Word(s) of Widsom

Fooled you.

I don’t have any.

I do have some very achy muscles, a very burned out brain, and a growling tummy.

Mysterious set of symptoms, eh?

Not really, when you consider I’ve been wearing this five pound monster boot on my left foot for the past 12 hours, typing my way through 892 pages of medical records, and going straight from work to a rehearsal where I had to stand on my one good leg and ring handbells for an hour, thereby missing dinner.

So who’s the wise one here?  Certainly not Becca.

Because Becca, who (on a very good day) calls herself a writer, has one absolutely vital word missing from her vocabulary.

Oh, come on, you all know what it is.

Go ahead – say it for me.


Sorry, I can’t possibly finish this record review today.

Sorry, I can’t substitute for you in bell choir tonight.

Sorrry, I can’t.


Alas, I’ve covered this ground before here at the Byline, and I apologize for my redundancy.  I allow myself to do far too much, to my physical and emotional detriment, because I never learned to say NO.

Of course, when I was a little girl growing up, I wasn’t allowed to say NO.  Like every other two year old on the planet, it was my favorite word.  NO, I won’t take my medicine.  NO, I won’t go to bed.  NO, I won’t come in.  NO, I won’t eat those creamed peas.  Yet society tells us we much squelch that tendency in our toddlers – don’t let them get away with saying NO to everything – they must learn to capitulate, to bend their will to yours, to please you at any cost.

Perpetually the good student, I learned the lesson all too well.

So here I am, 50 years post terrible twos, and I can’t seem to say NO to anyone.

Except myself.

Oh, I’m really good at that.

NO, I can’t leave the housework undone and put my foot up for the evening.

NO, I can’t spend all afternoon reading a book.

NO, I can’t let my husband do the grocery shopping for me.

NO, I can’t ask my co-worker to take on some extra assignments.

Yes ~ I bet you do that too.

So here I am, achy, tired, and hungry – all for the lack of a two letter word.

Maybe tomorrow will be different.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll sleep late, or just lie around the house in my pajamas all morning.  Maybe I’ll go out for breakfast instead of going to work.  Maybe I’ll order a big, gooey cinnamon roll.

Maybe I’ll say YES to myself tomorrow.

What a wise word that would be.


6 thoughts on “Word(s) of Widsom

  1. From a former “yes” girl…it can be done…I say this with my own tattered wisdom. I know all too well that syndrome…which you describe so well..it is ingrained into us from such a young age that “no” is not part of our vocabulary.

    I love your approach of saying “yes” to yourself first…the more you say “yes” to Becca, the easier it is to say “no” to others…and I know you can do this. It really comes down to valuing yourself more and not caring as much about what other people think.

    And saying “It’s not possible” or “sorry, I’m busy” is sometimes easier and a better way of saying “no”.


  2. We were all taught to be compliant to our elders and courteous to others. Polite vs selfish. Consequently, a lot of us find ourselves in the same boat. I’ve gotten better, but it’s tough to change something that ingrained.

  3. I double dog dare you to say YES to yourself! I thought of you strongly during a movie this weekend. You MUST say yes to renting “August Rush” because it will make your week. XXOO

  4. I look forward to hearing about a “No” from you. When you are seeing so, so clearly the need for this change in your life, it can only be a matter of time before you find the opportunity to test out the word, and discover that the sky doesn’t fall down when Becca says “No”, the world will keep turning, and the other people involved will not, in fact, explode. Good luck with it!

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