Other than French (my major), Logic was my favorite class in college. Mental illness and an illogical life were the norm for me, although I wasn’t really aware of what was wrong, or why I never felt quite right. Logic made sense – if/then. It was comfortable, no gray areas. But real life isn’t like that, is it? Choices are made, most of the time without being able to be 100% certain that it will have the “correct” outcome. Should they be considered bad or good? Right or wrong? Should judgments be passed when looking back over life? Some choices are obviously bad…robbing a bank is bad, taking heroin is bad, etc. But what about the ones that are not so obvious?
This poor little girl was clueless, which is a good thing for that age. Look how happy she is, she has her whole life ahead of her. At that time she probably thought the world was amazingly wonderful. That was me, I don’t remember how I felt. Actually, I don’t remember much about my childhood. Come to think of it, my memory’s pretty much shot about most of my life…except the crap. Why is it the crap stays embedded in our brains?
Sometimes what-if-I-didn’t… or what-if-I-did… creeps into my brain. It’s a hard game to play, because no matter at what point in my life I start, I keep going backwards because of “then…” and I end up with would it have been better if I hadn’t been born? Well, no because then I wouldn’t have grandchildren, then I wouldn’t have an amazing husband, then…
There was a time in my life when I didn’t consider the future, or think about the past. When I was married, I assumed I’d never live long enough to see my daughters grow up. The time frame eludes me, but I distinctly remember knowing with certainty that I would die soon…either by my own hand or his. Again, there was a problem with my type of logic. My if/then was wrong. Somehow I found the strength to escape, but then what? That particular choice (to leave) was the correct one, but it had consequences and those consequences can then lead to more if/then questions, and it becomes a never ending cycle.
- What if I never met the man to whom I am now married? Would he be happier? Living with me is no walk in the park. (He would tell you he wouldn’t give me up)
- What if I never had kids? They had a very difficult, sometimes horrific life. They still each have their own struggles. But then I wouldn’t have them in my life, or grandchildren.
- What if I never married their father? I am a stronger, more empathetic woman today because of that experience, but I have PTSD.
- What if I didn’t divorce my first husband? He was the kindest man I knew at the time, I wasn’t ready for kindness. Would it have caused more pain to him if we stayed together? He certainly wanted to, but I didn’t want to put him through hell any longer.
- What if my first suicide attempt was successful? End of story, no more struggle. But then we come full circle back to now…no beautiful grandchildren, no amazing husband.
- What if I graduated from college? No clue, can’t imagine being able to do that as fucked up as I was.
- What if excelling in school made a difference? What if my parents showed/told me they were proud of me? What if they showed/told me they loved me…ever? Maybe they did, I don’t remember.
What if I didn’t make so many awful choices throughout my life? What would have changed? Would things have been better? There’s no way to know. I abhor playing this what if game, there are no rules, and I never win. It really should be left on the shelf, or thrown in the trash, but I can’t help it. Late at night when I can’t sleep, I take this stupid game off the shelf and play for hours. My choices haunt me.