For some of us the first word we learn to say after momma or dadda is
For some of us the first word we learn to say after momma or dadda is no
We loved the word no.
We loved the sound of our voice saying no.
We loved the reaction we received after no.
We loved the power that one word granted us.
Except when that word isn’t heard.
Except when that word causes hurt.
Except when no doesn’t have any power.
What happens when no isn’t just a word?
What happens when no is a catalyst?
What happens when no flicks a switch?
What happens when no is a challenge?
When no. Becomes a battle field
When no. Becomes sharp tongues
When no. Becomes a cage of hands
What happened to No?
In first grade a little boy told me he liked me. He didn’t pull my hair or put mud on my clothes. He didn’t tease me or call me names. He just sat at my table and drew pictures of dinosaurs.
He asked me if I liked him back. He asked me to kiss him at recess. He tried to hug me by the swing-set.
And I told him no.
I didn’t like him back like that. I didn’t want him to kiss me or hug me.
At that point in my life no meant no. No was understood as a line. A boundary. It was supposed to mean safety.
Then I learned what my “no” was capable of.
That same little boy after hearing no decided that no wasn’t my answer.
He told me that if I didn’t say yes he’d take a hammer to my beloved cat and hurt him.
He threatened me to give up my no.
I told him no again. Told him to leave my cat alone.
The next day he pulled me close to him by the cubbies.
The next day he pulled me close to him by the cubbies. And whispered in my ear.
“I’m going to bring a knife to school tomorrow and kill you”
That’s what my no got me.
Weeks talking to teachers, counselors, vice principals, parents... all because my no wasn’t enough. Because my no had no power.
That’s the ugly truth about rejection. When a woman tells a man no.
Because no doesn’t mean no to them.
The kind of men who don’t hear.
The kind of men who cross lines.
The kind of men who threaten
The men who threaten insult
The men who threaten insult harass
The men who threaten insult harass assault and even
The men who threaten insult harass assault and even kill.
All because of her no.
I want no to mean something again.
I want no to be freedom not chains.
I want no to be thunder and rains.
I want no to be
Those men need to know
The true meaning of
The word no.