Pro Choice

We decide how to act and what to do hundreds of times a day.  We decide who to text, call, think about.  We decide who to smile at, be kind to, or ignore.  We decide what to eat, what to drink, or not.  It is EASY to say that we wish for things to be different, but in fact it is only each of us, as the individual in possession of that glorious principle called Free Will, who makes the choices that puts us where we are, right this second.  There is a line in one of my favorite movies of all time, Steel Magnolias, where Julia Roberts character says to her Momma that she would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special…I love that line…mostly because it is really a definitive statement about free will; making a choice to have the life you are in desire of and not necessarily the life that is simple or best.

I have tried in my life, in my past, to be quiet and passive about my feelings, but I learned years ago that for me, it is better to tell or write to a person about how I feel, or what I am thinking, and to be clear, than to do nothing.  The outcome I desire isn’t always achieved by this forthrightness, but at least I know that I have done what I can to express myself, my wants, my wishes, and thus I am making a choice to share my feelings.  Sure, at times they are not reciprocated, or there is a compromise to be had and a balance is found, and other times no balance is found and things end…but to have feelings and choose not to express them, is not me, does not work for me, and simply does not feel good for me.  It is my choice to express myself when I feel things.

I’ve been a bit baffled and perplexed this past year by many of my choices and by many of the choices that others have made.  The last two weeks I have been thinking a lot and to be clear, growing confused, as I am prone to do, about what makes people do or not do what they do.  What guides behavior and human interaction other than free will?  If I call somebody then it means I want to talk to them.  If I visit with somebody it means I want to see them.  If I tell a person how I feel it means I want them to know how I feel.  If I order salad and not a mushroom Swiss burger then it means I want to stick to my points and my better diet.  If I spend money on a new ipod because mine broke it means my music pumping through my house is more important to me than the $245.  My actions & choices are all I can do to try to bring to fruition the life I desire.

A week ago I decided to give up my afternoon coffee habit.  I was a person who used the expression, only half jokingly, that I would walk around with an IV pole and just have a constant flow of coffee, if I could.  But, for some reason, I decided that getting a headache every afternoon at about 2 o’clock and “needing” coffee, was a habit I did not want anymore, so I stopped.  The day I decided to quit smoking I did not say aloud that I was going to try to quit smoking I said aloud that today is the day I will smoke my last cigarette, and I did and it was, it was a habit I did not want anymore, so I stopped.  Free will is an extraordinary thing.

I can complain about wanting to fit into my skinny jeans but if I overeat or don’t stick with my better diet, then the complaint is meaningless because I am choosing otherwise.  Somebody can complain about not having money but if he still buys two packs of cigarettes a day then he is effectively saying that he would rather smoke than have the $5,000 that year.  I can complain that my weeds in the driveway are driving me crazy, but if I choose to play on the computer or write and not pull weeds then I am essentially saying that playing on the computer or writing matters more to me than clearing the driveway.   EVERYTHING is or is not because of how we choose.

I have had a number of situations occur since March that have “shown” me my choices are good and right for me.  That is all that matters; my choices have to work for me and your choices have to work for you.  I have learned so much about who I am, what I want, what I need, who I like to be with, who I don’t, what matters to me and what does not.  I would not know so MANY of these things with SUCH clarity and certainty if I had not made the choices I made that let me experiment with life in such a way that I can determine what is good for me and what is bad for me.  It seems so simple now, to look back and say to myself “oh I should have paid attention to those red flags, I should have followed my gut instincts, I should have let the stories and actions speak to me and not paid attention to the spoken words” …but I did not follow my instincts, I made choices and now I know more about myself.  I learned, by the choices I made this last year, that I actually can live with a person, that I actually don’t love being alone as much as I thought I did, that I am more adaptable than I realized about some things and less adaptable than I realized about others…by making the choices I did make, I learned.  Next time I will do better, or not, but I understand more about myself than I did this time last year, and I will understand more about myself tomorrow than I do this morning.  The choices we make every time we decide are what shapes us, constantly alters our state of being on this planet in this universe at this moment.  Becoming a better version of me, a little bit more with every choice I make…yes I am pro-choice.

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