Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blue or red?

"You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." Morpheus, The Matrix (Movie)

To end it or to hang on, to give or to withhold, to love or not, to wear or to stay without. Ah! To be or not to be. Decisions, decisions! Every day comes with a myriad of decisions to be made. Some we make in a split second, not having to think about it twice. Others, we mull over, dissect and analyze before we even know what it is we are looking for. Sometimes we question our decisions and inadvertently invite THE witch of self-doubt.

I call ‘her’ a witch because when she has you under her spell, it is hard to disentangle yourself. And how dare you doubt yourself? Does anyone know what you need, more than you? What is it they say about the wearer of the shoe? Be careful because chances will be missed and potentials unexploited thanks to self doubt!

As humans, we are by default wired to act and make decisions in our best interest. Fight or flight is our basic instinct and that has that covered. But self-doubt gets a pass only when we start thinking of others and attempt to put their importance ahead of our own. Prepare to get pissed because today, I preach ‘selfishness’

Many times I have made decisions in a split second and never went back to wonder whether it was the right thing to do or not. This was helped by the fact that some decisions are easy to make. If you are hungry, you eat. If you are trying to lose weight, you exercise, stay off junk, eat healthy. Easy. Some decisions could be hard to implement, but still…

Just recently, I responded with a firm “No!” when a lady asked to jump the queue and go ahead of me. See, it had been raining and I was from hospital where I had been diagnosed with acute tonsillitis (the cold weather did me in, big time!). I was feeling horrible and needed to get home to bed. We were queuing for matatus which were coming every 45minutes or so. Having queued for a while, I was almost there-I could almost taste the heavenly embrace of my warm sheets sandwiching my body as I lay in bed warm and dry. That was my definition of heaven at that moment. Then this lady comes up to me having been at the supermarket or somewhere, where she bought half the store and put it all in two big paper bags. She takes a long look at the spiralling queue that went so far behind and smiling at me she asked to stand in front of me. I said no, and after she grudgingly scuttled to the back, I felt like that I should have added a few expletives to my response. The nerve! Anyhuu, I went back to my reverie…my sweet bed…and with one bold step to close the gap in front of me, I shortened the distance between me and my ‘heaven’.

Easy decisions!

That reminds me of the nerve of a guy who some years back, when I was a perfect recipe for disaster - young, na├»ve, and in college - he stopped his car to offer me a lift while I was on my way to attend my morning classes. I declined to get in only for him to stalk me for the next three days. Each morning, he showed up in his car. Each morning I declined his offer. When it was evident that he wasn’t going away any time soon, I hopped into the passenger seat on day three and asked him what he wanted. He was a burly old man, maybe in his late 40’s. Really ‘big’ (You know the word I really want to use is ‘fat’ right?). He drove me the rest of the way and when we reached the college parking lot, he asked me whether I would be his ‘friend’, go out with him every other weekend, show him a ‘good time’, and he would make it worth my while. “Money is not a problem”, he added not forgetting to flash me a smile.Quite some euphemisms for words like ‘whore’, ‘sex’ etcetera. Mmmmh, money AND kuingia box – mutually inclusive. How generous – the smile, the money…THE NERVE!

Easy decisions!

But what happens when it’s not so clear-cut, when you are not sure which way to go; left or right, blue pill or red pill? Decision-making has never been a walk in the park for women especially; should you pick up a potential lover’s calls, reply to his texts or should you put a Kibosh on the whole thing? Should you end your painful relationship or should you hang in there and wait for things to get better (they always get better, right?). Should you walk out for the sake of the children or should you stay put, for the sake of the children?

Should you cover up and pretend that all is well (fantasy), or should you get to the heart of the matter and deal with its ugliness (reality)?

The grass may seem greener on any other side (it always does)and in a world where a powerful magnifying glass is required to sift honesty from the lying, conniving millions of hounds we have as men, self-doubt is inevitable. So how do we deal?

Listen to yourself. Your conscience knows you intimately so let it have its say. Be true to what you feel, lying to yourself only harms you. Talk to someone; sometimes you need to say it out loud for you to listen to what YOU think. And if still in doubt, take your time. When time is on your side, take advantage of it; then emotions will be controlled, you will see things from all angles, and you have a better chance at making sound judgement. 

Remember to stay grounded and don’t get lost in the razzmatazz – the happy ending fairy tale. Ask yourself what you stand to gain (Money?) what do you stand to lose (Yourself?). Who else will this decision affect (Kids, family, loved ones?) Fit all those people in the picture and if your portrait comes out fine, then don’t worry much about other folks. They will survive your decision. The important question is, will you?

P/S: Three times this week (as in: one, two, three…), I have come across people I believe to be Kenyan using this phrase - “You know the way Kenyans are…” What’s up with that!?