There are two voice mails on my phone that are haunting me. Both from the same person. Her voice is kind and professional. Her request is reasonable. Hell, I’m almost flattered to be the recipient of her calls.
But instead of dealing with the President of the Parent Association’s request in a straightforward, honest manner, I am thinking up excuses because simply saying that I can’t chair the committee for the end of school celebration feels harder than I’m up for right now. It feels harder than all the hard things I have ever done rolled up together (and that list includes quitting caffeine, cleaning out my closet, and a visit to a prison while 8 months pregnant).
Here are the excuses I’m considering:
- I’m having surgery that week.
- I’m illiterate and won’t be able to fulfill the duties that presumably including reading.
- My parole officer won’t let me chair committees.
- Ever since I saw Clint Eastwood do that thing with the empty chair at the RNC, I have a thing about chairs. All chairs. So I can’t chair.
- I’m too power-hungry to let myself to stop with this one school event– if I take this role, next stop is world domination.
Really, I am sure she just wants a yes or no. And if I am compelled to give her an excuse, the truth should work just fine. New job and already over-extended is reason enough to decline. Moreover, it’s a 2-year gig, and we are changing schools.
This is a total no brainer but that hasn’t stopped me from hiding from her calls for over a week and thinking about the excuses. I am afraid she won’t like me or she’ll think I am lazy or she’ll think I am a selfish, self-centered person (is she really wrong if she goes there?). As I think about this on a slightly deeper level, I can see that I am afraid to say no because I don’t think I deserve to protect myself and my time. Funny, I thought once I started working again, this part would be easy. Right? Like now I have a jay OH bee and I can’t be volunteering and chaperoning and saying yes, when it makes no sense for me, family or the people I am saying yes to.
So I’m going to call her back any second now and tell her the truth. And I’m going to do it in front of my kids so maybe they will learn faster than I have that it’s ok to say no (and leave your imaginary parole officer out of the conversation).
PS: Please don’t forward her a link to my blog just in case I go with my illiteracy excuse.