Thursday, 3 November 2016

I damn well choose.

I get one of those telephone calls which is like a blow to the heart. It contains, at second-hand, carelessnesses and unkindnesses from someone I hoped might be careful and kind. The darts sting into their soft target, so that I can almost hear them as they fly through the air. The poor messenger is awkward and apologetic. I don’t shoot the messenger because I never saw the point of that. ‘Poor you,’ I say, telephone tucked under one ear, kneeling in the mud as I anoint the wound of my little brown mare. I wish, slightly ironically, that my own wounds could be cured with a bit of Manuka honey.

After you lose someone you love, your skin is thin as paper for quite a long time. You look normal on the outside, but you are not normal. You have been stripped of a protective layer and you have no defences. Rather as if you were recuperating from a long illness, you have to give yourself metaphorical beef tea and bed rest.

So I have no defences for this. I feel sad and battered and bruised.

I trudge back from the field, in the rain. In the kitchen, I make soup and voices on the radio talk about Brexit and the high courts. I feel myself falling down the rabbit hole of sadness and regret.

Then I think: you have a choice. I love the power of binary choice. In 77 Ways, I devote an entire chapter to binary choice.

So I tell myself that I can be sad and woeful and doleful and miserable, if I want to. That is absolutely allowed and possibly the correct response. If something sad happens, one should probably feel sad. Or, I tell myself, I can eat my soup and let the thing go and stop being tragic and read Pride and Prejudice for the ninth time. (Jane Austen is like my rock in a stormy sea.)

I choose soup and Austen.

I choose.

I damn well choose.

It’s not quite as simple as that, but it’s nearly as simple as that.


  1. I hold you in my heart dear Tania.
    Val Symonds

  2. You are loved, Tania...and you do have choices. Take heart. Oh, and Honey is nectar is nectar from the gods. Swallow, breathe, be. Xox

  3. It IS that simple AND complicated at the same time.
    Someone (and of course I can't find the source when I want it!) wiser & certainly a lot calmer than me, once said that you can't always control what happens TO you, however, you DO have the choice(s) of how you let it affect you, how you react -- or not, and so on.

    I have to think of "Absolutely Fabulous" & Edina's second husband Marshall's new (New Age) American (of course!) wife who reacts to Edina's nastiness with: "In with anger, out with love." It always cracks me up since I'm more likely to take the low road & flame back.

  4. I suggest watching "Fried Green Tomatoes" - and screaming "TAWANDAAAAAAA!" right along with Kathy Bates. Or maybe "TANIAAAAAAAA!". We're older, and we have more insurance, honey. Rock it.


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