For all you indecisive buggers out there.
I am bad at decisions. Just going to put it out there. And not like, umm-ing and ahh-ing over a menu for 10 minutes bad. Like getting-under-my-desk-and-rocking-and-crying-when-asked-to-pick-the-movie bad.
If I can get someone else to make a decision for me, I will. And our decisions essentially shape who we are. So instead of shaping myself I’m asking others to, because I guess I’m terrified of making my own decisions, making the wrong decisions. What I’m realising is that these chameleon-like tendencies, moulding and shaping myself depending on my environment – the people around me, the system I’m a part of, ‘the norm’ – aren’t fair on others and aren’t fair on myself.
My formula has always been
[success = taking advice from those more experienced]
and that formula breaks into pieces when I receive 2 or more conflicting opinions.
[success = experienced advice¹ = experienced advice² = COMPLETE MENTAL BREAKDOWN]
One of those zero in the denominator moments.
I very much feel like I am still learning who I am, who I’m supposed to be… who I want to be. Only when I travelled, pulled myself away from my current chameleon habitat, and my past ones, did I realise that I actually have to decide the path I want to take in life, and every little choice adds up to create it. And I get to decide that. That’s up to me. If I continue letting and asking the people around me to carve that path for me, make my decisions for me and therefore essentially shape who I am, I’ll remain an a-morphous blob forever, getting through life by taking shape from those around it. And I don’t want to be a blob. I want to be a shapely human being who can make the hard calls and has an opinion, her own opinion.
I thought that a few years working before uni would be time spent finding myself, but in fact the first 18 months was really spent losing myself, burying myself deeper and deeper under the thoughts and opinions of others, as a safety blanket from the uncertainty of the completely new world around me. Modelling was the perfect decision as it was no decision at all about the long term direction of my life, a choice that is waaaay too much pressure for me…. I’m working on it.
So I’m undertaking an experiment: For some time I’m going to listen to no one, ask no advice, make every decision on my own no matter how big or small. Do things alone. Make mistakes. Post this without asking someone to proofread it. Text my agent without asking someone to proof read it. No more proofreading!! Choose breakfast on my own. (Oh, God.) Don’t necessarily take advice, even when it is offered. Try to coax that little voice of my own out from under years of the accumulated advice, fear, expectation and attitudes I’ve adopted. It’s going to be a battle lugging all that heavy debris up and out of the way, but it’s time I did some of the heavy lifting myself. I’m forcing myself to make every little decision so when the big ones come around, my emotional stability doesn’t combust under the pressure like it tends to.
Although I still believe that success will come from listening to those who have gone before you, I’m now understanding that this can’t be the only rule by which I live my life.
I have to do some of the work myself. LAAAAME.
So, an invitation to all chameleons (AKA decidophobics AKA Libras) out there, to join me: For a month, or two months or however long it takes, refuse to burden others with the responsibility of your decisions. Spend 15 minutes completely alone a day, thinking about all you want to be, how you want to make others feel, but most importantly how you want to make yourself feel. Choose your breakfast without asking your date’s advice. Post that selfie on Insta without requiring someone’s approval first. Do things alone. Decide on your opinions before you hear others’. Make mistakes. Refuse to let others’ desire to help you, hinder you. Hopefully this decision-training will help me shake off my blobbyness and start to take shape in this world, and carve my own path. I think it’s also really empowering to learn that the world doesn’t end when we make decisions without asking our Mum and Dad and boyfriend and teddy bear advice first. It might not always be the perfect decision, but what is?
Thank you, fence, for being an uncomfortable and stressful place to perch. It’s time I hopped off and started walking.
PS – I wrote two intros for this piece, and spent a whole morning trying to decide between them, without asking anyone else’s advice. I think I almost burst a vein in my neck. Hurdle 1.