The Power to Choose

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A Native American Legend

An old man took his grandson to the top of a mountain to look at the valley down below. In a clearing they saw two wolves fighting viciously. The old man pointed to the wolves and told his grandson, “This is what life is like. We constantly have two wolves battling one another. One wolf represents anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, ego and all the negative emotions that brings us down. The other wolf represents love, compassion, hope, joy, peace, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, faith and all the emotions that serve us.

The little boy looked at the wolves fighting and turned to his grandfather, “Which is the wolf that wins?”

The old man smiled and said, “The one that you feed.”

I’m such an emotional person. I feel I’m sometimes at the mercy of my feelings. When I’m upset,  I let the bad wolf win; the whole world turns upside down and I feel completely helpless. I let the negative emotions destroy me, instead of letting the positive ones strengthen and uplift me.

I don’t think I can ever completely stop feeling this way. This is how I’m made, who I am, and I have to embrace that. But today the two wolves in the legend fill me with hope. No matter what life throws at me, I have is control over how I react in those vulnerable moments. No matter what, I’ll always have the power to choose.

One Day, One Year

one_dayAnd just like clockwork, Cristern stayed true to his promise: He texted me on the eve of the 1 year anniversary of when we broke up. He was texting to ask if we could meet. Some context: Around this time last year, I had become obsessed with the book and film, One Day. The novel tells the story of two main characters who fall in and out of love throughout the years; through marriage, divorce, children, the two remain friends and stay in touch. And no matter where they were in their respective lives, married, single, on the other side of the world, or right across town, they made a pact that once a year on July 15th, they would somehow get together and meet. September 27th was me and Cristern’s One Day.

The night of my breakup, Cristern made me the very first promise he ever made in our 3.5+ year relationship. He promised that in one year, he would contact me. I believe my reaction to this proposition was, “You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kiddin me. You get romantic on me NOW?’ I asked him what was supposed to happen on this supposed One Day and he said we’d meet and ya know… see how things would go. Bullshit. I wasn’t going to plan my life around a desperation move. This was a ploy so that he could always keep me as an option. Well I certainly refuse to be anyone’s option.

When I received the text, I looked at it for a moment to let it soak in. I was baffled but also not surprised. Baffled, because he still had the audacity to contact me after all the shit he pulled, but also not surprised because he’s been playing the part of a bleeding martyr. To his credit, the text was very nonchalant (or at least trying to be):

“I don’t know if you remember but we wanted to meet up after a year. Well that day is tomorrow. Still wanna meet?”

I have to laugh when I read it. It kinda gives off that hey ya, I’m a cool guy and I totally got this. When in reality, it actually reads more like a coward coming back with his tail between his legs. I felt sorry for him. Clearly, nothing had changed. But I have to give him kudos – how was a text like that supposed to read without sounding too desperate? I don’t even know how I would begin to write something like that. Oh wait, I would NEVER do that because I don’t believe in tethering someone to such a stupid and selfish promise.

When we initially broke up, and then when I got together with David, there was always a part of me that said I would meet up with him. Mostly, just to be kind and get my books back. But then I took a step back and thought long and hard about the real function of that day. That day was for him- not me.  It was a status check to evaluate whether or not I was dateable in his eyes. It was to see if I had changed and had gotten better.

Sorry buddy, I’m still the same- and I kinda like it that way.

I am of course human and do feel bad about not replying. But really, who would I be helping if I did that? He needs to move on and no one can help him on that journey. He has to own it and want it.

I believe in prayer and believe that any good thought is like energy and it can travel anywhere and reach the person you’re praying for. That night before I went to bed, I prayed to him and for him: “I hope you forgive me, like I forgive you.”

There is nothing left to say after that. Maybe one day he’ll understand.