When I first saw a meme with the word N0! vember it was meant as an encouragement to say no to things in your life you no longer wanted, a way to take charge of your life, say “no” to toxic relationships, “no” to bad habits, “no” to negative thoughts, you get the idea.
I did a search for November memes & came up with “No nut November”, an allergy awareness thing? Apparently not, it stands for no sex in November! Who knew that was a thing? November is also no gluten awareness month, for the gluten free among us, of which I am one, again who knew?
However, No! vember in 2020 to me brings a whole other set of “No’s.”
It seems ironic that I am writing this on November 5th the date of one of the largest celebrations in British history. Guy Fawkes night, others wise known as bonfire night where for centuries Brits have gathered on this date to celebrate the discovery of the unfortunate Guy Fawkes and his supporters laying gunpowder in the dungeons of the Houses of Parliament in an attempt to blow up and destroy the government.
This was fortunate for the existing government but not so much for Guy Fawkes who ended up being tortured, then hung, drawn and quartered. Not such a great end. I expect he was wishing he had said “no” to such a plan when it first entered his head.
The irony lays in this being the first day of a new month-long lockdown in the UK, so it is “no” to these much-anticipated celebrations. This leads to other no’s no firework sales, no baked potatoes wrapped in foil & placed at the base of the bonfire, no magical sparklers in the hands of young children. No firework accidents, no hospital admissions for nasty firework related burns, so there is perhaps an upside? No “penny for the guy” no smoke hanging in the air, no bonfire related spread of fires. No kids screaming from the fear of loud bangs. No ooh’s and ahh’s as the rockets whoosh into the air with a stream of sparkling lights trailing behind them.
No to family and friends gathering together for whatever reason in this season of Covid 19.
No to going into stores without a mask, no coffee inside by the cozy warm fire with friends, no celebrating my birthday with friends. No to indoor book group and the meals we share together, for this month we will gather around a fire pit until it gets too cold to sit there any longer, so no long conversations around the table.
Some people are saying “No” to science, “no” to masks, “no” to caring about others, “no” to compassion, “no” to decency, “no” to honesty, “no” to respect, “no” to women’s rights, “no” to black lives matter and even “no” to counting every last legal vote.
I am not one of them, I say “No” to Trump, I say “no” to the lies, I say “no” to his arrogance, “no” to the deceit, “no” to his selfishness. “No” to the president. For many this election season it was ‘No” to in person voting instead the humble mail person became the hero. The president said ‘No” to allowing these votes removing ballot boxes in many areas. The people said “no” and drove themselves miles to exercise their right to say “no!” "No" to racism. "No" to fascism. "No" to his wall.
No to jobs, everyday it seems that thousands more are unemployed, no to help from the government, how can people live with no money for home and food. I say “no” to their indecision, I voted “no” this No vember.
No vember this year means no travel, no to carefully made plans, no to teaching yoga in person. No to gyms, no to parties no to the usual Thanksgiving plans.
No to school sports, no to sports in general, no to concerts, no to the theatre, no to movie goers, no to authors for in person book tours, no to pubs and bars, no to restaurants with more than 50% capacity. So, for many it’s no to indoor dining, no to the senior centers opening back up. No to many dreams, no to our vacation in October and “no” to a refund on our flights (even with insurance)
No to buying more than one pack of toilet paper and paper towels, no to my favorite tea bags being in the store, no to bleach, hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes.
But “no” to me is a challenge, a way to rebel, to find a way around, to find another angle, “no” means we need to adapt, to figure it out.
No in person classes, we meet in the Zoom room, no writing group if it wasn’t for Zoom, no work for millions if not for Zoom. A family gathering, games night, cocktail hour, coffee with friends, look to Zoom, FaceTime, What’s App, Messenger and probably more. We can find a way to connect, say “no” to despair, “no” to being alone, “no” to giving up.
No to eating left over Halloween candy, no to the extra ten pounds that have appeared on my body. No to cakes, no to pies, no to that extra glass of wine. No to sitting for hours, no to distractions, no to procrastination.
I am sure there are many more no’s I could write but I can’t go on forever or you guys would never read it, that’s it for now
© Rachel Baer