The Power of No

noname

noname-1

[If you are just joining me today, this is a blog about my daily attempt to knit a line to the sea from a public bench in Bellingham, WA, and my adventures along the way.]

Pictures of Friday’s knit taken by my dear friend and co-conspirator, Cheryl McCarthy. Unexpected visit from little Finn, who became entranced with throwing the ball of yarn, and reeling in the line…

Today, the weather has suddenly become wintry–despite the brilliant sunshine, this biting wind spells the end of knitting season fast approaching.  When that time comes, I plan to share previously unpublished journal entries from last year’s knit which span May to November.  And also give you sneak previews of paintings and sculptures in progress…I hope you will join me for the ride.

As soon as I learn a lesson, the opposite one appears.  This time it’s about saying NO, simply and powerfully.  A killer for me, as difficult as saying yes to generosity.  The Urban Hiker offered me a book today about his 7th Day Adventist beliefs, and I took it, even though I might have said “no thank you, I have found my spiritual home.”  This may stem from my ironic enjoyment of all things strange.  I still need to say NO to the uncomfortable attentions of a man.  (Partly, I distrust my read of the situation, and I’m chicken, and if I’m really honest with myself–I’ve been starved my whole life for male validation.)  I did say no to C. who offered me a good book to read…it was probably the sweetest offering of the day, but I turned it down because I have a pile of 4 books that I glance at guiltily from time to time.  I’ve already renewed “The Gift” three times…

Is it this hard for other people to say no?  I feel like I have to be on guard all the time, otherwise someone will slip something by me that I don’t really want or need…the stinky hand lotion full of chemicals, the ugly sweater, the party invitation that coincides with studio time.  (This reminds me of my 8th birthday party when a boy who had a crush on me gave a gift of used batteries and a stained handkerchief…This set the tone for my subsequent dating life…)  I know it sounds terribly ungrateful, but sometimes there is such a thing as a saturation point.  I’ll grant it, usually YES is the best stance to the world, and I say “no” way too often out of fear or selfishness.  But oh, what a wonderful, sanity “NO” also brings, especially as the holidays approach.  Time to reconnect with that inner two year old…

The Art of Disappearing

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

Naomi Shihab Nye
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