Monday, April 23, 2012

Letting the word "No" roll off my lupus tongue.

Believe it or not, this was a post that I was going to do back in October. I never got around to it, probably because October 2011 was a very busy month. Probably one of the busiest I've had in years. We had two birthdays to celebrate, a party to plan for and execute, overnight guests on 3 separate weekends, and two pillbags to design. Not to mention a slew of doctor's appointments, conference calls, and the like. But as things began to pile up, I made a distinct departure from the ways of the old Sara - the one who would have insisted on home cooked meals for all guests, would have had the house decked out from head to toe for the party, and the one who would have had cute coordinating outfits for everyone (including Darwin) for the entire month of events.

But not this time. Instead of continuing to stack on the to-do's - psyching myself up, and personally obligating myself to make things absolutely positively perfect, I just let some things go. I realized at the beginning of the month that I wasn't going to get it all done the way I would have liked, so you know what I said?

"Okay."

"Okay????"

I've never just said, "Okay" to the concept of letting things go. But here I was, willingly and of my own volition saying to myself, "nope...not going to happen." It was refreshing not to give myself an automatic guilt trip. It felt good to set limitations and not regret doing so. I liked how it made me feel to manage my life so that it was...well...manageable.

So when I sat down to write a post for today about saying "no", I realized I'd already touched on this subject before...I just hadn't published the post. So here's my latest triumph in letting the word "no" roll off my tongue:

Last week, I made a phone call to a potential retail store who has expressed interest in carrying my pillbags. I've been trying for weeks to get an appointment - but either the buyer was out of town, the floor designer was on vacation, or both. So when the designer answered the phone, mentioned that both decision makers would be in the store that day until 3pm, I almost bit. It was a little before 2pm...and the store was right around the corner.

But so was my nap.

And so, without missing a beat, I said, "Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to make it over there today..." but offered up a slew of other options. Good news is that we've found time this week to meet...and the best news is that it's not going to conflict with my nap.

A reminder to keep my health at the forefront and pace myself came, most recently, from my fabulous and oh-so-famous patent attorney at Cloudigy Law - who said this: choose wisely when it comes to scheduling events and making commitments as I launch my bags. There's no reason to sacrifice my health for my bags, which are actually designed to make life with a chronic illness more manageable, right?

So in the end, the word "no" really IS starting to roll of my tongue. Fingers crossed it's downhill from here!

2 comments:

Debs said...

Oh yes, it does get easier to say no. What I find hard is when someone I care about doesn't understand, no I can't do it. it's still in me to do & to do. Instead of not feeling guilty when I thought I did what I had to do by saying NO to something, the guilt creeps in when someone important asks why not. Or I intentionally do too much because I didn't see where someone could help & knowing what makes me happy in my life & events I get joy from like a wedding & distraction from pain. So an event like a wedding has a series of possible hit & miss events. For perfect, you make them all. & hopefully you have nothing planned for 2 days to lay around the house & rest. But there are times near exhaustion I ask, knowing me, which do you think I should have given up? If someone close to me can't choose what to give up, then where's my help? It's getting better by trial & error. Miss this rehearsal dinner because I have to rest for the wedding & it was a long flight. Recently I could use the allergic to shellfish analogy. This person knows I love the water & sports that go along with it, but the sun does NOT love me.. It's like that person eating 1 shellfish she's allergic to. What will happen, this time? Will it be worth eating it again? For how long can you do it? But, when we say NO, the world around us stops, as in, they're not quite sure what to do. Do they switch to take care of you mode & chip in dividing up your jobs or are they confused cause you're saying no to what part or parts? I find the hardest park is when I've accepted I can't do something, I say so, then people stand there not knowing what that means. It's hard enough to give up a another part of your rituals & something everyone likes to look forward to. But can the idea be adapted or is it totally scrapped. I make a decision & it triggers several more that seem trivial by then, because the hard part was that initial NO! I haven't said no before but in the beginning, someone must have anticipated i'd say no, so can't someone just carry on from here without me deciding why did I ever say no if I was going to have more work explaining the no rather than just doin it. This rambling probably doesn't make sense. I think I'm trying to say that when I made a choice to skip something, others questioned the reason for that choice , but didn't speak to me about it. And these are family that haven't taken the time to understand how I look good every time they see me. And they don't "get" my response, you dont see me when I don't look well. How do I avoid the struggle of a situation when I have decided to not go to, for rest reasons, but others think I should have been at. And, not upset the bride & groom & parents of both?

Sara Gorman said...

I know - sometimes it seems like a lose-lose situation. Cater to your own needs (by saying "no" to activities, duties, etc.), and you inconvenience (for lack of a better term) someone else. Say "yes" in order to accommodate others, and you put yourself at a health risk. I actually have a post coming out about this very thing - the concept of why we put others at the forefront, when it endangers our health? You've said exactly why we do it...but at some point, we have to make some hard decisions and keep believing that by saying "no", we're setting the stage for others to begin to understand what our limitations are and how we live (best) with lupus. I'm with you though - it's never easy!