We didn’t all grow up with the affirmation of our power to make choices. Some of us, including myself, didn’t have choice surrounding the most basic things such as keeping our bodies as our own. For many of us the freedom to choose was, and maybe still is, an abstract thing. It was a freedom we watched in other people from afar with an aching longing located somewhere in our bodies rising up like birds daring to fly. Knowing this elusive power of choice wasn’t meant for us we swatted the birds back down until the longing dissipated and disappeared. We surrendered ourselves to the dull ache until we learned how to live in it fully.
“We stopped soaring like eagles and believed us to be crows.”
When we forget our power to choose and create our lives we end up in a life where we feel trapped. The walls of our homes, workplaces, and invisible self-made boundaries of our lives begin to feel suffocating. We force ourselves into a state of forgetfulness in order to survive.
We have to forget our dreams.
We have to forget our potential.
We have to forget our desire to see the world.
We have to forget we wanted a healthy and real love.
We have to forget our freedom.
The birds inside of us dare to rise up less and less and the dreams that propelled us rarely make themselves known. We enter into zombie states of numbing. It is easier to forget things rather than to live with the truth that we never tried to pursue them. When they do rise up we attribute their non-existence to something outside of ourselves.
It was never the right time.
No one ever supported me.
I’m not smart enough.
I didn’t have the money to pursue it.
It is easer to blame something outside of ourselves rather than to assume accountability for our adult lives. It is easier, but it isn’t the truth. I say this as a woman who has lived in an alcoholic home, has been an alcoholic addict, has experienced sexual abuse and violence, and is a single mom. I spent a lot of time blaming other people and circumstances outside of myself for my problems. For me, this was rooted in my absence of choice as a child. It took me a long time to understand that as an adult I have choice. It took me an even longer time to understand that healthy empowering choice didn’t mean doing whatever I wanted in the moment just because I could. Once I got sober and could no longer reach for cocaine and tequila I began to reach for pizzas, online shopping, and men with pretty eyes. I finally had sober conscious choice and I was still walking around impulsively reaching for things simply because I could.
I would get to a place once or twice a year where I felt so emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally battered that I would shut down everything. I would cut off people and go into an “all or nothing” mode. I forced myself into physical eating regimens that would stop a month later. I would detox from everything and pick myself back up again when things felt out of control…. And then I would repeat the cycle.
This is when my counsellor at the time told me, “Darling, you didn’t have choice before as a child. Now you do. The trick is to tell yourself you want to make healthy choices that empower you. It is not a denial of your freedom to make choices, it is choosing something better that is in align with what you want”.
An angel choir group started singing in the background, my aura exploded, and I became a child of choice. When I look at my healing and sobriety journey I realized that it has been achieved so far by a series of small choices.
I chose to go to ceremony.
I chose to lay it all out on the table with a psychiatrist and be brave.
I chose to admit I hated myself and felt like I was a bad person.
I chose to love myself.
I chose to call someone when I created a plan to get drunk and high.
I chose to pay attention to my wellness.
I chose to go to the water to pray.
I chose to feel the emotions instead of ignore them.
I chose to be grateful for the small things when life was hard.
Each day I make choices that scare me and I have the audacity to believe in myself. It isn’t that I don’t have a small gnawing voice that whispers, “what if you fail”, because I do. I learned how to turn down the suck knob and turn up the belief in myself. My choice is a refusal to go backwards. I step out in faith every day knowing that Creator has my back out here.
I am here to say, have the audacity to choose your life. Be brave enough to go after your dreams. Be daring enough to fail – because there will always be bumps in the road – and then to rise again. Build up your ability to choose like a muscle and no longer accept someone or something else making your choices for you. You are a divine being on this earth for a reason. Don’t settle for the life of longing or pain. Remember just who the fuck you are and rise.