14 Things I Refuse To Do, Under Any Circumstances

At almost 28 years old, I’ve learned a lot about life. I’ve learned that there are some things that you can negotiate on, and other things that should never be negotiated on. Growing up, the hardest thing that you have to do is actually stand up for what you believe in. That’s why I’ve stopped doing these things, and why you should consider doing the same:

  1. I refuse to let others have power over my body. My body is mine. I’ll be the one who decides what happens to it, and if you think I’ll allow anyone to make decisions for me, you’ve got another thing coming. Anyone who tries to shame me or manipulate me over what I do with my body will quickly be cut out of my life.
  2. I’m done appeasing people, and I refuse to have other people tell me it’s the right thing to do. Appeasement never works, and at best, it’s a temporary fix for a permanent problem. People who threaten others and throw tantrums need to be put in check. Appeasing them only reinforces the idea that bad behavior is acceptable and will be rewarded. Moreover, sacrificing your comfort or well-being to make someone stop flipping out at you never makes you feel good about yourself. After having done this for so long, I’ve learned my lesson.
  3. I refuse to play dumb anymore. Just because others are intimidated by my intelligence doesn’t mean I should have to play bimbo.
  4. I refuse to do work that I’m ashamed of. When I have my name out there, I want it to be associated with a job done right. If I have to choose between pushing out terrible quality work and being unemployed, I’ll opt for the unemployment line.
  5. I refuse to overlook red flags when dating anymore. There’s no point in bothering with someone who already seems like a hot mess before you meet him. It’s better to cut things short sooner rather than later, since it means that you’ll waste less time that way.
  6. If I see someone do something unethical, I refuse to stay silent about it. If I see a friend cheat on their spouse, you bet that I will tell that spouse. If I see someone needlessly talking smack about others, I will tell those whose names are being smeared. If I see a doctor abusing their privileges, you can bet that I will report it to their licensing board. There’s enough wrong with the world, and it’ll only get worse unless more people begin to stand up and say something.
  7. I refuse to continuously chase dates anymore. Frankly, I should’ve been done with this a long, long time ago. No amount of coaxing and cajoling will make a person realize all that a potential mate offers. It’s something he or she has to know innately. If people can’t see the value in a person who likes them, they don’t deserve that person. Nowadays, I’ll aggressively make my intentions known, but after I make it clear that I want someone, I back off. If they want to approach me, they already know I’ll react positively.
  8. I refuse to keep people in my life who are toxic to me. I’ve cut out people who have verbally abused me, physically abused me, stole from me, and used me. Not once have I regretted it. Oddly enough, everyone I’ve cut out seems to regret their toxic behavior.
  9. I refuse to let people cross certain boundaries. I don’t smile nervously when people cross a boundary anymore. I tell them when they’re treating me poorly, and I tell them exactly what’ll happen if they continue it. If they listen, great. If they don’t, see point #9.
  10. When I like someone, I refuse to hide my feelings about it. I made that mistake for too many years, and only recently had the guts to start doing things right. So far, it’s been paying off, sorta.
  11. I refuse to ingratiate myself to others. Changing who you are to make others happy is a no-win situation. If people can’t accept me for all that I was and now am, then I want absolutely nothing to do with them.
  12. I refuse to associate myself with transphobic, racist, or homophobic people. I’m bisexual. One of my closets friends (and former significant others) is a transwoman. I typically get squicked out by wearing stockings, dresses, or women’s underwear. I gave my multiracial daughter to a lovely gay interracial couple. I see no reason why I would want to associate with people who innately have a problem with me, my loved ones, or the fact that love comes in all forms.
  13. I refuse to be polite with people who are impolite to me. Like begets like. No apologies.
  14. I refuse to be sorry for things that don’t deserve an apology. Because being unapologetically awesome is even more awesome than you can imagine.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.