When was the first time you refused?

Watching people has to be one of my favorite pastimes at the workplace. They’re all like one giant herd of sheep (with the occasional off-color one thrown in), following whoever’s the decided-upon leader of the moment. If sheep were horribly looks-obsessed, that is (then again, I recently read somewhere that nobody has a better butt than a sheep).

Recently though the enjoyment has gone out of the sport and all I feel is a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. There’s nothing I want to hear more than a single “NO!” from that congregation of flocking herd-mentalities. So what if you have to go against your peers? They’ll get over it.

The first time I stood in front of a whole group of enthusiastic sheeple was when I was in first grade. We had just completed learning all our letters (those who still needed to anyway) and were supposed to make our own “letter house” from an old cardboard box, markers, glitter paper… you get it.

I thought the activity was both pointless and time-consuming (and, even to my five year-old mind, really, really embarrassing) and stood up from my little desk, left front row.

“I’m not going to.”

This is just so very liberating! Sure, twenty pairs of eyes staring at you as though you’ve just killed their pet hamster in very graphic and indescribably cruel ways isn’t that easy to bear as a small kid, but you feel so much better for having spoken your mind!

Upon being asked for my reasons, I gave the child’s version of “letters are inanimate objects produced solely through us humans and certainly not in need of any kind of abode”. The teacher was furious, Mom was called, I didn’t have to make the cardboard house.

I’ve made it a point to go against the flow if reason dictates it ever since then. I didn’t care that I was beaten up (badly) by the kids whose fun I had interrupted (and their friends). I was proud of myself for having an opinion and expressing it.

The teacher called me a “natural revolutionary” ever after. She’s still writing to me every so often asking how I’m doing, and we’re on our way to a nice adult relationship.

Never being satisfied with the status quo- isn’t that our claim to fame on the evolutionary ladder?

Yet so many are.

Dare to say no. It’s a short word, but with far-reaching effects on your psyche. You might even discover a new you!

<– off to be a little more disagreeable now


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