No, you do not have to be nice. You do not have to be nice. You do not have to let go of what you believe in to placate someone who violates you. No one is entitled to undermine you, your beliefs, your values, your desires, your well being, your self, and you do not have to be nice about it. Say no. Practice saying no. Practice saying the truth and when the question is an attack and your truth is no, then scream from the top of your proverbial lungs even if all that squeaks out of your vocal chords is a subdued, “I’d rather not.” I’d rather not is a step on the way to no, and no is a step on the way to growth. You are not a step, you are not a means, you are an end. You can say no! You can say: no! God, no! Fuck no! Never! No, no, no, that does not work for me, I want nothing to do with that, how fucking dare you, don’t ask me again, for the last time, NO! You do not have to be nice about your no if the niceties have been abandoned to form the offer. No is yours. No is your power. No is your freedom. No is your right; so write it. Write that scathing poem about the best friend who never took her eyes off the love your life. Write that song that howls “you’re worthless,” “don’t call me,” “what you did will never be okay,” “I don’t forgive you,” “your apology means shit,” “you hurt me.” Don’t water down your anger to benefit those who never held your feelings close. Break things. Break things! Scream.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.”

Tell your stories. Don’t lie to save face, or hide the truth to protect them, don’t sell your self worth for the price of one ticket for the easy ride… this ride is not easy. Write the letter that ends the friendship that never reached out when you were drowning. Make the call that leaves your tongue tasting bitter, your worth is bigger, your self is bigger, your happiness is so much bigger. So don’t sit on it. Don’t hold on to it. Don’t keep it in bottles or jars on your shelf, because these parts of your story are real, and no, you do not have to be nice. You do not have to be nice. Write the poem. Write the poem and take it to the rooftop and scream it until your lips are aching or your fingers are numb and tell everyone who will listen, because you don’t have to take responsibility for the way you’ve been wronged. Tell your stories. Tell them true.

“If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

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