Accepted, Not Avoided

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic


Out of the ordinary? Perhaps, although I don't think I've ever written anything quite like this... Listening to: Born Unto Trouble (RDR)...Inspired By: 8:00 writer's block...Up Next: Unknown?

Submitted: October 06, 2017

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Submitted: October 06, 2017

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Accepted, Not Avoided

 

A commercial once ran on TV, that went something along the lines of, “we live in a pick-and-choose world.” It might have been something relating to life insurance, or a good night’s sleep. Either way, it stuck, and I thought about what it might mean to someone like myself, who is often caught under this condition.

 

My first decision that I can remember was when I was four, and there were two types of candy that I would often see at a store, and had grown quite fond of. I knew I couldn’t get both, but often imagined myself being able to have them at the same time. One was a chocolate bar with caramel, and the other was store-brand sour gummy worms. Needless to say, having both (and likely eating them at the same time) would not have awarded me the satisfaction, as they didn’t pair particularly well together. Still, I saw myself, quite pleased, being able to indulge, and therefore hung onto that notion, and was always quite bitter after I was scolded for crying about not having, “all the sweets!”

 

Once I had been enrolled in elementary school (and had by that time improved my manners), I found myself becoming more independent in my day-to-day activities, thereby making my own choices. Daily questions included, but were not limited to: do I do my fish drawing, or not and hope I don’t get called to present? Should I pick a flower for Jasmine, who is a year younger than me but still quite pretty, or Leilah, who I have a better chance with and like her personality more? Can I convince my parents to allow me to stay home ‘sick,’ or go to school and be all caught up? Do I use the bathroom during recess even though I’m playing, or do I hope I can hold it until lunch (hint: the second one, and I almost didn’t make it)?

 

Most of my youth was spent repeating these same questions to myself, albeit always slightly different depending on context. Oh, and of course, the decisions got more trivial the older I got. The middle school years (a time better remembered in a passing moment rather than a deep thought) brought a new element: consequence. Now that isn’t to say that before there hadn’t been any repercussions to the choices I made, but rather they were temporary, and therefore didn’t have any damaging, or lasting, effects.

 

Now, however, was something entirely different. Blame it on hormones, blame it on the weather, blame it on the president, put the blame on anyone but yourself. If I ever had a time that I could remember only in memories, but not words, these would be the defining years. I wasn’t alone in this feeling, but everyone felt as if they were fighting their own battles, and could look to no one else. The days of youth were gone, and suddenly life choices had to be made, whether they were good for ourselves or not. Of course, these were sometimes out of our control: say, when Aaron lost his father and moved to a new town because his mother couldn’t support them there anymore. Or when Tommy was hit by a car skateboarding, and walked with an awkward limp... and all because he didn’t want to go home high and get grounded.

 

I was always fortunate enough to never have been involved in any catastrophes. That is, any ones I would have to face everyday. I don’t often speak of my relationship during middle school, mostly because it is scoffed and not to have been considered serious or worthwhile. The time spent with her certainly was that, and then some, and I sometimes have a dry laugh about it nowadays. But then… there was the stigma of the time growing up, and the way that, in an almost cliche way, we had supported each other, right up until the very end...that was when we didn’t need each other any more.

 

In my mind, was that a choice made by me? By us? By some other, divine, unseen being? It was a change made because of some reason or another, chief among them being the outgrowing and strip-down of the youth and the innocence. And that was something we could not pick-and-choose. So then, could anything be of such a quality again, where I could one day be able to outgrow the thing I had grown to begin the un-growing (right...what)? There were thoughts like these, and they would persist, even if I couldn’t make sense of them.

 

And so the persisting continued, well into high school, where I find myself now, some years removed from that incident of accidental disillusionment. I had made the choice to go to my nearby public institution, and it is there that I have since remained, all the way from the beginning of Booksie, until the end. There have been more decisions made, all with a carelessness not befitting of someone who is to soon enter the public sphere, thereby relinquishing all grasp on the bloom of yesterday. These, I anticipate, will inevitably be discussed later, as I can remember them in greater detail than that of the candy I was once disposed to, or the homework I was meant to complete, or the gloom of each passing day as I moved further away from a world without decision, without consequence.

 

Do I accept the terms? With the benefit of hindsight, I suppose in one way or another, I always made the ‘right’ decision, as I’ve gotten this far. To say I would have avoided them until recently, though, would not be a lie. Perhaps I have skirted some details, and this is far from the full story, as one might expect from a ‘writer without a cause,’ like myself. There is still a bit of the work that is left unwritten...the only decision I would ask you, the audience, to make is this: do you choose to read on, or abandon the ramblings of a 17-year-old in favor of discovering the truth in your own narrative?

 


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