On Fate vs Destiny Part 2

I wrote a thing a while back in the wee parts of 2019. I’m going to include it below. As I reread this piece, I was struck by how much it still felt like my truth. I guess no matter how much I change over the years, the heart of who I am and my core beliefs stay the same. I still believe we make our destiny but that some things are fated to happen. I think if we’re lucky enough, we get a second chance when we fuck things up. We learn who we are and what we are capable of.

In two years, I have learned what it means to love another person. Not just one but two men have given me the opportunity. I am incredibly lucky or unlucky I’m chuckling. I thought surely by the time I reached thirty; if I hadn’t figured out what unconditional love was, I should give up. I could care deeply for someone and hold them close but the idea of “love” felt beyond real comprehension. I fell on my face a lot, but I get it. I understand this beautiful thing in a way I could have only hoped a few years ago. Even though I fall, I get back up.

Getting back up is worth it.

It was only a year before I learned to love someone else that I learned how to love myself. If you don’t know, I’m pretty fucking great. Like, straight up a gold star. Not everyone sees that; I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. But it doesn’t make me any less worthy. Who else do you know that has a dead Racoon named Vincent Cheese chilling in their entryway? Or someone who jumps at the chance to dance under moonlight and read tarot. Someone who wants to read every book fathomable and her favorites every year. Someone who will sage her whole house while listening to metal bands cover pop songs. Who could spend hours and hours watching educational videos on YouTube, followed by more educational videos. Someone who loves with her whole heart and pours that into her writing and art and letters to loved ones. Someone who will do her very best to right her wrongs. To forgive those who wrong her. But more than that, to live a life without regrets. The Dalai Lama says, “If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself, then you are not able of developing compassion for others.”

I think that sometimes we are fated to have specific experiences. Maybe it makes us stronger. Teaches us a little more about what we are capable of—allowing us to make our destiny and do the things that scare us. To do the things we are most afraid of failing at, almost so afraid we hesitate to try. I’m here to remind both you and myself, that not trying is the only time we fail. Whether it be a new project, a new job, or falling in love. I don’t want to fail at life. I don’t want to wake up one day and find I was too afraid even to try.

So I pick myself up over and over. I remind myself where I place value in my life. I remind myself that I am one of those things with value. That I’m pretty fucking great. I breathe out the bullshit and breathe in fresh air. It’s a mantra. While doing all of this, I remind myself to smile. I’m wearing a red string, we all are. I’m not going to fight it; I’m going to embrace the Universe in her infinite glory and remember that I trust her. I trust me. And I know it will all be okay in the end. Enjoyment of the journey is what makes life worth living.

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ON FATE VS DESTINY PART 1 (January, 2019)

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In the recent past, I’ve been thinking a lot about fate and destiny. And silly songs and memes like this one. What they mean to one another. What they mean to me. How to put all these cascading thoughts into words which another human in the void might comprehend. I’ve decided there’s a fine line between fate and destiny. I’ve always believed in fate. I’ve written poems, stories, and even entire novels where fate plays a leading roll in the life of the main character. My belief is so strong, I’m prepared to get a red string tattooed to my finger. I believe that sometimes there are things in life that are meant to happen. No matter how much we tangle our lives, if someone or something is meant to cross our path, it will. I really do believe we don’t always understand why or even can see the ramifications until much later with a little distance. 

Destiny, however, is different. I believe we create our own destiny. You decide whether or not to get up and go to work in the morning. You get to decide if you’re going to send a message or let it hang. You get to decide if you’ll take a chance or let it pass you by. Every single day the choices we make determine our destiny. It is forever in flux. Whether or not I choose to send out query letters this evening, determines if those potential agents read my writing now, later, or ever. I am in control of my life as you are yours. It’s the only thing I know with palpable certainty.

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Don’t however confuse my romanticized ideas of life with naivete or some crazed belief in an inability to fuck things up. Because I’m not so nieve and I do mess up. We all do. We just have to find people who are willing to stick it out. To ask the right questions and care enough about us as people instead of whatever fantasized idea of us they had. We have to surround ourselves with those who truly understand and want us in their lives as much as we want them in ours.

I read a comic recently (and I wish I had saved it to share) where a little green guy proposes to a little yellow dude. The yellow dude starts to say yes but then hesitates because of the size of the ring. Yellow dude asks if maybe they could get a bigger ring? And Green dude says maybe I don’t want to marry you anymore. This dumb little comic has been itching at the back of my brain banks for hours upon hours. It really bugs me. But why?

While the obvious implications are about wealth and the unvocalized expectations that yellow dude had, it goes deeper than that for me. It made me sad and broke my heart a bit. It just took me a couple of days to sort out why.

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I’ve spent a fair amount of my life feeling like I wasn’t good enough or worthy of much. Every rotten thing someone can think about themselves, I’ve probably thought it. There are reasons I strive to be really good at what I do, why I only speak to things I can back up. Living a life where I never quite measure up means I always feel the need to work harder to prove myself. I like being the best, I like winning, I like knowing a lot of things. All of this is something I had to work hard at, that can’t be taken away from me. I wish I could say that I’ve had better luck in relationships. Only historically, I seek men who are emotionally unavailable, because there was some part of me that thought I couldn’t be as hurt by them. Only I was really wrong about that. I’ve been cheated on twice. I’ve been made to feel like the voice that says I’m less than was right, over and over again. Here’s the thing I sorted out last year: That voice was wrong, and the cheaters are assholes. And maybe I did set myself up for failure, but here’s the deal. I learned some hard lessons along the way. I learned I am capable of both loving and being loved. I’ve learned that you have to voice your needs and wants. I learned you can’t change a person, only they can do that – that was a particularly hard lesson that took me a couple of tries. If money was an issue, I wouldn’t have dated half the men I did. I know I’m not the yellow dude. But I’ve been treated like the green dude in the past and that what’s bothered me. It wasn’t about money but it was that same sense of not being good enough. I’ve been put through the wringer and hung out to dry when I didn’t measure up to the version of me someone had in their head. When I couldn’t provide a proverbial bigger ring.

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Here’s where I believe that fate has played her role. I think there were lessons I needed to learn as a person. I needed to learn my own self worth so I know how to set the bar for how I’m treated. I needed to learn how to love unconditionally so I can let another person love me. So that I could love me. I had to learn through trial and error what I want to do with my life, because I couldn’t be told I like helping and inspiring people and that I would love being my own boss. There are big lessons in my life I think fate has played a large part of my learning. But how I got there was all my own doing. My choice to better myself and learn them now instead of ten years from now is how I’ve made my own destiny. How I continue to make my own path in this world. Slow but sure. I don’t have all the answers, if I did, I think the adventure would be little less rewarding. But can say this, it hasn’t all been fun but I still wouldn’t trade it in for something different. It’s mine and I made this life. I’ll stick with it and to see how it plays out.

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