They barge into my room,
And make nonsensical requests.
I, with a smile plastered on my face
And a ‘yes, of course’,
involuntarily join their quests.
In my dictionary,
there lies only a word with which I respond.
Illiteracy is not quite the reason why,
in fact, it is the fear;
the fear of making them dissatisfy.
I speak their language,
for it melodiously sings the notes of ‘yes, yes’,
the word which has made my tongue numb
and what they always long to hear.
I spend sleepless nights
And countless hours behind stacks of late-shift work.
Burying the remnants of regret
after the failure of spurting a word other than the dreadful ‘yes’,
I miss my lunch-break, prayers, and eventually myself.
Maybe to me,
The satisfaction of my boss
And the innumerable “could you’s” of my friends
are more valued than my own priorities.
Maybe, I find pleasure in feeling the need to be needed,
and reschedule a project approaching its deadline
when a colleague asks me to cosign.
Overloaded with work, I am a mess.
I still say, “yes, I’m okay” and readily skip another recess.
The language I communicate
is that of people-pleasers,
full of happy ‘yesses’,‘sure, why nots’ and other appeasers.
Again and again,
I fail to refuse them,
my tongue trembles when I try to say, “No, I can’t.”
Forgetting the language
that was once used to express one’s concern and convenience,
I lose my self-worth by letting others set my priorities
disregarding my own convenience.
But, then, the loudness of my heart
silences the fear of displeasing another.
I feel the joy, the power of communicating my heart aloud
when I withhold my ‘yes’ and try my first ‘no’.
I feel my tongue unknot as I go,
“No, I can’t help you with your project; I need to finish my own.”
and “No, I can’t come to dinner this evening, I need some time alone.”
“No, I can’t compromise myself each time,
because I am not available for you all the time!”
But “yes”, I will help and I will be there for you,
Not because I need to increase the zeros on my paycheck,
Or to be called the best person amongst those on your deck.
But simply because I owe the Lord of you and I
The responsibility of fulfilling my duties
As a colleague, relative, a co-worker and an ally.
I will be there for you
When I can,
But it will be a ‘no’
If your request costs me to change my plan
And lose the time for my Lord, myself or my family.
And let me tell you,
When I enunciate the simple two-lettered word
do I come to know the pleasure of saying what my heart screams.
I now tell myself, it’s okay for me to say ‘no’ to the creation,
because I need time to heal myself and please the Creator.
Written by: Areeba Khan
Edited by: The Editorial Team
© The Islamic Reflections Blog