finding meaning in the ordinary

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words by gem

“you didn’t make good choices, you had good choices.” that’s a line from my new favorite show; little fires everywhere.

aside from the fact that the series features some of my favorite actresses, reese witherspoon and kerry washington, i was hooked because it has the range of a juicy story that you find yourself itching to tell your friend about because the tea is piping hot. that’s not my favorite thing about the show though. it’s the layers within the story. the writers pose a question a dimensional question around the idea of motherhood and the early foundations that inform which kind of mothers women become. the stories of the characters are prefaced in this clandestine way that leaves little room for the tendency to jump to conclusions. the stories of the women in the show emphasize that things are never black and white. that maybe, life is not about good or bad decisions but rather about the choices we are given to begin with and how instrumental of a role they play in the decisions we arrive to in the end. there are foundations that are created from lack, from a place of making do with what we have, which some times is the bare minimum.

naturally, the show makes me reflect on the most influential person in my life, my mother and the choices she had at her disposal when she was creating a foundation for my sister and i. it’s no coincidence that i talk about her a healthy amount in my writing— there’s really no way around it— her story is the foundation for mine. after my dad died, life presented her with a conundrum. in order to give us the best chance at a life that presented better choices than she had, she had to choose which type of mother she needed to be— a very different reality from the one she wanted to be. yes, the choice was hers to make but when the options laid in front of you resemble the first and last pieces of a loaf of bread, you just have to pray that the spread is tasty enough to make you forget that what you ended up with are the least desired pieces of the bunch.

before i lived enough life to know that we all make the best with what we have and when given good options, we make better decisions, i had seasons where i judged her choices, even condemned her for them because as humans do, i compared my life to the people around me and blamed her for the inadequacies i felt about a myriad of things that make me cringe even years after i’ve made peace with them. what i didn’t see then about people’s circumstances was that the foundations that inform who they are, or rather, who they perform to be, are built on factors that were no where near the vicinity of my own. comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges— it makes no sense.

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