By: Revanche

Fighting the good fight and when bowing out is winning

February 6, 2012

I’ve been watching Jenny, The Bloggess, take the world by Symbolic Red Dress storm, and it’s been pretty amazing. The traveling red dress really did start as a red dress, and it really did travel and then it became a magical thing wherein people took the idea and began donating red dresses and all manner of “red dresses” of all shapes, sizes and colors, and offering their services as photographers and generally empowering one another to become stronger people in one way or another.

It’s a pretty cool story.

And most recently, in all of the furor, Jenny was offered a finalist’s slot for a Health Activist Award.  She said: No.

As someone who feels like there are always about twenty different battles to fight or causes to support or banners to uphold, where it’s hard to make the choice that’s true to yourself and your strength, I felt there was something incredibly smart and good about that “No”.  It wasn’t meant to be, it was just honest. And these days, there are so few people who are willing to do something that could be uncomfortable but honest that I’m impressed by it.

She was willing to forgo an honor and the spotlight because she didn’t feel able to do the things required in order to get the goods. She didn’t pitch a fit, she didn’t use her platform to foment, in fact, she used it to explain why she was begging off, rather apologetically.

“I’m not sure if i was chosen because of my rheumatoid arthritis or my mental illness issues but the latter sort of keeps me from doing web chats or phone calls or any of that. My anxiety is just too strong right now for me to take on anything else. But I’m so honored. If you’d rather give it to someone less crazy than me though I totally understand. I just have to take care of myself a bit more and that means saying no when I want to say yes. I hope you understand.”

Really, how can you not smile at that?

In the end, she won the award anyway so begging off made no difference to the result but she did preserve her strength and her sanity which were really truly necessary and what was to be, was.

It’s a really nice reminder to me that we all have limited time, space and energy. We all, especially us spoonies, have to be aware of it and be smarter about how we choose to spend any of those things. The external stuff matters but how much we let it affect our choices is really up to us and we should remember that the outside world goes on as it will as we continue our personal journeys.

In the wider world, the need to earn a living to live the life we imagine requires that we make choices to grow and build but sometimes, we have to say no to create space for our lives. There’s such beauty in learning the wisdom of saying “thank you, but no” and learning when it’s right to say it.

2 Responses to “Fighting the good fight and when bowing out is winning”

  1. Jenny is fabulous, and I love reading her blog. I get so impressed at how she rally’s people through social networking, and how much good she does to the world, just by being her. Plus, she’s possibly one of the funniest people alive.

  2. Shelley says:

    I think saying No is one of the smartest, sanest things a person can do. The example that came to mind first was years and years ago when the city of Denver declined to compete to have the next winter Olympics. They decided it wasn’t financially or ecologically within the interests of the city, something I’ve come to appreciate in my travels to many an under-used, badly maintained Olympic villages.

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