Strangers Made of Perspective and the Power of Controlling the Self

Today, there was a man who came in to my work and was loudly cursing the fact that men’s jeans were buy one, get one half off (In his defense, I get it. That sale is sort of annoying at times). I started to mosey my way out of the area, mostly because irate men scare the hell out of me, and my natural instinct is to get the hell out before shit goes absolutely crazy.

Later, I get a page from another coworker, asking me to help her. When I arrive, she is standing with this man, and he is holding a pair of jeans in his hand. She looks frazzled beyond any point (which is rather amazing, considering she spends her weekdays with groups of small children).

I can tell the man is trying to communicate, but he is having a lot of difficulty. That was when I realized that his earlier tirade wasn’t going to be violent because he couldn’t control his temper; his tirade was because he had some sort of mental trauma.

As we were trying to explain things to him, he finally confirmed my suspicions; he suffered a very severe stroke and therefore, he couldn’t understand things like math and cost, things I take for granted because they come so easily to me. My heart sank for him, but I also felt this immense sense of pride for him. There he was, backpack strapped to his back, by himself, asking for help with denim as clearly as he could.

I couldn’t even imagine what it was like for him immediately after he had his stroke, nor do I know how long it has been, but I know that I was willing to be as patient as I needed to help him. He deserved that much.

I think we call shit like this perspective. Do I have problems? Of course. We all do. But, I look at men like that and think, “God, he probably had to relearn how to walk. I should take a lesson from that level of perseverance.”

He is working every day to get over a huge hurdle in life, trying to figure out how to function again. I always respect the people who claw their way out of the shadows and say, “Try again, bitch.” That takes a special kind of courage. I call it the “courage of endurance.”

Lets face it; it is so fucking easy to dig your heels into the ground and say, “I give up.” It is simple to write something off as a “can’t.” But, it’s cowardly because it’s not a “can’t” so much as a “won’t.” “Can’t” removes the guilt because you aren’t making the choice. “Won’t” means you have made a choice not to do something and have to accept the disappointment that comes with your decision.

Once again, I am talking about the importance of the decision-making process to life. Amazing how often I fucking talk about decision-making like it is this crucial component to living your own life. I’m a fucking shitty decision-maker, and I am starting to realize how important decision-making truly is.

You know another way to talk about this? Taking control of your life. It’s like the premise of every self-help book. And it’s not actually bull shit. We just suck at admitting that living a really good life is that simple.

Of course, this is probably because we are humans and we like to overthink everything. I think we love making things complicated for ourselves. Some of us are born that way; others, probably nurtured into that direction. Anxiety is a good way to refer to overthinking where I think our brain basically purposely starts sabotaging the fuck out of our lives.

Honestly, I never realized this before, but decisions are the way we control ourselves. God, something else that is really fucking simple. Seriously, I feel like I should be extremely enraged with myself for taking 31 1/2 years to figure this shit out. Like I said though… humans suck with the simple, and we should probably be forgiving of ourselves for that.

Since I’m pretty sure I have nothing else of value to contribute, today, I am going to cut this off here.



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