The Art of No

It’s funny how children love to say “no”. After mama and dada, this is more than likely a child’s next word.    Kids say no to everything! Water, food, sleep, you name it.  They say no just for the hell of it. No hesitation, no concentration, it just comes out so easy.  Interesting how things change the older we get.  As an adult I find it harder and harder to say no. In fact, at times the thought of saying no gives me knots in my stomach.

I don’t know about you, but for me, I feel like I go through all sorts of mental gymnastics and analysis when making BASIC decisions. I’m taking all sorts of shit into consideration.  My being a lawyer may have something to do with this. Weighing pros and cons, fact checking, assessing situations before giving a definite answer…  It is the risk averse side of me I presume.   I find this practice very useful in my professional life; however my personal life… that’s another story.

Often I wonder where it all went wrong.  When did the disconnect happen?  Maybe it is because I started out late in the dating game and therefore I did not obtain the requisite backbone needed to enter and exit stage left as swiftly as my counter parts that started dating in middle school. My first and only boyfriend was in college. I didn’t get to acquire crazy college stories and I didn’t get to experience the life of thotdom… (In no way am I promoting this lifestyle or implying that college wasn’t great because I didn’t get to be a hoe. I’m just saying college is where stars are born).  But I digress…  Was there a reason for my scarce and non-active dating life? Well possibly.  Many would say that I was and still am “picky”. I use quotes because this is debatable.  I believe that I have been a serious equal opportunity dater (therefore NOT picky). I have dated people who I had no business even saying hello to.   Sadly enough, this is still the case today.  But I will say in my defense, the quality of the trash has improved exponentially. I mean trash is trash at the end of the day, but it is getting harder and harder to identify the garbage.  The point is I do give chances.  It’s just I give chances to the wrong people.

Over the last few years (or weeks if we are really going there), I have encountered textbook sociopaths and just plain crazy Negros. I am not one of those people who use the word “crazy” loosely. When I use that word, it’s legit. And over time those of you who have followed me and thought that I had to be buggin with these stories, came to realize that I ain’t never tell a lie.

Growing up, I was never really interested in dating.  I was more interested in graduating, volunteering and staying under the radar. I was raised by a Haitian who loved to lecture.  To avoid these lectures, I did what I was told. The last thing I needed was the threat of being sent to Haiti.

Perhaps my behavior stems from the fact that I was pegged as the “picky one and therefore I made a conscious effort not to be. Maybe that is why I became an equal opportunity dater.  Based on my track record it’s as if I threw my standards out of the door.  No degree? Sure you seem descent. Oh you are unattractive?  You have a good job and accolades, sure why not. I felt like I had nothing to lose. Why not see where this goes with the gremlin looking man. Unfortunately my Jiminy cricket was defective. Instead of saying   to me “hey, what the hell do you think you are doing? This dude is one tree short of the forest” Jiminy was telling me “hey… remember beauty and the beast?” The fact of the matter is that this life is not a fairytale where men look like gremlins and then transform in to Boris Kodjos… you get what you get.

This is where the art of “no” comes in. I’ve spent so much time saying yes just for the hell of it, convincing myself that it’s not always about attraction. Listening to relatives that tell you things like “he’s not cute, but you’re over 30, so your options are limited. Asking questions like “does he work?  Can he pay bills? What’s the problem, go on the date and marry his ass”.  Then receiving advice from friends who have seen the shit shows, one after the other and then they too make comments like ” well he has a job”… After a while you start to just give in and say what the hell, I may as well go out with this one.  I’m not repulsed. The irony of all of this is that I actually am not pressed. I did not grow up wanting to be married.  Men were always painted as being shit. Interesting how we let society convince us to go after things we are not in a rush to obtain.


By saying yes to everything, we are selling ourselves short. We are settling for basic. What I have realized from my experiences is that if I have to make excuses or rationalize the individual, then that individual is not for me. The other thing that I found extremely helpful is prayer. I pray about each and every situation and ask God to make it clear and to do what he must to protect my heart, my mind and my soul. Dealing with trash will suck the life out of you. It will cause you to second guess yourself, it will also make you do things you otherwise would never do. Hindsight is 20/20 and it is easier to make these assessments and judgments after the fact. But imagine if you were just able to say no in the first place? Is he’s acting lame? Say no to lame ducks. The sex is bad? No need to give him another opportunity to correct the job.  First impressions are everything. When you report to a job interview and you mess up, do they grant you a redo?  Can I get “hell no” for 2oo Alex.

The struggle is real in these streets, and the societal pressures are even realer. However, settling is not an option. It shouldn’t be at least.  If we truly understood our worth, we would not be out here dating randoms. (A random can also be someone who you have known for a while but ain’t shit). The game has changed so much. Being the” nice guy (or girl)” is the new game. So it’s getting harder, and more and more people are getting duped. Don’t beat yourself up if this has happened to you. I mean shit, it has happened to me and I am very intelligent and my spidey senses are on fleek (yes I said fleek). It’s part of the game and if you want to win, then you have to play right? The point of all this is to say that when things are new, we feel the need to be extra flexible and compromising. It’s ok to not settle. It’s ok to say no from the get go. It will save you time and energy and those are two things you can never get back. Trust me. Just say no, your heart, mind and soul will thank you.


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