When I began writing my book, “Life AFTER the Down Low,” I was in constant communication with my former Pastor. There was one particular day that I was ranting about my “choices,” being taken from me after discovering that my then husband was on the down low (having sex with men) during the course of our 12 year marriage. I felt violated. I felt victimized. When I spoke recently at an all men’s group, I referred to the experience as being worse than a rape – having been victimized by that too. The gasp in the room was breath taking. I helped them understand that, “With a rape, I was able to fight off my assailant. With my marriage, I was being violated and had no idea. I wasn’t able to fight back. I wasn’t able to protect myself – to be proactive in the matter. I was left in the dark only to find out many years later. My right to choose was stolen.” The one thing I made clear in the end was this…I have since chosen to operate in the spirit of a survivor. I now walk in the victory of my choice.
During the healing from this very tumultuous life, I have learned to appreciate the right to choose. I also learned and am learning the many people are afraid of choices. They would rather someone decide for them. But why? Why would someone be scared to choose what could ultimately and consequently impact the rest of their lives? From some I have heard it’s less pressure, there’s little contention. Maybe not overtly, but there’s an incredible war going on inward. It’s that still small voice (to be discussed later) that nudges you to say, “I don’t like it,” while YOU silence it. Well…enough of that for me. The posture that I have developed is one to be reckoned with. You see…I am no longer walking around the universe comatose. I can now actively participate in everything that goes on, especially if I am close enough to the matter to decide.
Case and point:
In the past 2 1/2 years, I have had to reconstruct my life. A part of that meant securing transportation for me and the little guy. One brick at a time I say. This was a very significant part of the foundation I had to lay because it meant the rise and fall of things that needed to be done or not. And not to do them was not an option, so transportation was extremely important. Anyway, when I bought the car from a used car dealer, I did all of my due diligence to make sure that it was a reliable one according to the consumer reports. I did my part – but I can’t make someone else be integral. Long story short, the day after I purchased the Isuzu Rodeo, the car showed signs of a bad transmission (tranny). It was chugging and chugging and I thought…oh gosh – ‘here we go.’ I called the dealer, he instructed me to have it inspected and once I did, the prognosis was as I thought. I then attempted to get the car back to the dealer but it wouldn’t make it. The transmission was dead. Okay! Great!! They gave me another vehicle and I walked out with a contract in my hand with a note that was under $290 for 35 months. Well…when I received the payment coupon from the lender, the amount owed was close to $330 for 30 months. That was an approximate $40 increase per month. Well…I didn’t agree to that. I called the dealer and he had the nerve to say to me, “Ingrid, I could see if it was $100-150 more per month. It’s $40. Is this REALLY about $40 or are you having buyer’s remorse.”
I hope you see where I’m going with this.
The manager at the dealership had taken it upon himself to sign my name to a contract. He stole my choice. He decided that I needed a car so desperately that it would be okay for him to forge my signature because after all, it was ONLY $40. I have to tell you. My marital debacle has sharpened my senses something incredible. You can’t just snatch my choice from me and expect me to be okay with it. So…I went on a tirade – not a destructive one but I contacted “Consumer Affairs,” “BBB,” “DMV” and I am filing a lawsuit against them. Not to mention the fact that I am having the forged contract forwarded to me from the lender. I am going to fight. I am going to fight for my choice.
This is how it should be. You should fight for what is rightfully yours. I mean…even salvation is a choice. There is a process (raggedy, lonely living), that leads to a choice/event (salvation) and then the process (sanctification/living out your new relationship with Christ) starts. It’s ridiculous for people to think that they can take advantage of you – for whatever reason they think they can – and you are to just sit back and allow it to happen. There may have been a time, but not any longer. I DEMAND the right to choose what it is that I want. You (whoever you are) don’t get to decide for me so that it benefits you. There’s an old saying and I use it a lot for the business I’m in, “What’s in it for me?” This was not a win/win right now. The dealer thinks he won because he sold a car and now he can move on – hoping that this little woman will just go away. But the reality is, he didn’t win. Will it all have been worth it when the fan gets hit?
I guess the gist of this message is that you have a right to choose. I wish I could get on top of a sky scraper and announce that to the world. Don’t let people rush you into deciding whether to go left or right. It’s YOUR choice. Take your time. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, a buying decision or whatever, you choose. If I had been given the choice of whether or not to marry someone who was actively struggling with same sex issues, I would have said, “NO!” So the choice was made for me through silence/omission – only for me to discover it after it almost destroyed my life. If I had been given the choice of whether or not to purchase a car that was $40 more than the original agreement, I would have said, “NO!” So the choice was made for me again through forgery & silence. No more! This time…I’m sounding the alarm.
I hope you hear me. You have a right to choose. Don’t think you don’t. Use your voice!