Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I can say “No!”

When I was in high school, I was a member of the choir, and every year we put on several productions – a Christmas concert and a Spring concert, which was usually excerpts from musicals that were popular then.

One year the Spring production included segments from Oklahoma! and the choir director insisted that I try out for the part of Ado Annie Carnes, who sings the song that begins

I'm just a girl who cain't say no,
I'm in a terrible fix...
I was just stunned that she thought I was a good enough singer to try out for the part. I had a decent alto voice back then, and the part was low enough for me to manage, but even so, I knew I probably had a snowball’s chance in a hot place of ever getting the part. Just the fact that she asked me shocked me so much that I said “yes” and tried out.

A much better singer than I also auditioned and I did not get the part.

But that was OK. Just being thought “good enough” to try out did my quivering self-esteem a world of good.

In any event, I have found over the years that I have been in a similar circumstances as poor Ado Annie – I am almost never able say “No” when people ask me to do things.

My motives for saying “Yes” have not always been admirable. I suspect I am something of a “people pleaser:”

  • I want to be thought of as being a cooperative and helpful
  • I want people to like me
  • I want to impress them
 Sometimes, of course, I actually do want to do what I have been asked to do and I am very happy to say “Yes” because I genuinely want to do it.

I was very tired late yesterday afternoon – we had gone to Town to pay our property tax bill at the Courthouse, pick up a garbage disposer, and to do some shopping at 5 or 6 other places (WalMart is really exhausting). When we returned, Nate was trying to coordinate an appointment with his oncologist and a consult with the surgeon for next week on the same day so we could avoid making 2 trips within a few days (which did not work out—the surgeon is in surgery on the day the appointment was scheduled with the oncologist; and the oncologist is at another facility on the day when the surgeon could see him), so I was somewhat stressed about that on top of being tired, and then I was further preoccupied by a manuscript that had arrived that morning by an author group from Taiwan who had put together some very strange sentences.

In midst of this, I received a telephone call from our pastor wanting to know if I could come to the church tonight at 7:30 and play 3 Christmas songs (hard ones!) on the electronic keyboard (which has a recording function) so the people from church who are going to ride on the Christmas float in the upcoming Christmas parade down main street will have accompaniment.

I almost had a meltdown right there on the phone. Without even thinking too much about this, I was very surprised to hear myself say “No, I am sorry, I cannot do it.”

We talked a bit longer and then I sat there staring at the phone in stunned disbelief.

I had actually said “No!”

Today of course I am feeling a bit guilty for putting them in a bind, but I am also feeling very relieved that tonight at 7:30, I will not be heading out the door to play (very badly indeed) 3 Christmas songs on the electronic keyboard.


Oklahoma Granny said...

I find it very hard to tell anyone 'no' too. It's as hard for me to say 'no' as it was for Fonzie to say he was "wr-r-r-r-o" - well I don't thing he ever got that word out. (wrong) So glad you somehow managed to say 'no' though.

Far Side of Fifty said...

You are a people pleaser and a kind one at that..I bet you hardly ever say no to any request. After a long day I think you were entitled:)