The peril of too much “NO”

detail of painting

An important aspect of my healing has been to get comfortable with saying “NO.”

There have been many, many layers and shades of this monumental (for me) lesson.

My varying degrees of functionality make it a challenge for me to say a distinct “YES” to invitations.

But, in my mind I am often the eager life-liver of old

For whom the reining in of energy expenditure

Was uninteresting at best.

I watched myself say no to a dear friend’s art opening the other night.

Yes, I did have something else important to me going on

But if I really had my wits about me

I would have skipped it.

In truth, as hindsight,

I now have the backstory built in

That goes like this:

“There will be too many people in a small space

And it will be exhausting to negotiate.

I feel too fragile to have attention on me as ‘the disabled one.’

I don’t want to see any ‘pity faces.’

She will understand if I am not there.”

Each of those concerns are quite true.

But the bigger issue is that I am left after the fact knowing I did not support someone I love deeply

When I could have.

I missed a shining moment in her life.

And I will never get that particular chance again.

And my heart hurts.

I know she may be disappointed I was not there

And I also know she is OK with the fact

Because she loves me

And we do that for each other; two women who gift each other with the freedom to BE.

However, I became aware

That there are just those times in life

Where the only thing to do is push through


Is what we’re all after

And there is muck in the moat

To be crossed.


5 Responses to “The peril of too much “NO””

  1. Carmen A. on March 28th, 2011

    Very true.The crevice between NO and YES can be a chasm.

  2. Dorothyanne Brown on March 28th, 2011

    it is difficult, isn’t it? Sometimes you just have to force yourself…otherwise life becomes so restricted so quickly…
    On the other hand, napping, resting, avoiding crowds – so tempting….
    Hang in there – you will find a balance.

  3. Alexandra Eldridge on March 29th, 2011

    I am honored to be part of your “big” questions in life. Yes, I would have loved it had you been there, especially to meet my collaborator, who I have told you so much about. But, as you know, we allow each other whatever each other needs, with no judgement. Thanks for caring so much. Much love, A.

  4. gerry harty on March 29th, 2011

    I read somewhere that the most important word to our survival is the word no!!!

  5. Carol S on April 3rd, 2011

    As I can see, if she didn’t understand before, she does now and you put it right out there. Don’t question would the joy to have been there outweighed the difficulty, because your gut up front told you unfortunately no. You can have joy together other ways. Silver lining on clouds Cathy, may you find them this week. And we need to see that car video, it sounds fun! What a good bro.

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