I find myself unable to say the word ‘no.’ I mean, my voice buds definitely seem to know the how-to of it but something deep within my throat prevents the bugger from coming out of my mouth. Whenever I have to utter the word, I get this weird, neurotic feeling snowballing in the pit of my stomach that rises up to lodge itself right between my urge to say ‘no’ and the ability to actually say it. It kind of feels like the terrible chaos inside me would make me barf. These barftastic feelings take the form of “Sejal, don’t you say no or else you are gonna f*ck up everything and nobody will like you and you will most definitely end up as a poor version of a soon-to-be-cat-lady who has nothing better to do than eat and sleep beside her cats’ cardboard home and document their daily antics in an equally dismal blog!” Don’t you just love how rational I am? 😛
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Anyway, so the fact that I am unable to bring myself to say no to a colleague or a friend or even my laptop-who- makes-me-accommodate-its-automatic-update-schedules keeps me in a frenzied state of hypercommitment to things. I overload my plate with wonky work schedules, deadlines and activities like a pain-in-the-a*s guest loads his plate at the wedding buffet in India, only to crib about it all as he licks off the last shred of food on it. From what I remember, I have always lived in this state of ridiculous overcommitment. I will say yes to all writing gigs, never falter on my writing classes, find the time to paint and dance and even say yes to the friend who wants to hang out, when really, I do not have the time to hang out. But hey, my stupid yes-brain says, “hang in there Sejal, you will find it in you to hang out with him.” My planner, of course, disagrees. It groans under the weight of being double, triple, sometimes, even quadruple booked and tells me ‘I’m insane.’ Of late, I seem to think it is right.
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My compulsive habit of saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes my way is a high I seem to enjoy riding on. It’s like I get off on saying ‘yes’ and being busy. A string of “Yes-es, Y-eop-s, Y-oops, I can’t but I cannot say no, so yes” seems to be my secret dope. But just like any zany round of shots, my body is screwed by the time I can get done with all 40 projects I said yes to, the 5 friends I had to catch up with and of course, dancing for 3 hours every day- all of which I took on because ‘no’ wasn’t an option and I had to prove I could do it all. But being no superwoman, I am usually f*cked by my hyperdrive and hide underneath my table when a task I had taken on stares me in the face, incomplete and angry. And I cry. But as a busy junkie who thrives on the mad rush of overbooking, the cycle returns, pulling me into an even stronger version of be-f*cked-and-cry-under-the-table. More like wail and bawl!
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I do not know where this OCD to tick off every single thing on my to-do list comes from. Maybe I think getting x, y, z, square, circle, yellow and purple done gets me one step closer to success. May be I think it gets me closer to being a superproductive person who can fill her waking hours with something meaningful as well as help in spreading smiles. Or maybe I’m just an ‘insane’ girl who enjoys busting her bu*t to prove that she can, in fact, do-it-all. Or maybe I am yet to learn my lesson about how having 4 gigs, a project and a few weekend plans does not need to be buried in a whole slew of new things because becoming exhausted and crying underneath my table isn’t exactly as enjoyable as the onrush of adrenaline that precedes trying to get it all done. Maybe I’m getting there.
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Maybe someday, I will learn to say no to some things. I may barf but it will probably be okay. After all, spending all night learning some obscure software my boss asked if I knew how to use just doesn’t make sense, right? So, I guess a few no-s sent out into the universe wouldn’t bring the world crashing down!
So, if you are a chronic yes girl too, let’s learn to say no together!
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