Saying No

 by Ríonach Aiken



Saying No

Resentment comes from saying yes
when you mean no.

I mean no.

I can sit in my bitterness.
Or I can switch on my resistance.

I mean no.

I will hiss and growl
and bare pointy teeth.
Raise my hackles.
A caged creature
hurling myself against bars,
and howling with rage.

I. Mean. No.

Do you hear my no?
Do you HEAR my no?
Do you hear my NO?
Can you hear it now?

Not this.
Not now.
Never going to happen.

Not okay.
Not on my watch.

No way.
Hell no.
Don’t even think about it.

Not on your life.
And not on mine.

I buried my no deep
so I could survive.
Those who stood by their no
were often buried with it
by those who profit
from their silence.

So I abandoned my no.
Stopped hono(u)ring my knowing.
Stopped listening to my no-ing.

when it IS safe for me to do so,
I can choose
to say no
when I mean no,
instead of living
with bone-eating grievance
for another thousand years.

Do not ever take my No away.


- Ríonach Aiken

photo credit: Voyagerix from Getty Images
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