Why does YES have so much NO in it?

I watched a woman online go through a year of “yes”; saying yes to every invitation she got to do something (reasonable/moral/legal) for an entire year. She reported the exhilaration of it, and the exhilaration of being done.

I dragged a YES with me into 2014. I realized I wanted to do different YES’s by the month.

January is a YES to self-care.

As an introvert (boyfriend snorts every time I say that!), one of the things I often don’t do for myself is carve out time to be alone with my thoughts, writing, and my many interests. I’m writing a book. I’m working on poetry. I’m doing storytelling. All of these things, and my own business demand time alone to prepare, to get things ready, to follow-up.

Just this weekend, saying YES to a writing group meant saying NO to a housewarming of a good friend, and to a trip with my boyfriend to a local rollercoaster park. I felt bad for taking room for myself.

I’m reminded of a maxim I stole from I-don’t-remember-where: If you can’t say NO, you can’t say YES. If your agency is limited, you can’t make agreements. If there’s no way for me to carve out space without guilt harrowing me, does that mean the things I agree to are less true, less real?

How can I stand straight, like Irish seaside oats, and be bent by the wind?

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