“No, thank you.”

I’ve finally spent some time at school subbing.
I like it.
I like the social aspect of being around young people.
I like the freedom it gives me.
I like being able to go to school when it suits me.
I like being with the staff and kids I care so much about.

The principal came to see me in a classroom the other day to offer me a part time position.
The position is to shadow a kindergartner.
This little boy has epilepsy. Because he has epilepsy, his physical development is delayed. He has almost no use of his entire left side. He suffers mini seizures throughout the day and occasionally can fall over while simply sitting in his chair.
I spent about an hour with him on Thursday. Cognitively he’s on it. Socially too. He’s got a great little personality and quite the sense of humor.
The principal and classroom teacher are eager for me to start working with him. They’re fighting to get his part time assistance to full time assistance.

After spending time with this little dude, I know I can help him. I know I can provide the support he needs to be successful in the classroom.
However, if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s more labor intensive than I want. It’s more responsibility than I want. If something happened to this kid on my watch? I mean, just NO!
I want to substitute teach. I want to spend time in different areas of the building, with different kids and adults. I don’t want to be responsible for this little boy.
I want to have the freedom to choose. And if I committed to this kid there would be no choice for me.
Subbing fits perfectly into my life right now and I’d like to keep it this way.

I’m going to say no.
I’m anxious about saying no.
Why is it so hard to say no?
Is it because I don’t want to offend, or disappoint?
Is it because I think saying no will change other people’s opinion of me?

I don’t know how honest I can actually be.
I don’t know how what I say will land.
And the biggest part of me knows I must speak my truth, but there is a small part of me that doesn’t want to offend or whatever.
I’m thinking of all the excuses I can make. How elaborate must they be?
How much explanation will be enough to assuage my guilt of saying no?

It seems to me that saying no is particularly hard for women. I mean, doesn’t it feel like we’re trained to be compliant from the youngest age? Like we’ve been bred to feel so bad and guilty about making decisions for ourselves that we are borderline incapable of saying no? Like we’re not meant to have the power to decide what is and isn’t right for us?

I must remember my work.
Where I have power.
Be honest and unmerciful.
Create healthy boundaries.

It doesn’t matter why I don’t want to accept this position.
Only that I don’t.
I can say ‘no, thank you.’ without worrying about how to excuse it.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on ““No, thank you.”

  1. Great internal dialogue. I understand this on so many levels. 🙂

    • Thank you!
      I feel you, it’s so hard and it shouldn’t be. But perhaps being aware is enough to begin change?

  2. Saying no is way harder than we think, and for all the reasons you internalized, and obviously externalized. We somehow think no is a bad word, but we’ve been conditioned to react like that….you’re a bitch if you say no. No gives us power. We all need power

    • Amen!
      Power to simply make the best choices for ourselves, not even power to wield.
      It felt borderline crazy to think these thoughts, then to write and publish them..?
      It’s comforting to know it’s not just me. Thank you! ❤

  3. Good for you to recognize that your wants/needs matter most. I still struggle with that! I’m sure you will tactfully find a way to say no.

  4. That would be a really tricky one for me, too. I think you’re right with it being harder for women and it can be a case of feeling like it’s already a done deal when you’re ‘offered’ something like this, taking away a degree of your choice. But it is totally your choice, and I think your points are very fair and reasonable and you have to do what’s right for you. We can’t be guilted into doing something because we feel bad about not doing it. You’re assertive and intelligent and you don’t owe an explanation beyond politely declining the role. Really hoping it all went okay lovely, sorry I’m a bit late with my comment!
    Caz xxxx

    • Thanks, Caz. ❤
      It shouldn't be this tricky to feel empowered. I'll be working hard on this as I move forward.

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