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When I saw this next prompt in the the workbook for The Sandbox Writing Challenge 10, I knew immediately what I would write. And after skewing it a little bit and posting all these pixs, I knew exactly WHICH picture to choose, WHO she was talking to, and WHAT they were talking about! It’s definitely pix #4. I know because over this last year of blogging I’ve had to put up with A LOT of criticism on the home front.

Pix 4That woman is someone from our church. Not anyone in particular, mind you, just your nominal Chrissy Christian organizer… She’s talking to my sister and they’re having difficulty understanding why I’ve said NO to being on a certain committee. ESPECIALLY doing something I’ve always loved to do and I’m good at! They simply CANNOT get their minds around the idea that God has laid it on my heart to be a part of the care ministry at church and said to me it’s enough. I pour a lot of time and effort into visiting the seniors and shut-ins placed in my care, and I’m not a person who multitasks well at all (in fact, science now says that’s a myth — multitasking doesn’t allow you to give anything 100% of your attention).

So after being asked repeatedly over the last two years, and after finding a bit of a “spine” through my year of blogging (and listening to Plato’s firm belief that you can’t say whole-heartedly YES until you first learn to say NO), I said emphatically NO! And my sister, in particular, is having a hard time dealing with it!

That’s happened more and more this past year since I’ve been blogging. Even here at home as when I decided I did NOT want to go to hear a speaker that Drollery and Bran were going to go listen to. Good Lord! You would have thought the roof was going to fall in any moment! And there were some kind of angry feelings about it. But learning to say NO has been very liberating to me. I’ve decided you can equate the difficulties inherent in sprinkling it liberally through your vocabulary with the family of an addicted person.

We know that when an alcoholic (for example) gets a handle on things and begins to get their life in order, it’s often very hard on the family (thus the organization of Alanon and Alateen). It’s hard because they’re used to that person acting in a specific way, and when that changes, the family is a bit at a loss. They may have become so used to covering up drunken binges by calling in sick for the person that in the end they become enablers. In my opinion (though I could be wrong), I think it’s the same thing.

All my life I’ve been a people pleaser, subjugating my own wants and needs to everyone elses’. Those who know me here are used to that. They could count on it, and they were able to take advantage of me because of it. But finding my voice with the NO word is like having a magic key. All of a sudden there’s a certain freedom in my life I’m not sure I’ve ever known. And my family and friends don’t understand what happened. And they sure as hell don’t like it! Am I really good at using it? Not yet, but I’m getting there.

my wayBut I’ve decided I can’t always live my life around what other people expect of me. It’s not MY life then. Laura over at Hundred and Counting said it very well in a post she did this morning. She said:

You might find that someone in your life doesn’t accept you for who you really are (too bad if that’s your boss). If that happens, finding out is probably best for both parties. It’s been a long and hard path for me to take, but I’m finally learning that the only kind of relationship that is worth keeping is an honest relationship where you can be your true self. No pretending, no wanna-bedom. Relationships where you can laugh when you feel like laughing, and cry when you feel like crying.

I’ve come to the same conclusion this year. So let the gals on the line wail and moan to each other about my uncooperativeness as much as they want. (Partly, I think, they’re just mad because they can’t control me anymore…imho.) As for me I WANT to be able to say YES with passion to life and whatever it throws my way to do. Learning to say NO was a big first step for me…