Shannon Alder: On Choices.

You chose.
You chose.
You chose.

You chose to give away your love.
You chose to have a broken heart.
You chose to give up.
You chose to hang on.

You chose to react.
You chose to feel insecure.
You chose to feel anger.
You chose to fight back.
You chose to have hope.

You chose to be naïve.
You chose to ignore your intuition.
You chose to ignore advice.
You chose to look the other way.
You chose to not listen.
You chose to be stuck in the past.

You chose your perspective.
You chose to blame.
You chose to be right.
You chose your pride.
You chose your games.
You chose your ego.
You chose your paranoia.
You chose to compete.
You chose your enemies.
You chose your consequences.

You chose.

However, you are not alone. Generations of women in your family have chosen. Women around the world have chosen. We all have chosen at one time in our lives. We stand behind you now screaming:

Choose to let go.
Choose dignity.
Choose to forgive yourself.
Choose to forgive others.
Choose to see your value.
Choose to show the world you’re not a victim.
Choose to make us proud.

– Shannon L. Alder


You had just got back from work, tired and exhausted; and there she was looking like a long lost memory, a cold forgotten side dish. So you sat both of you down: yourself and Tara, your niece. Your slim bony stern look mirrored her tear-stained chubby face. She had been like that for a long time: moody and petulant- because of a boy! It was time for real talk. It was time for girl talk. So you began,

“For how long?”

You saw her lips begin to move from the other side but you shunned her quickly. You knew her, you knew she had the magic words. Just one word, and you’d have been flicking right down her path: a very interesting yet damaging path, acqueiscing with her. You continued,

“For how long will you keep being miserable over the past? How long will you let him keep hurting you even in his absence? Even when he has moved on to happier things in the Universe? When will you start being kind to yourself?”

“It is not my fault that he still affects me. I sleep and he is there. I wake up and he is there. In the living memories and the unwritten stories, he is there. In every voice, and on every piece of art, his allure is present. In the eyes of every joyous couple, and the brilliant dilemmic voice of the ones that speak of heartbreak… he is there. And I know you know what I mean, because you loved Derek too. Do you not miss it? Do you not miss him? How can you move on like it never happened? Like he never lived? How can you be so disloyal?!”

It was funny how the tables had turned so quickly, but you were not surprised. You were well aware of the magic of her conniving mind.

“I feel it. I miss it. But that’s that, I have moved on. Moving on does not mean I never loved, it means I fancy saving what can be saved and just that: the future. You have not moved on; not because he affects you, but because you let him affect you. It is a thing of choice, honey. People come and people go; and that’s really what life is about– the comings and goings. But we move on, life moves on. There’ll come many more surprises, and many more loves, and many more joys, and many more heartbreaks… and you don’t want to find out in the near future, that having grown the courage to spare your heart for love again, you do not have any more tears to spare for the impending heartbreak. It will be a shame! You will be mad at yourself. I will be mad at you. We will be mad at us.”

“Must we? Must we break? If we must, I don’t want to love again.”

“Darling, to love is to hurt and be hurt.”

“To hurt is to tear, and break, and bleed and die. I don’t want to hurt. I don’t want to be hurt.”

“No. No honey, to hurt is to learn what worked and what didn’t. To hurt is to be stronger. Plus, we can’t always choose who we hurt; because we only have the power to hurt those that have had enough courage to invest some emotion in us. That is not your war to fight or win. It is nobody’s fight.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Be kind to yourself, for a start. Be kind to us.”


“Move on. Be happy. You’re happy, I am happy.”

“But you’re happy.” she retorts, little blue eyes melting into something like the grace of a shiny star.

“But I can be happier…” you cajole her.

“What do I do?”

“Think about what you are thinking about every time and only think those thoughts that make you smile.”

“Even if they are thoughts of him?” she asks; hope lacing her every word.

You hesitate because you are scared for her, and you want her to heal very fast and be herself again. But there’s no shortcut to matters of the heart. Is there? “If it makes you smile, it makes me smile too.”

She smiled then, and you almost did not recognise her. And then you hugged it out for a few seconds, after which you both retired to bed. She, with a killer smile: you, with eyes housing tears waiting to be shed. You lied. You had not moved on. You had not quite got over him. You still cried every night even years after Derek left. Because like a child, you still wished he would barge in the way he barged out. You remembered your conversation with Tara and you felt wrong. You had just advised someone to do, in one night, what you took five years to do: move on. And in fact, the nights bear testament that you are still not moving on… but hey, it is a choice, your choice. No?


A conversation with my dear friend Kingsley sort of inspired this post. He had once told me: “get a paper and write these words down, and place the paper in the most conspicuous place”. The words, which he said– the same ones I wrote down and used in this post are: “always think about what you are thinking about. If it’s a good thing, continue; if it is not, pause and reset your thoughts.”

Thank you for those words, Kingsley. 🙂 ❤


© The Short Black Girl, 2016.


7 thoughts on “Shannon Alder: On Choices.

  1. Hey! You’re most welcomed. And actually, I think, as a gentleman, I should be the one to thank you for presenting this story though it is a sad one. It made me to think… to think about life and death, I mean, as beautiful as it seems to have your mostly beloved obsessively remembering you when one is nevermore, instead for Him or Her sacrificing her happiness that she could have enjoyed – I would want her to move on with her life with the facts and realize that I am nomore. Let her remember me when it is my birthday, our anniversary, our special days, and especially the day I died. Celebrate me! Please, don’t scratch yourself in the heart nor at the spot where I did when I left you. Although, the pain is unbearable. Heal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Errm… “explosive”? I am not sure I understand what you mean by that, but I can appreciate the concern reflected in the latter part of your comment. That said, I think that regardless of how a break-up happens, the heart would hold on to what it wishes to hold on to.

    Thank you for dropping a thought. I appreciate you 🙂 ❤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s