We make so many decisions every day.
Yesterday, I could have decided to stay home since no one else would be at work and no one would ever know if I didn’t go. But of course I decided to go.
After I got home, I decided to paint my nails and then decided to be too impatient to let them dry properly before touching things so that the effort was a complete waste. Next, I decided which of the 2 mascaras I bought months ago specifically for that night I was going to wear. Then, I decided to bring leg warmers for later in the night but forgot my gloves (I didn’t consciously decide this, because that would be stupid, but I apparently did decide it).
At midnight, I decided to kiss the tall bartender who was probably 23 because he was sweet and I could. When I left Brooklyn, I decided to take the subway back to Queens, which took an hour. Over the course of the train ride, I had to go to the bathroom, but because I didn’t want to wait for the next train to come 20-30 minutes later, I decided not to get off at Grand Central where I knew there were restrooms. Instead, I decided to hold it until I physically could no longer, at which point I decided to get off the train at a random stop in Astoria where everything was abandoned at 3:45am.
When I decided to approach the first place with lights on claiming to be a sports bar, I thought it was a good decision. I really didn’t feel like peeing my pants after I had made it all this way. It was cold. It might freeze on my legs. Frozen pee wasn’t something I wanted to deal with.
Unfortunately, the people who were in charge of the building decided to tell me I couldn’t come in, and that it wasn’t a bar. The way they said it implied, “What are you doing here, crazy lady? You had better leave right this second before we force you to leave because you are drawing attention to us and you clearly don’t understand what we mean when we say, ‘No, this isn’t a bar even though it says it is.'”
Then, the people at the next place I approached decided to have reluctant pity on me. After I begged them to let me pee, they decided to give me a more thorough pat-down than I’ve ever received at the airport. They decided to have a woman personally escort me to the restroom and wait until I was finished to escort me back upstairs. I decided not to look around too much because I didn’t want to gain any information that might later be useful to anyone.
I decided to walk back to my apartment from there because the next train wouldn’t come for a half hour.
And while I was walking through an area that could have passed for the scene of many a shootout/mob meeting/rape/mugging/zombie attack, I mean, sure, I was crying a little because it was 4am and I was legitimately scared, and everybody knows the best way to disarm a threat is to show you’re vulnerable (I’m sure I read that somewhere). I was also trying to decide if there was anyone I could call at that moment so I wouldn’t feel so alone.
I decided that there wasn’t. Yes, there was my family, who would probably answer the phone and, if they did, would definitely talk to me, but your mother is not the one you call when you honestly worry you might be killed on New Year’s Day. I couldn’t think of anyone who would be awake at 4am on the East Coast, no one on the West Coast I was close enough with who would appreciate a 1am call. No friends I wanted to burden with an early morning wake-up.
Then, I made a decision to feel bad about this. Which I realized, even at the time, was silly. So I didn’t have someone of the male gender who would have–well, first of all, prevented me from ever ending up in that situation to start with, but secondly–been there for me no matter what in a way that only someone who loves you unequivocally and unconditionally can. So?
As I continued my long walk, I decided that even though this year has been amazing for getting me to actually like myself, even though I am generally happy with where I am and what I am and who I am, I was somehow unfulfilled because I didn’t have that one person who would be by my side in a bad area.
By the time I emerged into the well-lit, bustling-even-at-4am neighborhood I was familiar with, I had already decided to stop feeling bad about something that I can’t control. So I did.
And that, my friends, in case you missed it when I talked about it in earlier posts, is the most important thing I finally grew to comprehend this year: every decision simply leads to another one. You just keep making decisions, and they will keep leading to other ones. If you aren’t happy with one, you don’t regret it, you don’t dwell on it, you don’t marinate in it and let it seep into your skin until it consumes you. You make another one. And another. Until you make one that leaves you dead. And each one is an incredible opportunity, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
Like the one I just made to end this post with such a ridiculous amount of sap. Eat up, optimists. I made this decision for you.