I can judge the level of how well I know someone, and how well they know me, by the things they say about me, to me (and sometimes, not to me). A lot of people think I have it “all together” and I often want to laugh in their face. I don’t, and I really try not to let it look like I do. Anyone who appears to have it “all sorted” is, almost always, faking it.
The thing is, if you think I have it all sorted, it’s only because you have known me in the last few years. Before then, it was a shmeshmortion of failed attempts to pull myself towards myself. I had to learn to make choices, quickly, and stick to them. My 20s was a time of absolute chaos, for a large part of it. I’m not shy about it anymore – it is what it is and it brought me here.
My decision making skills have never been good, but I have had to carve them like wood into me. They are chiseled and sharpened every day, and – perhaps because I (finally) realised that my refusal to make choices led me into a mess – I am driven by them.
But they were not won easily.
At one point, a number of years ago, I had to make a choice that centred around a person. It is still the most difficult choice I’ve ever made. It was the most horrible, elongated and gigantic conversation that I’ve ever had (and guys, I’ve had awful ones). But I will never forget the pinnacle moment where I made this choice, and then had to follow through on it.
Everything that’s happened since then, has been a direct or indirect result of that decision. Some of it was incredibly unexpected, but some of it was very well rehearsed in my mind.
When I get a bout of the sads, my mind sometimes wanders right back to that conversation. It finds it, like one would happen upon a jewel in a scratch patch. Looking back, I remember it as a battle against myself. In my mind’s eye, it still is – it’s just that this Cath, the one who sits here now, is the one that emerged victorious. She was the one that hoped to be released and lifted into a world that was driven by her choices, and not her inabilities.
I try and have this rule, that I ripped straight out of that movie Hope Floats (which, incidentally, I watched about 97 times after making this choice) – “don’t look back, we’re not going that way”. It’s something I absolutely fail at, because I often find a comfort in looking back and seeing how far I’ve come. It also helps me to carve or design the next choices I may need to make.
But today, when I feel insular and like a grumpy monster with a sore paw, I feel like the other Cath – the one I left behind, who hated decisions and rallied against all the new things that were to be invited in, is still sitting on that chair, having that loaded conversation, knowing she finally facing up to make choices. She’s sitting there, having that decision-focused conversation all over again, and she’s stuck there. It never ends, like some sort of badly scratched record that’s set to play, over and over again. That girl isn’t me anymore, and I know it. (side note – thank the stars).
I have zero regrets about beginning to make choices. I harbour absolutely no misgivings about it – I just got to the point where it had to happen. I did what I had to do, and that’s who I am now.
On days like today though, where I’m all screwed up inside, I wonder to myself though, if she’d won that argument… how would life be?
This song was so indelibly tied to that time, so I’m going to let it play, wonder over this for a minute, and then… then I’m going to drink tea and go back to work.
Because my life is not there anymore, and I chose it to be that way.