I want to talk about choice.

About how the choices we make are ours, and how those choices affect us, as individuals. Not how they (may, or may not) affect others. But how they affect us. Each of us. Separately.

The other night, in a conversation, I stated how I was feeling rather overwhelmed, how I’d lately found myself reacting in ways I hadn’t in a few years. Of how I’d seemed to have lost my cool, as it were. I’ve found myself feeling edgy, and more tense then I have in some time. I’ve prided myself on having made a transition, a difficult transition, one my therapist and I (amongst others) have admired. There is good reason to admire this transition: it’s not one a lot of people are capable of making, or of even being aware they should make. So, yes, dammit, I’ve been proud of myself.

(A sidenote, a pet peeve, if you will: Unless you actually played a part in some persons forward progress, you should not state, however innocuously, that you are proud of that person. If you played no part, you have no right to any feeling of pride.)

During the conversation, she said she hoped she had not contributed to my current state. I went very quiet for several moments, while I processed this, and marshalled my thoughts. What I then said was, “No, of course not, this has nothing to do with you.” Which is true. It really has nothing to with her, per se. What it has to do with is the choice(s) I have made.

I find it interesting when people are so willing to take on responsibility for what is not theirs. Blame is so easy to apply. And some people are so quick to blame themselves, without even thinking about it. Blame is often applied as easily as paint to a wall: a few quick strokes, and there it is. But it doesn’t work that way. Because what comes into the mix is responsibility. And choice.

If I choose a certain course of action, a certain direction, that choice is mine, and mine alone. I own that. Granted, I am not in control of every aspect of whatever follows, but the initial choice was mine, and I’m good with that. I will be, and always am, cognizant that the initial choice was mine, and that, should I choose, I can walk away. Certainly, there are factors that may come into play, unexpected behaviours or situations that crop up, that I have no control over, and that throw the balance one way or another. But if the choice was mine to begin with, I’m completely comfortable with that, and I will go with that. That is my path. It’s clear to me, and always will be.

But blame is an interesting thing. I rarely lay blame, unless it’s against myself. I’ve been that way since I was a child, and it has held true until now. With some exceptions. Self-awareness is a powerful thing. A freeing thing. It allows you to view the world in a dispassionate, yet wholly compassionate way. And what I’ve come to learn is that I will blame myself now where I deem it appropriate. I’ll beat myself up far quicker, and far worse, than anyone else possibly could. But if it’s not mine to wear, I’ll drape that mantle of blame where it should lay. It’s all about understanding.

For her to think that she had any part to play in the state I now find myself, for her to be ready to blame herself, when the initial choice was mine, to pursue a certain course, made me feel sad. It shouldn’t happen that way. People should be more aware of the spaces they occupy…of where they belong in the hierarchy of importance. And it saddens me when people want to take on what couldn’t possibly be theirs. It makes no sense to me. If I feel, or react in, a certain way, don’t automatically think it’s got anything to do with you. If I have a choice (and I do), I will choose. And that choice is mine. Not yours. My choice has nothing to do with you.

It really is all about me. Not you.