283: NO

I have trouble saying that word no. This difficulty accounts for lots of stress – unnecessary stress, not like the stress you get as part of living that you can’t avoid – and angst that could have easily have been averted if only I had the guts to say NO.

This week at our little school is Morocco week, where we celebrate Morocco: its history, fashion, customs, music, crafts, people, FOOD, etc. All of us teachers were tapped to help out in some way. This is where the word NO would really have come in useful, except that I am a lot like Mel Tillis when it comes to saying this word. I just  stammer a lot and hyperventilate. So, I am helping a little bit (schwia: Arabic for a little), which is actually FAR more than I had intended to help. I didn’t want to do anything this time. No, I am not Scrooge, people.  This is year three at this school, and I helped out at EVERY event for years one and two. By year three, it dawned on me that there were lots of other people who were not helping, and I was selfishly denying them a chance to participate by being willing to help out myself. See how that works?

One thing that has helped me in this regard is Arabic. See, the Arabic word for no is LA. To my English-educated and accustomed ears, this LA  is merely the note that follows SO. I catch myself walking around school sometimes singing softly to myself (no, that does NOT count as talking to yourself, so I am NOT crazy) la, la, la, la, lalala……and it suddenly dawned on me that I am crooning no, no, no, no, no, nonono to myself in Arabic. This is a very good thing. I am practicing for my next use of the word no. I need the practice, obviously.

Next time, I might actually say LA. Since this word does not sound like NO to me, I might just be able to stammer it out when somebody asks for my help with the next big project……………


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