There are a lot of choices that I made in my life that have turned me into the person I am. It's not often that I think about what would have happened if I'd made a different choice, but I will explore a few of these as I deconstruct my life for this LJ Idol post.I hope you've enjoyed reading this. If anyone is interested in me doing so, I'll post a link to the poll when it comes up. I'm not sure how many readers from here have LJ accounts but are are not on my friendslist there. If you think you'd be interested in knowing when the polls are posted, let me know and I will post links here.
My first choice was at the ripe young age of 15. My parents had separated several years earlier, and my mom and I couldn't see eye to eye on anything. I was miserable in the tiny town of Downsville, thought my mother was an evil ogre who only lived to make my life miserable and was a laughing stock of my school, being made fun of both behind my back and to my face on a daily basis. I wanted to leave and I had the option to go live with my Dad. I think it was a mutual decision on the part of my mother and myself, because neither of us was happy with the situation.
But thinking back on it, I wonder what would have happened to me had I stayed in New York. Downsville is a very small town with a population of around 1,100 people. The school was kindergarten through twelfth grade with each graduating class averaging between 25 and 30 kids. It had all the problems that a small school did - everyone knew everyone else's business, you were either in or you were out, it was so much easier to discriminate against kids because of brains (which I had too much of), money (which I didn't have enough of) or weight (which was something else I had too much of). I would have graduated valedictorian in my class rather than 41st, and I probably would have gone to a college in New York. I wouldn't have made any of the friends in either Venice High School or Florida Southern College, many of whom helped me feel better about myself. And I wouldn't have gone to Rocky Horror and met Jay, which lead me to meet Tom and stay with him for seven years. I don't know if my self esteem would have taken the beating that it had, which would have lead to me being able to pull myself up again. It is more likely that I would have either met someone at the college I chose in New York or found someone in Downsville and, like my sister, chosen to settle down in that area. Or I may not have found anyone. Who is to say, other than my path would have been different.
The next big choice was college, but I have a hard time deconstructing that because I only applied to one college and it was the one I got into. Maybe I should have tried to apply to other schools. If I had, I may have chosen a different path and my life would have been different, but it's difficult to say exactly what path that would have been since I don't even have any other colleges on my radar.
I have a difficult time deciding which the next breaking point would have been. Was it when I decided not to follow the education route and stick to strictly math with a minor in theater? Or was it when I started dating Tom? If I'd stayed with math education, I may have actually finished my degree and would be teaching now. But it's difficult to say because I still may not have my degree. I'm honestly not sure how much that would have changed things.
But Tom... he was a big fork in my life. Many forks, actually. I broke up with Jay to start dating him. And while Jay admitted that he was hoping I'd find someone else in college, even he could see from the beginning that Tom was not right for me. (And thankfully, Jay and I remained friends and still keep in touch to this day.) If I hadn't started dating Tom, I would have been saved seven years of heartache. I don't know if I would have fallen as far down emotionally, or gotten as suicidal, as I did by being with him. And I could have chosen a different path each time we got into a fight, at any of the break ups or, most importantly, when he married someone else. Yet I stayed. If I had left, I would have met someone else, possibly gone through other heartaches (since I seemed to have a penchant for falling in love with the guys that treated me like crap). Would I have gotten onto the internet in the mid 90s? Would I have gotten onto the Sci-Fi Channel's Message Boards and met Chris and Ed? Would I have moved to New York to be with Ed after things ended with Tom? Would I have gotten onto the SDMB and made friends through them? Would I have met Rich? Probably not.
There are so many paths that I could have taken, so many different ways that my life could have turned out. Would it have better than my life is now? Would it have been worse? I can't say. But I do know that it would not be the life that I'm living now. I would not have the husband who does what he can to make sure I can stay home with our boys day after day. I would not have Teddy and Peter, so alike and yet so different, alternately filling me with joy and frustrating me beyond belief. I would not know just how low I can be brought and how far I can pull myself up. I would not be the Amber that you see before you.
So, even with the mistakes that I have made in my life, the people that I've inadvertently hurt, the paths that I walked blindly, I'm glad that I've made the choices that I've made. Because I'm happy with who I am and what I have in my life. I may want more sometimes, but only of the material things. Because the paths I've taken have given me the best of everything else.
10 November 2010
This week's LJ Idol entry - The Life I've Lived
As I believe I mentioned before, I'm in this "season" of LJ Idol. (The seasons run from whenever they start to whenever they end - we never know before hand because we never know how many people will be involved.) I don't think I've posted or linked to my previous entries, but if you want to read them, they're here (week 0, an introduction) and here (week 1, about dragons). This is the second official week, and the topic is deconstruction. So this is what I've passed along.