Monday, November 5, 2007

Excuse me, but I said NO...

You must have encountered situations where you feel stuck and want to take the easy way out by saying 'no', but while your mind is signaling the red alert flag, you go ahead… open your mouth and say YES. The second right after that, you scold your mouth and your whole vocal system for producing the sound, even as small as a three letter word.

Why can’t I say NO??? How hard is that? Why please the other person for something that doesn’t make sense and you know you won’t be able to put your heart and soul into it?
Saying no is not a crime, it’s merely the truth for a reality that grows and becomes bigger until it hits home.

It is known that women tend to be very hesitant in their career fields and often when increase in salary or promotions are well deserved, they don’t negotiate and miss out on the golden opportunity. Men on the other hand, take business very seriously and think of their time as a race to successfully climb up the ladder of the corporate world. Of course there are plenty of women out there, especially in the business fields, who are as much as qualified, aggressive, motivated and efficient as their male co-workers and don’t take
no for an answer. They are confident about their abilities and will challenge themselves to be the very best, a little bit of competition may just do the trick. ;)

I am definitely very competitive. My Real Estate career has always consisted of hard work, self motivation, self-education and a lot of willpower to succeed. I was working in the office with mostly men as my co-workers, but never felt different from any of them. The long hours and running around to meet deadlines, worked as an adrenaline rush and I’d easily be very disappointed if I couldn’t fulfill my own expectations. I had my own world of fabulous clients, piles of files and the energy boost “jamba juice” would give me during lunch
:). My presence in the office was always acknowledged by my co-workers and they’d respect me in return for sticking to the business, while I’d make witty comments here and there and say something out of the ordinary. “Bam Bam” (like a slapping sound) was the nickname given to me for being the go-getter I was.

I always laugh when I think back of those days. One of my female friends told me that I was intimidating to men since I wouldn’t open up too much. Although, people knew me personally, but I’d never just waste my time and was confident to decline any sort of entertainment that I thought was distracting to my career. I said NO.

With friends and family I’d be very different and would easily pull my guard down. In fact, if you’d known me any better; I always enjoy long, goofy conversations, impulsive adventures and hilarious laughter about nothing and everything. You’d barely find me saying
NO, I’ll be the one pushing everyone to get out of their comfort zone and live life to their fullest. I believe in moderation. One has to balance work, family and fun in a way nobody gets harmed and consideration should be given to everyone, such as our elders or our community.

The one thing that I find myself struggling with is declining favors/services for others.
I love to take care and help as much as I can, but sometimes I push myself to the limits. I wish there was a way for me to be in many places at one time. Saying 'no' in situations like this, when intentionally everything is good and the cause may be good as well, but my mind is not willing to cooperate, is quite hard. I love being selfless, putting others before myself, even if it requires sacrifice, I’ll do it. Not just for everyone, but for people and causes I hold dear to my heart. I can’t say

Here's a Flashback to when I was a growing teenager, trying to differentiate the good and bad. Spending a very regular day with my best friend since our days in elementary school:

“Danielle , where are we going?”

“I was thinking we could hang out in the Mall today, Naila”
“Ok, no problem, I said.”

After 20 min. of walking around, she approached a group of guys and girls I wasn’t familiar with and started talking. I stood there, lingering around, not knowing what was going on.

“Hey, I think we should go see that store, I said”

No answer. She was apparently very busy.

“Why did she change so much in High School?” I thought
. One of the punks started to lit up a cigarette, most likely filled with drugs and handed one over to Danielle. She handedly took it over and just as she was about to take one puff, I shockingly reacted: “What are you doing??? Don’t do that!”

Nobody seemed to care. They were enjoying each other’s company. What had happened to her? The girl I knew loved horses and acted in plays. What had gone into her?!
One of the crazy lunatics thought it’d be funny to offer me one. As disappointed I was in her, I looked at the guy with anger building up in me,
I yelled out NO!.. and walked away, never looking back.

The year 2001: Went back to Holland to wrap things up and eventually settle down in California. While I was finishing up on my wish list, I passed by my favorite bakery and couldn’t resist but stop to have one last look at my favorite Dutch apple pie.

I walked inside and was instantly welcomed by the buttery aroma of cake and pastries. While I was waiting for someone to appear at the cash registry, my eyes were fixed on the one cake I loved.
“How can I help you”?
The voice said.
I halfway looked up and finally decided to buy the cake and was ready to indulge.
“Well, I’ll have the apple pie”. As I leaned forward to take out my purse, I caught a glance of the girl behind the counter. When handing over the money, I looked in her eyes. My instincts were telling me it was her, but this girl looked way too old for her age. She looked more of a stressful middle aged woman than her actual 19 years.
That is when I blurted out;
"Danielle! Is that YOU?!"

I couldn’t find the same excitement in her I was looking for and decided to tone it down a bit. I asked her how she was doing, but her responses were as lifeless as she looked. I remember leaving the bakery with a weird feeling. Silently praying for her, the friend I shared such good times with I now discovered withdrawn and somber as if someone sucked it all out of her.
I was sad...feeling so helpless and questioned 'destiny' for pushing me into the bakery, facing her outcome.

If only she could’ve said


Zafar Khan said...

Keep writing more.
Write more, Naila Baji.
I LOVED IT. It was exciting.

Anonymous said...

i enjoyed reading the part about your childhood friend. Its sad how she turned out to be

Anonymous said...


I Love to read very much

Thank you.

Amina Khan said...

You read my mind. It looks like I am reading about myself.
About your childhood friend, its so sad.If she had just said NO. By the way, when you mentioned about the Dutch apple pie, it brought back some good memories.

Ainee said...

They teach you that in school, don't they? Just say NO.

Asides from that, I think it is true that although you see more competitive females these days, we still find ourselves hestitating when we have the chance to invest in a golden opportunity. We still find ourselves considering the emotions and feelings of others and making our decisions based on that, which I think is a sort of a side effect of the female mystique.

Like you, I do not let the boys intimidate me. And what I have found, with my minor experience in high school and whatnot, is that boys tend to respect you in a different sort of way if you do not let people walk all over you, if you go out for what you want and fight to get it. They see you in a different, more admirable light.

You write very well.

Anonymous said...

I like your every post and love to read all the time .God bless on you and always be happy be good aameen.Love you.youre mom .

Anonymous said...

I love your you.

Noori said...

I love smoking. I didnt say no. Smoking is fine as long as you dont smoke in other peoples face. Smoking doesnt make you a bad person.

Anonymous said...

i like ur post very much..we love u very much..

-Rubina and family