This is my year of no. I’m loving it already. I have been asked to add another trip to my already packed work schedule in the middle of raising four young children who are school-aged. The answer is no.

I was also asked to do a favor for some in need where the need was more like a bandaid and not the solution they need. I said no.

I was asked, do I want more on my plate, more work, more demands, more on a plate that is literally overflowing. The answer my friend was no.

I have never said this much no and it’s just the beginning of the year. It feels like the thing I never knew I had in my power to do. Uncharted territories comes to mind, like riding a horse alone through fields littered with never ending demands.

Art from Nike Art gallery.

Because truly deep down, I am a people pleaser. I want everyone around me to be happy and content and see me as a good guy willing to do what it would take so everyone is happy with me. This year, to literally hell with that.

If you are not happy with me, the doors are wide open. I am coming with a force and a legion that is unstoppable.

If all I have being doing the last couple of years was gathering storm, we have reached our peak. Watch me explode now that I know how to say no.

I will not be afraid of no. I will not be afraid of how far it may go. Even if it leads to me screaming no. I will yell it whether or not, time is slow. To say yes is to die. I’m learning each day, why. So I will not be afraid of dead ends, be it loose ends or rear ends. Any ends I meet on this journey to no, I will reprimand, until it dies there. I will not be afraid to be involved, will be brave even if any no remains unresolved. The journey to yes these days may take awhile. I’ll keep walking and smiling meanwhile. Like a wild moon and sun. I’ll keep loving this profile. And all the ways saying no leaves me fertile. Seeing that the rhythm of any drum depends on the beating, whether hard or gentle, odd, or monumental. Saying no these days is life.

Penn State days circa 2010. Days when saying no was expected. Saving this here as a reminder.

Gwendolyn Brooks had a poem entitled ‘do not be afraid to say no.’ I read it and the words above came to my spirit. Keep being unafraid to say no.