Karen lay awake but exhausted in the dark of the night that would very soon give way to dawn. Another sleepless night given over to imagination running wild in the fields of possibility that lay open in her tortured mind. She was no stranger to this process and knew it had to run its course. Faced with a decision to make, Karen’s mind spiraled through what-if possibilities no matter how hard she tried to rein it in. In fact the harder she tried to corral her thoughts, the more ridiculous the scenarios that occurred to her. Lists of pros and cons became nothing more than organized worries. In Karen’s mind, she was ill equipped to recognize the best option and destined to suffer the consequences.
Despite a life devoid of heavy debt, divorce, or major regret of any kind; Karen simply did not trust herself to make decisions. That really was the basis of her problem. Somehow, she had learned that even small decisions had enormous and far-reaching power that she should not be entrusted with. The fear of choosing poorly paralyzed her, often to the point of inaction. But life does not stop and wait for us to choose. Life goes on and no decision becomes the decision by default. It was exactly this pressure that was keeping Karen from sleep on this night.
She wondered what it is about the dark that magnifies our fears. Why shadows cast in moonlight seem far more sinister than their cousins made of sunshine; why problems take on extra weight when we climb between the sheets. The minutes ticked by so slowly that Karen felt as if the night would never end. Her mind raced so fast that at times she found it impossible to keep up. Finally – mercifully – just before dawn, spent with worry and with no energy left to care, she fell asleep.
When the alarm broke the silence of her slumber, Karen awoke and was momentarily free. The sun reached through her bedroom window and its warmth kissed her eyelids with the promise of a new day. She smiled and stretched and pulled back the covers. She opened her eyes and sat up, but as her feet touched the floor she felt a faint and familiar flutter in her stomach that made her heart sink. Monsters of the darkness that plunder through our minds at night morph into butterflies and live lightly within our bellies during the day. Karen wasn’t sure which was worse…a racing mind or a racing heart. Loud and scary thoughts jumping up and down or the vague uneasiness left in their place when she tried to block them out.
Dammit, she had had enough of this! Why was it that she was somehow less capable than the rest of the world at making decisions? Why did clarity elude her? Frustrated, she reached for her phone. But before she dialed, Karen decided. Not the big decision; not the one that kept her up last night. No, instead she made a tiny little decision. She decided to call someone else. It would be a harder call…she would have to talk about options and reasons and there would be little discussion of how scary it all was. It would be a conversation that Karen was less accustomed to, less comfortable with. And yet somehow Karen trusted it was the right call to make. She knew this one tiny little decision wouldn’t change her completely but she allowed herself to trust and try and she dialed with the hope that perhaps the next time she wouldn’t need to.
©Kelly Rainey and 500wordsandcounting.wordpress.com, 2015. Artwork courtesy of pajaa @ pajaa.deviantart.com
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