Last week was about opportunities, whether you have taken them or not and whether you regret it or not. This week is about choices, and it can be seen as a continuance of last week. Why did you make a choice to take an opportunity or not? Or your choices can be about something totally different. Are there things you have to choose between? Maybe you have to choose between two jobs? Or between places to live? Or maybe it’s not things you have to choose between, but you have to choose between two people? Do you always have to choose between things or can you have both? Share your (sexy) posts about choices.
Most of the choices we make are silly little things that don’t really matter; what should I wear today? Shall I have another coffee? Red car or green? Wine or beer? Little instant decisions but when added up they create our lives. Those choices are the things that give us the building blocks of our lives. Then there are those big decisions, the monumental ones. There are also the ones you think are small but that turn out to be so much bigger than you could ever have imagined. The ones that change your life.
When I was sixteen I knew I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to do three English A Levels and then go on to study American Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. There were only two colleges that offered all three English A Levels, so I made appointments at both and went to speak to the relevant departments. My mum had passed away years before, and my dad had to work late so I ended up going to one of the meetings on my own. The man who met with me made it very clear he hadn’t wanted to take the meeting, he actually told me he had better things to do. I tried to discuss what I was hoping to do, what my plans were, and ask about the courses but I got nowhere. After 20 minutes of this I gave up, thanked him for his time and left. When my dad asked I just told him I didn’t think it would be a good fit.
He came with me for my other interview and it’s the place I ended up taking but I wasn’t doing the subjects I wanted to do. They had convinced my dad that taking three versions of English wouldn’t get me into university, I needed a broader range of subjects. I ended up taking English Literature, Geography, Psychology, and Law. I also hated all of them, except English and ended up dropping out after the first year exams. My dad blamed himself for letting them talk me out of doing what I wanted but it wasn’t his fault. Still I sometimes wonder how things would have been different if I’d made a choice to stand my ground.
Another choice I made that while it wasn’t a small decision but was done spur of the moment, was the choice I made to apply to do an MA. It was three years after my dad died, I’d survived a suicide attempt, split up with a guy I’d fallen for (after finding out he was a lying cheating shit), I’d lost touch with all my ‘family’, and I felt as if my life was stuck. I wanted to feel like I was doing something to change things, something to make the most of the second chance I’d been given. So even though it was really late I applied to do an MA, there were only a few universities offering one in Writing, and I applied to all of them; selecting and editing stories as a portfolio. I was invited for an interview at two of them. One was a university I had always wanted to attend but the other had a better programme. I knew which I should choose, and when they made me an offer I snapped it up. I spent the next month in a tizzy trying to sort financing, and arranging to move.
The MA is currently on hold but that decision was one of the best choices I have made in a very long time. It put me in a position where I have more opportunities with my writing, it made HornyGeekGirl a real possibility at a career, and not just a very enjoyable hobby. It put me in a place where it was easier to meet people, and make connections (and friendships) with some people who are now key people in my life.
Another benefit of that choice is that it got me away from my ‘family’, the people I used to be related to but who I now want nothing to do with. When dad died they just forgot about me, and for a long time that feeling of abandonment ate away at me but my shrink told me that those relatives are just an accident of birth (or marriage), and true family are the people who are there for you, no matter what. And that has nothing to do with blood.
I chose to walk away. I chose to start my life again. I chose to live. I chose to be Cheryl. And Cheryl is a survivor.
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