I Just No: How I Navigate Life and Ended Up Here
I say “no” more often than Amy Winehouse did. To clarify, I’m not talking about rejecting intervention. Nor am I referring to the simple Instagram comment I reserve for photos I don't like, such as cheeseball engagement photos, the shot of the large spider you found in your bathtub, or ninety percent of face swaps (no, no. no.). I’m not even talking about learning to say “no” to the many demands of life and of others because I tend to over-commit myself. I don’t. In fact, I think I might have a problem with under-commitment. But that’s a different post.
Here it is: I find myself constantly saying “no” to things that don’t fit me or my life or my heart quite right. I’ve said goodbye to boyfriends, quit jobs and rejected offers, moved, and passed on buying some really cute but ultimately uncomfortable shoes.
I suppose saying "no" as often as I do is an honorable thing. I am grateful for this tiny word and for the courage I’ve mustered to use it over and over again. But I’ll be honest—it can get depressing. After my last break-up (which was not an obvious, hard-pass kind of no, shelved for guys who turn out to be drug dealers, serial cheaters or Dallas Cowboy fans, but a subtle, “not quite” no: the kind reserved for guys who are really great but just don’t quite fit right, like the cute shoes), l lamented to my friend Holly: “I’m so tired of all these nos. When will I start getting some yeses in my life?”
Now, Holly is a wise one (I try to keep lots of those around). She wisely explained that by saying "no" so often, I was saying yes to the life I wanted. I was Michalengelo, chipping away all the marble that wasn’t David. I was creating a whole YES life, my very own masterpiece.
Which brings me to the point of this post, which is to unravel how I ended up here, a freelance photographer starting a bloggy kind of photo-ish travel-ish website that might only end up being looked at by my mom and a handful of best friends (I’ll be honest, I don’t even read blogs.)
I got here, of course, by saying "no." First, to my full-time job—a job that had proved mostly fine for years, and certainly secure, but one I had outgrown. I would sit in my office feeling like a helium balloon three days after a birthday party, barely still floating, just sort of lingering over the ground with nowhere to be. Big fat “no” to that.
Next, I said "no" to a traditional “I’m a photographer, you should hire me, take a look here at some pretty pictures I’ve taken” kind of website, because that felt boring and static. It didn’t quite fit right. I wanted a website that would serve as my online creative hub. I wanted it to be about more than just photography, because I’m more than a photographer. I’m a writer. I’m a soul searcher. I’m a traveler. I’m an interior designer, kind of. I’m a comedian.* I’m also a daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, dog mom and friend. I am a creative whole person, and I am creating a whole YES life. This site will provide you snippets of it. I hope you'll join me from time to time.
Now, let’s see…
*all views expressed here belong solely to the author