Volume 2, Issue 24: Xmas Shipping, Holiday Anti-Fatness, and Leveling-Up Your 'No'

Hi friends! This week is a non-resource week however, I have some things that I need to share with you sooner than later so it’ll be a little resource-y and a little think-y. I’ll start with the resources but first, here’s a photo of the cavatappi earrings I just got from General Eclectic Goods. Yes, cavatappi is the superior shape of pasta (other than gnocchi and stuffed pastas. Though fusilli corti bucati are also excellent. Maybe I should start a pasta newsletter).

Bonus Resource #1: Every Shipping Deadline You Should Know If You Want Your Gifts to Arrive on Time

For United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx, and UPS. Glad someone did a post so I didn’t have to.

Bonus Resource #2: Twitter thread on fatphobia and end of year holidays from @Artists_Ali

Info for those of us who are fat and info for skinny people on being helpful and not just sitting by and letting people be shitty. As usual, click through for the whole thing. If you learn something and are able, please tip the creator. I certainly did!

Bonus Resource #3: 9 Tips for Surviving Holiday Gatherings from Nedra Tawwab

For those of you who have been reading this newsletter for a while, you know I’m a big fan of Nedra Glover Tawwab, author of Set Boundaries, Find Peace: a guide to reclaiming yourself. By the way, this book is also having a workbook coming out in December which you can preorder through my bookshop here.

One of Tawwab’s recent newsletters is 9 Tips for Surviving Holiday Gatherings. She offers “guidelines for managing situations when we have to share space with people we don’t like.”

Bonus Resources #4: Indigenous Resources

As I’ve been learning and growing, I’ve learned that you cannot “decolonize” Thanksgiving. There is no way to “decolonize” a celebration whose roots are based on genocide. It needs to go to the way of Columbus Day.

That being said, I want to reshare three past issues of this newsletter where I share the Indigenous land map, ways to learn about the reality of Thanksgiving’s history, and a huge Indigenous ally resource list.

Bonus Resource #5: Covid-19 booster

The Dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health says the messaging around Covid-19 boosters has been far too complicated when everyone who is able should be getting them.

Last minute update from me at 8:27am PST: The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized boosters of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for all adults. The CDC will meet today to discuss expanding booster eligibility. I'm in California, which is one of the several states that preemptively opened up boosters to all adults already because the evidence for it was so strong. (link)

Today I wanted to talk about something I’m working on that started off as a real challenge but I get better at it the more I do it:

Saying no.

But wait, not just saying no.

Saying no without giving a reason or explaining my ‘no.’

Every time I say no I have an extreme urge to justify it. When someone says no to me, I need to trust they have their own reasons and they are doing what is best for their time and energy so why not expect this in return?

It’s really important to be able to say no without explaining yourself because explaining your ‘no’ can be a trap. The more you say about it, the more that someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries can use it as a way to negotiate your ‘no.’ But “no” is a full sentence. “I’m going to have to decline” and “That’s not for me” and “I’m not discussing that with you” are full sentences.

If someone asks, “Why not?” we can say, “Why do you ask?” and if we’re feeling spicy, “Are you going to try to talk me out of my boundary, which I have made clear?”

Some people think that just giving a ‘no’ is too aggressive (which says more about those people than it does the person saying the ‘no.’) If it makes you feel better, you can say ‘no’ with a smile. You can say, “No, but thank you for thinking of me” and “No thanks” and “Sorry, I’m unable to do that.” Regardless of tone, a no is a clear boundary.

I’ve had a lot of practice saying no lately and I’m finding that not coming up with some sort of explanation has alleviated some stress. There’s a lightness that has come with learning to say no without a bulleted list of reasons why I said it.

Yes, there is always a reason whether that be “it doesn’t spark joy” or “I don’t feel like it” or “that’s not part of my journey” or “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have the spell slots” or “I don’t want to.”

If you feel like you owe someone an explanation, take a moment to examine that feeling. Is it because they are asking? Or because of a power difference? Or is your explanation actually You trying to tell Yourself that your ‘no’ is valid? Is this something for you to work out on your own and not in the situation at hand? Are you worried about not seeming “nice” if you don’t give an explanation, which also may be something for you to reflect on?

I’m not saying for you to never ever give an explanation. As with most things, it depends on the situation and the context. I do think it is a skill that is important to cultivate and, at least for me, I had the unexpected side effect of alleviating a bit of anxiety around coming up with the “perfect” reason.

There always seems to be some sort of exercise in saying ‘no’ this time of year for many of us so may the odds be ever in our favor.

That’s it for this week! You can shop any books I’ve mentioned in this newsletter at my affiliate shop, The Infophile’s Bookshop, and support independent bookstores. If you want to send me some snail mail, you can find me at P.O. Box 21481, Oakland, CA 94620-1481. If you want me to send you some happy mail, feel free to give me your address.

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