I can be such a smart ass at times. When shopping recently, I blithely told the sales person that I was “pushing sixty,” smugly thinking to myself that I am only fifty-six. She remarked, “Gee, you look wonderful for your age!” (I always hate the “for your age” codicil that is now tacked on to comments about my appearance.) Then a thought hit me. I am walking through my fifty-seventh year. Oh my! I am pushing sixty. Damn.
With this utter clarity has come a profound and powerful war cry, “I refuse!” This may sound like an “in your face” angry sort of cry, but it is not. This is a cry of awareness, honesty, responsibility and joy. I refuse to not throw everything I have into living. I refuse to not do this thing well. With this said, here is my manifesto:
I refuse to live anyone else’s life but mine. I tried this and it did not work. I must claim who I am and live my days as me. Just me.
I refuse to do as you demand of me. No one, no one, has the right to demand that I do anything. Please ask me. Let me choose. And I shall bring all that I have to help you, assist you and comfort you.
I refuse to surrender my search for joy in life to do what is expected. At last I realize there really are no rules and I must make my own choices and decisions. With this comes great freedom, but also great responsibility.
I refuse to weaken the light of my spirit because it confuses you. My journey towards the end of my days must be mine. If my actions and thoughts are outside your comfort zone, feel free to walk away.
I refuse to bow my head and behave because my laughter embarrasses you. My delight is mine as are my hoots of hilarity.
I refuse to buckle my mind and button my lips when questions need to be asked. I at last know that silence wields a powerful and killing sword when we play “let’s pretend” and do not question what is going on.
I refuse to silence my voice when my truth must be spoken. I will no longer swallow my thoughts and words because you might not like them. I shall tell you how I feel and what is important to me.
I refuse to not put out my hand in welcome and compassion to others. The person next to me is just the same as me. Their hurts and desires, wants and needs are the echo of mine. I am made larger in sharing myself with others.
I refuse to quiet the singing of my heart and soul to the universe! There are now an elemental joy and terrible delight in living that course through me. I refuse to muffle it. I refuse to deny it. For this joy and this delight is quite simply who I am.
This is my “I refuse” list. I challenge you to give it some thought – to give it some heart and soul. Write down your “I refuse” list and send it back to me.
by Robin Korth