Life is made of small decisions; one man does not make an army, but an army is made of men. I definitely learned this golden nugget from Katamari Damacy. For those who aren’t familiar with this wonderful game, Katamari Damacy is simply about rolling around a ball called Katamari until it gets to a certain size. (Granted there are other complexities in this game, but you get the gist.) You just keep rolling and rolling and rolling… until you start accumulating larger objects, bigger things that add to the size of your ball. Maybe it’s my over-thinking things, but this game probably alludes to a very important fact that some people never really realize.
“Small” decisions aren’t as small as you think
In a good party, one guy paying 250 bucks at the entrance is not cool, until a hundred guys holding 250 bucks each come rushing in. Likewise, one small decision will lead to another decision, and eventually those small decisions make paths that you don’t want to cross. Now, I’m not saying choosing not to brush your teeth in the morning will lead you to choosing the right college, but those little decisions will subtly nudge you into a certain direction, and chance is, you won’t notice. I learned that the hard way.
As a kid, I was terribly shy. My mom would always ask if I’d want to go to workshops, and I’d refuse them and stay home. After all, I was comfortable at home, with my crayons. Why would I want to go out and play with kids? Or even worse, learn that I was bad at something and make a fool of myself? I grew up not trying things like dancing, or going to those over-glorified Christian communities (The ones where some kids go for spiritual enlightenment, but end up finding it in the art of making out).
Fast forward a few years, I became obsessed in art. I dabbled in everything art, writing, drawing, music, everything. People got to know me as that girl who was “good at art”. They made me do their art stuff, and I did them, no refuting. I did everything. It gave me experience, and a reputation. At some point between then and now, I wondered how I got to this point. Did it really just happen like that? Was it innate in me? I then realized that it all started when I first decided to watch Art Attack and hide in the corner instead of socializing in that dance workshop.
Sometimes, they lead you to a road where it seems like things won’t work out
At the cost of my art abilities, I ignored my other skills. I was terrible at public speaking (I developed a stutter habit, which is devastating in Filipino orals), and I was even more terrible at dancing (body rolling? GOD, ARE THEY EELS?). On top of that, I wasn’t confident in making new friends because I never learned how to. I was always inside my room, watching Art Attack and drawing while young jocks-to-be were hurling balls at fellow douchebags-to-be.
Early in high school, I hated myself. I hated the limits I unconsciously set for myself. I wanted to be cool and dance. I wanted to easily make friends and talk to people. I wanted to be as eloquent and as confident as my brother who went out to clubs 25/7. I always looked back at the small decisions that brought me to that point. Why did I pick up those crayons? Why couldn’t I just join a sport and stick with it? Why didn’t I just suck up my pride and try talking to people back when I was younger?
Sometimes, the road you set for yourself doesn’t turn out the way you want it to. That’s life. There is no guarantee for success, and it definitely won’t be shoved in your face. Sometimes decisions come in sheep’s clothing, and lead you to the jaws of a very hungry (and ugly) wolf and it will make you sorely, miserably, and terribly depressed. Sometimes you feel like you can’t get out of the hole you made for yourself.
Sometimes, you just have to roll with it because you have no choice but to deal with it.
I realized that I made some stupid decisions back then, and that’s okay. It’s good to reevaluate who you are, and where you stand. Take time to know yourself and what you want. For me, I still liked art. I still liked doing artsy stuff, but I also wanted to do other things that I deprived myself of.
I started going to parties, and I practiced dancing in private and laughing at myself in the process. I’m no professional dancer, nor am I the life of the party, but I took the first step in expanding my itty bitty comfort zone, and getting comfortable in my own skin. That’s a big decision. If I made other decisions back then, it wouldn’t have been as big as it is right now, but I’ve decided to stop mourning over the past.
Life is short, too short to mope around and not do things you want to do. We all make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes incrementally become very big ones. But the beauty in life is that you can start over, if you have the guts to. Sometimes you have to roll with your mistakes, deal with the consequences, move on, and start correcting them. These little decisions I make now, like dancing in the shower, taking a leadership role in the school newspaper, or liking unfamiliar acquaintances’ pictures are small things, but in the long run, it’ll nudge me to a road that I would gladly take. I can’t say for certain where I’m going to go, but at least I know where I want to be.
Mika Montano is a 4th year high school student at Poveda High School, Philippines. She is a talented artist, and passionate writer. During her free time, she enjoys trying out new things, and looking for new outlets for her to express her quirkiness and creativity.