As girls we’re taught to fear it
To believe that the root of all evil
Lies in saying: No
No this is not right
No I will not submit
No you will not have power over me
No no no no cries the woman who wishes
For a life of her own
And tongues wag and old wives condemn
Calling her rebel, calling her faithless.
Like a mantra we tell our children
Yes. Always, say yes.
Yes until the bottom of your well runs dry
Yes until blood flows and bones shatter
Yes until nothing remains
But a dried-out husk.
We tell ourselves that to say yes
Is to be virtuous
Not knowing that No is power:
Power to create negative space
To push away distractions
To regroup, to grow in the darkness
Like a germinating seed
That to reclaim the power of No
Is to begin to blossom and live.