No, you do not have to be nice. You do not have to be nice. You do not have to let go of what you believe in to placate someone who violates you. No one is entitled to undermine you, your beliefs, your values, your desires, your well being, your self, and you do not have to be nice about it. Say no. Practice saying no. Practice saying the truth and when the question is an attack and your truth is no, then scream from the top of your proverbial lungs even if all that squeaks out of your vocal chords is a subdued, “I’d rather not.” I’d rather not is a step on the way to no, and no is a step on the way to growth. You are not a step, you are not a means, you are an end. You can say no! You can say: no! God, no! Fuck no! Never! No, no, no, that does not work for me, I want nothing to do with that, how fucking dare you, don’t ask me again, for the last time, NO! You do not have to be nice about your no if the niceties have been abandoned to form the offer. No is yours. No is your power. No is your freedom. No is your right; so write it. Write that scathing poem about the best friend who never took her eyes off the love your life. Write that song that howls “you’re worthless,” “don’t call me,” “what you did will never be okay,” “I don’t forgive you,” “your apology means shit,” “you hurt me.” Don’t water down your anger to benefit those who never held your feelings close. Break things. Break things! Scream.
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.”
Tell your stories. Don’t lie to save face, or hide the truth to protect them, don’t sell your self worth for the price of one ticket for the easy ride… this ride is not easy. Write the letter that ends the friendship that never reached out when you were drowning. Make the call that leaves your tongue tasting bitter, your worth is bigger, your self is bigger, your happiness is so much bigger. So don’t sit on it. Don’t hold on to it. Don’t keep it in bottles or jars on your shelf, because these parts of your story are real, and no, you do not have to be nice. You do not have to be nice. Write the poem. Write the poem and take it to the rooftop and scream it until your lips are aching or your fingers are numb and tell everyone who will listen, because you don’t have to take responsibility for the way you’ve been wronged. Tell your stories. Tell them true.
“If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
Wake up in the morning and cover yourself up. Something crisp. Something professional. Not just the clothes, either, you can’t forget to cover up the way you’ve been feeling in case you inconveniently inconvenience someone else with your discontent; it’s a virus. You don’t get to ruin someone else’s day. Cover up your weaknesses, too, because they prey on the weak, and cover up your insecurities and your fears. You are rock. You had better be a rock. Cover up your tattoos and your piercings and cover the cross hanging from your neck because it’s no use being you if being you is different and we all know being different leads to unhappiness. If you have any confidence, cover it up, or you might make them start to feel small, and if you don’t have any confidence, cover that up because pathetic is worse than different and different is pretty bad. Walk out the door and keep your eyes down. Keep your eyes on the road, keep your eyes on the prize, keep your eyes on your own paper, keep them just about anywhere other than where they go on their own. It’s no use using your eyes if they single you out. Indent your paragraphs, wear black socks, turn out the lights to save money on your electric bill. Are you tired yet? Build your credit score, build your resume, build your pain tolerance, tolerate the serious injustices you are surrounded by, surround yourself with positivity, stay positive, stay healthy, stay home on the weekends and get plenty of sleep, sleep regularly, regulate your spending, spend more time working, work harder, work faster, work more work more work more. If you aren’t tired you aren’t working, if you are tired, keep working. Buy a house, procreate, start a college fund, pay your taxes, serve your church, vote for the president, keep your space clean, visit your brother, bury your grandmother. Don’t stop to cry. You wouldn’t want anyone to accuse you of losing sight of your priorities. Go to work. Save money. Provide for your family. Spend more time with your family. Spend more time at work. Spend less money. Save more money. Provide for your family. Are you tired? Save more money. Provide for your family. Save for your family. Are you tired? Spend more time working. Spend more time with your family. Are you tired? This is your life.
This is your life. Don’t blink, you might miss it.