How My Biggest No Became a Yes

©2023 by Abbie Johnson Taylor


In January of 1988, I was halfway through a six-month internship at a nursing home in Fargo, North Dakota. One day, my supervisor suddenly told me she didn’t think the internship was working and wanted to terminate it. Shocked, I was tempted to tell her I’d be glad to leave her freezing North Dakota town and return to Wyoming, but a quitter I was not.

I thought things were going well, despite my limited eyesight. Figuring this was just a bad day, I suggested she give me another chance, promising I’d try to do better. She reluctantly agreed.

I wondered if my visual impairment had something to do with this, especially since another intern with good eyes had started that week. But I had no concrete evidence of discrimination.

Things went from bad to worse. I started teaching a beginning guitar class for residents and staff. Instead of offering suggestions on my technique when I asked, my supervisor told me I needed to figure it out for myself. I did, but the class was a  flop.

My supervisor found fault with just about everything else I did, even suggesting I consider a different career. Other staff members were also unkind. The only thing that kept me going during those last months was the residents and their family members who enjoyed my music activities.

In April, after completing my internship, I returned to Sheridan, where I’ve lived ever since. I became registered as a music therapist and worked with seniors in nursing homes and other facilities for fifteen years before I started writing full-time in 2005. Despite the prediction of my internship supervisor in Fargo, I was successful. I’m glad I said no to quitting on that fateful day in January of 1988.


The above was inspired by a prompt given on a podcast I recently discovered, Don’t Wait to Write. Writing coach Amber Petty offers five-minute writing exercises. This one was to write for five minutes about your biggest no, a time when you said no in a big way. You can learn more about this podcast here.


Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.

Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

Photo Resize and Description

by Two Pentacles Publishing

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