I haven’t written here in over a year. Yikes. Evidence of grueling life-change and it’s all been good.

Remember Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign? I do and I’ve never lived it very well. I remember being a naive and ignorant child and feeling überconfident in those 3 words. And then… middle school happened.

As an outcast, I learned in middle school that saying yes increased the quantity of my “friends”. Saying yes had power in causing people to like me. Saying yes made me popular. Saying yes gave me “worth” and “value”. But I never realized that worth and value are relative. As I look back over years lived, I see that saying yes also opened the door wide to people walking all over me, to me feeling worthless and like a discarded piece of trash. Hindsight now shows me that although saying yes brought in quantity-by-the-truckloads of people around me, it failed to draw in the quality people I should have focused on growing. Although it was a small and narrow path, saying no would have deterred me from many, many mistakes. Mistakes that caused wounds I’m still treating.

I’m finally learning the incredible value of saying no. Surprisingly, it’s not without pain but it’s also remarkably freeing. I’m saying no to things that I said yes to years ago and it feels like I’m ripping flesh from my body. It’s painful and confusing and sometimes knocks the wind out of me. But, I’m regaining purpose and direction. I’m feeling empowered to be creative again and implement that creativity and freedom into my passions and goals in life. The rebel in me is strengthened and rising to the surface and I’m leading the charge in jumping off the bandwagon and away from the path, well-worn by robotic feet.