Drink and a Treat


First written by me 2011- 2013 and published on the website blogHer. I couldn't find it online so I decided to put it here in it's mostly original state.



I am one of the most indecisive people on the planet. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s

near pathological. Maybe it’s a fear of commitment? I haven’t completely figured it

out yet, but I’m working on it.

My earliest memories of this character trait are from when I was 8 or 9. Every

once in a while, Daddy would take us to the convenience store on our way home

from school to get what he called “a drink and a treat”. This was always a happy

thing at the onset. John, my oldest brother, would grab a beef jerky or nutty buddy

and a jolt cola. Kelsey, my little sister, would grab a Sprite and a FunDip (or

whatever would make her hands the stickiest and slimiest ever. She always had

sticky slimy hands. Sorry sis…). I would watch them make their selections with a

sense of panic. How do they know what they want so fast? And I would go from the

soda cooler to the candy bars and back again, my head reeling from all the options.

I’d pick up a Twix and put it down. Maybe Skittles? No that’s not it. My dad would

gently nudge me, “Come on Maggie, just pick something honey”. Okay, okay! But

what if I pick wrong? What if John & Kelsey pick better and I want what they picked

and I can’t have it because I picked what I picked? “Maggie you have 3 minutes.

Decide. Now.” At this point I would <<eenie meenie miney moe>>* use a popular counting rhyme that actually has racist history to pick from the top 3 treats; I

would end up choosing the first one that was not “it”. And I hadn’t even gotten to the

drinks yet. “Maggie! Dammit just pick something and come on or you don’t get

anything!” My even bigger fear was then revealed, that I wouldn’t get anything, so I

quickly grabbed the first thing I touched and ran to the cash register. I would watch

as the cashier rang up all of our stuff, probably in tears, our happy drink and a treat

tradition turned to torture.

I did not grow out of this stressful indecisiveness. Up until recently I only had white

coffee mugs because I would stress over which mug to use in the morning. “What do

you want for dinner?” is one of my least favorite questions. And forget about big

decisions. Anything requiring a decision from me bigger than “Do you want to super

size for a quarter more?” would lead to at best procrastination, at worst a 3 day

slumber.

Depression is a huge factor in how hard it is to decide. When I’m down everything

seems huge. EVERYTHING.

I’m coming to accept that decisions are hard for me and I’m learning to adapt. If I’m

asked to pick what movie we watch I narrow it down to the 2 or 3 top picks and I let

the others hash it out from there. Maybe it’s a cop out, but it works. For dinner ideas

I have a few “go to” picks so I just throw them out there, and when I have a craving

for something I definitely I speak up- even if it’s not my turn to pick- because in the

event that I know what I want it’s my turn to pick.

The most important thing I’m learning is that I have an inner voice. I never did

listen, I was too busy listening to everyone else’s outer voice to know what I really

wanted.

I’ve outlined some seemingly trivial (albeit real) decision scenarios to make

a point, but when it comes down to the real life stuff, I’m learning to get quiet and

get out of the way so I can just let the Universe be my guide. I’m learning that it’s

really not that big of deal what color mug I have, or what we have for dinner on

Tuesday night, or even what drink or treat to pick- so I’m letting the small stuff go,

and listening to that inner voice when it comes to the big stuff. And I’m even

learning to loosen up and have a little bit of fun in the process.

And as you might have guessed this topic came to me via my inner voice when I was

struggling to decide between two other topics for my second blog post. So I went

with it.



* The racist history of this children’s counting rhyme didn’t occur to me when I initially wrote it years ago. Re-reading it now it's glaring so I left it to make a footnote in case my readers weren't aware. A google search turned up many different accounts of the origin of the rhyme but there’s no dispute that the N word was used in this rhyme in the USA and England and changed to tiger only relatively recently in our history. I should’ve chosen a different phrase here when I wrote this originally, I apologize for my ignorance. Words matter.


After posting this on Wed February 24, 2021, my dad and I had a cool text exchange about parenting and childhood anxiety. I live with anxiety and it's pretty clear looking back that I always have. This story took place in the 1980s- I don't fault him one bit for his parenting or behavior. I don't think anxiety in children was talked about a whole lot back then- especially in rural TN, and I know he was doing the best he could with what resources he had at the time. I also have a child with anxiety who struggles with indecisiveness and there are times where we have things play out exactly like the drink and a treat scenario despite all of my learning and good habits and practices for my own anxiety. And I could kick myself every time! I SHOULD KNOW HOW TO DO THIS BY NOW! But we live and we learn and we just do the best with the resources that we have. I love you daddy! Thank you.


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