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I am standing at a crossroads.

Unsure as to which path to choose.

One path leads to a familiar land.

A land once filled with joy.

But, in more recent times, it is a land consumed with anger and frustration.

The other path is completely unknown.

I have no idea where it leads.

One false step and I lose everything.

Or, by choosing that path –

That path to uncertainty –

I could find myself

On the road



The Butterfly Effect, Or How One Person Can Change the Course of Your Life

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The butterfly effect is an element of chaos theory that states a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere in China, could cause a hurricane in the Caribbean.  In popular culture, it is used in conjunction with time travel.  If you change one little thing in the past – what would happen to everything else in the future.  Think It’s a Wonderful Life.  Every one changes – for the worse – when George Bailey is shown what would happen if he had never been born.

Our own lives can be like that.  We look back and see that if one thing had happened differently, everything else would be changed.

I had a Butterfly Effect moment yesterday.  While I was in the shower (it is really funny how much thinking I can get done while washing my hair).  I started thinking about the events of the week, and seeing my former crush.  And it occurred to me, that if not for my former crush – my life could possibly be completely different now.  Here’s how.

1.  I might not have gotten back into singing.  My former crush was the choir director at my church – but before that he had played piano for the choir (don’t ask me what I have with pianists…my former love is one as well).  I hadn’t sung in public for YEARS – instead allowing my performance anxiety to comsume me.  But, then I got a good look at the pianist and thought, “Dang!  He’s kinda cute.  Maybe I’ll join the choir.”  He is the one who encouraged me to sing my first solo at church.  Other than one in college, I hadn’t soloed since high school.  It was only one line at the end of the anthem, and I was shaking like a leaf, but I did it because he asked me to.  Now, I am the main female soloist at church, and am frequently told I should sing professionally.

2.  I probably would not have met my ex-husband.  I met the Monkey Daddy at one of his improv shows.  The former crush was supposed to go with me, but at the last-minute he cancelled.  If he had gone, I probably would not have been waiting in front of the comedy club for my other friends to arrive, which means the Monkey Daddy would not have seen me standing there and come over to talk to me.  My ex would have probably also thought that I was “with” the former crush, thus REALLY not coming over to talk to me.

3.  I would not have my Three Little Monkeys.  Oh, of course, I might have children.  I might even have three.  But, they wouldn’t be the ones I have now (which depending on the day could be a good or a bad thing).

4.  I might not have gone back to teaching.  I was pretty happy with the job I had.  But, once I started dating the Monkey Daddy, I started slacking off at my old job.  And found my old wanderlust acting up again, thus deciding to go back to teaching.

5.  I probably would not have met my former love.  Since I met my former love through my ex-husband (his ex and my ex have been friends for almost three decades), most likely G and I would have never started dating.  And while the break-up has sucked more than anything else in life, I can’t imaging not having had him in my life.

I’m not saying things would have been better – nor am I saying they would be worse.  But, they would be different.

Interesting to think about…

Undo the doubt

Daily Prompt: Undo.

If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

There are so many things I could suggest.  All things Pokemon related (Good Lord!  I just cannot hear another word about them.  NOT ANOTHER ONE!).  Stompies (they are just FREAKY!).  Anything having to do with Carrot Top (Not funny.  Period).  Chocolate being fattening (that is just wickedly unfair).  But in the bigger picture, these things are simply annoying.  And while I can’t figure out the reason for their existence, there are others that really enjoy them – so, who am I to say they should be vanquished?

What then would I choose to un-invent?  Well, it’s not a tangible thing.  But, it has serious repercussions on every aspect of a person’s life.  I would choose for the feeling of self-doubt to have never been invented.  That state of feeling mired in indecision – or even after you have made a decision, DOUBTING the choice.

And no, I am not talking about doubting whether or not it is a good idea to dive off of a balcony into a pool while on Spring Break.  That’s just plain ol’ stupid.  I’m talking about the self-doubt that can consume you.  The feeling of self-doubt that can keep you from entering in to a new situation.  The feeling of self-doubt that tells you that you are not good enough to deserve anything better than what you have.  The feeling of self-doubt that eats at your SOUL.

It seems to me that the world would be a much happier place.  Strike that.  The world would be a much more CONTENT place.

I certainly know I would be.

Change. It’s a four letter word. (Don’t question me on my math!)

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In this, my 15th year of teaching, I have a particularly challenging class.  Oh, yeah, they are sweet enough.  No one is violent or overtly disrespectful.  Academically they are ok.  They are just particularly talkative and active.  Of course, it doesn’t help that there are 32 of them.  Seriously outnumbered!  But, really – it’s only 2 more than last year.  And I’ve had talkative classes before.  So, why is this year so different?

Today, as I was going to pick up my class from lunch, I muttered, “Ugh.  I really don’t want to go pick them up.”  A friend of mine was in the breakroom and she said, “You’ve had a hard time shaking that this year.  Maybe it’s time for something new.”

My first thought was, “Huh, you may be right.  I mean this has been a good run.  Maybe it is time.”

And then the panic set in.

My brain started screaming, “NNNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!  You can’t find something else!  You have kids!  They need insurance and braces and music lessons and ballet lessons and a HOUSE TO LIVE IN and food and and and and and!!!!  Besides, what on Earth would you do?”

I had the same feelings in the last few years of my marriage.  Even when we knew it really was over, we didn’t want to pull the plug, because of the fear of relearning how to live or lives.

Change.  It’s a freakin’ four letter word.

Nothing can strike fear in our hearts faster than the word CHANGE.  As humans, we are creatures of habit.  Routine makes us feel comfort.  With routine comes complacency.  And ultimately, even though we know we aren’t happy in this existence, we are TERRIFIED to try anything else.  Because it is DIFFERENT!!!  And that is SCARY!!!!

But, in order to grow we have to change.  We have to try new things.  And yes, they can be hard.  But without change we stagnate.

One of my favorite musicals is Wicked.  At the end of the first act, right before intermission, is this wonderful scene where Elphaba literally learns to fly and breaks free of expectations – and sings the gorgeous “Defying Gravity.”  It is a powerful moment.  The lyrics are moving.  She is learning to shake off her doubt and FLY!  In it she sings, “It’s too late for second guessing, too late to go back to sleep.  It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap.”  And then she, well, FLIES into her uncertain future.

Gutsy move.  How easy it would be to just climb off the broom and say, “Hey, life isn’t all that bad!  I’m sure I can get used to it.  Yes, I know a part of me is dying – but, it will be alright.  Really.  I’ll be fine.”

Fear of change can be paralyzing.  Fear of “what if” can root us into place.  We manage to second guess ourselves without even seeing what will happen.  It is a hell of a lot easier to say, “Sure, I hate this, but better to hate what I know than to fail at the next thing!”

I can imagine it is a whole lot like bungee jumping (which, by the way, I have never done – because I am terrified of falling).  You stand there, on the edge, strapped in, ready to go, the countdown begins, and you…hesitate.  What if the cord doesn’t catch?!?  What if I plunge to my death?!?  What if the bungee snaps me back into the bridge and I break my neck?!?  What if…what if…what if?!?!?

At this point, you have two choices.  The first is to let your fear – this fear of change – take over and win and you step off the ledge and go about your little life – always knowing that you were afraid to take that step.

Or you can take a deep breath and JUMP!  With any luck, the cord does as it should and you bounce back up.  And if it breaks, and you careen to the canyon below – at least you had one hell of a ride on the way down.

Now that I am standing on the precipice, bungee cords strapped to my ankles, it is time to decide whether I am going to give in to the fear of change and quietly back off the ledge OR if I am going to throw myself off and pray that the cord catches me.

I still don’t know which I’m going to do.  But, I do think I could use one hell of a ride.

Wonder where I’m going to land…