I Say No, No, No 2

Saturday was a day of three nos.  The first no is something that I didn’t say to friend who came to visit – “nobody’s family is going to change.”  This was the tile of a children’s novel I reviewed for the Bay State Banner many years ago.  The wisdom of that title has revealed itself over and over to me.

I didn’t want to change the tone of a pleasant visit by saying this to my friend while we had lunch and talked.  I’ve written her a note of congratulations on some recent achievements in her life.  At the end of that note, I slipped in this nugget of wisdom “nobody’s family is going to change.”  Love is acceptance.  You have to accept your father for who he is – at 70 some years old, he’s not changing.  You can love a person without loving everything that they do. 

This friend is an extremely passionate person who is given to making definitive pronouncements – “I’m Through with this,”  “I’m done with that.”  “I’m not speaking to him any more.”  She reminds me of myself when I was younger before I learned that all goodbye ain’t gone.  Some things have to be forgiven especially when blood is involved.  Since her father is the only parent she has left, she needs to make peace with his eccentricities.  From what she says, he’s not a cruel man, just a crude one.  I think she should plan her visits, be accepting of the father she has versus the father she wishes she had, and just love him.

The second no of the Saturday happened when I listened to a filmmaker (Laurens Grant) during her Q & A after an excerpt of her film, Journeys with Qaddafi was shown at The Taste of Film fundraiser. When asked how she got through the various hurdles she had to hop to get permission to film in Libya, she said that as long as there were negotiations going on, she kept going.  “Negotiation doesn’t  mean no,” she said. That she just doesn’t allow herself to hear the word no.   No? “What do you mean?” Nah – they don’t mean it.  Let me ask the question in another way.  Her film is brilliant and I anxiously await a screening of the finished film.


Of course this got me to thinking about myself and how I avoided hearing the word no in my life.  I wouldn’t ask for help if I thought I’d hear the word no.  That also meant I missed several opportunities to hear the word yes.


The most important lesson I’ve learned about the word no – is not to say no to myself.  Not to let what I think I know about others, what I’m afraid of for myself, my uncertainty, my assumption that I won’t fit in, that I can’t  have what I want keep me from trying.  Nothing succeeds but a try.  If I truly want something – I have to say yes by doing it, pursuing it, and claiming it.  At least then if there ends up being a no – it will have come externally and not from me limiting myself and not trying.

Unrelated thought:  Instead of recording, “I Want a Hood Boy,” what if Fantasia had sung “I want a good man.”  That would have been some song, wouldn’t it?

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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