He says: all these things are choices.
And I’m like: ok yeah, I know.
And he’s like: No, I mean … you make the choice to do this thing differently in order to provoke or begin change. And you understand that that’s a choice. Because this new thing you’re doing is different. It stands out.
But what you aren’t getting is that the decision to do things the same way you always did is also a choice. All these things are choices. All these things. Are choices. What you aren’t identifying right now is the behaviours that don’t look like choices to you because they’re the default. Factory settings. You aren’t even counting them as choices because you’ve assumed them as the baseline: you don’t question them. You haven’t even identified them. You haven’t even thought about identifying them because they’re so profoundly assumed in your head, that they don’t exist. And he says: and they aren’t the baseline. They’re choices.
It’s one of those moments where you go wait, wait. Wait. Oh my god. And you can feel the rocks in your head get up and move about. Suddenly there are doors in what was a wall. Suddenly someone’s given you a level cheat, and months and years of throwing the game controller across the room and saying you’ll never play again is over. A lot of things are over.
A lot of things may now start.
I have lived here for 15 years. All that time I have had a 2 metre square bathroom. It contains two mirrors. And somehow today, for the first time, I managed to accidentally stand in a whole new spot in that tiny room, in such a way that the mirrors lined up and I SAW MY OWN BOTTOM. For probably the first time since, say, my 20s. And it was massive and ridiculously cute. And that was ridiculously pleasing.
See, I’m a nonbinary person trapped in the lushly mountainous body of a fertility goddess. I’ve had 48 years of gender dysphoria (let me clarify, as a lot of you who read me are cis and straight: I’m nonbinary, and in my case that doesn’t mean I’m half man. It means I’m neither. Other nonbinary people’s experiences may differ, but this is mine. I don’t long for a body that in any way resembles a man’s body, but having one that flamboyantly screams “HELLO, I’M REALLY EXTRA EXTRA WOMANNY, CHECK OUT THIS WILD TOPOGRAPHY” is not good. It is not good). The experience of liking – or in any way feeling represented – by what I see is novel to me.
But there it was. I have a cute arse. Ok.
My unmade bookshelves occupy about half my hall. They will come with me to the new place, and I will put them together and my books will, for the first time in a long while, have a home, right there in my face. My desk will be beside them, fronting directly onto a window from where a perfect blue triangle of sea is visible above and between a sugared almond spine of houses. It changes everything.
The new house won’t have broadband – normally, when you move, it takes a couple of weeks to kick in. I’m going to kind of accidentally-on-purpose let that couple of weeks ride, and see where it gets me. I will read. Because reading puts the words in me and when the words get in me, they come out again, but changed, like this. I have accidentally started reading, like that little dog in the gif starts paddling long before he hits the water. You had probably guessed.
I make choices. The choices make me.