Thursday, January 7, 2010

Good Advice from Little Sister

I realize that the title to today's blog entry may seem a little misleading.  I am and always have been an only child.  But, I'm a sorority girl.  Yep, a 34 year old sorority girl.  For me, I've been lucky enough to get sucked into the vortex of remaining active with my sorority as an adult.  And two of my closest friends in all the world are my Little Sister and my adopted Little Sister.  (I adopted the other Little Sister, who ironically is older than I am in years but not in years in the sorority, after her Big Sister graduated.)  We've been through it all and back again together.  They might as well have been my own flesh and blood because we're family.  I thank God for them everyday, especially since he took Angela a bit earlier than I was ready for. (She was not a sorority sister, but friend who became family like them.  You're not just friends with someone from the age of 12 on in a passive sort of way.)

Well, last night after a bit of a stressful day, I called Little Sister.  She has grown so wise it's amazing when I think back to the girl who first joined Alpha Xi Delta - cute as a button, smart, but nervous and a little bit shy and a little bit unsure of herself.  Who isn't at 18?  I used to be the one giving her good advice, but now she gives good advice to me!

I went through my littany of everything that stressed me out and wanted her to know that a comment I made on email about being stressed wasn't because of her or Adopted Little Sister (we planned our girls' weekend for the year).  And she said to me, "So, let me get this straight.  You have a full time job, 2 children, a husband, a household to run, you're having phone calls, emails and travel for Alpha Xi Delta, you have fundraising, mentoring, and training for Team in Training, you joined Junior League and with that have a time commitment to a team to develop a community program to teach life skills to underpriviledged kids, you're trying to train for a 1/2 marathon and triathlons, you're trying to lose weight, and you can't seem to figure out how to take better care of yourself.  Maybe, just maybe, do you think that you might have too much going on and maybe you should take some things off her plate?"  I laughed because she was right and at one point we had a similar conversation with Adopted Little Sister because she was stressing herself out with all the things she was doing too.  I told her that, and she said "Yep.  You two have the same personality."  I reminded her that she did too but that instead of it being extracurricular activities, it was with her family life.  She admitted it readily and said, "Yes, we all have that aspect of our personality that doesn't want to let anyone down.  We want everyone to be happy." And then she told me that she learned the key to controling that personality.  "Yes, but I learned how to say no to people."

I laughed again because when the truth hits me that hard in the face, that's what I do.  I laugh.  Some people cry, get upset.  I laugh.  But every word was true.  I have to acknowledge that I have 3 things that drive me beyond end in this life - I want to make a difference in the world. I want to be the best at "it" (whatever that "it" may be). And I want the people I care about to be happy.  But but not being able to say no, I take on too much and let my own happiness slip a bit and make myself just a little bit crazy and wear myself down physically to a certain extent.

So I have to learn to say No.  This morning, I told Mr. Darcy about the conversation I had with Little Sister last night.  I think he was amazed that Little Sister could get away with telling me something like that, right to my face and everything.  And probably even more so that I didn't just ignore it.  It's funny because your closest friends can tell you truth and you don't want to fillet them with ginsu knives, but your husband?  Not necessarily.  Of course, that might be because your closest friends do it in this way that is very "I'm worried about you because I hear you stressing yourself out and I want you to be happy." Husbands try to do that too, but somehow it comes across as telling you what to do - even though they don't mean it that way and mean it just the way your closest friends mean it.

Mr. Darcy chose to agree with it by making a joke, that I didn't even realize was a joke at first.  Mr. Darcy said, "Can you take the girls to daycare for me this morning?" I sat there actually considering whether I should say yes when I really wanted to get my strength training done this morning when I saw his lip twitch like he was trying not to smile.  So I said "no." Then he smiled, said "good job!" and gave me a kiss.

Yeah, so I have to learn to say no to people.  Easier said than done.  And in some situations, it can't be done until a few months from now.  But it could still happen... as long as I remember to just say no.

In my amusement during work today, I discovered that Virginia has a Peanut Advisory Board.  I know the peanut industry is a serious matter, but I couldn't help but think of 3 people advising someone "don't eat that one, eat this one!"  Other amusement is Ladybug's choice of clothing - a long bright yellow dress paired with dark blue jeans and a cream colored t-shirt that has some pink and purple flowers on it.  I really need to get some pictures of these fashion travesties!  Of course, Angelfish opted for a red t-shirt that has cream sleeves (made to look like you're wearing 2 shirts) that says "snow bunny" with a picture of a bunny and purple leggings.  The 3 year-old fashion world has been turned on it's head!


  1. oohhh I can relate to this post! Good luck with saying "NO". My problem isn't turning down others, so much as telling myself to lay off. I just want to do EVERYTHING, every race, every group, every name it!

  2. That is a terribly good point, Heather. It may be that I don't need to learn to say no to others - it may be I have to learn to say no to myself. Now I have more to ponder!

  3. I am with you on this one lady! Saying "no" has always been a tough one for me. I have been working on it though and especially focusing on the moment rather than how my commitment or response will make things in the future (one mindfulness). I have to use this tactic in making decisions as well, another huge struggle of mine!