Saying “No” is Not a No-No

I feel off- not myself. I advocated for myself today, and the whole thing just felt wrong. I sat with this feeling and others for quite a while, and then it hit me. Since my voice, my choice, my song was taken from me right from the start of my life, I don’t know how to speak up for myself. I don’t know how to say “no.” No, this isn’t working. No, I am not being true to me. No, this feels awkward, confusing, forced, frightening, etc.

Now, I have no problem taking up for two people: God and the underdog. God because from those crazy years of torture and abuse to now when I am stricken with the pain of grief, He has never left my side and has never forsaken me. I may have walked away from Him, but He remained and even left the ninety-nine to come and find me. God because He got in the mire and the muck of the abuse with me and ultimately saved me from it, from them.

The underdog is a different story. It’s really my story played out in another person. I see myself in them and the talons come out, and I scratch and scrape to help them out of their pit-or I used to. I got tired along the way. Lost my passion-even for people which was my greatest gift.

I am searching for my passion now. My voice. My song. My story. My strength to say “no” and “enough” and many other powerful magical words. So, if you see any of these things of mine out there, tell them I am coming. Tell them I am on my way back home to me.

The Nitty Gritty: Because I love you so

I remember you as a baby, and, when you are truly expressing yourself, I see those same eyes and am bewildered at the young man pleading his case with truth and passion before me. I call it a great injustice that all of the true matriarchs, the ones who taught me, have died before your time, before they could see your eyes asking for truth and answer them.

Dearest Hank,

At your mother’s behest, I have stayed away, have clamped my mouth shut, have shamed those women who went before me by not doing what needs to be done. Damn it all! You will know our side of the family if I write the last sentence of this book with my dying, smoke smelling breath from cigarette slimmed lips. You are a Martin, a Hamilton, a Bell, a Hill, and, unfortunately, a Vest. Everyone deserves to know where they come from, their roots, and you will know yours.

There is a reason you are creative. There is a reason that you play video games in your “bear, and bare, cave.” There is a reason that you used to believe that the devil lived in the bathroom. There is a reason you have anxiety. There is a reason you are so highly intelligent. You should and will know by the end of this book.

You will know the truth; truth is one of the most powerful forces in the world. As Uncle Ben reminded Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Jim Qwik was eager to point out that the opposite is, also, true. So, use the stories, the truths, and the lessons in your book, this book, with wisdom, compassion, and honor- traits that many have fought to have passed down to you.

Read slowly, and digest what you take in. Learn the truth; it will truly set you free. As Marcus J. Borg promised, “Honesty begets candor.” However, prudence goes a long way, too.

This book will give you grit which, when nurtured, will give you courage. Courage will give you strength and strength gives rise to passion. Ignore zeal until you are firm in your foundation or you will flounder. Passion will ignite a thirst for knowledge, and knowledge leads to truth. And, the great Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was correct, “The truth shall set you free.”

Every person deserves to know his roots; these are yours. They are not for boasting or bragging rather for knowing the why of deep longings and of things abhorred. These truths are not to be picked through and tossed to and fro willy nilly but to be taken as a whole and honored in your being.

So, it is that I give you your birthright. Cherish it. Know that I did it in love for you and in respect of your becoming a man. I wrote to those eyes, wide and wild with wonder, begging for truth. I turned a yarn of honesty, because I love you so.