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100 Days of “no”

Chronic conditions, illnesses, mental health… they leave a long and bumpy journey both ahead of and behind us. So many things are genetic and already unavoidable. So many more things are made worse by, or even caused, by traumatic environments and experiences. And those experiences cause us to live in very narrow comfort zones.

This last week I took a chance. I left home for a week to wear my other hat, the one I’m wearing in this photo. We heard from amazing speakers who taught us to tell our stories and step outside of these comfort zones and grow. Michelle Poler of the 100 days without fear project was one of those speakers. I have been fired up since I saw her on Saturday. I cannot get her and her message and her experience out of my head.

I have been consistently mulling over what I could do, what habit I could change, over the next 100 days. Broad things like be consistent and maintain a routine floated to the top pretty easily. But do those things really inspire? Do they actually push me outside of my boundaries and create a lasting, impactful change on mine and my family’s lives? I don’t think they do. Because those are the things we are supposed to do. Those are the comfortable things.

As I was pulling my conference swag out of my bags I came across a magnet given to me by another attendee and I placed it on my fridge. Right beneath “somedays it’s not even worth chewing through the restraints.” But actually, I can. Every day is worth it, every moment that matters to us is worth it and worth defending.

And it came to me the habit I need to change. See, I say yes a lot. I say it out of fear. Out of worry for my self-image and fear for my relationship security with others. I worry that if I say no, if I dare to set boundaries, will they love me anymore?

This is not going to be anywhere near comfortable. Thinking of fear means realizing that taking up my own space and setting my own boundaries is scary to me. So scary. And I will conquer that fear by saying no so that I can say yes. It is time to say yes what is meaningful in the life of myself and my own little family.

I began yesterday. Narcolepsy means driving sleepy is driving dangerous. I will no longer drive while sleepy. That is going to be inconvenient to those around me. I’m choosing to believe they will continue to love me.

Today I said no to taking my children to be in the parade. Because Mommy just got home and I needed to hold them and lay around and be a little less busy.

Things I intend to say no to over the next 98 days?

1. Unsolicited parenting advice.

2. Unsolicited marriage advice.

3. Anything that sets me on fire to keep other people warm.

4. Unsolicited advice regarding my health.

5. Comparison of my health and disabilities to yours.

I am sure I can think of more, and will. For now, I am ready to set my boundaries and I am ready to succeed, with my team, my family, our way.


I am a dreamer with her head in the clouds and one foot on the ground. Written word flows from me as a river does down a mountainside, and writing of any kind is something I do with great joy. I am an artist, an avid student of color theory and appreciator of DaVinci, Dali, and Dorothea Tanning. I am a student seeking to learn for the rest of her days. I am a wife who loves her husband for all he is, and a mother who loves her children for the same. I am me, and can only use words to describe what I do, not so much who I am.

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