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an apple in your pocket

There’s the illusion of freedom in not knowing something. A gap in knowledge can seem like an open door. In truth, it rarely is. Most often, it is a kind of quicksand – something you struggle against, only to keep sinking. There’s the possibility of escape, the idea of it. But that’s not the same thing as really being free, is it?

Lately, I’ve been circling around a choice. Do I do the thing and remove all doubt? Do I try and see what happens? Then, either way it goes down, can I live with the consequences? That’s the tricky part: living with the end result. The most difficult thing isn’t summoning up the courage to Do the Thing. It’s enduring what happens after, when you know. Where there’s definitive proof. Because you can’t unknow something any more than you can hit Undo on any aspect of life. There’s no delete button (or, in the immortal words of Willow Rosenberg, deliver button). There’s no going back.

So, yes, there’s the illusion of freedom in not knowing. Because you console yourself with the idea that you can always Do the Thing later. It’s like the worst version of a backup plan, really. It’s like keeping an apple in your pocket for some undetermined later. Eventually, that apple is going to rot. And now, you’ve lost the chance to eat it. That may be the worst analogy ever, but still.

There’s a false comfort, I think, in hanging on to the option to do something. Although, I grant you, there’s nothing easy at uncovering truth. Even at its best, it can be an ugly sort of beautiful. But as a person who constantly tries to get to the heart of everything – people, situations, stories, motives, moments, etc. – I still see elegance in the mess, a grace in the chaos. So, why have I been dragging my feet on this thing?

Well, it’s a last option, in a way. Like walking into a labyrinth, I either find the way out or end up hanging out with Jareth for the rest of time. (Bowie forever, guys.) Sometimes, in life, there are only two options: do nothing or Do the Thing. That’s it. There’s no column C. There’s no third door. There’s just this or that. There’s left or right. Yes or no. Do or not. Thankfully, I’m not green or two feet tall – but Yoda had a point. There’s no try. There’s do or do not.

And I’ve never been comfortable with doing nothing. It goes against my entire nature. I was born three months early. I have consistently bad timing, but it’s my timing. I’m always a little left of the middle. But sitting on my hands makes me absolutely insane. Yes, sometimes there is good reason to do so. Yes, it can be necessary. But very rarely is that so.

Learning the truth can be hard. But living in limbo is a hell of a lot harder, darlings. You can’t go back and undo something that turns out to be a disaster, but you also can’t go back and do something you wished you did. So, move forward in a direction – any direction. Learn what needs learning. Be brave enough to know.

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