Yes and No Phases and The Stripped Project

The Alison Show for The Stripped Project

The Alison Show for The Stripped Project

The Alison Show for The Stripped Project

All of these images are from Jordan Zobrist for The Stripped Project: see the full shoot and interview here

Right now I am in a “no” phase of my life.

I know that we are supposed to say YES! And according to Amy Poehler Yes, please! (I really love the audiobook) and I do agree with the sentiment. Saying HELL YES with a high kick and a shimmy has gotten me to where I am. So saying that I’m in a “no” phase sounds fairly negative and out of character. But it’s the only way I can explain it.

For YEARS, years, I’ve been blogging, hustling, selling at markets, creating online books, patterns, courses, speaking at conferences. I’ve said, YES YES YES to collaborations, growing, making, and doing. But growing “pains” are a real thing. All that doing finally caught up to me. I grew. I could not believe it, but it happened. And now I find myself having to say NO NO NO over and over.

For a true to my core, all the way down to my tippy toes people-pleaser, who wants NOTHING more than to bleed myself dry so that other people are happy, saying, “no” over and over has started to eat away at me.

The Alison Show for The Stripped Project

I worry people hate me. I worry that I’m full of myself. I worry that I’m missing out or making bad decisions. I worry that I’m being selfish or stupid.

But then I have to remember why I started saying no. I started saying no because I wasn’t sleeping at night. I started saying no because I wasn’t able to complete thoughts without my body tensing in anxiety. I started saying no because I wasn’t able to concentrate on my children, on what they were saying, on what they were trying to get me to understand.

I started saying, “no” because I could not maintain life at that pace.

It might sound melodramatic but I was sincerely breaking down from overwhelm. I share more about that in my thoughts on 2014. And so for 2015 my motto has had to kind of be, “no.”

Will you answer these interview questions? No.

Can I send you…? No.

Can you promote this…? No.

Will you blog about…? No.

All of the overwhelm, the pressure, the anxiety, it all stemmed from one easy-to-fix problem: I was doing too much. And the only way to do less is to say no to things. But that’s the hard part! So I made a list, and in order to say YES, the opportunity has to meet some specific qualifications that make saying, “yes” worth adding to my list of things to do.

99% of the things people ask don’t meet the requirements.

Don’t for two seconds think that I don’t understand it’s a luxury to have so many opportunities that you HAVE to say no! It feels like a bourgeois problem, and I feel guilty that I have it and unworthy of it. Then again, it doesn’t make it any less of a problem.

But really, when I talk to all the women that I get to talk to, and read the emails (I LOVE YOUR EMAILS I do, so don’t think I don’t want them, when you send me emails of connection and thanks they mean more to me than you can possibly imagine) I realized we just all have this problem in different areas of our life.

Right now I have to say NO to some business things, in order to say YES to my family. I have to say YES to mental health, sleeping, and being able to have conversations with people in REAL life without checking my email 10 times.

I have to remember that when I say “no” to the email requests, I’m saying “yes” to my children, “yes” to my husband, and “yes” to my mental health.

But you might have different resources that are being depleted. You might need to say NO to your family, for example you might have a relative who takes advantage of your time or asks too much of you. You might need to say NO to hanging out with friends, in order to say YES to going after what makes you feel fulfilled and not resentful and empty.

The Alison Show for The Stripped Project

I believe in service, I believe in sacrifice, I believe in giving to others. I believe in love more than anything. But I firmly believe we all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves so we can take care of those around us. And we don’t need to feel guilty for doing it. Loving ourselves means taking care of ourselves.

I share all of this because when I got this email from Jordan Zobrist about participating in The Stripped Project, I was SO relieved to be able to say YES. YES! You can take pictures of me with no makeup! YES! I can show up without a costume, or a jumpsuit, or a backdrop! YES! I can encourage other women to strip down and share all! YES YES YES!

Jordan described the project like this, “A compilation of raw, black and white images featuring bloggers with NO MAKE-UP and NO RETOUCHING. Women stripped of any facades, exposing their real beauty for all the world to see.

Let’s stop defining beauty by a lack of flaws and start defining it by feeling comfortable and confident within our flaws. We all have them: physical, mental, and emotional. As a result, we all have something uniquely beautiful to offer the world. We have enough women pretending to be perfect. We need more women who are real and relatable; women who are not afraid of imperfection.” –Jordan Zobrist

How great is she? Jordan is young and adorable. She’s a writer and photographer. Just a sweet girl who decided to do something and share it and I was honored she asked me to participate.

I’m so grateful to be blessed with a platform to share such an important message on. So even though I hate saying, “no” I’m so glad that I have the opportunities to say, “yes!”

I also love the interview questions Jordan asked me.

You can read the interview and see all the pictures here!

I felt like her questions about social media and appearance were very compelling and I love the answers she gets out of all The Stripped Project participants. So I really encourage you to look at the other people too!

But in conclusion I just want to say I love you. I hope you’re doing well. Sincerely.

I hope you’re loving yourself, and that you’ll still email me! Haha because even if I have to say, “no” this time, I’m honored with each opportunity.

Thanks for taking the time to come to the blog. It’s always nice when people take time to read your words and I also love to hear your thoughts. You guys always have such good insight!

Here’s to saying YES to the right things and NO when you need to.

xo

Alison

14 Comments

  1. You are one hot mama! Who looks that gorgeous without makeup on at all times?! Only you!

    1. you lil babe!

  2. Courtney

    Such lovely photos. Your transparency is what keeps me coming back. Thanks for being a source of honesty and positivity. You are beautiful.

  3. Beautiful, simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing! For sharing your struggles, your reality, your success, for sharing you!

    1. thank you!!

  4. Bonnie

    There’s a Steve Job’s quote we have up at work that I think is perfect.

    “”People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully”

    1. ugh that’s SO GOOD!! thank you! i love that!

  5. Deirdre

    You speak the truth Mama — perhaps a truth I need to listen to more! Thank you!

  6. Abilu

    I love this message and the photos are definitely “forever photos” that your kids will cherish. Have you every read Alexandra Franzen’s blog? She has mastered saying “no” and has a bunch of scripts to help people do it with kindness, leaving the asker better off than before they reached out. Happy you are taking care of yourself, and please know that your messages are also nurturing our souls.

  7. J

    Love your honesty and transparency but more than anything it is your awareness what I always find refreshing and beautiful. Speaking what’s on your mind is something that many can do but few are conscious of how it is relative and how it can come across.

  8. Kim

    Thank you so much for sharing and being honest. I’ve been going through some difficult growing pains in my business, it’s brought out some “fun” stuff to deal with personally. It’s funny how owning a business forces you to face things you would otherwise be able to hide. Reading this post is exactly what I needed to get me through today. Thank you thank you thank you.

  9. Kirsti

    Well said!!

  10. Yes! I have spent most of motherhood filling our schedule and saying “yes” to far too many work projects. This past year, much like you, I realized that my mood, energy, and self-esteem were in short supply because I would be so busy I’d make a lot of mistakes, particularly parenting ones, and I would feel awful about things like choosing work over tea parties, etc. Thank you for your honesty. Great photos!

  11. Robin

    I so get you!! I too am a people pleaser to whom everything is possible – “sure I can do that”, “I’d be happy to”, “Let me just whip that out”, and it goes on and on. I grew up without boundaries and that has been a real struggle for me in my life. It was a struggle as a I raised my children, and it has been a struggle in my marriage, and other relationships. When you make yourself available for everything – something’s gotta give!! And it is usually your sanity. I am working very hard in my life at setting priorities and boundaries. It is very challenging and some days I just do whatever I want but when I do set priorities and boundaries – even if they are small ones it feels so good!!

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