Making choices

You’re making a choice.

I hear those words a lot lately, but I’m not sure I understand them. I’m not sure I know how to make choices. I’m not sure I ever had the chance to.

My mother decided everything for me: what I wore, who I spoke to, when I bathed, what I ate, when I ate, where I worked, what I used, where I went to college, what I bought (really, what she bought with my money), where I went. I never had the opportunity to have choices. My entire life had been chosen for me. I was not a human being; I was a system running my mother’s commands.

And now, in my mother’s absence, I have no idea what I’m doing. In some ways, I feel lost without her. She has done everything for me for 29 years. Who will make my decisions now?

I just want someone to tell me what to do. Tell me what buy. Tell me what to eat. Tell me everything I need to do.

Don’t ask if I am thirsty. Just tell me I need to drink.

Don’t ask if I need a break. Just tell me to stop what I’m doing.

I can’t answer questions, but I can respond to commands. I’ve done that my whole life.

You’re making a choice.

My mother used to say  I had choices. She’d tell other people that, too. She’d tell them that I could have friends, but that I chose not to have any. She’d say I could leave the house at any time, but I chose not to go. She’d tell them I could do whatever I want with my money, and I chose to support her. She wanted people to believe I had choices, but they were never choices. I couldn’t have friends because I couldn’t talk to anyone. I couldn’t leave the house at any time because I didn’t have house keys. I couldn’t keep my money because she would take it.

My mother ruined choice for me. She made me believe for so long that I had choices when I never really had choices at all. Now, I don’t know how to differentiate reality from my mother’s warped sense of reality. Now, every choice I make is complicated, even when it’s supposed to be easy.

You’re making a choice.

It doesn’t feel like a choice. It feels like what I have to do. You say I have the power, but where did it come from? It didn’t fall from the sky. It didn’t arrive in the mail. If I really have power, then that means I always had power. I always had choices.

And once I arrive at that point, my thinking goes to shit. I turn the ability to choose into the need to self-blame. If I am making a choice now, I must have made a choice back then. I must have chosen to be abused. It was my choice to let it happen. It was my choice to keep letting it happen. It was my choice not to tell anymore. It was my choice not to fight back. It was my choice to shut down. It was my choice to self-destruct. It was my choice to stay. It was my choice not to say no.

But were those all really choices, or were they acts of self-preservation?

It’s exactly how my mother wanted me to think. She wanted me to think everything I did was a choice that I made, and not a decision she had imposed on me. My mother wanted me to think that everything was my fault, when the reality was that she was the one to blame.

If I really had choices then, I would not have chosen to be abused. I would not have chosen to be hurt. I would not have chosen to remain in that prison for as long as I did. I would have chosen none of those things.

I did not choose to be abused. My mother chose to abuse me.

I did not choose to be hurt. My mother chose to hurt me.

I did not choose to stay in prison. My mother chose to take away my freedom.

It may have taken me 29 years, but I finally made a choice. I chose to take my freedom back.

And while the initial act may have very well been an act of self-preservation — a choice between living or dying — it isn’t any more. My choices are different now. Complicated, but different. I choose to speak. I choose to feel. I choose to write. I choose to heal. I am choosing to do things I couldn’t do before.

I just wish other choices came so easily, too.

5 thoughts on “Making choices

  1. Wow! I’m so PROUD of you, Crystalie! You made a CHOICE to get through the muck, and you did it!!!!! Bravo!!
    And – what choices face you now that are *more* difficult or complicated than the Base choices you *have* made?
    I would be happy to help – [though I suspect what you need is practice (chocolate or vanilla?), figuring out what KJ likes – and that all you really need for that is determination (I know you have that!) and maybe a little support. I have confidence in you, KJ! Here I am. TS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, TS.

      It’s the small choices that get me the most. I struggle when I am alone and have no one to guide me to a decision. I feel like I need validation to make sure I am making the right choice, because part of me still has that warped view. I often ask my friend if I should eat before I go ahead and eat. I ask if I should go to the store before I go ahead and leave. I’m not always realizing that I don’t need permission. It’s very confusing for me.

      I don’t know what I like, either. I’ve gotten to know some things, but I’m still focused on what I shouldn’t like (because it was something that my mother or father liked) and avoiding those things.

      Like

  2. Oh, How excellent! Crystalie is discovering Crystalie and making herself whom she wants to be!! I think you are making HUGE strides. And … you are re-shaping yourself … what could be better?!!
    Please keep on letting us know how it goes. TS

    Liked by 1 person

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