This is our truth, tell us yours
Life, the frippery removed and the distractions put out of sight behind the metaphorical sofa, boils down to choices. The choices we make, the choices we didn’t make (which are of course choices in themselves) and our attitudes towards both.
Down this road lies a conventional career, the nice house, 2.4 children and a dog. It also of course probably included a nervous breakdown and a blackness only touched upon in the grey moments when the black dog prowls. Outwardly easier, inwardly soul destroying. Down that road lies the radical feminism and political lesbianism which would have probably led to me having a successful career as a writer, and being a small minded, ignorant bigot pushing whorephobia and terf ideology.
Each choice made not only opens up the branches of new opportunities but closes they myriad of of might have beens, often permanently. It is this closure, this denial of the possibilities that can be the hardest thing for many to deal with as they look back over their lives. Its not always easy to even see the moment of choice, which can make the sense of regret even stronger. It can seem as if life simply happened, and without any intention on your part you suddenly ended up in a cul de sac you never intended.
Sometimes when people realise they are in one of these cul de sacs they decide that throwing over all previous decisions is the answer, unable as they are to identify the actual choices that led them to that moment of feeling trapped. The stereotype of the middle aged man growing a pony tail, buying a sports car, and leaving his wife may be a cliche, but its one many have observed. Its often around looking at where someone is, and allowing the regrets to take over. It’s one of the reasons I have little animus for those married men who deal with a lack of sex at home by visiting me or other sex workers. Yes, its not ideal, but without a time machine to change those moments, perhaps unknown, which led to now, they are try to find a solution which does not involve burning down everything in their lives. Which may sound like making excuses to make my choices more acceptable to myself, perhaps it is, but it is also about seeing that others when they are acting with an awareness often do less harm, or at least hope to.
I cannot write about those moments of choice, of life moving from one lane to another, without looking at the opposite to what might be described as self induced arson. Of course it can be harmful to throw everything over because of our past but to refuse to make a choice is also a choice, inaction a form of action. To remain in a situation which causes us pain because we fear the alternatives not only leads to future regrets, but a stagnation of opportunity to actually live. It is the position of so many though, and then the anger, at the life they have chosen is so often pushed outwards. The brexiter, the trump supporter, the drunken men who at this time of year invade our city centers. Middle class apologists trying to hide their own choice to be racist, xenophobic, to other, try to paint these groups as without choice or agency. They do of course face oppression, of various kinds, but you only have to look at their peers who chose not to turn their anger on those with even less than them to know it is a choice. We might be constrained by circumstances, but where we put the anger at how things are is up to us.