The last six weeks I’ve been undergoing a number of transitions in my romantic life, my career, and in my business. Those transitions, which are not complete yet, make me think about my existence as a woman, and a woman living a non-monogamous life.
The news regarding Havey Weinstein and allegations of rape and sexual misconduct really bring my thoughts to the forefront. Weinstein isn’t the first to misuse and abuse his power and influence, and he for sure won’t be the last. He forced himself on women, promising opportunities and careers if his victims just let him take what he wanted.
I’ve been molested. I’ve been abused. As I grew up and chose a career path that was very male-dominated, I was told I needed more tact. I was told by a woman in that same industry I needed to stop wearing makeup and quit doing my hair to be taken seriously. All before the age of 22. Each year for a three-year period, “tenacious” was used by different supervisors to describe me. Sometimes I wondered if that was male code for “bitch.”
I’m in my 40s now. Just in the last three weeks, I’ve had things said to me by men in power that I know they would never say to another man. I was called a control freak, because I recounted to a C-line exec when he implied I needed to work voluntarily on the weekends that not only do I work for the company, I own and take care of my own house, and I run a business, in which I am my own admin, my own accountant, my own marketing, and I do the work of my business. Recently I was told I have a “bad reputation” for being “difficult” to work with, and that was the reason why I couldn’t be promoted or given a pay raise. For background, I was hired to implement processes in my company, and bring order to absolute chaos, which I’ve done as much as my realm of influence allows me to do so; sometimes I say “No” because it makes business sense to say no.
At this age, it’s becoming more apparent to me that there will always be people who will tell you that you are not enough, too much or both, and somehow you are supposed to reconcile that and become what they want you to be. As I get older and become more intimately attuned with my value, I realize I couldn’t care less if I’m too much for you, or not enough. Either way, we obviously shouldn’t be acquainted with each other. I’m okay with that.
NO is empowering. For a time in my young life, I didn’t KNOW how to say “NO.” I LEARNED to say “NO” as I had experiences that were meant to marginalize me, demean me, to put me in my place.
My non-monogamy is emphasizing the value of YES and NO in my life. I say YES and give myself permission to have multiple loves and partners. I say NO and give myself permission to draw boundaries, to define what I will not tolerate in my life. And I’m learning every day what I will and won’t tolerate in my life. What I thought I could tolerate last year I cannot tolerate this year. My tolerance for poor communication, flimsy excuses for half-assed commitment, and a lack of value on words has diminished tremendously.
My fellow sisters…if you’re afraid to say NO, I encourage you to say NO. If you don’t know how to say NO, LEARN to say NO. It isn’t always negative to say no; some people can’t handle it when you say no, but how often is that really YOUR problem? Very little.
Give yourself permission to draw boundaries that work for you.