During my run today I pondered the word no. More specifically, I thought about how I say no to so many possibilities. No, I’m not crafty. No, I’m not a fast runner. No, math is not my thing. Makes me think of that phrase: nattering nabob of negativity. Is that even a saying, or did I just make that up?
At any rate, after almost 40 years of living, I have fit myself into a very tidy box. I don’t even need ribbons for the package because I am certainly not Martha Stewart. It’s an orange square, with red piping, and from my trap I keep repeating, “I only have one talent.” Ask me to write, and I’ll do it, after only a modest amount of self-doubt.
But nobody is just one thing. In fact, if I took a survey of my friends and family, they might mention my other skills, the ones I don’t advertise. One of my roommates in college bought me pastels and paper as a Christmas gift one year. I said to her, “But I’m not creative.” She laughed and told me I was one of the most creative people she knew. I enjoyed the hell out of her gift. My artwork wasn’t gallery worthy, but the process was soothing, and I did hang some of my work in our dorm room.
My kids might mention my ability to cuddle for a great length of time. I am quite cuddle-worthy.
I can talk quite a bit, but my ability to cut to the chase is notable as well.
I can make our fridge shine.
The man who walks with weights in our neighborhood will tell you that I can run slowly forever. (It looks like I am walking, but don’t be fooled.) When we pass each other, we say, “Slow, but steady.”
But still, I am an expert at passing the buck. I mean, I say no to a lot of opportunities.
What would it mean to say yes?
Yes, I can take on the Girl Scout craft for the next meeting.
Yes, I can run fast sometimes.
Yes, I can help my daughter with second-grade math and be in charge of our troop’s finances.
Maybe it would be fun to learn how to do something new. Even when I spent most of my aerobics classes in the late ’80s laughing in the back row, I was having a pretty good time. Every time I go to my weekly yoga class, I come face-to-face with my own limits. No, I can’t touch my toes. Sometimes, pathetically, I cry a bit. Or I start to hum or make a clicking sound when I just can’t do something. Ask my yoga teacher. She points out this classy habit to everyone and we all chuckle. Then I keep trying, do a variation of the pose, and at the end of the class, I am so happy. The whole ride isn’t bliss, but the end product is heaven.
This train of thought, traveled during my sweetly slow long jog today, came up because I said yes to that Brownie craft assignment. I was kicking myself while I ran, sorry that I had taken it on. Then I asked myself, why am I making this more difficult? I can certainly do this. Especially with my rockin’ co-leader egging me on and helping. For goodness sakes, I heard from a friend that practice makes perfect. Yes, indeed.