The history of my life so far can be divided with a linear, black, textured smudge on a smooth white surface as big or as small as you can imagine. On one side is my conscious life – the life I am currently living. The side I am currently on. On the other, is my childhood; a caged experience where I learned how to harness the energy that would spring me to life. Where I lived to learn that it was me who was in charge of my choices. Where I learned, by watching others, that my choices have the profound power to affect the lives of others – to alter them forever.
Each side is not exclusive to the other. I assure you, there are holes and gaps that bend and bleed and let in the white.
A lot of my childhood was chosen for me. I think this is common, given that, in our childhood, we are babies, toddlers, children, teens, and sometimes even adults that need to be taught. I have spent many years of my conscious life trying to process the choices made during my childhood. I do this by acknowledging them and working at accepting them. This is difficult because I do not understand many of the whys behind these choices, and I want to, but people are complicated and messy and full of muck – good and bad. My choice to want to process and acknowledge is not always met with helping hands.
For the past few years, I stared across that black line and pushed incessantly for the knowledge and reasoning that might allow me to move on. But that knowledge never came. I asked, and my questions stayed unanswered. I sought advice in books, articles, elements, and friends, but my experiences are my own. My life, my body, my time is my own. No one can decide for me what I can, need, or want to do with my choices.
I imagine many of our journeys include this feeling of wanting to understand why a choice was made. Even the simplicity of knowing whether it was made consciously or unconsciously seems better than no knowledge about it at all. I fantasize of a world where all questions can be answered. Even ones as simple as, “If I had left the house 1 minute later, would I have taken a different route?” and “If my Aunt didn’t die, would my dad love me differently?”
This year I turned 30. If I am lucky enough to live to 90, I can say I’ve completed 1/3 of my life. I am 33% complete. I have closed book 1 of my trilogy. If good things come in 3’s, I’ve got my first good thing.
Any time I’m feeling doubt, feeling fear, feeling less than whole, I’ll think: I’ve got one good thing. I only need one good thing, and that one good thing is incredible.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my one good thing, and how I’m in my second; how I’m creating and living it as you read. If I’m lucky, one day I’ll have two good things. That is magic.
My first good thing got me here, through a series of choices. I meditated on them today: my choice to remain a redhead; my choice to practice Wicca, Buddhism, vegetarianism, and yoga; my choice to use energy and the earth to heal; to consult tarot; to believe I can manifest; to write.
I thought about my choice live a toxin-free life; how because of this choice, in a way, I met my soulmate with whom we choose to make soap, shampoo, lip balm, hand balm, and deodorant in our kitchen. I thought about my choice to carry a reusable mug or forfeit coffee runs if I don’t have it; how I often choose not to purchase vegetables if they aren’t from Ontario, my home province; how I choose my outfits, and how I choose to feel frumpy and dissatisfied about them more often than not.
I thought about how I choose to wake up and get out of bed, and how I choose to subscribe to a system that keeps me working on other peoples ideas instead of my own.
I worked at Home Depot for 3 months during a difficult transitional period 10 years ago (god, it’s been 10 years?) and I walked into the training room to see “You choose your attitude” scrawled on the whiteboard. I was really stubborn about it at the time but it’s true.
This is all well and good, I know, but what about the unconscious choices? Where do they come from?
Where did I learn to choose to neglect my body with food? To skip yoga and meditation and succumb to guilt instead of action? To shut down when I’m confronted by someone else about emotion? To say yes to jealousy? To laugh when it gets serious? To cry – a lot – when it gets hard, or when I feel deep passion for a noun. Where did I learn to choose anger, first, before anything else?
Example: recently, a noun from my childhood who made many decisions for me told me that they believed their actions did not have an affect on those around them. “If you don’t like it,” they said, “then you don’t have to come around.”
I chose to be angry about this. Real angry. I chose, too, to laugh audibly in their face. I chose to feel hatred and resentment and chose to nurture my shock for months, years even. The anger hasn’t left but as time passed, I chose to let my sadness in. I chose to love it, and care for it. I chose to write with it, and I chose to accept it and let it live. My anger has become frustration, but I let it come and go as it pleases. I greet it as best I can when it enters, and try not to let it destroy the place while it visits. I try my best to choose my place in it.
I choose to be an example for both my frustration, and this noun.
As 2017 stumbles to an end, I stare back at that black linear line dividing me from me, and I turn around in wait for a new smudge to appear. But the thing is, I keep waiting for it appear, when I’m the one holding the pencil.
Once I accept that I wield the ability to draw my own lines, I’ll never stop drawing them, smudging them, skipping over them and back again, and wondering why I seek such pleasure in them. I’ll never stop asking questions, and I’ll never stop wishing they could all be answered.
This year I am grateful that I chose to let myself love my one good thing. It may be full of anger and sadness and love and longing, but those are the greatest emotions of all time. This, I choose to believe.