Choices or Change by Dennis Cockerham

Choices or Change by Dennis Cockerham | construction2style

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Hey guys, meet Dennis, Noah’s friend in prison and a new writing contributor. Noah shared a lot of his stories with me and everyone has made my heart want to explode. Excited for you to get to know him as well and we’ll be transitioning his stories over to resilience2reform once the website is up and running. Here’s one of his first posts he wrote about “Choices or Change.” He’s also a very good poetry writer, so you’ll be reading more of his experiences through poetry. 

Choices or Change by Dennis Cockerham

Imagine the following:

-You go through a Drive-Thru
-You order the Number 1
-You drive up to the window
-They ask you why you didn’t try the special
-Was it on the menu?

Then how would you have known that it was an option?

As an abused child, I know this all too well. I did not choose for my mother and father to divorce, or for my mother to sign custody of me over to her parents.

And I definitely did not choose to be punched and kicked by adults throughout my childhood.

To get told that I was worthless, I was to blame for all things bad, and I deserved what I got.

I had no choice in any of that: Nor would any change in my reaction or attitude to these events affect the outcome.

These items were just not on the menu.

I am not saying that choices are irrelevant.

However, they must be put into proper perspective.

Choices can only be chosen from those you are aware of. This is highly regulated by your conditions. In my case, a family member witnessed the abuse. They contacted law enforcement and social services. Then they told me that what was happening was wrong and help was waiting for me. All I had to do was run away. So I did.

In this solution, my problem was created.

I do not agree that belief systems are taught. That we choose a pattern of thinking. I believe they are the outcome of our experiences, consisting of the combined actions of myself and others.

I was a child. I was told that I was wrong, even when I was right. Beat until I admitted the wrong. Then, beat more for doing the wrong to begin with.

I knew nothing else.

When choice was brought to me, I took it. And my belief system was created: I was always bad, would always get punished, and I deserved it. I was the problem. The solution was to run.

This is the foundation on which my life was built. I am 47 years old now. I ran away when I was 10. Only now, with so much distance from the beginning, can I see it clearly. Pattern of thought seen or connected to the experiences in retrospect.

Have you ever noticed that no matter how many times you tell a child that the stove is hot; No matter how you explain it. They touch the stove. Only then do they understand.

Today, I know that it is not through understanding that we do things. But we do things in order to understand.

I have always tried to out-think my thinking problem. Like delivering water to a flood. I now know that what, how, and why I think a particular way, is of little concern. As long as I do the next right thing.

change any number
changes the sum

No matter what I think
No matter what I feel
No matter what I believe

Changing my actions
Changes the outcome.

Thanks for listening, 


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