Here we are in the last day of 2014. It’s been an interesting year. I released my erotic contemporary, Hot Bayou Nights, my first book published after a 12 year hiatus. Here at Lady Smut, we released Dark Desires, our first anthology. In the news there were some bad things: ebola, the disappeared Malaysia Airlines flight, Robin Williams’ suicide. Fun things: the Winter Olympics, the World Cup, King Joffrey’s death on Game ofThrones. I suppose for many people the year began like so many others, with intentions to lose weight, be more positive, finish that (fill in the blank) project, but after the initial burst of enthusiasm died out so, too, did the commitment. For that reason I’ve never been a fan of making new year’s resolutions, because more often than not they’re broken and leave the resolver with nothing left to do but wallow in feelings of failure. Who needs it?
There is, however, one thing I’d really, really like to do in 2015. I’m not sure if I can, so at this point I’m not declaring myself committed. But geez, if I could, I’d simply love to start saying no.
Can you say no? Could you teach me how? No? That’s awesome. If only I could do that, too. Saying yes all the time – which is what I do now – is doing no one, least of all me, any good. It’s tough going against one’s natural instincts, though. By nature I’m a pleaser. I love to make people happy, make them feel good, give them something they want. Help them. I want people to be able to count on me, to think that if they ask me to do something I’m not only going to do it but I’m going to kill it! I’m going to make my boss happy, my editor swoon with appreciation, my family and friends and loved ones overjoyed. I’m going to have an enviable clean apartment, a super healthy body, my refrigerator bursting with delectable meals I’ve prepared from scratch. My legs will always be shaved, my clothes forever clean, my work completed ahead of schedule. My website, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook will be completely up to date and no one, no one, will wonder why I haven’t responded to their email.
Oops! Hold on a sec while I shut off the alarm clock waking me from that dream. Because that’s all it really is, right? A big fat dream. Even as I sit here typing this my apartment is a mess, I can’t remember when I last posted on Facebook, and I still haven’t returned yesterday’s phone call from a good friend. All I’m doing, according to the proverbial saying, is paving a road to hell with my good intentions. It’s not for lack of wanting, of course. I really do want to do all of those great things. But there are only so many hours in the day, most of them occupied by demands out of my control. It leaves precious little time for me to be superwoman. Thus I have to learn to say no.
I know I’m not unique in the situation I face. Who out there isn’t over committed? Whether by choice or not, there’s an overwhelming demand on us all to race from task to task beyond what’s humanly possible. The truth is, we’re not embracing reality. By overextending ourselves, by promising too much and delivering too little, all we’re doing is plunging ourselves into an abyss from which we’ll never emerge and adding unnecessary stress to our already over-taxed lives.
So for 2015 I’d love to learn to set boundaries. To politely say no, and to not feel that I’ve deeply disappointed someone by doing so. Because the truth is, by over promising and under delivering, the only one I’m really disappointing is myself. And no, I don’t want to do that.
On behalf of my fellow Lady Smut bloggers: Madeline, Liz, C.M. Kempe, Kiersten, and Alexa, thanks to all you wonderful readers for the amazing year we’ve had. We look forward to getting together with you for more sexy awesomeness in 2015 and beyond. Happy new year!!