It’s okay if you can’t come to my party

Facebook event created. People invited. Acceptances and excited notes start pouring in.

And then the declines.

“Sorry I can’t make it I already have plans to go bass fishing with my third cousin that day.”

“I have the exact same event for a completely different person otherwise I would totally be there.”

“We’ll try to make it but since our dog’s cello recital is that afternoon we’ll have to play it by ear.”

I feel like I’ve heard multiple speeches and read multiple blog posts about learning to say “no” and I feel like we’re not talking about the whole story. You need to say no to things so that you can maintain a better life balance and so you don’t give your whole self to other people and so you can just be happy and somesuch and someother.

grumpy_cat__nope_by_imwithstoopid13-d624kvlGreat. Say no. And just leave it at that.

I don’t need your excuses. And I don’t mean that in the shitty way where I roll my eyes and place strong emphasis on the words “need” and “excuses.” I mean it like some high school teacher of mine used to try to explain that there’s a difference between excuses and reasons but really they’re the same thing except one has a negative connotation from all of the times we use it to make people feed bad.

You don’t owe me an explanation. Unless you’re canceling for a reason that I – as your very best friend in the world – would like to know about then it doesn’t really matter to me. If you’re visiting a sick family member, for instance, I would like to know about it so that I can send you my condolences and offer you help if I can. And okay that particular instance would be really awkward to put on a Facebook event page per my original example but you can still send me a message privately.

I’m just going to say this definitively for anyone I ever invite to anything (almost anyone, David): Just say no. Maybe giving me a specific reason makes you feel less guilty for not coming to my party but I get it. We aren’t a bunch of 17 year-olds with no real plans except getting high in basements. We’re adults now and we’re busy. You have friends that don’t travel in the same circles. You have a project you need to finish for work. You have children that need to go to baseball practice. You have things to do and so do I and I get that.

You don’t have to give me a reason because your reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I’m going to order pizza around 8PM and I’m going to need to budget for the right number of pizzas.

I obviously want you to come to my party. I invited you because I like you. But I understand if you can’t or don’t want to come and you don’t need to feel obligated to tell me why you can’t come. I will be no less sad about you coming because I know that my party is the same day as your friend Megan’s Botox party. Or because I know that your two-year-old has a pressing tumbling class to attend. Or maybe you just know you’re going to have a long week and all you want is one damn weekend to yourself. Maybe your favorite show just came out on Netflix and your plans involve a lot of binge-watching and brownies and ordering your own pizza.

I like you and I’ll be a little bit sad that you can’t be there but hey, the party will go on. I won’t get all butt hurt about why you can’t or don’t want to come.

you'll miss my sweet dances moves but I forgive you
you’ll miss my sweet dances moves but I forgive you

I also won’t say OH EM GEE WHY CAN’T YOU COME?!?! when I see your decline post (or get your decline text message or voicemail) without giving me a reason. That’s your own damn business. You don’t owe me an explanation and I won’t make it weird when you don’t give me one. I might say that I’ll miss you but duh. Because friendship.

I don’t understand why we all feel the need to validate our absences. Is this a new thing or has this been happening since the dawn of time? Regardless of whether you decline because you can’t or don’t want to come, your reason is your own and your excuse is valid. There. Done.

So go ahead, decline your invitation to my most important party of forever (or you know, don’t) but do it guilt-free and “courtesy”-free and don’t worry about telling me why. Whatever your reason, it’s okay by me and I completely understand.

And for what it’s worth, I can’t wait to see the videos of your dog’s cello concert or your kid’s tumbling class when you post about it later. I’m going to like the shit out of that post.

Sometimes being female isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

I started hormonal birth control when I was 14 (and just for the record, it didn’t make me want to have wild and unprotected sex). I spent my high school and college years with clear skin and a period that was easy breezy. I would happily go to cheerleading or track practice while on my period in high school. I would still go out for a run downtown or do a barre workout while on my period in college.

“What’s everyone always complaining about?” I thought to myself. “Cramps aren’t THAT bad. Periods are THAT bad. You lady folk are really blowing this out of proportion.”

And then, eight years later, I stopped pumping hormones into my body. And like magic, I suddenly had the period everyone was talking about. Two months after I stopped the pill I thought maybe I should go back on it. I restarted the pill and proceeded to have a 21-day period.

It was just as awesome as it sounds.

With that sound of the alarm, I listened to my body, and promptly stopped the pill. Again.

Since then, I’ve lost some weight, I discovered I don’t have naturally beautiful and clear skin, and every five days out of 40, exercise and eating healthy are basically the equivalent to spooning my own eyes out or learning how to fly. I want to curl up in a ball under my blankets with a stockpile of Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings, and frozen yogurt, talk about my feelings, and not come out.

It turns out, real periods suck. Like… really suck, you guys.

A lot.

 

womanlytime

Almost 1,000 words about my two-word New Year’s resolution

It’s January first and you know what that means: reflections, resolutions, and regrets for some. It’s a strange thing, this time of year. High off of holiday warm and fuzzies, people start making plans to improve themselves for better or worse. We commit to things in January that seem impossible in July. We put off lifestyle changes we could make in November until January. Because New Year.

Like many of my more personal blog posts, this one started out as a quick thought I was writing down. As I wrote, I realized I had much more to express and explain than I considered at the onset.

I want to talk about my resolutions for this year, previous years, and for the years to come.

2011 was a tough year for me personally. It was the year I moved in with my then boyfriend and now husband which was a great positive, but I struggled a lot. When the year came to an end and I reflected on who I was and how I wanted to improve, I thought of only one thing.

7530662644_0df6b70ca0_zBe kinder.

When I told David, he thought it was a fine and also strange resolution. He tried to reassure me I wasn’t a bad person. I knew that. But I wasn’t as “good” of a person as I wanted to be. I wasn’t there for people as much as I wanted, I wasn’t as helpful as I meant to be, I was unforgiving and occasionally spiteful.

I was – and am – human (until I get my robot parts, that is).

We are so perfectly imperfect. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be better. That doesn’t mean I can’t be better.

So I vowed to be kinder.

When someone asked for help, I would consider first if I had any actual obstacle keeping me from helping and then considered what I would want the other person to do if the roles were reversed. When my husband forgot to do things I asked him to do, I tried to ask him nicely again before getting mad first. It was these small gestures and so many more that made me consciously work to be kinder. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t always follow through and I was still perfectly capable of being shitty, but I was trying and that counted for something.

I also stayed in therapy. If you don’t have a therapist you should go get one. But that’s another story for another time.

I think it’s important to point out that I said and I meant “kinder” and not “nicer.” I am not – and I say this without someone needing to pat me on the back about it – nice. No one would ever say “Sabrina is so nice.” They just wouldn’t.

Actually, when trying to figure out a good way to explain my feelings on the subject I stumbled onto this article about the difference between being kind and being nice. It’s a great example of why I feel “nice” has never and will never fit me.

I am not nice to others above all other things. I am not nice at risk of my own sanity. I am not overly and insistently nice. I do not put others first all of the time because sometimes I come first. If you are shitty to me, I will not be nice to you. If you are shitty to those around me, I will not be nice to you. If you are shitty to yourself, I will not be nice to you. I am confident in myself and my own abilities and will now allow anyone to take those from me for the sake of niceness.

I am incredibly droll. I am loud and sarcastic. I am occasionally abrasive, and even more occasionally offensive. I am not nice although I may do nice things.

I want to be kind. And I think that many times I am kind. But I want to be kind whenever I can and I will never reach that point but it’s a great place to strive for. So I choose the resolution to be kinder.

My resolution looks like a lot of different things. It means looking at things from the other person’s point of view before responding. It means offering help when I have no good excuse not to. It means forgiving. And it means giving. Giving of my time and my energy, and my money when I can. It means being a better wife, daughter, and friend. I am not bad at any of these things, but it doesn’t hurt to be better.

When 2012 ended I asked my husband if he thought I was kinder than the year before and he said yes while emphasizing yet again that I was never a bad person. My husband does not lie to me to save my feelings so I took his word for it. When everyone else was figuring out their resolutions for 2013 I carried mine over. And I did the same for 2014.

At the end of 2014, after two years of making the effort to be kinder, I can honestly say I feel it. I still get mad at my husband for being forgetful sometimes. I still pick laziness over helping others sometimes. I still hold grudges. But I’m kinder than I was in 2011 and I feel better. I feel lighter.

kindness-heart-image-orgspringHelping other people, being there for other people, offering what I can to others, these are the things that make me feel alive. And so these are the things I will take with me as I carry my resolution from the end of 2011 into the beginning of 2015 and beyond. To be kinder to myself, to my friends, to my family, to strangers.

New year’s resolution?

Be kinder. This year and every year. As long as I can.