On Making Choices

There’s a German word for it, but I can’t think of the term as the moment. It’s a word that means wistfulness. Nostalgia. Pain for the miscarried moments in our lives, the moments that were supposed to be ours but died when our paths diverged. Mourning what might have been, and what never was.

I’m a woman of bold choices. When faced with two paths, I always chose the one that was darker, more thorny, more ramshackle, more interesting. Somewhere along the way, I stopped choosing those paths, and they started choosing me instead.

I don’t know when I wandered so far into the thicket of abnormality that there was no way out, but it seems that I’ve been swallowed whole by strangeness. I’ve playacted at normalcy- I’ve made dinner for friends, played board games, parented. It’s a role I play, sometimes.

That wistfulness I speak of- it hits me when I’m up late, and my mind is racing with all the things I could have done with my life by now. I’m happy, but I’m panicking. I feel like I’ve never lived up to my potential. I feel like I’m not doing it now. I wouldn’t know where to start. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in the little responsibility I have. I get overwhelmed.

It’s taboo to say that if you had the opportunity to go back and change your life, that you would. We’re all supposed to be happy with our station in life, be complacent and content or at least work harder to change where we are. And I’m doing that, I am, but it’s too late to change some things. I’m never getting out of this forest.

I’d go back in a heartbeat- I’d take the sunnier, more normal path. I have such a lifelong, intimate relationship with pain that I’ve grown around it. It’s part of me now, like a tree that grows around a bicycle. My trauma is part of my core. I’ve learned to use my failings to my advantage, or at the very least, work around them.

I’ve heard people say that trauma makes you better, stronger, builds character. Well, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t. It just builds scar tissue. If anything, it just makes you feel things less. Not that that’s always a bad thing. I’m a creature of passion who desperately wants to be a creature of reason. I could do with a little less feeling.

I’ve always made excuses for making the choices I have, and while I’ve gotten good at justifying them, the truth of the matter is that I really only make them because I’m drawn to situations that might feed my demons.

I lead an interesting life. My choices have taken me places I would never expect. I’ve crammed more life experience in my 34 years than most people do in their entire lives. And overall, it’s worked out alright for me thus far.

But I’m wistful for that normalcy I was never able to birth in my life.

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