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Advice to my 22 Year Old Self: Learning to say no

Medusa - All 3 - Andi Crown Photography
Virginia Frankovich rehearsing Medusa. Andi Crown Photography.
Virginia Frankovich: Medusa. Andi Crown Photography.
Creative Virginia Frankovich lets herself off the hook


Dearest Virginia,

I know this is weird but it’s me here. Yeah, future you. You’ve got some exciting times ahead but also some pretty big lessons to learn so I’m gonna give you a cheat sheet with a few things to help you out - thank me later.

Introduction to no

Meet no. Go ahead, try it on and give it a whirl. I know in improv it’s all about saying “yes” to every situation that presents itself to you, but I think learning how to say “no” is a really important and powerful tool that will serve you well. It will allow you to truly assess each opportunity that comes your way. If your gut is telling you it’s not the right thing to do, then having the confidence to boldly say “no” will help you to avoid putting energy into a bunch of dud projects and dodgy situations you don’t want to be a part of.

Saying “no” more will also open up space and energy for new experiences to surface. And trust me, they come. But it is hard to see them if you are bogged down by saying "yes" to every single thing. This will be hard for you - but believe me, you will thank me dearly for this.

Virginia Frankovich rehearsing Medusa. Andi Crown Photography.

It’s not your fault

Very shortly something traumatic may happen to you involving a bunch of dudes who think they have the right to physically assault you on your way home from Uni and break your collarbone. If there is a way I could get you to walk a different route home that day - that would be ace. But if something like this ever does happens to you, I need you to know that it is not your fault. So please don’t waste years of energy telling yourself that the reason a group of strangers picked on you has anything to do with you as a person. You are a good person. You do not deserve any violence in your life. And it is not your fault. Sometimes shitty things happen to good people. I’m sorry.

Broaden your tunnel vision

There is more to life than theatre, film and boys. Remember - you are a Libran: you are supposed to love balance! So don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Yes you may really want to be the lead role in some uni play or to catch the eye of the guy in your feminist film theory class. But there is so much more to life than those things. Save some energy for important things like spending time with your family and good friends, and looking after your body rather than punishing it by starving yourself and partying too hard. Hell, why not take up a sport?!

Virginia Frankovich: Medusa. Andi Crown Photography.

Nobody else cares as much as you do

Lastly, Please stop thinking about what everyone else is thinking about you. Nobody is thinking about you. Nobody is talking about you. Or that concerned with what you are doing. They are most likely thinking about themselves. Everyone is just fumbling through life, trying to get by and not die. So maybe take a leaf out of their book and start thinking more about being kind to yourself and spend less energy on obsessing over what everyone else thinks you should do.

OK, you’re probably pretty overwhelmed by all of this, so I’m going to end the rant now. Thank you for listening. Have a good life.

Yours sincerely,

Virginia (10 years from now)

Virginia Frankovich is one of the creators of MEDUSA, playing at Loft, Q Theatre, Auckland as part of the MATCHBOX 2018 season. Medusa runs Thursday, October 25 to Saturday November 3. Preview: Wednesday October 24. Book here.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

17 Oct 2018

The Big Idea Editor