I SAID, “NO” — in a world where we are conditioned to not say “No”. It may hurt someone’s feelings. You’re being disagreeable…or worst of all, you’re living outside the herd.
I was invited to a gala, a big gala at a country club. Just me, not Mac. “It will be good for you to get out,” she said. I asked about what to wear, since it was for a fashion group. To discuss this, we met for lunch a few days later—me and this friend I haven’t seen in years except for a quick “look-see” on social media. However, she did tell me she didn’t look at my stuff on social media.
As it turns out, apparently I am woefully ill-equipped to go to a gala. For starters, I don’t wear the right color lipstick. Apparently pink isn’t working for me, I should wear bright coral…who knew?!? Between bites of my salad, I was dismantled like an old car.
To have full disclosure, dear reader, I must tell you that I don’t pray correctly, and when I do, it’s to the wrong God. She told me how concerned she was that I was on the way to Hell, following that up with her observation that I’ll need to do some facial exercises to release the “parenthesis” around my nose-mouth area. Note to Self——attempt to look younger for Hell arrival, and wear coral lipstick (shop for something like a tube gloss—as wax in a lipstick tube could melt down)
Also Mac will pay more attention to me if I wear florals, despite my protests that florals make me look bigger, like a cow, or elephant whose flapping skin is caught in a breeze — especially on those windy days. She’s only met Mac maybe twice, but apparently she’s an authority-of-sorts about what he likes.
I also could use a versatile $1000. black jacket to wear with everything. It needs light shoulder padding to give me shape, and she could find it on sale at around $250. Levi’s are not my best look either—I would look my best in a $300. pair of jeans which will make my back side look better. Of course they would—I would be $300. lighter in my pocket!
I excused myself to the ladies room. Upon returning, it was announced that while I was away from the table she looked at my Instagram…and, well, I’m inept there also—I add too many hashtags. In defense of my hashtag quantity I proudly stated that I attended a seminar with an Instagram rockstar from Brooklyn.
I have to admit I did play into it—I pointed out the Mariner-Blue L.L. Bean sneakers I had on, and how they worked well with my rolled up Levi’s and grey socks. When I mentioned my best dress was Vera Wang costing $31.20 at Kohl’s on sale she stopped chewing her food—there was a confused scowl—a disconnect. The look was priceless.
When asked, “Do you have a nice handbag?” My reply was, “That depends…what you consider to be a nice handbag, may be different from what I consider to be a nice handbag.” “I can loan you one,” she said as we parted ways, each saying the obligatory “How much fun we had.”
On the way home, I stopped for coffee, and chocolate. I went back for seconds on chocolate. I went for a walk— started thinking about Phebe’s Rules for “No”—which when applied properly, are an Art—when done well, achieves Satisfaction.
PHEBE’S THREE RULES OF “NO”
GROWTH: If I go will I grow as an individual, and learn to be better at something that I desire to be better at.
FUN TIME: Will it be relaxing and fun. Will I be able to be myself? Will I be accepted as myself?
MONEY: What is the cost to me verses the benefit gained.
Quietly to myself I answered “No” to all three.
A text came through a few hours later about event specifics. I graciously thanked her for considering me, and politely stated that I did not want to go. I had given it a lot of thought and this event, both preparation and anticipation—and actually showing up would deplete my creative energy, robbing the projects that I desire to spend my time and creativity on. There were texts back-and-forth. I stood fast. I checked into my intuition—Satisfaction Achieved.
I like the word “No”. It’s a POWER WORD—and now I know how powerful I can be.
Also published on Medium.