5/08/2010

No Fate But What We Make For Ourselves

I don't believe in fate. I think I used to, years ago, when I was younger and full of romantic notions of "true love" and "destiny," back when I would listen to sad, angry, angst-fueled music on repeat for days on end and read depressing poetry by Edgar Allan Poe, pretending to understand it while drinking whiskey straight from the bottle.

No, I stopped believing in fate a long time ago, after my heart got the better of my head for the umpteenth time and once more shattered into dust.

As strange as it may sound, I think I did this willingly, expectantly. Sharing my heart, I mean, when my head knew better. I wanted the pain. Needed it, maybe. Thought I deserved it, though for the life of me I cannot fathom why I felt this way. I imagine there must have been a cause, a trigger, to make me purposefully seek out, to paraphrase one of those sad, angry, angsty songs, something which I knew I could never have.

Indeed, something which was never real to begin with.

No, there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. That's a quote, a partial quote, anyway, a line from "The Terminator." (Yes, I'm a geek, get over it.) But just because it's a line from a pop culture popcorn flick doesn't make it any less true. Life is about choices, not fate or destiny or whatever else you want to call it. Choices and statistical probabilities and a lot of math I'll never come close to understanding.

The point is, fate had nothing to do with putting me where I am today. It was all me. The choices I've made, both good and bad, over the course of the past, oh, let's say 13 years, led me here. Now. To Boston. And soon, to New York City, to a job (OK, an internship) I would have never thought possible 13 years ago.

I had a choice between going to grad school back in Los Angeles, to USC, or coming here to Boston. I chose Boston, obviously, for a variety of reasons. I've lived in L.A. before, and while I enjoyed my time there, I wanted to try something different. I visited Boston years ago, to visit an old friend, and I liked what I saw of the city, and Emerson was a school I looked at coming out of high school, back when my grades were awful and I had no chance of actually getting in. (I chose not to bother applying.)

Because of the choice I made, to come to Boston, I've ... I've met some pretty wonderful people. Some of the faculty, sure, but I'm mainly speaking about my classmates, those who have become my core group of friends here. I mean, because I chose to come to Boston, I'm going to officiate the wedding of one of these friends next year. How cool is that? Choosing to come to Boston set into motion other choices that led to me interning at Marvel this summer. My inner 10-year-old is doing back flips in my chest (which is really something, considering the outer me at 10 had no chance in hell of doing a back flip. Or a front flip, for that matter. Though I could do a mean somersault.)

Choices. Not fate.

I don't believe in fate.

You'll forgive me if I have to keep telling myself that. My faith in a world without fate has come under siege of late and I'm doing everything in my power to resist the pull, the temptation, to allow myself to get sucked back into that insidious cycle I fought so hard to escape once before.

I can feel it starting to happen. My heart wants it to happen. I suppose it has been a while since I felt that dull ache in my chest and the pit of anguish in my stomach. My subconscious must miss it. My regular conscious, however, wants nothing more to do with it. Ever.

And so I make choices. Choices that sadden me for the moment, perhaps, but choices nevertheless. Choices that, in the long run, ensure protection. My head has to look out for my heart, because who else will?

Some would say there's cowardice in this choice, and I wouldn't argue. I am fully aware of who and what I am. I tell myself no tales, I see no illusions (or self-delusions). But it is a choice. One that I make willingly. I refuse to succumb to the thrall of fate again.

Life is about choices. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.

And my fate lies in New York City this summer. Not here with her.

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