Words according to Nicky, SHE III, and Raven Vanguard’s Student of Design
Sometimes it’s ok to say no. I don't mean this in the context of consent culture (still a relevant topic that we’ll save for another future Weekly Once-over), but rather when it comes to everyday tasks and obligations. Some people, including myself, have a tough time saying no for a variety of reasons; wanting to please everyone, fearing confrontation, guilt or rejection. But when you never say no, your plate can become so stacked with responsibilities that suddenly you’re spread paper thin, and you’re unable actually to put your whole self into any project or responsibility. Which, at least in my case, can lead to a general feeling of inadequacy that spreads into every aspect of my life, mangling perspective, and self worth. The solution? Put yourself first. I don’t mean living selfishly; expecting the world to cater to you, but rather ensuring that your physical, mental and emotional needs are satisfied first before considering others. One could say, catering your own world to you.
If you genuinely don’t want to do something because you’re feeling mentally or emotionally exhausted, then newsflash! Don't do it. It won't be the first or last time your friend has been canceled on, or that your teacher has received a late assignment, or that your boss has had to cover a shift at work. Vice Versa if you really want to do something, for instance; go to a concert with your friends, but you have a plethora of school work to get done, sometimes you just have to say ‘fuck it, There will be time for that later, this concert only comes to town once a year’. Of course, you still need to prioritize and consider the repercussions, especially when it comes to work or school, but you have to strive not to let the world break you and turn you into someone you're not proud of just because you didn't allow yourself to take the breaks you needed.
My current schedule has definitely been testing me, with school, and Raven Monday through Thursday, and 12-hour shifts at my job Friday and Saturday to make up for hours I couldn't work during the week. Then frantically trying to cram all of the assignments I should have been doing all week into Sundays, while also spending time with my boyfriend and the love of my life (my dog) so they don't feel neglected, it has been a crazy semester. There was a time, not even a year ago that this overload of responsibility would have resulted in nightly panic attacks and constant anxiety, hurting my relationships in all aspects of my life. I remember saying to a friend from school around that time; “I feel like a shell of a person, who even am I when I don't have time to do any of the things that I love? See my friends? Hang out with my Mom? Go to concerts? Go on hikes? SLEEP?”.
Thankfully, this past year has taught me that it’s so important to take a step back and allow yourself to heal and unwind. You are the only thing that you have complete control over in this life, so you have to make sure you are treating yourself right. You’re allowed to make yourself happy; it isn’t selfish, it’s a necessity so respect yourself enough to do it. Only then will you be able actually to apply yourself and give your best to the tasks you deem worthy.