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Musings

Asking for a No

At the tail end of 2023, I watched a video that shaped how I've approached 2024. It was a classic TikTok with a woman in her car giving unsolicited advice. She explained that you should 'always ask for a No'; it took a few watches for the message to settle in, but something about it clung to me. This stranger's message mingled with the philosophies of Tamara Shopsin, and I arbitrarily decided I would attempt to solicit twenty Nos this calendar year. Twenty seemed doable because it's less than two asks a month, but it also seemed a little more challenging than only doing twelve. And the whole asking for No thing makes sense to me because I struggle with always trying to fit myself into what someone else wants. I've always approached life trying to compromise what I want so that I can guarantee a yes. But fuck that noise. I'm exhausted from constantly shrinking myself down, apologizing for my tone, staying quiet, and agreeing. Asking for a No means asking for what I want without compromise. I'm no longer dabbling in the dark arts, assuming I can know what others want. I absolutely do not know shit about what other people want. But I do know what I want! I'm going to pursue that and hopefully find like-minded people along the way. There have been singular moments in my life where I had the audacity to ask for what I want but those experiences seem so few and far between that this pursuit of Nos seems so very necessary for me.

As 2024 has rolled along I've been asking for those Nos. And as of today, March 5th, I've gotten three Nos, one Waitlist, and two Yess. The thing about those responses is not one of them was disappointing. But in two short months, I've learned a lot and felt a personal freedom that I've been needing for a long time. And I discovered just how extraordinarily freeing a no can be. I'm not sure yet when, how, or even if I'll be sharing the specifics of what I'm asking for or from whom. I will say, if you follow my social media I'm doing a lot more art, and some of my asks are in pursuit of that but I've placed no rules on what constitutes an ask. I'm trying to trust my gut, pursue genuine interests, ignore the noise, and enjoy myself. The thing about creating an arbitrary stupid goal for yourself is it gives a sense of purpose in the chaos of the world while simultaneously reminding you of the absurdity of life, which is the exact mentality you need to pursue your wild ideas. "And what happens to you in that pursuit is your life", I won't go on about something Tamara Shopsin already explains so eloquently in Arbitrary Stupid Goal*.

I'm excited to keep sharing what happens during my pursuit because let's be honest it's the journey that we all want the details about. The ending is a yes or no answer, the in-between is where the actions at.


*check out Arbitrary Stupid Goal if you're interested in a phenomenally written memoir about life and how we make meaning in it.

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