I once wrote a short story about one of those ladies who everyone knows. She might be a friend, or a family member, possibly your sister, or your mom. She might even be you.
She is the woman who can't say no. When there is a volunteer job that needs to happen, she is always being asked to help out and, even though she’s got a dozen other things she either must or should do, she says yes. Somehow she’ll get that new task done and still manage to get the rest of her tasks accomplished even if she has to stay up late or deny herself a well-earned rest to do it.
The premise of the story started when I was part of a writers group and someone suggested hypnosis and “past-life regression” to stimulate story ideas. I joked I’d be afraid to do that since undoubtedly I’d discover that one of my previous lives had left some major chore undone and it would come to haunt me. You see, I've been one of those volunteering ladies at many times in my life.
My joke stimulated the story idea of a woman who does get involved in a past-life regression and afterwards a village chieftain time-travels to the future to get her help. In my story the woman learns a lesson... sometimes she needs to take time for herself instead of always helping others first. This short story, The Woman Who Couldn't Say No, is part of my collection “The Lizard’s Tail and other stories” (99 cents at Amazon and other ebook outlets).
Recently I’ve decided I need to take that advice I so glibly wrote in my short story so many years ago. At the moment my day job is too intense to be taken lightly and by the time I return home I’m too stressed and too tired to take on any responsibilities greater than possibly getting some writing done and even that hasn't been happening. Volunteering as I have for the past few years has led to burn-out, a mental state where I can’t seem to get anything actually done, including finishing any of my current works in progress.
It’s time to stop that. I need to take the time for just meeting my needs, and not be the woman who couldn’t say no for a while. Get some rest, relax, and maybe once I have fewer goals on my To Do list I’ll be able to actually complete some of the ones I already have there.
At least that’s the goal anyway.
Janet Miller/Cricket Starr