There are two of us leaving the island tomorrow. One is me heading to Edinburgh for a book signing day in quite a few goodly bookshops and then on to Glasgow for my interview with Sally Magnusson on Friday for her programme ‘Sunday Morning’ which will air at 7.05 am on Sunday June 2nd.
Note for diary.
And the other is my little red laptop because she has decided to air her rebellious female side and has taken the initiative to add extra letters to the words my fingers ping out on her shiny black keyboard. Although I do like a rebellious woman, am one myself and recognise the song of another in a crowd of hundreds, to this behaviour I have to say NO.
Now don’t get all ‘aw’ about it. She is my tool and I need her to stay in line. When I am writing a song, a blog a tweet or a piece for a monthly (is that why they are known as ‘periodicals’ one wonders……?) I must know that what I decide to lay down as a word smith, is what is laid down. I cannot have random violations of that rule, any more than a pianist can have a sixth finger ping out a discord right in the flow of some enigmatic cadenza. It just wouldn’t win the audience.
So, my lady in red is off to Germany for the second time. As you may remember from her last ‘collapse’ into depravity, I diddled about for ages in the worldwide web to find the Laptop Hospital. This time I knew my way and answered all the questions correctly. I know this because that rather handsome delivery man is coming to collect her in the morning and I have the Collection Number.
I thought me a bit about saying No. I think we women find it hard. I know we do. It’s something to do with our mother’s mother’s mothers who rarely said no to anything, just to keep the country going. I honour their way, but it doesn’t work today, and it may not have worked for them, but they were way too good at stepping back into the wallpaper without a murmur and giving their lives as a gift for just about anyone who stepped into their space.
Not us girls. I say ‘girls’ and laugh at myself with all my wrinkle potions, but you know what I mean. Saying no is still hard. Oh, I can be so very wise with someone else’s No dilemma. I can advise them into a very tight corner, where all they can do is nod because the rest of them is pinned down by my Wise Words. It doesn’t change them, even if they recognise the wisdom and hope they can walk it out into their own lives, but when they leave thinking how remarkable I am, I think for a moment about how well I manage to say NO at times in my own life when I am scared of rejection and judgement.
The answer is that I am full of wind (as they say up here) and the work I need to do on myself is still there.
But, what I can tell them, all these women, young and old, who fight to say NO to something, someone and to rise beyond the fear of rejection and judgement, is this:
Try it. Just once. And taste it. The freedom of it. The wild crazy headiness of it. Ok, the person you said No to didn’t like it. Of course they didn’t. Would you? But they coped with it and they reset their internal picture of you and they left feeling weird but really rather intrigued. They might have said…….wow, good for her!
Because, what I do know, is that when you say No to someone else, actually say it, gently, without anger or blame (recognising that you have fed this all along) and with love in your heart for them, for yourself……..
You say YES to you.