saying YES to NO

1 Sep

Children learn the word “NO” before they learn its counter-word “Yes” obviously because No is easier to utter [technically]. I couldn’t have been an exception so I too must have started my language development with a “No”. Little would I have known how completely things were about to change.

I, especially, remember a girl [who I thought was a friend, then] who lived off me. It all began while we were walking to our school one day. I was carrying this new denim bag [which was really cool, then] and she had this proper school-bag school bag. She complimented me on my bag and I did the same. Then she suggested we change our school bags. After that, if I had anything that looked better than hers, we swapped. Many a times when she got compliments for my things, I almost always wished she would acknowledge that they were mine. Who was I fooling?

“Give me your pen…”

ME: …but it’s a gift from my dad…

“How can you say NO to your friend?”

ME: [oh no, I’ve offended her] Sorry, here. Take it. Keep it. I’ll tell my parents I’ve lost it.

Even as I typed the conversation above, a flood of emotions overwhelmed me. Why was I like that? What made me hate myself so much? How did I turn up so pathetic? Who is (was) responsible for the way I behaved then? Where did the child [who learned to say NO first] disappear? When did saying “no” become a vice?

My attempt at finding the answers:

  1. No is a negative word and thus should not be uttered unless it’s for a bad thing. For instance; say NO to drugs. Never do they say “Say NO to giving your pen to a friend.”
  2. I wanted to fit in so badly that I was scared if I said NO, people will stop liking me. Besides, I wanted the others to say nice things about me.
  3. I weighed my NO to the recipient of my NO. Isn’t having a friend always better than having a nice pair of shoes?
  4. I thought offending others was a bigger crime than hurting oneself. “I” didn’t matter.
  5. My parents always taught me to be selfless.

Not everything is permanent in life and so I grew up [lesser on the length and more on the width] wondering what it’ll be like to say NO someday. And one day, just like that, began my journey into know-no-land, maybe because I knew the grass would be greener on the other side.

 “Get me some water, please”.

ME: No… Please get it yourself.

“…why can’t you get it for me? I’ve asked you so nicely…”

ME: Because I am learning to say NO when I mean NO and you have to take my NO for an answer.

All voices: What a Bee Eye Tea see etch :O

ME sulking inside, long face outside. Heart thumping inside, sweating outside.

I really thought I’d faint there and then, but I didn’t. At the end of my first NO, I lost a [so-called] friend but not before she lectured me on how horribly awful it was to say NO to a thirsty friend. Maybe she wasn’t a friend after all and by losing her I gained a little confidence. I had, after all, uttered NO and I didn’t choke on my words, my eyes didn’t pop out of their socket, neither did I vomit blood and nor did I drop dead… I survived… a miracle!!!

I still hesitate to say a straight no-nonsense NO. As a result, sometime conversation as below ensues –>

“Do you have a cigarette?”

ME: Remember… I asked you if you had one last night.

“Yeah, I also REMEMBER I had offered you one.”

ME: That’s my point. If I had asked you for a cigarette LAST night, what makes you think I would miraculously have one THIS very MORNING?

“You could have just said NO”.

ME: oooops :$

Well, I have reached my know-no-land and not without still having difficulties navigating, at times. I can now say ‘NO’ [effortlessly sometimes] BUT I’ve earned myself a title “Selfish” – say whaaaaaaaa?

…to be continued [maybe]

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3 Responses to “saying YES to NO”

  1. anecdotaltales September 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Ah, that vexing balance of standing up for yourself and then being accused of standing on a soapbox. :\ Aack.

    • s1ngal September 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      And there’s a balance to that thing??? 😉

      • anecdotaltales September 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

        When you find it, let the rest of us know.

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