The Butterfly Effect (The Smallest Decisions Matter)

Author Demez F. White

Author Demez F. White

One of my favorite movies, not necessarily because of the acting, is the Butterfly Effect with Ashton Kutcher. A quick synopsis of the movie is: A professor or Kutcher builds a time machine and the machine allows you to go back and fix the smallest mistake that changed the course of people’s lives. It could be something as simple as going home instead of to the park or calling one person to hang out instead of another.

The movie got me to thinking about the decisions I’ve made in life. Now I won’t pretend that I’ve been to prison or made mistakes that will haunt me but I do think about small things that happened that may have seemed small but in reality they altered the course of my life. Whether it was not re-taking my SAT’s to get a better score or not doing a semester at sea.

There are so many and to think about them all would not make much sense but it doesn’t mean that occasionally I don’t wonder. It’s such an old concept that never really gets old when you think about it. Like what if great generals would have gotten shot right before the war started. What if Rosa Parks wouldn’t have gotten on that bus because she got a phone call that her sister was sick. The effect that one decision can make on who we become and our legacies are exponential.

If I’m being honest I can’t say I regret a lot of decisions I’ve made but I can say that as I get older I regret missed opportunities and where those opportunities could have taken me. The good thing about the Butterfly Effect and life in general is that with each day comes a new opportunity to make decisions that will shape our lives and effect not just us but so many people around us.

Struggle is sort of a foreign concept to me. I’ve had disappointments and setbacks but I can’t say I’ve ever really felt helpless or thought that things wouldn’t work out. That’s mostly because of family and the people I’ve had on my life but struggle scares me. Death doesn’t, we all have to die, I just hope I die accomplished and loved. But struggle, that’s not something I ever want to experience. It’s okay to lose occasionally, you aren’t going to win at everything you do in life but struggling and losing are just different. Losing means you gave your all and you have to formulate a new plan. Struggling is losing on a consistent basis. It’s feeling as though no matter what you’re doing things just aren’t working. That haunts me, the idea that anyone could get comfortable with struggling and not want to fight. Not want to win.

Doubts As A Writer; Insecurities As A Man

IMG_0701It’s not realistic to me sometimes that I’m going to be anywhere near who are what I want to be. To some this might be perceived as a lack of self-confidence or confidence in my writing or abilities but to be it’s just the hand I’ve been dealt when it comes to my mental and emotional makeup. This one quote sticks in my mind constantly since I’ve heard it. “Almost every writer as one book in them, almost no one has two books.” I get asked at least once a week where the sequel is to my first novel. It’s been almost 4 years now. There’s always a reasonable excuse but the truth is every version I write just doesn’t feel good enough.

For a man like me that’s incredibly confident in most things I do, it’s almost impossible to explain what it’s like to be hesitant about something that I know I’m great at. If Tom Brady was born to throw a football and Kobe was born to shoot a basketball and Shakespeare was born to write plays, I was born to write novels. So why is it that I have this weight of the world type fear in my heart when it comes to something that I love to do so much?

I wrote my first novel when I was in the 11th grade. It was front and back on a 70 page notebook tablet. I’d broken up with my girlfriend and used her and her friends and myself and my friends as characters. Because this was in the age before social media and blogs the way it got read was that it got passed around from person to person. People trying to figure out which character was which and what was reality and what I’d made up in my mind. It was at that moment, at that juncture in my life that I knew I could write. That I knew this wasn’t going to be a hobby for me. So now 14 years removed from that moment I feel as though my spirit is breaking at the thought that I won’t fulfill my destiny.

Sometimes I’m afraid that I’m incapable of ever truly opening up to someone. Incapable of ever loving someone in a way that will allow me to be vulnerable. Saying things like, “I miss you” or “I love you” or “I need you” have always been easier to put in a letter or write in a book then they have been to say out loud. When you find yourself not able to open up to someone on any level, what happens is all of that “stuff” in your head manifest itself into self-doubt, self-loathing, the inability to accept the shoulder or hand someone that cares about you is offering you. That inability is what makes me the writer I am but that inability is what makes me the writer I’m not.

In the dawn of the morning all I want some days is for her to hug me and tell me that I am everything I believe I am. No real drawn out conversations, no pretty words. Just my head on her stomach and her looking down on me with those eyes that say I need you and I believe in you. I can’t say I’ve ever felt that, not if I’m being honest. I’ve had people say those things to me and say those pretty words but that moment when I know that they believe in me just as much as I believe in me. That’s priceless.

These are just the ramblings of a writer in the morning hours of a Saturday. Letting whoever reads this know that you are not alone if you feel those doubts, if you feel alone.

Demez F. White