the five times you’ll say no; and that one time you won’t

one.
it’s not for lack of trying, it’s really not.

too many times, you find yourself wondering what would’ve happened had you said yes to that one lunch. it was just lunch, dumb ass, it’s not a marriage proposal. but you said no not because you were too scared.

you said no because you didn’t know any better.

you didn’t know that it would’ve been alright to say no, or that a maybe someday would’ve sufficed. When you’re young and the world demands you for black and white answers, you go for the option that doesn’t draw much blood.

It’ll teach about regret—especially when you see them having that lunch with somebody else. It’ll teach you about seizing the day.

But the first no you’ll ever say will be your daily reminder that you cannot take anything back. You could’ve gone to lunch but you didn’t.

You live with that for the rest of your life until it doesn’t bother you anymore.

It becomes easier—not the saying no, but the part where you live with your no’s for as long as you live.

two.
it’s not for lack of trying, it’s really not.

You did try to imagine what would’ve happened had you said yes to that second chance they were asking of you. It would’ve been easier. It wouldn’t have resulted to many sleepless nights, and pints of ice cream; or late night calls to your best friends just sobbing on the line and not really saying anything.

you did try to convince yourself that giving the person another chance is the right thing to do but you say no to that second chance because that’s who you are. You’ve grown up enough to recognize what you don’t want—and you don’t want getting left behind. But let’s face it, who the heck wants to get left behind?

you may have grown up enough to admit that you’re not made for do-or-die but you, apparently, haven’t grown up enough to realize that some people brave their storms if only to find warmth some place else.

so, you said no—and it has taught you so well about forgiveness.

you didn’t give that person a second chance not because they didn’t deserve it but because you don’t think you know exactly how to look at a person and not be reminded of the pain they caused.

the first second chance you’ll say no to will haunt you in your loneliest of days. The first second chance you’ll say no to will teach you that sometimes, humans are just good at being humans. That people will eventually hurt you; that people, with calloused hands and rough patches in life, are not perfect beings.

that you can’t banish people in your life just because they made one mistake; that you shouldn’t be really counting at all.

That at the end of the day, second chances are given not out of guilt; you give second chances because sometimes, the second chance is the last.

three.
it’s not for lack of trying, it’s really not.

you did try to imagine yourself going after it, not thinking about how wrong it is; deciding with your heart and not with your brain. You did try to imagine just not minding people you can absolutely live without. You did try to imagine a life with only yes-es to everything and in your head, it looks so lovely.

but you say no nonetheless because it’s the right thing to do.

the third time you’ll say no, you only say it because you know you can’t say yes.

you’ve grown up and you now recognize that as much as this world is never black or white, there are situations where there’s a right and a wrong. Like how it rains sometimes even if the sky had been clear.

you say no this time because it’s easier. You say no because perhaps walking away from the thing you want the most is more bearable than the thought of having it and then losing it eventually.

after all, it’s easier to lose something you never had than living your whole life knowing it could be better.

four.
this time, you didn’t really try.

you said no because you know what you want and what you don’t. You stand by it because you know that there’s no use to keep saying yes to something that no longer makes you happy.

this is the good kind of no. This is the good kind of walking away.

you’ll eventually learn how to forgive yourself for walking away, for hurting somebody else. So, for now you say no because life is short and we shouldn’t spend it just putting up with someone so unwillingly.

you have to respect yourself enough to drop some of your baggage when the burden becomes too heavy.

it’s okay to put yourself first, work on loving yourself more.

after all, you can’t give away something you don’t have for yourself.

five.
it’s not for lack of trying, it’s really not.

you’ve given others enough chances to deserve your yes. you’ve given them enough chances to ask you to lunch. you’ve given somebody else enough room in your life to fill. but the fourth time you’ll say no is only because you’ve developed a habit.

no.

no.

no.

after quite some time, the answer has become automatic; like it has become your default answer to anything. you walk away not because it’s easier.

you walk away because you’re good at it.

you don’t give people second chances not because you’re afraid of committing the same mistakes. you say no because it’s all you know.

when you’ve been doing the same thing for so long—being alone, avoiding affections as much as you can—it grows until it becomes your second skin. it’s not a scary kind of darkness; there’s nothing wrong with being so comfortable with independence. but over time, you’ll learn that you keep saying no because you don’t know how to say yes.

it’s as if saying yes is the weirdest thing mankind ever came up with (next to Crocs, of course). it’s as if saying yes will change you; like you won’t recognize yourself if you let somebody in.

It’s human—to want, to need—but it’s human, too, to learn habits and never grow out of them. Maybe that’s why people smoke, or drink, or do drugs. we all kill ourselves in different ways and sometimes, becoming an island is just the perfect way to do that.

yes.
when it’s time to say yes, you’ll know.

you’ll smile more often. you’ll realize that extra bounce on your step as you walk. there’s this certain lightness you’ll feel and you’ll recognize the signs soon as you start seeing them.

the first yes you’ll say after a long time of no’s will be a gradual admission. you don’t wake up and say yes right away. you’ll feel yourself opening up a little bit more each day. you’ll feel yourself getting comfortable with being comfortable.

When you’re ready, you’ll know.

eventually, you learn how to stop flinching when somebody gets to close. you stop shying away when someone tries to hold you. you stop freezing when somebody tries to hug you.

you go home, one day, grinning to yourself because it’s been a good day. you sit in front of your computer and write something with that stupid smile plastered on your face. it’s like that feeling you get when the sun shows up after it had rained overnight.

you’ll smile to yourself and you decide to wait until they ask you. when they ask, you’ll say yes not because it’s been so long. You say yes because humans are good at being humans; and along with the endless desire to be happy, we’re also given the capability to recognize a good thing when we see it.

You say yes just because you can.

(And as you share this, you hope that if they’re somewhere reading this… they’d take a hint.)

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