I’m Not Drinking the Kool-Aid.

The other day, one of my son’s friends posted on Facebook that “peer pressure was the worst invention of mankind.” Ironic because, though I’m thirty years older than she, I had to deal with the same issue that day. I chose to “come clean” with some friends about the way I thought our little group was off-track. Not everyone liked it. We teach our children not to yield to peer pressure; and yet, as adults, we do it all the time.

This is especially true for women. We are taught to “go along to get along.” We say things like “that’s okay” when it isn’t. We don’t rock the boat. We don’t make waves. We smile when we feel like screaming. When someone hurts us we rack our brains looking for something WE did wrong to CAUSE the crappy behavior.


Well, I’m not drinking the Kool Aid anymore.


I want to speak up, even if it is scary.


So, I took a big risk and shared with a community of people who are REALLY important to me, that something the group was allowing felt REALLY wrong to me. At its core, my point was that, in order for the group to thrive, we needed to have some loving discipline around some key issues.


In thinking about the action I would take, I considered all sorts of “angles” for approaching the topic. I REALLY wrestled with myself about whether something needed to be said, and, equally, whether I was the person who needed to say it.

What convinced me to speak up is that I NEEDED TO CHANGE.


An old, old, shtick of mine is to CUT AND RUN.


That’s right. Rather than deal with conflict between us – especially if you hurt me – I just remove myself. I might not go away in actuality, but in spirit, I’m just going to “phone it in” from here on out.


I want to change this characteristic of mine. I want to learn to love deeper, become a more intimate friend, family member, partner, and member of the community.


And that means I have to change. So, telling the truth to my group about my feelings rather than just finding a new set of folks to hang out with was a really scary, but important CHANGE on my part.


Change is hard for people, at any age. The status quo is simpler. More relaxed. Less controversial.


But, with great thanks to Master Yoda, “Change you must, or die you will.”


There have been times in my life, where it was WAY too risky to speak up. When I was a single mom supporting three young sons, it wasn’t prudent to narc to Human Resources about the sexual harassment and drug deals going on in my sales office. My kids needed food and shelter. I looked the other way.

But, the older I get, the braver I get. I’m not in charge of righting every wrong in the universe, but sometimes it really, really is UP TO ME, to be the truth-teller in the room – to be the child at the parade who proclaims that “THE EMPEROR IS NAKED.”




What’ really cool is that it is becoming increasingly socially acceptable to speak up. Time magazine recently named The Protestor as the “Person of the Year”.


So, if you needed a little nudge, there you go. It’s in style to speak up and out. To tell your truth. To get more real. To fight back.




I’d love to hear back from you on this one. In what ways have you “spoken up” recently? Are there any places where you’re still too afraid to speak your truth?




Love, Jennifer


Photo: Flickr, wintercool612

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11 Responses to I’m Not Drinking the Kool-Aid.

  1. Great post! Yes, it is definitely time to speak up. Like you, I have often “cut and run,” but have lately just started speaking my mind more. It’s really great. :-)

    By the way, any blog post that refers to Kool-Aid, change, and Yoda deserves Post of the Year!

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi, Amethyst! (Love your name, by the way, since I’m a February birthday girl!!)

      So, I meet a Yoda fan — yea! What’s your favorite Yoda-ism?


  2. Patti Winker says:

    I agree with Amethyst – if someone gave me the assignment of including Kool-Aid and Yoda in the same blog post, I don’t know if I could have done it! Very cool indeed. And, yes, that particular Yoda-ism is definitely one of my favorite quotes, including human made.

    I also like that you chose Berry Blue Kool-Aid. Strawberry or Orange would have been so blase. :D

    I’m very glad I found your blog. I came over by way of Jane Gassner’s MidlifeBloggers.com. Very nice!

  3. Andi-Roo says:

    I’ve always been what I like to refer to as the “burning finger of truth”, which has won me few friends. But the ones I have are the keepers, because who wants to hang out with a bunch of folk pretending the emperor & all his court hangers-on are dressed? Fake isn’t me; nor is playing “the game”, or being socially acceptable if it means basically lying or being manipulative. I’m a “all cards on the table” kind of girl. It’s a relief to know that studies are showing this is becoming more common… Currently, I stand alone.

    Truth gains few intimate confidantes; you can always trust truth not to lie.

    Andi-Roo /// @theworld4realz

    • Jennifer says:

      I hear you. I’m learning to add some gentleness to my truth telling too since I’ve learned that I can think I’m really, really right only to learn later that I was really, really wrong.

  4. Kelly says:

    This is something I’ve been practicing full-force this year — the been cut but stay. And then the figuring out where that wound really came from, anyway. Speaking our truth, even if only to ourselves, is one of the most powerful and effective ways to honor who we are. Without that, there isn’t much else. Thank you for sharing this growth. It’s happiness in a post.

  5. For what feels like forever I have been the one who speaks up on behalf of those with no voice, the one who hollers about wrongs to be righted, about injustices, about the forgotten at the margins.


    I am also the one who hasn’t dared to speak up about the hurt feelings or the misunderstandings or the wounds inside my marriage. That felt far too risky. It was easier to let those things fester and ooze than to risk ____, I’m not sure what!

    I’m finally working on finding my voice in my marriage. We are in counseling and it is helping, but BOY IT’S HARD WORK! Sure wish I would have been brave enough to speak up long before this!

    Thanks for sharing your experience…and encouraging us to speak up!

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