Thursday, November 20, 2014

My favorite holiday is just one week away. I love Thanksgiving because it's the only holiday when we celebrate those things that sustain us: family, friends, food. It's not about religion or patriotism, costumes or love. It's purely about the bounty of the season. I refuse to see it as a shopping holiday. That's blasphemy.

In the week leading up to Thanksgiving I would like to focus only on laying in and preparing food, making sure everybody who can fit in my dining room knows a place is laid for them at the table, and making a home for my new puppy, Doc.

Life is never that fucking simple.

I will do all of those things, but in the midst of it all, I have a decision to make that's nagging at me like sand in my underwear. A really hard decision. One that will affect me, and one that will affect other people. I have a choice to make, and none of my options are good ones.

I fucking hate that.

I can't write about the situation that brings me to this decision, this choice, although if I did, the decision might be made for me. And that might be a relief, but to do so wouldn't be ethical. But if I choose one direction, I will end up writing about it, and I will post it here. If I choose the opposite, I'll just have to swallow it.

I have a choice to make.

One thing that makes this decision hard is that one choice could be a sacrifice and I'm the lamb. I've had to do that before: in my church, in my homeschool group, teaching at the university (that cost me my job), and in intimate relationships. So many stories. So many swords I've fallen on because I thought I had to do what I thought was right. And here I am again.

Whistle-blowers in the movies become heroes, but in real life, they often find out they're blowing a dog whistle. And the only people who hear the whistle are the top dogs, who are more likely to beat you with a newspaper than to toss you a bone for being all honest and upright and ethical and shit. Other people will simply be annoyed by the subliminal noise and do whatever they can to make it go away. And then life goes on as before, except for the whistle-blower, who finds herself whining outside the pack.

Enough of that metaphor though. It's not the first time I've brought a knife to a gunfight. In fact, that's kind of my MO. How's that working for me, you ask? I've lost friends, I answer, but I know I did the right thing. Was it worth it? you ask. I'm not sure, I say. Some days I'd rather be the person who lets other people take the fall. I'd like to wear the Miss Popularity sash for a minute.

It's also not the first time I've wished I had a mentor, someone whose advice I valued over even my own. And yet, I've never had a mentor in all my many years of life. Lots and lots of wise friends, but never a mentor. It's just not me, I guess, but I wonder what that would be like. I've simply never met anybody I want to put on that pedestal. Not that I don't value the advice of my friends and family, and most of all my kids, but I've never had a mentor, someone to lead me through life.

Maybe what I really miss is having a best friend. How pathetically junior high is that? Or maybe I just need a therapist. Recommendations? Or maybe I need a sponsor. Is there a 12-step program for people who are addicted to fixing what can't be fixed?

Back to the difficult choice .... I seem to find myself in positions like this more often than other people do. And my friends will agree. People expect it now; they wait for me to step in and be the bad guy. And even if they don't know me like that, I must put off the lemon-ammonia scent of someone who will take the bullet for everybody else if they just wait long enough.

Fuck me for being born a red-head, because that's got to be it. That's got to be why I'm fated to walk through these fires. The hardest thing about being a fire-breathing perfectionist is that  nothing is ever perfect, and it's hard to tell what's good enough and what I should walk away from. Either way, I'm going to disappoint somebody -- myself or a lot of other people. Or more likely, everybody.

I've vague-blogged long enough. How do you make hard decisions? Who do you go to for advice? Do you have a mentor? Will you be my mentor? What's your default when you have 3 choices and none of them are good? Why isn't life ever fair?

I wish I could filet this issue and lay it out here on a soggy newspaper for you to examine, but obviously I can't. Depending on which way I swing, I either will blow the whole thing up and write about it here one day soon, inviting more haters to circle .... or I'll slink off and never say another word about it ... unless I write an anonymous letter and post it on a dim, smoky back room bulletin board where nobody will ever read it or even fucking care.


  1. My default when I have too many bad choices is to dither around thinking about it until something happens to force the choice. It's not a particularly good plan, so I don't recommend it.

    1. I have a tendency to do that too. And then I feel like I have no agency in my own life. When none of the options are good ones, it's easier to just sit back and let time make the decision though.

  2. There are so many sentiments in this article that I can identify with, but I was fortunate enough to have a mentor for a brief period, when I really needed one. But in general, my decisions are guided by whether or not I can look my reflection in the eye. I must have some redhead in me too.

    1. Everybody should have a little redhead in them! Seriously though, it sounds like you were lucky to have someone in your life who could guide you. I wouldn't doubt that person is standing beside you when you look in the mirror.

      Thanks for stopping by.