No Means No.

Being what/who you think everyone wants you to be isn’t cool, nor is following what everyone else is doing. What’s cool is saying no, sticking to your guns, and being okay with yourself about it afterwards.

I know this totally probably sounds like a cliche, mom type of post, but I have a ton of little cousins that are kids right now, some that are in Junior High School, and some that are just starting High School and College where things like peer pressure happen all the time as if it were the norm. So I guess this post is more for them and people in that age range than anything. I know they all may have parents and/or older siblings of their own to help them with things like this, but it’s just something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Peer pressure is real, and it can be a scary thing for those who aren’t as strong-willed or know how to handle things like that. Sometimes the people you least expect to pressure you into doing certain things, are the ones who not only do it the most, but do it in the most inconspicuous way that you’ll never realize it until it’s too late.

I feel like it’s a ridiculously common misconception for people to believe that peer pressure solely revolves around drinking, smoking, and/or drugs in general, but that couldn’t be more false. Peer pressure can literally be anything. Anything that YOU don’t want to or feel comfortable doing that other people (friends, or otherwise) try getting you to do, can and, most times, is definitely considered peer pressure. Whether it’s something as “simple” as these people convincing you not to check in with your parents after school like you normally would do or cutting class with them, to something as serious as someone (or people) trying to convince or force you to try hardcore drugs or have sex with someone, it’s all one in the same, and it’s all peer pressure to some degree.

I can’t tell you how many times people, old roommates, friends of my old roommates, etc., would constantly try to push me to try smoking or getting shitfaced with them every weekend. Like don’t get me wrong, I drink occasionally, have gotten drunk, smoked hookah, etc., but it’s because I’ve wanted to do it, not because I ever let anyone force me or talk me into it.

Anyone who really knows me, knows that if I say no, it’s going to be no and nothing the person/people say or do is going to change that. If anything, the more they ask and/or try to get me to do it, the more I’ll get uncomfortable, pissed off, and just straight up want nothing to do with you.

For instance, I just have no type of interest in doing/trying any kind of drugs, from the hardcore shit to the “simplest” stuff like weed. It would do nothing for me other than probably make my paranoid ass more paranoid than what I already am. Plus I’ve seen family members of mine, friends, and just people in general that I know get really fucked up mentally from THEM doing these things that they previously got pressured/talked into doing somehow or another many many moons ago, so why am I going to let other people attempt to talk me into doing those exact same things? For that? To end up like them? Yeah, no thanks.

And don’t get me wrong, some of my closest friends that were roommates, old co-workers, etc. do these things and one thing I’ve always told them, I don’t care if you smoke, drink or whatever, just don’t involve me in it if I tell you I’m not interested. It’s that simple. You do it? Cool, that’s fine, I respect and have no issue with it, so respect how I feel and just don’t bring it to me.

There’s nothing wrong with experimenting and trying some of these things (although yes, some of them are considered “bad”, but that’s besides the point). The point is, there’s a difference between doing these things because you want to and doing it because others want or are trying to get you to do it.

The word ‘No’ is a powerful word that not many people hear or take seriously anymore, especially in the day and age that we live in. And it’s a shame because it’s really gotten to a point where there are people in and around the world that if they see or hear that you tell them no about something, they will not take no for an answer and will go as far as drugging and/or raping them, if not worse (not that those things are worse, but I’m just saying).

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No means no, that’s it!!!! Don’t give in because you feel forced or want to feel like you fit in among your friends or whoever. And if you do end up doing any of these things at all, at least make sure you’re doing it because you actually want to and know what you’re getting yourself into.

Don’t let it bother you if people make fun of or tease you because you don’t want to do something. And I know that may sound cliche, and easier said than done, but it’s the truth. That’s just their way of being obnoxious to attempt to pressure you into whatever it is at the time; sadly though, many times this is what actually causes people to give in to the pressure just for the sake of shutting these people up and saying they tried it.

People will use some of the most annoying, ridiculous phrases and excuses in the book just to attempt to convince you. “What are you scared of?” “I dare you,” “What’s the big deal?” “I thought you loved me, prove it,” “Don’t be a chickenshit,” etc. etc. etc. And a lot of these I’m sure reading them will remind people of something you would hear in a movie or tv show, like who really says stuff like that? Who would actually give in to people saying those things? But it really is true. People do say dumb shit like this, and other people sadly fall into it and end up giving in.

Who cares what other people have to say? Who cares if they won’t be your friends anymore after you saying no? Who cares if your boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with you afterwards for you not being ready? WHO CARES? People are going to talk regardless. You’ll make new friends. And you’ll find a new boyfriend/girlfriend who loves you for who you are and respects you for your decisions and/or how you feel about things.

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It is your god-given birth right as a human being to be able to have your opinion about something and say no if you don’t agree or feel comfortable with it. Doesn’t matter how big or small, or how serious or not it may seem. If you’re not comfortable with doing something, say no, it’s okay. Don’t feel like you have to give in just for the sake of fitting in and having friends, or being considered “cool.” You shouldn’t have to prove anything to anyone (in that aspect or any really) in order for them to be your friend or accepted in general. If they’re your REAL friend and REALLY love/care about you, they’re going to be your friend and respect you more because you said no and stuck to your decision.

Self-love and self-respect will always be more important than the acceptance of others, always remember that; because at the end of each and every day, YOU’RE the one who’s going to have to go to bed and live with the decisions/consequences that you created, not them.

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-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

 

9/11

Hi guys,

This is pretty much just an impromptu post that I felt like I should write about because it’s weighing heavy on my mind this morning, actually when I really stop to think about it, it weighs hard on my mind every year on this very day.

As I sit here in my desk at work writing this post, I can’t help but get teary-eyed recalling the events of that day.

I was about 6, in the first grade, and my brother was 10 in the 5th grade. I remember that day being extremely gloomy. It was cloudy out, almost as if Mother Nature knew and was trying to give us some sort of sign about what was going to happen that day. My mom was off from work, and took my brother and I to school like normal, at around 7:15-7:30. Within the hour, I think everyone (students-wise) started to realize something was going on and very wrong, because parents started coming to pick up their kids every few minutes. I remember at about 9 a.m., my parents came. I still didn’t know what was going on, but hey my parents were picking me up super early from school, so what did I care? “No classes or homework for me today!,” I thought.

I remember coming out of the school and I saw my dad standing a few feet away at the corner looking at something in the distance. I ran to him to say hi, he hugged me and I looked where he was looking at. He showed me in the distance what he was looking at, but to me all I saw was a bunch of really dark smoke in the air. He didn’t say much to me about it, I guess because 1. He didn’t want to scare me, and 2. He probably thought I was too young to understand what was going on anyway.

Nonetheless, I was ready to go home and for some reason we were still waiting in front of the school for something, so I asked him “where did mom go?”, “She went to get Lynae and Justin,” he said. Now I KNEW something was off because they never picked up other peoples’ kids, but we were all friends, so hey cool, no school and we were having friends over!!

The rest of the day was kind of a blur, I just remember us going back to my house afterwards, and watching the news of everything that was going on in Manhattan.

* * * * * *

With every year that goes by, I think about it more and more and begin to think/realize how lucky and grateful I am that my mom wasn’t working that day. I don’t even remember why she had off or taken off that day, on a Tuesday of all days, but if she didn’t, lord knows what could’ve happened….

As grateful as I am of that, I can’t help but also feel an immense amount of sadness, because many people were not as lucky as I was. So many people, kids, babies, etc., lost mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, and/or all of the above, it’s insane and heartbreaking to think about.

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How can people just wake up one morning and decide they’re going to terrorize an entire city, kill thousands upon thousands of innocent people in the process and not think twice about it?

It’s been 16 years since this happened, and it still feels like just yesterday to most people, including myself. I think the older I get now, the more intense it is to think about and the deeper the sadness is to feel, because you understand everything about it so much more. And the memories of it all becomes much more vivid. I find this day seems to affect me more with each year that passes, which I guess is odd since it didn’t actually directly hurt me or my family in any way, but I guess just thinking about how horrific that day was for all of New York, and how much it still affects people to this very day is what gets me.

I also think it puts everything else into perspective for people, including myself again; to not only think about all of the innocent lives lost through this tragedy, but those people who SACRIFICED their lives to attempt to help this dire situation in any possible way they could; the firemen, policemen, EMTs, etc., the list could truly go on and on. As cliche as it may be/sound, we need to learn to be grateful for every single person in our lives because you really don’t know when it’ll be the last time you’ll see them; there’s no….I don’t want to say better, because what happened is in no way, shape, or form good, but for lack of a better word, I’ll say greater….there is no greater example of that then what happened on September 11, 2001. These poor people were just going about their everyday lives and routines, going to work, etc., and this happened, ignorant, selfish people took it upon themselves to take their beautiful lives away over spite for something these people had absolutely no control over.

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It almost feels wrong and selfish to attempt to go through this day and be happy, while so many people around the world are still suffering from this day, and I think that’s why I always feel down about it. It’s almost as if I have no right to be so happy and cheerful, and that’s why my depression gets the best of me on this particular day. I never want or care for going out, going to work, school, etc., doing anything in general really that could make me happy whenever this day comes, because it doesn’t do anything to help what happened.

People say we have to keep fighting everyday to show the rest of the world that that one tragedy did not get the best of us, that in fact it actually brought us closer together and made us stronger; it’s a nice thought, but I just wish I could be doing more to help with it all and make a more positive impact.

* * * * * *

I really had to take a breather from writing this post, because all this morning I was writing, and a lot of my sadness started turning into anger. I really started letting it affect me, in a way that I should not have. It wasn’t until I left for my break, and took a walk for that hour that I realized, not only do I have to appreciate all of the people in my life right now, but I also have to be appreciative of my life, and how beautiful life in general can really be. It’s a beautiful day outside, the sun came up again, I’m living to see another day, I have a home to go to at the end of the day, I have an amazing job, amazing family, amazing boyfriend, and an amazing life (in spite of how I may feel about it sometimes). Many people in the world today are nowhere near as lucky as I am, and I don’t in any way mean that in a conceited way, but it’s just the fact of the matter, a lot of people aren’t as fortunate, unfortunately. So as horrible, as this day may be or feel because of something that happened so long ago, we have to somehow look at the positives in our life today, and really push through one way or another, especially since it would probably be what everyone who lost their lives that day would want from their families and friends.

To all the men and women that sacrificed their lives on this day, 16 years ago, thank you so much. No amount of gratitude I think will ever be enough to be able to compensate for all of your lives that were lost on that day, but at least somehow knowing that each and every one of you were/are appreciated I hope will somehow be a start. And to all the people that so sadly lost their lives to such evil people, I’m so sorry, not one of you deserved that. But I hope and pray that each and every one of your families are somehow managing to do well, and push through with you in their minds with each day that passes.

Gone but NEVER forgotten ❤ 

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-Xoxo Leo Girl