It was today before 9am at a cafe in Berkeley where I finished reading this book. It was neither the title nor the subject of the book that stroke me profoundly. It was the long forgotten notion of clarity.
Something I was good at before: making decisions. I could make a decision trusting myself and go with it and never look back. This clarity of what I should do and what I should not do was what made me strong. It also made me ruthless and less emphatic, because I would see things for what they were and not for what me or others wished them to be. No bullshit, no wishful thinking, not too many gray areas of doubt.
And then I had problems in my marriage, got divorced, had to take care of my kids fully since their father wrote them off, a few years later felt in love again with somebody who was married, stayed in that gray area of “almost love” not making any decisions and bouncing between wishful thoughts and unwishful doubts.
I always thought that not being able to make a decision is one of the biggest faults of a human being. This frozen state of inactivity is almost death, it is where damage and loss happen, because the time moves forward and you are staying still.
Another thing that happened is that I was a victim. Ok, let me backtrack here. I was not a victim, but I used the power of being a victim. In life we all go through losses and damage, it could be a loss of a loved one, a loss of a job, an unhappy marriage, a health issue, a bad relationship with a parent or child, you name it. Carrying this loss gives us power of a victim, this power allows us to expect more or special compassion from others. We may change the course of a conversation, of a relationship, we may win attention or extra warmth with this power. We all have this power and we all use it one way or the other. This power prohibits us to grow. If we want to be strong and grow we must renounce this power. It was double hard because I never recognized this victimhood in myself, however I would think and say something along the lines that I already do more than majority of other moms. I would reject volunteering or say “no” to an invitation and add “I am a single mom I do not have the bandwidth”. It was a petty excuse, and I did not have to say it at all. But I said it because it gave me power of a victim of a situation. And I hated these words “single mom” with all my heart. They do not have the same connotation as a “successful woman” or a “great warrior”. And this is who I really am.
The book talked about this too. And I suddenly remembered how to make decisions and how not to be a single mom and never use this power of circumstances again. Strength and power are not the same. Do not grow power, grow strength. The only meaning in life is the one we give it. I love to say what I think, to love when I love, to laugh as if nothing else except laughter mattered, to fight (ok, I just enjoy martial arts, no other reason), to be truthful, to be direct, not to walk in the gray area of doubt. To have the clarity. To feel the power of clarity. To have the eyes open to what things really are, and to call bullshit by its name, and kindness by its name, and cowardice by its name, and love by its name.
I walked out of the gray area of my last 4 years after the divorce. Well, almost 5 now. I had no shady relationships, no hidden truths, nothing to lie about, no more “single mom” stuff. I saw what I saw, the life was that: people around, coffee, my closed book, the upcoming work meeting, then a drive home, picking up the kids from the gym, getting a Xmas tree. And tomorrow I would go to the gym early in the morning and train and spar and I looked forward to it. I missed all these guys with broken ears. You develop an unspoken trust with people after you have been in bodily fights with them.
Leaving all the gray areas behind I felt strong. I admired strong people and wanted to be one. Everything was simple and clear and full of love and meaning that I gave to it. I made my decisions.
They came with the December sunshine and the power of clarity.