Maybe it's time, you know? Maybe, at long last, I start in on the enormous backlog of Things I Need and Things I Want, and stop making excuses, and start checking them off. For the most part, a lot of these things have been trying to practically fall into my lap, if only I weren't standing up and facing the other direction. In other words, I may not even need to start out saying "yes," as much as to just stop saying "no."
"No," you see, has become a habit. A defense mechanism that I have come to use, over the course of years, to protect myself, and more importantly, my family. No, I can't have company, I'm needed. No, I can't spend time with friends, I have to stay here. No, I can't go on that trip that I planned all year, because I have to deal with this crisis, because I'm the only one who will. No, I don't have time to finish that book, or even to tend my website, because my attentions are demanded elsewhere. No, no, no... thank you for thinking of me, but I can't.
All anyone has to do is glance back through the last dozen entries here and see the snapshots in time that sum up the wild emotional-tsunami-driven ride of the last few years of my life. The one thing I opened myself up for was a relationship that started (and ultimately, ended, at least in one sense) with "no." I denied myself at least 6 months, maybe more, of quality companionship because of my Armor of No. I preferred being alone to taking a chance on what turned out to be something that did me good and for which I have zero regrets.
But if you go back even farther in the archives, you can pretty much see how this response formed, and how it became so ingrained. I don't really need to say more about it here, because it's all there. There was literally no one else who could handle the... issues that had to be handled. No one but me. Not when it came down to the nitty-gritty. I DID have help, from both family and professionals, for the bigger stuff, but the day-to-day heavy lifting was all mine. I didn't really have any choice. And so it began, and so it became ingrained.
"No" is easy. "No" is safe. "No" insulates and protects... unfortunately, "no" also isolates and alienates. I lost friends--good friends who just became weary of being seemingly rejected time after time. It got to the point (and many of you can attest to this) that I couldn't even talk on the phone. I was alone long before I was alone, and after a while, it became my default setting, comfortable in its familiarity, secure and safe, like my own little metaphorical hobbit-hole.
"Yes" is scary. "Yes" is risky. "Yes" means putting yourself out there, exposing vulnerabilities, and taking chances. All things with which I used to be, once upon a time, supremely comfortable. I have a lot of things that are needing a "yes" from me. But after all this time, it's extremely daunting. I can't promise I'll be able to follow through with a solid "YES!" every time. But I can start with "maybe," and then move on to "probably," and hopefully in short order to "yes."
Yes, I will accept help from others.
Yes, I will submit my chapters for editorial review.
Yes, I will resume the posting here that has meant so much to me.
Yes, I will have my chickens. (That one makes me smile.)
Yes, I will actively seek more artistic earning opportunities.
Yes, I will allow a well-intentioned gentleman or two to lavish me with courtly blandishments.
Yes, I will use more phrases like "courtly blandishments" in blog posts.
Yes, I will have parties. At MY home. I will return my home to the warm, inviting place that it was once upon a time (when it was located elsewhere and was 100% mine), when friends felt comfortable gathering and socializing and eating delicious things and laughing and talking and laughing some more.
Yes, yes, yes. But let's start with... maybe. Probably. Yes.