It’s just a two-letter word.
Why then does it seem so hard to say?
There are tons of people who will come for you when you say NO…
1. Your parents and, if you’re African your entire extended family, for starters. After feeding you, taking care of you, sending you to school, sacrificing for you, and then you refuse to join the family business, a business that paid for everything you are enjoying.
Ungrateful Child that you are!
And so you bend to their will.
You just couldn’t say NO.
2. Society demands that you marry at a certain age, so it becomes a rush to get “hooked” before 30. So when Tom, Dick and Harry’s worse-off cousin named Trouble comes along you fall into his arms and say, “Yes I know his name is Trouble, but his own is actually Gentle Trouble, not Real Trouble.”
You were not love-struck, darling.
You were pressured…by society, by seemingly “well-meaning friends” who don’t know any better, by your family members who keep sending your number to random dudes that you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
And then, like a moth to a flame, you fly to close and you get burned.
Mr Gentle Trouble marries you and changes his name to Mr. Everyday Wahala.
You lose your self-esteem, your sense of purpose and nearly lose your face in a torrent of verbal, emotional and physical abuse.
Something you could have avoided, sister me.
If you had only said NO.
3. Get a job, get a job. See now, your mates are working in oil companies and earning six figures, what are you doing here pressing phone and laptop? Other people who are even pressing laptop like you are making money. I don’t even know for this your own sef.
Then you succumb to the pressure and disdain. You get a job, any job, just to have that ‘respect’ of having a job and living the way everybody expects you to live.
You have tried to kill the dream.
Everyone says it’s foolish.
“You’re only building castles in the air.”
“You better wake up and face reality.”
You have tried to do what the world tells you to do with your life: Get a job, work and forget about your dreams. They are not valid in this part of the world.
But just like God did with Jonah and that missions trip to Nineveh, your goals and dreams refuse to keep calm. Like the waves that battered the ship that was taking Jonah to a different destination, they continue to batter your spirit and then you finally realised you should have said NO to all those who were saying NO to your dreams.
It wasn’t even their dream in the first place.
I could go on and on, but you get the drift.
“To thine own self be true, and it will follow as the night the day…”Shakespeare
This quote from a Shakespearean play has stuck with me since my years in secondary school and even though I have not always been true to myself, even though I have played the chameleon a lot of times (and I bear my scars)…this has always been the direction: be true to yourself.
Say NO to everything that’s contrary.
So now you see why NO can seem like such a heavy word to say?
However, you still have to find that inner strength to say it.
It will do you a world of good.
Cheers. Live your true life.