Author: George Kitsaras
“For some people, the day comes when they have to declare the great Yes or the great No.”
Three letters, one syllable. So similar yet so different words.
Which are the great “no” of my life? By saying “no” do I open or close doors? Do I create or destroy my dreams? Where can a “no”, that small yet great word, take me?
There are many “no”; from the little ones to the great, from the easy ones to the difficult, from today’s “no” to tomorrow’s “no” and back to the past again. In friendships, in love, in any suggestion and offer “no”, as with “yes”, guides your immediate next step, creates reactions and emotions.
By saying “no” I will never learn the outcome of a given situation, of a plan, of a dream… But with a “no” I become my own captain plotting my course through the endless, strange and often scary seas of the future.
“He who refuses does not repent. Asked again, he’d still say No. Yet that No -the right No- drags him down all his life.”
Which are the “no” of my life? For which of them have I felt regret? Which were the right, which were the wrong; which were the rushed and which the certain? What makes a “no” right? The outcome at the end or the reasons that led to the “no” when it was first stated? How much have “no” and “yes” consumed and dictated my life?
What would change I wonder if the “no” of my life became “yes” and the “yes” of my life became “no”?
After all, should I have said more “no” but the right “no“?
Che fece… Il gran rifiuto
For some people the day comes
when they have to declare the great
or the great No. It’s clear at once who has the Yes
ready within him; and saying it,
he goes from honor to honor, strong in his conviction.
He who refuses does not repent. Asked again,
he’d still say no. Yet that no—the right no—
drags him down all his life.
C.P. Cavafy (1901)
C. P. Cavafy: Selected Poems (Princeton University Press, 1975)