Same shit…different year.
I was about to post another “It’s Always Something” rant. However, this week I also did some housecleaning on my blog, reading through my thoughts at various moments through last year and judiciously deleting the unnecessary. Man, I’ve sure done more bitching than I care to display!
So….what now? Somehow, I don’t feel like my ‘digital penmanship’ is entertaining enough for everyone (anyone) to want to keep reading that crap. Besides, when I started this blog, I really had hoped I could use it as a medium to display my work. Truth be told, I really relish the presentation of a product. Despite my flurry of emotions when my product is less than impressive, I still enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and (am I vain for saying so?) I really love the empowerment of people recognizing my work. The most casual compliment makes me feel valuable and, I don’t know, true. Like I’m not just some schmuck with big ideas and a bigger mouth, like I actually go forth with my claims.
That post, which I may or may not just delete, sort of followed my rambling thoughts to the heart of it all: Choices and circumstances.
We all understand choice, at least we think we do. Maybe industrialization has numbed our minds with the constant need to make decisions, such that we are either complacent or exhausted by time the big ones come around. Either way, our minds do their best to process the inputs of our senses across the record of known outcomes with each option.
I admit I’m not a fucking people person. Yet, in many instances, I’m embraced and cheered on. Pushed into leadership, even. It’s all well and good when I get to enjoy leading people who are naturally dedicated to the objective. When it comes to those difficult type people, however, all the worst sides of me come out. What really blows my mind is when those difficult people present their emotional plea and label me a bully.
Well, before I chase that rabbit too far, let’s crack this choice nut. I suppose we don’t have a lot of choice in waking up or falling asleep. Everything between that, though, requires a conscious decision. I have to choose to even so much as get out of bed after waking. Even though water, food, shelter, etc. are all necessities to survive, taking them in is a choice. I know that’s getting morose, but I have to bring this to attention: survival –sustaining your life– is a choice!
So, that’s the long and short of it. Just like every last theorem in mathematics is rooted in addition and subtraction, every last choice we make is ultimately for the sake of survival. Can I live with charcoal gray, or do I absolutely have to have black? Can we shoot a rocket to the moon by lots and lots of addition or are we isolated to this terra-firma from which we came? It’s the same question, with different content.
Choice. We can choose charcoal gray or black, and I think there’s a realization to face that the consequences of either are miniscule in comparison to the consequences of making the purchase at all. The choice to shoot a manned craft to the moon? There are a plethora of known risks and consequences, but ultimately it does boil down to survival. Most humans are prone to want to continue living and surviving as comfortably as possible.
Choosing can be overwhelming. I get that. Consequences of our choices is more to the point of this lengthy post. What do we do when our decision has been made and it’s not in line with expectations? I have to put that in bold, and maybe even repeat it. What do we do, how do we react, what subsequent decisions do we make, when the effects of our initial decision are undesirable, distasteful, or unpopular?
Consequences. Are you wondering if I lost track and rambled onto this instead of circumstance? I didn’t, and here’s the punchline: people, especially those fucking difficult people, love to confuscate consequence with circumstance.
Let me make this perfectly clear, and I will even quote it just to be sure, consequence is a result of choice. Oxford and Webster pretty much say the same thing, but I love vocabulary.com for their bold and direct definition.
A consequence comes after, or as a result of something you do.
…Something you do. Rather, a choice you make. Doing implies action, but inaction clearly brings consequence, as well. It’s an effect of reactions set into motion by you, that you later find to be undesirable.
I guess that about draws the line between circumstance and consequence, but I’m not hopping off my soapbox yet! Circumstances are what they are. They describe our environment, implying a one-way relationship to those in it. As before, I turn to the authorities on meaning, and I easily spot my supporting documentation at dictionary.com .
A condition, detail, part, or attribute, with respect to time, place, manner,agent, etc., that accompanies, determines, or modifies a fact or event; a modifying or influencing factor:
Fact is the root word here. Another source said it exactly as something environmental, inherent, and outside your control. Absolutely no choice you make will negate the outcome that circumstances induce. Sure, there’s a spectrum here. You can certainly do the best you can in every situation.
If I was handy with memes, I’d insert one of Bert from Tremors 2. Stupid movie, classic scene, I’m only sort of surprised I had to look so hard for it.
However, as I’m backing myself up, I stumble on the real issue. Those same authorities I called on also define circumstance as:
One’s state of financial or material welfare.
Disclaimer: I hate politics and I entirely disapprove of America’s current disgrace of a president. However, I have to really challenge this definition following the lines of a quite unpopular statement made by him.
Is poverty really a circumstance, or is it a consequence of choice??
I grew up poor. I worked. At the tender age of 10, I held my first 40 hour per week job. I didn’t have a lot of choice, but I did have one. If I were another child, I would have chosen to fuck around all day at best, or be a screaming, fussing nightmare for all involved at worst. I didn’t want to not have things, and I sure as hell didn’t want to be homeless, so I chose to be a good lad and work diligently. But, as my boss and parents were aligned in this scheme to provide some sort of slush fund, I still grew up in poverty. Emancipation was kept a secret from me until it was too late, else I damn sure would have just paid my own fucking rent, thank you very much!
I signed a dotted line in the middle of a war. Not a single faculty member could understand why a perennial honor roll student would willingly step into harm’s way. Probably because not a soul was aware that my parents put a roadblock in my future by lying on their taxes. Every university I applied for wanted me, but without filing a FAFSA, my options were this: get shot at and maybe dead for a chance at a future or continue to pay for my parents’ livelihood at the cost of my own life… I mean, I had a fucking choice, didn’t I? My options were absolute shit, but I did what I could with what I had. The career counselor looked down on me, and my service commitment wasn’t even announced upon graduation, unlike my fellow reserve-ees. They said I couldn’t get an education in the Corps, and I came out with an Associates. Doing what I can with what I got.
I made my choice. I could hardly be happier about any choice in my life, because from that point on, I no longer suffered in poverty.
Until the last few years. The state is beating me up for overdue child support. My car got repossessed. I have a stack of 72-hour notices and an eviction on record to boot. I haven’t paid student loans, credit card, vehicle insurance, or even daycare for almost half a year. Rent is coming up hard and fast, and I expect to have all of $400 to throw at it.
I have made choices. All these years, I have been making choices. These choices have led me here, and now what? I’m suffering the consequences, and my child, along with another’s, are suffering the circumstances. This woman and I are stressed with the consequences of our choices, and our children are living with the circumstances.
Coming into the new year, I cannot just continue to do the same damn thing, hoping for a different result. I’m not incarcerated or confined. I’m not living out in the boonies, and I’m not without a means to communicate. I have options, which means I have choices. I guess the ultimate point of this is that I have some foresight as to the consequences of my choices, and the range of outcomes possible in my circumstances.
Stupid is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Defiant is making the same detrimental choices and blaming everything but your own choices for the consequences. Circumstances are nothing more than conditions actually outside your control that you should be considering when making a choice.
Now, about that rabbit. If I’m relied on to make positive outcome decisions for the benefit of all parties, and I am met with defiance or inaction, does my frustration really make me a bully? If things are going really bad for everyone, and it’s another’s choices driving it, am I really a bully for trying to set them on the right path? For fuck’s sake, I stress so much over how to approach every situation with courtesy and finesse, I really can’t make the connection between my efforts and bullying. But, isn’t it just fucking peculiar that every last person who places that label on me is absolutely devastated when I leave them? Hmm, I thought a bully was a person you don’t want around because of the conflict they bring? I’m not being a bully, I’m just making the tough choices nobody else wants to face. Sometimes, that choice is walking away from the fucking difficult people in my life. Don’t hate me for having to live with the consequence of my absence after choosing to be difficult!