrong and I don't know about you, but I have enough on my plate. We have become helicopter parents of our own lives. What if we started saying yes to life instead of denying ourselves worlds of opportunities? What might we accomplish, not for society or anyone other than ourselves? We all have our own truths to live. A yes for me, might be someone else’s no and that’s okay. Find that balance.

For me, life has been at a stand still I had no idea about. l was forcing things in my life it hasn't been the right time for because we are taught they're most important - or is that just a small town thing? Start a family, buy a home blah blah blah. Looking back, I was focused on what some would say, the "boring stuff". I didn’t know anything about myself because I wasn’t... you guessed it! Saying “Yes” to my personal wants and needs. It's been a struggle to get here but I am one of the lucky ones. I know many men and women who jumped prematurely into the stereotype life style of - Highschool, meet the love of your life, maybe you're lucky enough for a second education, buy a home, married, babies, retire, grow old and then DIE. But while living out this prewritten fairytale leading up to our death bed, they have completely lost themselves and one day decide, "I want something completely different" because they didn't allow themselves that space. Maybe that's where the term "Mid-life crisis" comes from? Maybe that's where infidelity or open relationships start?

Side note: Let's get one thing straight, shall we? Just because someone thinks your life style is morally wrong, doesn't mean you have to change. Just as long as you have good intensions and aren't, you know... a shitty human being harming the people around you. Everyone's morals are different and chances are, the friend of a friend who's cousin dated your Aunt Jenny a life time ago, judging and publicly expressing their upset on your life choices, needs a hobby.

I whisked myself away last minute on a yoga retreat with @purelivingyoga - Something I said “yes” to. Everything I thought I wanted was gone and there wasn’t much to loose other than a solid 48 hours of Netflix and about 12,000 calories. I knew my couch would miss me but I had to think of myself. I had only attended 2 yoga classes prior and let’s be real, I'm not very bendy. Guess what? I F*CKING loved it! We did a Desire Map ( google it ) basically, through a journal process, you write down 5 things you love about your life and 5 things you dislike. From there, write down a descriptive word of how each of those 10 things make you feel. From there, look at those words and narrow it down to one single verb. Do this. Does it continuously pops up in all aspects of your life? Perhaps it makes total sense or it really makes you think hard about what in your life has brought you to this one word.

My word is Freedom. I meditate this daily.

Freedom - The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. It’s the absence of subjection to foreign domination. Not under the control or in the power of another. BOOM!

I used to believe the damaging people in my life, past and present is what brought me to feeling trapped. I have spent 16 years of my life severely depressed... I'm only 29. I was robbed of joy, peace and my confidence. I was trained that what your partner does, you do. Brainwashed to do as I was told or what I thought was expected for the fear of growing apart or paying the consequences. It took me 10+ years but I finally got to the point where I swore to myself I would no longer allow them to hold me back from living my life. But old habits die hard and they were applied to both my personal and professional life. This is wrong. It’s been me this whole time. We are supposed to treat ourselves as a best friend and despite being the kind, self-less Libra I am, I ultimately chose to surrender my happiness. I was living their pursuits of happiness vs. my own. I chose to say no to the things I may or may not have enjoyed. I was hosting depressing nights in because of FOMO. But the fomo wasn’t missing out on this event or that, it was that everyone else had seemingly been saying yes for themselves and they were experiencing life. I’m reminded of an episode from Grace and Frankie , and sometimes you just have to say YES!

I strongly believe the universe has a plan for us. This is a belief that has developed over time and it's not a religious one. Let me put it like this; I stressed that, because of awful things happening in and around my life, I was never going to be that happy-go-lucky drama nerd that people loved and that loves people. I obsessed about this. I was angry at the world because I was back at square one. Who am? What do I like? But maybe, this is exactly who I am supposed to be. This, overly preachy, completely transparent ( with a few surprises ) girl behind her computer trying to spread love and acceptance the only way I can think of, because it genuinely makes me happy. In a way, I guess that makes me selfish. So, when something bad happens, do not fight it, do not let it hold you back. Say "yes" to it. Accept it, really allow yourself to feel it, study it and release it. It's going to happen no matter how much you try to control it and its always easier to swim with the waves rather than against them. That being said, I get the importance of "no." I wound up in a crazy cycle of abuse in all sense of the word, leaving me on my death bed, ditched in the middle of nowhere without a phone and forced to do and feel things I did not want too on many occasions, both psychically and emotionally. I lost who I was and what I wanted. But, it's also brought me here.

So today, and every day forward, I choose to say yes to life more often than not. Yes to the trip I think I can't afford. Yes to the 3rd burger this week. Yes to the new and scary opportunities coming my way. Yes to the stranger at the bar who wants genuine conversation. Yes to experiences. And yes to being 100% myself because I’m finally in a place where I can say, I love who I am. I’m happy ( most days ) with my body, my heart, my mind, my little 1 bedroom apartment, my career and it’s only going to get better as I grow.

After all, life is one big experience made up of tiny little ones.

The infamous "No Man ", is now a "Yes Woman."

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