Phree to say "No"

I just spent a wonderful five days on the west coast, my other home. I had truly run myself ragged between my 9-5, an independent design project, as well as familial and friendship challenges . As the pilot announced we were just thirty minutes away from the Philadelphia International Airport I could sense the dread settling in. I could sense the lack of desire to return to work, be readily available to friends and family, and somehow find myself with thirty things on my to do list for the next two days. I was becoming overwhelmed and technically my vacation had not even come to an end.
“Breathe” I told myself. Then I let my mind think about my vacation and I immediately recalled a familiar phrase I heard during my time on the west coast. “Um, no thank you.” I thought to myself and smiled. That was an ever familiar phrase I heard for a couple of days while visiting my nephew, brother, and friend in Los Angeles. Whenever my three year old nephew was not interested in whatever was asked of him his response was thoughtful and direct. He looked right at you, put his finger to his chin and said “Um, no thank you.” At three he knew he was phree to say no.
At 26, and still a good 20 thousand feet in the air, I had to remind myself that I too am phree to say no.
I think sometimes when we imagine phreedum we imagine indulgence. We imagine to saying yes a hundred times over. We say yes to buying as much as we want when we want. We don’t seem to have much regard for the yesman or yeswoman, but oh how we love to say yes to well, I guess whatever it is we imagine ourselves phree to be able to do.
But what about saying no? What about being phree to create boundaries where we don’t become burned out, taken for granted, and emotionally bankrupt. Where we don’t find ourselves resentful days, weeks, months, years later. Where we don’t find our credit card bills out of control and credit score beyond bad? What about not going on pity dates and only going out with potential mates that really are deserving of our time and energy? What about not eating more because Aunt Zee says your just too darn skinny. What about saying you will not be able to work thanks giving weekend, Christmas weekend, and New Years weekend? And no you won’t be able to work for a third year without any type of raise, not even a cost of living increase?
As the plane descended and we pulled into gate D17 I reminded myself that I was indeed phree to say no. In fact, that’s kind of how Phreedum started. Sure as I mentioned in another post there was the whole break up, blah blah blah. But beyond the break up there was a belief that there was NO way the work I was doing in social services was the end all and be all of my gifts, abilities, and talents. There was NO way that my passion for all things creative and artistic could not be utilized to help others. There was just NO way I went to school for all of those years and was back in school to sit at a desk in a corner of an office that I shared with two other people and was supposed to be fulfilled. I said “No thank you” to that two years ago and as I continue to map out the future of Phreedum I am reminded that even to my current 9-5 I will soon say “Um, no thank you. “ And to relationships that are draining and unfulfilling “Um, no thank you.” To people (friends and family) who are stuck and stagnant and want me to be stuck with them “Um, no thank you.”
Sometimes before we can indulge in the phreedum to say yes I think we must first be phree to say no. However….there is one caveat. Please, please, please, always feel phree to say yes to supporting Phreedum. Every purchase is a yes to helping fund the future of nonprofit organizations assisting others on their journey toward Phreedum. Every purchase is a yes to facilitating positive social change. Every purchase is a an “Um, no thank you” to not addressing poverty, access to education, and solutions for those infected ands affected by chronic illness.

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