“Newok Says No”
Today’s Words of Wisdom:
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch onto the affirmative, don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.”
The Foda’s Take: This 1940’s song, “Accentuate the Positive,” was covered by greats such as Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, and Ella Fitzgerald. I love the message- and there’s really nothing to lift your spirits like hearing an old-school jazzy recording! Check out the original version on Youtube by clicking here.
Welcome back, party people! Today I’d like to introduce a new member to the Foda’s Galaxy. He is my super cute, totally adorable 20 month-old nephew, whom I shall heretofore refer to as…. Newok! Yes. Nephew + Ewok. Newok.
So, Newok has been getting more and more verbal in the past several months, and lately he’s been going through this phase where when you ask him anything, he’ll look up at you, all wide-eyed and adorable, and say in his cute little high voice: “no!” He says no to everything now, even when he obviously means yes. I consulted my fabulous sister Fumbledore on this, and she said that many babies learn to say “no” before “yes” because shaking your head is an easier motion than nodding. It’s also linguistically easier to say. And this got me thinking. Is it possible that our preliminary penchant for saying “no” stays with us as we grow?
As we get older, it’s considered intelligent to fully weigh situations and not plunge into new paths blindly. This is part of being an adult, yes? But I have to wonder if the reason many of us shut down ideas before fully exploring them or jump to a negative conclusion is not that we’re pessimistic people- it’s just physically easier to say no! Yes? No? Do you agree?
Living with Lyme has forced me to say “no” to a lot of things. I’ve had to say “no” to my old life, my old fitness standards, and my old favorite foods. (Ah, bread, cheese and chocolate, how I miss thee….) But contrary to my “Newok Says No” theory, saying no hasn’t felt easy. It’s been a difficult process of time and acceptance. And I still daydream of the moment when I’ll be able to say: “yes!” YES, I want to go on that walk with you! YES, I’d love to meet up for a drink. YES, I will sign up for that race in the spring. In a world full of “no’s,” what I want more than anything is to hear “yes.”
So I had to think.. what in my life can I currently answer “yes” to? And this is what I came up with.
Do I have a family who loves and supports me? Yes. Am I sharing beauty and creation with the world? Yes. Have I found a way to define myself other than “the girl with Lyme Disease?” Yes. Am I doing everything I can to get well? Yes, yes, YES!
So all the rest- all the “no’s”? Are out of my control. Which actually relates back to my post last Sunday regarding how many women’s perception of their self-worth revolves around things they can’t control. And as such, I suppose this theory is just another way of saying how important it is to try and focus on the positive when you’re dealing with a chronic illness. Because so much of the time, living at a deficit can feel like you’re living in a world of NO. But what if the no’s don’t count- because if they’re out of our hands to begin with… can we really say “no” to something that’s not ours to control? And if that’s true, perhaps this is just another way for us to step up and redefine our lives on our own terms.
I’m no child psychologist. I have no idea if the Newok theory holds any water. But I’d like to leave you with this thought. For every “no” life has given you, is it possible to find a “yes” that counters it?
(Just don’t ask Newok that question. Because he will say no. And it will be adorable. And that will be that.)