Dodie sitting on top of the world Dodie's World title bar
"Women are wise to maintain a healthy skepticism toward all experts who would presume to tell us what is true, and to prescribe how we should think, feel, and conduct ourselves.
The Dance of Deception: Pretending and Truth-Telling in Women's Lives
Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
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"N-O Is My New 'Yes' "
by Karen Drucker

I've spent my life with the disease to please
Saying yes when I really meant no
But now I've seen the light
And I feel the time is right
There's something I need you to know...........

N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I'm saying yes to me
N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I set myself free

I've been living my life
Living to please
Full of effort and struggle and not enough ease
I've been such a good girl
But now I know
When I'm untrue to me, I lose a piece of my soul

N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I'm saying yes to me
N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I set myself free

I thought to be liked I had to be nice
Doing what others wanted
But I was paying the price
Cause what good is my giving, how authentic, how true
When I cheat me just to please you??

N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I'm saying yes to me
N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I set myself free

Just say no......just say no........

It's all about freedom
Having choices
Trusting my heart to know
That I can say yes, or I can say no
And I'll say yes to what feels right
No to what feels wrong
Yes to what feels right
No to what feels wrong
Yes to what feels right
No to what feels wrong
And when I'm undecided I'll just sing this little song.

Come on!
N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I'm saying yes to me
N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I set myself free

N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I'm saying yes to me
N-O is my new yes
When I say no, I set myself free...........

Say no!

No, no, no, no, no, no, yes!!!!!!!
When I say no, I set myself free...........

FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Currently reading:
The Dance of DECEPTION:
Pretending and Truth-Telling in Women's Lives
by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.

Musings, Ramblings and Minor Insights
March 28, 2009

Reliving the 'Good Old Days'
A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance encounter--on the internet of all places--with a man who was one of my first boyfriends over 30 years ago! Okay, it wasn't exactly chance... he actually looked me up, but still.... what are the odds of such a thing happening?? During the several days that we exchanged emails and chats, this elicited a number of confusing emotions in me. Among them was great confusion and consternation that someone from that long ago--someone I had not seen since 1980, and never expected to hear from again--could actually think that I am the same young, naive girl he knew so many years ago, and that I would be impressed by the same lines of B.S. that 20-something year old men used to bedazzle my young heart way back then. Although more likely, I think that he wasn't particularly concerned at all about my reaction. I think this was more about him, his flight of fancy back into a dream world that he alone inhabited, and that I was only a bit player in anyway.

Now, the funny thing is, I have no feelings of ill will toward this man. In fact, I had fond memories of this special time in my life. So at first, I couldn't understand exactly what it was about him--his manner of speaking to me, his attitude--that so grated on my nerves that I wanted to spit nails and heave the phone across the room after I finished a conversation with him.

I don't think he had anything but the best intentions in contacting me. I think, like me, he had wispy, sentimental memories of a 'fairy-tale romance' when we were both young and felt passionately about life. Still, that was long ago, my life has moved through so many twists and turns, ups and downs, and I am, if not wiser, certainly a lot older, and a lot more knowledgeable about what the world has to offer, and how these things often do not turn out to be nearly what we had expected or hoped. In a word, I guess you could say, I am jaded. Not interested in rekindling any childish fantasies, and certainly not foolish enough to think that life is all roses and sunshine, just because we declare it to be so.

Maybe this brief foray back into the fantasy-life of another time, another place, disturbed me for the very same reason that I have been troubled by some of the ideas I've been encountering in church. Because, deep in my heart I know that it just doesn't have much to do with reality. Just as I know that the time is past for white knights and young damsels, I also know that I am who and what I am today--right now--and I cannot afford to squander my time or energy on a way of thinking that is naive at best, disastrous at worst. Maybe I am coming to the realization that I just might not have that many years left to live--and it's high time I started getting it right. It's time I stopped struggling and wishing and hoping, and started doing some real, concrete things to bring a little happiness back into my life.

I grew up in an era when men were considered to be the 'white knights'. The protectors. The providers. And women were the delicate flowers who waited patiently for 'Mr. Right' to come along and sweep them off their feet. And, oh, I was swept off my feet many a time! But.... time passed. Eventually, there came a day when 'Mr. Right' no longer seemed attainable, or even desireable. Because, the truth is, not only is such a sheltered existence very seldom available, it is very restrictive and limiting for the woman who finds herself there. If a man takes care of all my needs, I lose the opportunity to experience strength and self-sufficiency. If a man provides all my ideas and belief systems, I never learn the thrill of emotional growth and creative thinking. If a man makes my day-to-day choices about how to live and what to think, about what is right or wrong, truth or falsehood, I will never develop the skills of discernment that I will need to negotiate the world I live in. But I think, most important of all, if a woman and a man have this sort of 'relationship', he will never be able to perceive her as a genuine individual, a real person. He may treat her kindly, he may feel genuine affection toward her, but she will always be merely a pale reflection of his own vision. As this 'lesser being', her opinions will never matter as much, her ideas will be dismissed as not quite important enough to consider. And the amount of closeness they can achieve will always be limited by his perception of her as somehow 'less than' and her feelings of being vaguely 'inadequate' in everything she does. She will grow to resent him--trust me on this! She will come to blame him, or any other man who treats her this way, for holding her back, preventing her from fully experiencing life. With any luck, she will eventually come to know the truth... that she really is not inadequate. She really is not insignificant, she really is not a member of a lesser species. It is at this point that the really difficult part of the journey begins, because it is at this point that a woman realizes: I really am on my own. No man can ever truly 'take care of me', or offer me what I need the most: A sense of SELF. A sense of identity. A sense of myself as a fully and completely functional human being, equal to any task I encounter... and EQUAL to any person around me--female OR male!

This realization is a point of no return in a woman's life. I'm not at all convinced that every woman experiences it. And for some of us, it is a long, slow, painful process, not a sudden epiphany. This unexpected encounter with my past, this opportunity to examine my own feelings and reactions, has been an incredible opportunity for me to examine who I am, how far I've come, and assess how far, and in what direction, I want to continue. As I suspected, I have a long road yet ahead of me. I don't expect to arrive at a 'goal' by the end of my life. I suspect, instead, that life is simply about the journey. Travel along, experience, learn, change, grow.... and for me... learn once and for all to stop looking backward!! Stop looking at who I was 30 years ago, 20 years ago, or even last week. And look to the future. Look for new experiences and new opportunities that will magnify and strengthen this tiny germ of 'enlightenment' that I have only lately begun discovering--that life can be and should be a journey that just gets better and better.

So, to the former 'Mr. Rights' out there..... if you are listening..... I hope you can forgive me for not responding to you in the way you might have liked. I hope you can forgive me for my clumsy and perhaps too blunt way of telling you this, but your way is just not my way. It hasn't been for a very long time. I wish you well in your continuing journeys, but I also have to wish ME well. This is what I've learned in 58 years (and counting) of lifes bumps and bruises and struggles:
I can no longer NOT respect who I AM.
I can no longer NOT do whatever it takes to continue to be--in every moment--exactly WHO I AM.
My choices, my thoughts, my decisions. Right or wrong, at least (as the old song goes) I will have my dignity. After all, isn't that all any of us really wants??


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