Friday, 20 December 2013

A Consternation of No’s

A good friend once said I could see a patch of blue in a Galway sky.  If you’ve never been to the west of Ireland, then be assured the skies there are often the softest shade of gray.  That friend later took her own life and I sometimes wonder whether my ‘sunny’ disposition annoyed her or if it helped her battle the dark constantly around her.

We were very good friends, so probably both.

Later, when my son came out as trans, I joined an on-line community of trans-parents.  While my sense of humour lightened the load for some of the other parents, it really grated with others.  To be honest, I didn’t understand the deep, abiding grief some parents felt when their child disclosed to them.  Before coming out to me, my own child had struggled so long with unhappiness, I’d resigned myself to this being a lifelong condition; learning there was a fixable cause actually brought incredible joy to my life.  What did it matter, what gender child I had?  As I said then, I’d rather have a living son than a dead daughter. 

I’ve always thought my relentless happiness stemmed from being a realist, but actually studies show that depressives are more reality based than the rest of us.  It’s probably more to do with my reaction to NO being, WHY NOT?  I’m a fixer by nature.

Lately, there’s been a glut of NO in my life.  To the degree that I want to scream at the universe, How can you be so fucking negative????????  These are NOs without rationale, which makes them weigh more than an understandable NO.  I suppose the weight of NO has to do with how it changes a person having impact or empowerment in their life. 

In other words, if guacamole isn’t on the menu, I can choose something else or go to a restaurant where it’s served.  But I cannot make a theatre put on my play.  I cannot make someone return a phone call.  I cannot make an agency accept the documentation I have to hand.  Those are the big fat NOs.  The ones that leave us helpless. Which is probably why I’m a fixer.  I don’t want to feel helpless.  

When I was a little girl, I saw the mulberry tree on fire through an upstairs window.  I calmly went downstairs and told my parents.  My mother later said that because I was the quiet child (yes, it’s true), that when I spoke, people should listen.  This set me up for a struggle in adulthood because in reality, people find it easier to say NO to someone who asks nicely, than to someone who tears a rag to get their way.

Hello.  My name is Lora and I’m a person who can see blue in a Galway sky.  If you scream at me, I’m more likely to hug you than to scream back.  If you don’t hear me after diligently trying to speak to you, I walk away.  This does not mean that I don’t feel the bite of your NO.  I do. 

There’s someone like me in your life.  Maybe at work.  Maybe in your family.  Maybe next door.  Someone you rely on but someone you often say NO to.  You may wake up some day and find that person gone.  And you’ll think they were an ungrateful bitch, when the truth is, you’ve taken them for granted. 

So, other Blue Sky See-ers . . . last night, we made ourselves giddy thinking of collective nouns.  Since today’s topic is NO, I’ve decided the collective noun for NO is consternation.  That’s how these illogical NOs make me feel.  Consternated.

You and you and you, go ahead and feel consternated, but do not let these naysayers get you down.  As they say under the soft gray Galway skies, fuck those begrudgers.

Do not let them do to you what they did to my friend in Galway.  Live.  Say YES and live.


  1. �� I agree! Live each day as if you are really alive, really in the moment, appreciating what you have. Don't take anything for granted: it is only on loan for an undefined term!

  2. So very ture, Norah. And stick together! It makes it so much easier with friends along for the ride.