Friday, September 30, 2016

Yes, There's At Least One Wrong Answer

Today's Tammy's Tips topic, from the remarkable founder of We Love Messes (and I can attest that they really do, bless 'em):

There Are No Wrong Answers. Discuss.

Disagree. I respectfully submit that there's always one wrong answer: no answer at all.

You'd think this was a no-brainer. We know, intellectually, that silence equals assent, that not-to-decide-is-to-decide.

But the fear making a wrong decision plops us right into one of my favorite gutters: are you making your decisions from a place of joy or a place of fear?

Okay, fine question, but it's still in no-brainer territory, so let's take it one step further:

What happens when you're just so plain stinkin' wrung out that there's neither joy nor fear to spur a decision? What happens when you can't even pick up a pencil, let alone make a list of pros and cons?

I propose that the answer starts in your closet, which swiftly becomes a metaphor for Everything Else. As those in the know may know, I'm currently a little manic about capsule wardrobes.  (Promise, this becomes relevant in a few paragraphs.) I believe that assembling your personal rag, bone, and hank o' hair every day is an exercise in important and intimate decision-making.

Effective wardrobing, like so many things in life, starts with a cleanup. To make room for good, you must first release your ungood.  "I can't tell you," says the elegant proprietor of my favorite consignment store, "how many women take something out of the closet, look at it, say, 'Hmm, I just don't wear this,' or 'Gee, I've never really liked this,' and then put it back in the closet.

"I tell them," she continues, gracefully gesturing with an empty clothes hangar, "that you have to take it out of the closet in order to get anywhere with a wardrobe cleanup. You don't have to give it away. But you have to start by at least taking it out."

My sister has trammeled this territory more artfully than I ever could do, with a number of magnificent "letting go" posts, including, notably, this one.

So once you've let go, what comes next?

An answer comes next, that's what, even an incomplete, ill-conceived, semi-crappy one.

I've spent some time being rudderless. Not just "not sure what comes next," not just twentysomething confused, but entirely without direction, utterly adrift, curled up with my arms over my head out there where the Hakken-kraks howl.  I couldn't make any decisions from joy, nor from fear.

And on one spectacularly low day, I had even moved beyond "just going through the motions." Happily, I guess, my nadir occurred in a parking lot. I was in my car. I'd parked my car.  I'd been in my car for, um, a couple hours. I couldn't just stay in my car forever.

So I came up with one answer: I got out of the car and put one foot on the ground. Then I decided to put the other foot on the ground. Then I decided to make those feet into a step.

Sometimes one foot is all you can lift. Toward what? Doesn't matter. The motion itself is the answer. It may be the only answer you have for all those big horrible questions.
Ill-conceived answer?
Incomplete answer?
Semi-crappy answer?
Probably, yes, to all. But stasis . . . stasis is the wrong answer.

Resolved: Because stasis is the wrong answer, yes, wrong answers DO exist.

But not about shoes. You should always buy the shoes.

And then take one first step in them.


A wardrobe coda:  We are houseguesting this weekend with He'en's grandparents.  He'en just appeared at my door in a brand-new-never-before-worn outfit, a gift from her grandmother. She almost minces around the corner, pausing partly for effect and partly for . . . well, just general eight-year-old radiance.

"Whoa!!!! Do you feel stunning? Because you look stunning," I tell her.

She grins and hunches her shoulders with a little delighted wiggle.

"I feel almost embarrassed that I'm this stunning," admits He'en.

My sweet little girl, please hold that thought tightly, tightly. And please feel so bright and beautiful, and, yes, stunning, for all your days to come.


1 comment:

Tammy said...

Serri, You are an incredible Word Weaver! You pull those thoughts out of your brilliant brain and NAME exactly what I suspect many of us are feeling. Thank you a million times over for sharing your words!!!