A Fling and a Choice

I have two stepbrothers (not the Fling part of the title - ew). It’s weird to refer to them as that, though, because not only did my father remarry when I was in my early twenties – long past the “step” situation, but I haven’t seen the younger one in over 10 years nor the older in even more years.

The younger one, Allen, was eight years old when his parents divorced and a year younger when his mother snagged my father. They married by the time he was nine, I believe.

I was busy with my own life, so I barely knew him, but when we did see each other as adults, I thought he was hilarious. He could particularly tell the funniest stories about his mother (she was a little, how...do...we...say...this...delicately - COLD). I think about this one often:

When his father moved out, his brother was a troubled 16-year-old and away at an alternative school (similar to military but without the uniforms and haircuts), so it was just he and his mom alone for the first time (well, there was my father, but that’s not part of this story).

And Allen missed his father something awful. He cried and cried for weeks. He started wetting the bed and throwing up and screaming in his sleep. He tried more than once to run away and walk to his father’s new apartment.

“One night, she was helping me wash my hair in the tub. Maternal, right? But, I remember starting to cry. It built up and I started screaming my father’s name out, like I did almost every night. I could get a little dramatic and I put my hands on the sides of the tub, threw my head to the Heavens and cried, “Oh, Daddy, I miss you so! Come back, Daddy! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssseeeee, God, let Daddy come back to me. Ohhhh, Dadddyyyyyy, I love you so!! I need you, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!!””

“Well, Mom had had it, apparently. She threw the rinse cup in the water , grabbed my cheeks, and looking me in the eyes with her face inches from mine, told me, “ALLEN. You have to make a choice. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be miserable.””

I laugh now because I can see his expression while telling this and how dumbfounded he was at being nine years old and told to make a decision about being happy.

But, here’s the irony: she was 100% right. Maybe not for a kid in miserable divorce angst with a mommy mysteriously not so much (remember, dating my father), but happiness is definitely a choice. It requires effort, even work, sometimes. Some folks are naturally happy, but they still have to decide to do what keeps them happy.

This all brings me to my second day of my May Fling. I’ve made a choice not to procrastinate anymore and do what I know makes me happiest, but it’s not enough to make this choice once. I have to remember to choose it in faith every day. You’d think a person would naturally turn towards the flow of happiness, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

What I’m doing so far:

  • Falling back on 31 writing prompts which I wrote and are related to what I’m struggling with on my project.
  • Writing for 15 minutes first thing in the morning. No less, no more, no skipping, no cheating.
  • Spending 10 minutes meditating on nothing. (This is so hard. I end up thinking about paint and dust and eyelashes and Eggs Benedict.)
  • Taking buttercup, gentian, and iris flower essences four times each day to overcome self-doubt, perceived disappointment, sense of failure, and limitation.
  • Using my visualization board and marking my steps on a calendar.
  • Communicating with a support group and friends about the process.

I must say the sun helps a lot (Indiana has had the rainiest April in 45 years). No wonder the people in California seem so happy. Well, sun and the medical marijuana.