I was watching Doctor Who the other day, and he said something that I’ve been thinking about, especially in this phase of my life: sometimes there are no good choices. Sometimes, all the options you have reek of hell and damnation, and you aren’t excused from making the choice anyway. So even with full knowledge of the consequences, even knowing it will slowly, painfully, eat you up from the inside, you still have to jump in, because life goes on, and you do what you got to do, and you make the most of what you’ve got.
I always knew that growing up meant making hard decisions, and yes, there’s never a deficit of that. There’s always some kind of sacrifice; there’s always some call to give up what’s fun and easy for what’s hard but right, and we try to do it, because we know that’s the right thing to do, the good choice. We want to stick to our principles, be true to ourselves, prove the strength of our character. We could take on the consequences, because we were worth it, because our integrity was worth it. We could live with whatever we might have to lose, because at the end of the day, we could go to sleep at night.
What I hadn’t realized was that sometimes, growing up means not having any good choices at all. You find yourself in the dark, and in there, life won’t even give you a “better of two evils” scenario - all your options are just as vile as the next. All you can do is figure out which demon you’d rather be tortured by. All you can do is pick one out of the equally bad and damning things in front of you, decide which consequences can be most controlled, what sins you can carry, and just learn to live with yourself. In this world, guilt and anxiety are simply the accoutrements of daily life. Conscience-induced insomnia is just another thing to get through. (And besides, should all else fail, aren’t there pills for that?)
I’ve changed in these last two years, and while I still recognize who I am, there’s so much about me that I’d rather not see anymore. So much I’d rather leave out of the light. I’m constantly surprised by how I’ve managed to wend and stumble and fall my way here. There’s a faint, twinkling flash at the end of the tunnel, I can believe that, but it doesn’t make the tunnel any less long or dark. And it doesn’t make the shadows they’ve cast on me any less real. And it doesn’t mean it won’t be a tight, claustrophobic squeeze.