Choice. The act of choosing. Selection. An option; a decision. An opportunity to choose or select something.
Not all choices are easy. In fact, some are utterly ridiculous and lead to equally insane life events. Not all choices have a good and a bad. Sometimes they are only good; sometimes they are only bad. But they are ours, as individuals, to make. Black and white do not always exist. I have often swayed between whether our lives are governed by fate and the universe, completely predetermined, or crafted by self determination? I like to think it’s a little of both worlds. I am meant to be here; I believe that I have a purpose. However, I believe that I have the power to change the events on my given path. This is a lesson it’s taken me a long time to learn, but I think I’m finally at the point where I am ready to control my own life.
When you make a choice, you have to be careful in the choosing. There are consequences.
This idea is never more at the forefront than when I am hiking. A couple of weeks ago, I went on a hiking adventure with a good friend of mine. I am ridiculously out of shape, due to my entire summer of teaching, performing, and NOT running. I was gung-ho at the prospect of hiking, but also aware of my level of unfitness. We broke the hike down into quests; our first was to scale a bluff and then search for something called The Stone Elephant. We got out of the car and this was the terrain:
In the city of Boston, there is a sixteen year old girl who was raped at the age of fourteen by a twenty year old man. He was not considering the creation of family, merely the taking of power from a defenseless child. And yet, he is suing her for parental rights to the baby that came as a result of the rape. The court is allowing him to see the child, and tying them together for the next eighteen years. If the ruling stands, she is not allowed to leave the state. She can’t take the child anywhere that he does not know about. She can’t make choices. When she made the choice to keep the pregnancy, she didn’t know what consequences would rain down on her. There was no way.
Keep in mind, we were hiking in the summer, so there was a bit more foliage. (I stole this off Google images.) But the entire hike up to the bluff was straight up just like this segment. It was ridiculous, and I was fairly certain around halfway up that I was going to die. We hadn’t even met the bugs yet. I bitched in my head, I complained about the stretch of the trail, but I kept walking at a pretty good clip and we made it to the top:
This whole adventure sums up my view on life. I chose to keep going on the trail, just like I have chosen to keep going in life and keep fighting for myself. Sometimes, life tells us that we can’t do things such as climbing mountains. But we do them anyway. Sometimes life tells us that we can’t get over something, but we do it anyway. Decisions are made every day that consider all of the factors. Fate and the world around us can not dictate where we go and what we do; this is a job that rests solely on an individual’s shoulders. I control my own life. I make my own decisions. I am not governed by fate, but rather by my own choices.
This past year has been a dumping ground of me struggling to get others to make decisions for me; it is easier to follow (and sometimes blame) the choices of others rather than take a risk and make choices on my own. There was one moment when I went on autopilot; I went to school on time and started walking towards class, but then stopped and hid in the library instead. I found a special section that was all for me in the back of the top floor stacks, and I hid there essentially all day. I only emerged for tutoring appointments. Why, you ask? Because I was trying to make a choice. Sometimes there are decisions that ONLY the person in question can make, where there is not even an option to ask someone else. This was one of those.
I had class that afternoon, a class that I loved and didn’t want to skip. But I was at the end of my rope with school, and life, and everything else. I left the tutoring center after my final appointment and emailed the professor from my phone as I walked. Ridiculous question, but if you have some time before class can I stop up? She replied that she did. My assignments were done, of course. But I couldn’t go to class that day. Even if I did, I wouldn’t be in class. There was really no point. Because I had a choice to make, and I couldn’t think. And I couldn’t ask for help.
I wanted to say that it was someone else’s fault. Anyone else. But no, it was mine. My failure. My disobedience. My screw up. And so this choice was mine, despite fate trying to screw me over. I wanted to say something, tell someone, but I didn’t know how they would react. I wanted someone to tell me what to do, but I knew that nobody would. Or if they did and I followed, would I always wonder if I had made the right choice?
We have to make our own choices.
The justice system does not consider feelings, only black and white pictures. Society does not consider all sides, only the stereotype that is presented. Many people get their kicks out of telling others how wrong their decisions are, without taking the time to consider the ramifications that those decisions would have were they reversed. My choice was really the only choice that weighed in on all the factors. I had already made it by the time I got up the stairs to the English department. I handed her my sheath of homework papers, commiserated for a moment on the horribleness of life, and the proceeded to tell her there was absolutely no way I would be attending class today.
Because I was stuck.
Knowing that I had to do the impossible. Knowing that I would bear the consequences.
Consequence. Something that logically or naturally follows from an action or condition. The relation of a result to its cause.
Sometimes the choice we make is what gets us over the mountain.