Personal History: 50/50 Noooooooo

I took both French and Spanish in high school. Can you guess the one word I found the hardest to say?

No.

When I was in High School, Ma received a call from my counselor. She told her that I had a Dear Abby complex. That people seemed to overwhelm me with their problems and I felt the need to tap out an answer to their troubles. I was the fixer.

I have gone through the majority of my life with the struggle of not being able to tell people “no” when I did not want to do something, help with something, participate in something. There were a number of times that I found myself sitting smack dab in the middle of a situation and I thought to myself : “I could be anywhere else and it would be better than here.”

There are other more troubling times I can recall all of a sudden, where I compromised who I was and, looking back at it, cannot fathom why I did not say no.

But there was this one time I said “no” in an amazing fashion though.

There was a boy a few years older than me in high school. I cannot remember his name, only his nickname. I won’t throw that out here because it was unusual enough and I don’t feel the need to blow up his spot. However, he showed interest in me, he was what I thought was adorable and he asked me to go for a ride in his truck. I said yes. It was fun, we were laughing, we went backroading. Suddenly, just inside a stand of secluded trees, he stopped the truck, turned off the ignition, looked at me all serious and said, “Put out or get out.” I was dumbstruck. “What?” He repeated himself without a thought. And, for a split second, tears thought they were going to make their way into my eyes. But then I got PISSED. I looked down at my lap and I can remember thinking, “Did what I wear make him think THIS?” I had a cute shirt with frilly sleeves. And from out of nowhere, without a fully formed thought or plan, I reached to one of my sleeves and tugged at it until it ripped and then reached for and opened the truck door. As he called out to me, screaming “what are you doing??”, I looked over my shoulder and said, “I am going to tell my Daddy that you tried to rape me. He is going to whip your ass. He might even kill you.” I closed the truck door and started to walk away, down the dirt road. He turned around and pulled up next to me, suddenly in a panic. He tried to say it was a joke. He tried to say he was kidding. After about a half mile of his begging, and my not wanting to walk the dozen or so miles home (the land before cell phones), I finally said “fine” and got back into the truck. He tried to speak and I politely asked him to shut the eff up and drive me home. He did. Fifteen minutes later, as I got out of the truck he called me a bitch. And I said “yep” and walked away.

Some people will try to take advantage of your kindness, your vulnerability, your naiveness. Some people are well-meaning but don’t understand your limitations or expectations. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself faced with any kind of situation, you have the right to say ‘No”. Even if you think you will do this thing (for whatever reason) and five minutes, an hour, two years later you realize you should have said no – it is never too late to make people realize you changed your mind.

Be strong. Say no when you need to. They will get over it or they can drop you off.

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