So, I’m going to hazard a guess that my absence from the blogosphere lately, on top of several vague tweets and a thoroughly emo Facebook photo didn’t go 100% unnoticed. I say this as a result of something I hadn’t imagined happening: a complete outpouring of love, concern and support. This community has been incredibly kind to me in the past on many, many occasions, and through good and bad, I consider myself blessed to have built relationships with so many of you. Real life friends have become pillars of strength, and so many some would call “strangers” have offered solace and guidance – but someone once told me that a stranger was “just a friend you hadn’t met yet”. So many of you have truly shown the meaning of real friendship over these last few weeks whether the distance between us is five blocks or five thousand miles. So for all the e-mails, texts, hugs and phone calls, please know that the gratitude I express through saying “thank you” here can only reflect a small percentage of the magnitude of how very deeply I mean it.

I’m not going to go into details of what happened over the last couple of weeks, because this is partly the story of others, and it’s not fair for me to put something out there if it’s not one hundred per cent mine. But a lot of you already know, and trust me, everything you’ve expressed, advised and warned me about has been looping on repeat inside. I never thought Jordin Sparks would be my new best friend, but the only way I can describe what’s been going on inside me is in terms of visualising a battlefield.  I’ve had two sides raging against each other in my mind; one comprised of soldiers of shock and armies of anger under a ruling hand of disbelief; the other of heart, of hope, and of forgiveness. There seems to be a middle ground of reason which doesn’t seem able to join with either, and sits rather uncomfortably on the fence as both sides battle for its allegiance and the right to call it theirs.  In about twenty minutes, it will be reckoning night, and there can only be one winner. This is a fight to the death.

Supporters of both are cheering on loudly; banners of fear and betrayal held high as the opposition’s cries of compassion fight for the victory. Each believes wholeheartedly that they are battling for the right reasons, and I find myself sitting somewhere above it all, watching from afar. But the clock is ticking. I need to join a team. How could it be so difficult to choose between two sides so completely and utterly at opposite ends of the spectrum? One side’s soldiers wear shades of grey; a monochromatic army of emotion past and horror realised. As a fabulous song reminds me, everything they’re fighting for is like punching in a dream and breathing life into the nightmare. The ghost of disillusion hovers like a weight over them all, penetrating their swords with the stranglehold of memory, fuelling the fight to rage on. The other side, by contrast, doesn’t seem to have a uniform, but though in and of themselves they bear no semblance of cohesion, juxtaposed next to the resistance, are united with a sort of glow. Their cross-shields are emblazoned with symbols of love and hope; giant doves adorn armour and shimmering spells are cast across the battlefield, taking down dozens of greys at a time. In the heat of war, neither side seems to notice their torn observer, and I find myself praying for some kind of sign. The team to which I pledge allegiance will pave the way forward, and it is not a decision to make lightly.

The clock ticks loudly, an obnoxious reminder that my time is up. As I close my eyes in those last remaining seconds and surrender the decision to a blind leap of faith, the banner of a lone soldier catches my eye, and I see him looking directly at me. The rest of the field becomes a blur as our eyes lock in a simultaneously fleeting and eternal moment, and suddenly, my decision is made. The answer had been sitting inside of me the whole time, and was scrawled in giant, shining letters across his flag. Philosophy. I had to do what I did in every other walk of life, and apply my philosophy just as I would to anything else. I’ve always been a firm believer in humanity’s ability to choose their reaction, and no matter how difficult any situation may be, we all have a weapon of choice. My mission over the last year has been made evident time and time again: choose the right one. Fear is a trusty protector, and has been relied upon in battle after battle to shield from harm. But it’s only one weapon. A weapon that also blocks out the sun, and along with it, the potential for everything wonderful.

We cave so easily to the option of self-constructed walls around our hearts in misguided endeavours to keep them safe. The temptation to hold on tightly to those things from the past is almost sirenesque (did I just make that word up?), but like those sailors stolen from the seas, doing so only results in destruction. The power of acceptance has been pointed out to me in the past, and I think the lesson here may be to simply accept that in itself, and work it into my life’s philosophy. It’s an ongoing and ever-evolving mission statement, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things, that’s what life’s really all about. As I touched on earlier in the week, my philosophy already includes choice, love, forgiveness, integrity, and a focus on the big picture. At the end of the day, every one of us is only human, and if every person on the planet held onto all the hurts and pains from the past in order to protect themselves, this world would be a terrible place indeed. I think my lesson here is to focus on life from this point forward, not backward. Reaction to something that’s already happened isn’t going to stop it from happening (space-time continuum issues aside), but I believe accepting it, leading with love, and focusing on shaping a better future is the way forward.

We all have a choice. I just hope my heart is leading me in the right direction. Here goes…


  1. Excellent post, Emily. I still haven’t a clue what led to a black out FB picture, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious, but I appreciate that you’re protecting others….and quite frankly its none of my damn business!

    Hope all is well 🙂

  2. Emily-
    I’m the type of person who tries to be as respectful of someone’s wishes while they’re suffering a hardship. But please, know that you were in my thoughts and still are. I’m sending virtual hugs! I have no idea what’s going on, but I do know that it sounds like (as always) you’re armed with your own personal strength/integrity to move forward in the direction that most closely alligns with your authentic self. I wish you the best, whatever that may be. But please, just keep on writing. It’s not the same without you 🙂

  3. Amazing blog post, Em. I have no doubt that you’re pledging allegiance to the right side and I will be thinking about you and every step you’ll be taking forward from here!


  4. What a beautifully written description of the challenge you are facing. I feel like I have not been able to give any advice because I’m not you in your position. Hugs, yes, but advice based on my judgment of the situation, no. I’m glad you did decide to go with your heart.Even if it does end up being a mistake, you went with what you believed you needed to and I feel like trusting yourself will mean you won’t look back and regret what you did.

  5. it’s all we can do: put one foot in front of the other and cling to whatever faith we have to get us through.

  6. Sending good vibes and hugs your way. Hope everything works out for the best and I send you all the strength you need to help you in your decision making. Take care, Emily.

  7. You are an amazing and strong woman, Emily, and I know that you will choose the best side for you. I’m thinking about and praying for you daily, love.

  8. I have been a terrible communicator, but I think of you often and hope all is well with you. i say follow your heart and don’t look back! Hang in there, sweetie – thinking of you!

  9. I’ve been worried about you, so I’m glad you’re still around these parts. Hope you are okay and that the decision you make, whatever you are referring to, is the right one. Hugs. xx

  10. Oh <3, I love that you stick to your guns + follow your heart. I'm glad that you live by the values you hold, even when the choice is hard. I hope that that it all works out, hey. x

  11. Such a beautifully written post, Emily, and a wonderful metaphor you’ve created. I know that you have a good heart and a good head on your shoulders, so I trust that wherever they lead you will be the right direction! You’re still in my thoughts!

  12. I thought about you a lot over the last few days. I hope you are holding up OK. As always, let me know if you need anything at all my dear. XO

  13. making the right choice is never easy; i’m sure you are doing the right thing. you are not rash or easily led by emotion *hugs* you will come out the other side of this stronger and better

  14. I think I hinted to something like this in a letter I wrote you, but I think the path you went down was ultimately an enriching one. I think you hit it perfectly when you said that acceptance is the most important attitude to cultivate and how it’s on going and ever-evolving mission. That’s it, Emily. Acceptance is the key to peace, and cultivating that attitude to every facet of our existence is what leads us to freedom and happiness. I’m glad everything has worked out okay dear friend. *hug*

  15. Going back to your metaphor, if you can, think of acceptance as the real way to defeat the army of anger. They operate off resistance, rejection, and denial of conditions. But against acceptance, they cannot win. Their base of existence will be eradicated, and they will cripple. They cannot operate, and the side of hope and compassion will win without even lifting a finger, but instead spreading a smile across their face. It’s a tough end to reach, but the most worthwhile one since it leads to our peace.

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