“You choose.” That is the meanest thing anyone can ever say to me. While agonizing over
what to write this narrative about — should I do something about strength, conformity,
possibly a metaphor about rosaries in my basketball sneakers, etc. — it finally hit me.
I needed to confront the predator that has plagued my very existence since birth: indecisiveness.
Maybe then this demon would finally go away and leave me to effortlessly make clear, concise
decisions and plans. First, of course, I had to decide if this was indeed what I wanted to
write about. I mean, a “narrative of success” with a negative connotation? I carefully
weighed the pros and cons while simultaneously napping, and after two hours (not all spent
napping), finally decided to gain the courage to…ask Dean Walters’ opinion. Case-in-point.

See, this is another issue, the evil cohort of indecisiveness: self-doubt. Great. Perfect.
TWO negatives. Is that all I can say for myself after living twenty-two years on this earth?
After Dean Walters’ approval and encouragement of my idea, I decided, actually decided to
go with it.

Decision-making started getting difficult for me in the womb. Plagued by the possibility of
severe health complications, my mother had to decide whether or not to keep me. I consider
myself a part of her at that time and thus a part of the decision-making process. It was a
very stressful time for me, making the first decision of my life and all. However, I’m
here and I think I made the right choice.

But once I was born, I was immediately labeled the “golden child” and treated
that way. I tried to please everyone without disappointing, so as to not debunk my golden child
status. It has been all downhill from there.

As a child, I would always have a difficult time deciding whether or not to go to sleepovers.
I didn’t want my parents to feel alone without me, but I really wanted to spend time
with my friends. The responsibility I felt and still feel to others plays a major role in my
decision-making process, and usually takes precedence over what I want. Guilt, or if you went
to Catholic School for nine years and would like to call it “Catholic guilt,” is
a major setback for me.

When I was able to read, indecisiveness crept even more into my life. This was because I could
now read the menu at restaurants and would have to make my own meal choices. It was as if I
was being punished for honing this new skill. It seems as though when I progress in life, decisions
become more and more difficult to make. First grilled cheese vs. a hot dog — now what
to do after I graduate from college? So unfair! I’m sick of progressing and being punished
for it! To this day I am taunted for being the only one at the table not ready to order. Stressed
and overwhelmed, I usually shout out something random at the last second, but not before asking
the waitress’s opinion.

When it was time for me to go to college, it became apparent that I had a serious problem.
Ultimately choosing between Smith and the Coast Guard Academy, I was basically choosing a lifestyle.
I agonized day and night, asked everyone I knew what they thought I should do. When they responded,
I quickly decided on the alternative. At the end of it all, I realized, why in the hell had
I even considered the Coast Guard Academy? An alum had encouraged me to apply, so instead of
saying no, I had obliged and mysteriously been accepted. But did I really want to be there?
Absolutely not. I had applied to appease others.

My indecisiveness stems from this weak sense of self. I am never sure what the correct decision
for me is in society’s eyes, so I let other people persuade me one way or the other.
That way, I don’t have to make a decision for myself. It is probably partly so that I
will be accepted, partly because I don’t want to disappoint, and partly so that I don’t
have to take full responsibility for the repercussions of my decision if it turns out to be
the wrong one.

I have never felt more indecisive than during my time at Smith. I’m not sure if it is
the competitive environment, or the importance of the decisions I am making. Probably a combination
of both. I am always the last one of my friends to set my schedule at the beginning of the
semester, waiting the full two weeks before being forced by the college to make a decision
already
. In the meantime, the poor souls I call my friends must listen to every pro and
con of each class and professor I am considering. I bore them with such ridiculousness because
I can’t make a decision, but a little part of me always wonders if I unconsciously feel
my problems are more important than theirs. It’s as if my life takes precedence
over their lives; they should focus on me until whatever I am struggling with is resolved.
Am I constantly bugging them, and do they just tune-me-out after a while? Maybe It’s
my “golden child” persona creeping in whenever I need people.

This year has been no different. Actually it has been different — more difficult. I
have made and am making some of the hardest decisions of my life. Trying to prioritize the
different compartments of my life into what is important and what is not is a trying task because
everything is important! Do I take that leadership position that would be a great experience
and help me develop important skills, or do I turn it down to spend more time with my friends?
This is our senior year and our time together is precious.

Not all things in my life are about my indecisiveness. I am not curled up in the fetal position
rocking back and forth all day deciding what to have for dinner. I know I am independent, strong,
and capable. I like to think that some of my indecision comes from me trying to be a good person.
For example, not wanting anyone to feel upset, or just trying to get the most out of my life.
I often ask, why can’t I do both? And sometimes, I can.

In my little world of yo-yo thought, I know I can make one solid decision. I know what I ultimately
want. I yearn for it, dream about how it would feel, and what kind of person I would become
if I had it. This one goal trumps all other goals. “She just wants —” to
be sure.