Google defines the word Determine as

“Cause (something) to occur in a particular way; be the decisive factor in.”


It’s interesting how some words stick out so strong to us. Hold a lot of value. We’d buy the large wooden carving of the word and hang it in the kitchen if we found it at TJ Maxx. Other words we’d rather never use. Like how people joke around the word moist.


I lost a lot of memories from my childhood due to trauma. I think of it like how some memories are so toxic that even the ones stored next to them slowly get corrupted too.

Then there are some moments that no matter how traumatic the times were still shine out, untouched. No blemish or spot of mold on this memory.

I remember them calling my name for my turn to go out into the hallway and be tested. The anticipation of it coming was big and most of the other students felt the same way. I could feel the anxiety buzzing in the room. Then hitting the hallway with the person reading me the test. The cool difference in feeling the hallway had. Calmer and clearer. We sat on a bench in the tiny foyer to a double door exit to the school. Fake tree in the corner next to us and crappy fluorescent lights  above us. I could see the sunlight from outside slant ways on the carpet as we sat down to do the test.

We went through about 100 different words  and I didn’t have a problem reading and pronouncing them all except for one.  I said the word how it appeared to me. Deter – Like Jeter or Peter and then Mine like where miners go to work. Deter-mine. Determine.

The lady giving me the test asked me to try again several times and I just could NOT think of any other way under the planet to pronounce that word. She let me struggle a few minutes hoping it would come to me. It never did and missing that one word was the ‘determining” factor in my grade. You either got perfect and went on or missed any and had to go through those words again and move on next week. Meaning I’d be bored to tears and frustrated repeating knowing next weeks words would still be waiting and I’d be stuck worrying about being behind.

I’ve done that quite a few times in my life. I just absolutely not been able to see something for other than what I thought. In no means could someone else make it clear enough for me to see my way around the issue. Then at some later turn of events, boom. I got it. Determine. Not Deter-mine.  I was so determined so many times that I was doing the absolute best I could that I could not see the reality in it. See the danger or the failure. Sometimes we think we are doing everything right until it hits you and you can accept it clearly and fully.

I think about how theres been so many tiny determining factors throughout my life. If certain things didn’t happen the way that they did, maybe my life would have been extremely different. What if my grandmother never left my grandfather. What if my mom decided to actually leave my dad when she got her first real job? What if I had been assigned a different team in middle school and never met my best friend of over 15 years? Life is so paper thin when I look back sometimes. What if I remember to get oil more often and my engine didn’t give out going up Christiansburg mountain on Halloween? What if when it did we didn’t just slowly come to a stop and hit the emergency break and sit on the crest of one of the hills. It’s those small determining factors that keep us here. There’s so many moments someone has almost came in my lane in the car and if hadn’t blown the horn or stopped they would have caused us to have a severe crash. I’ve even had a JUDGE side swipe my side mirror off in Salem. Seriously. It’s just all those small determining factors that is just life in general. The risks we take everyday. The choices we make overtime determine how healthy or unhealthy we will be. Not each food or each meal but our overall well being. If we aren’t happy then our body isn’t running as well as it could.

Sometimes we are aware of those determining factors and other times we are blissfully unaware. Those meetings were people discuss whether they want you on their team or not. The times a friend decided to not invite you to something. What was said after you left the room. That if you’d heard maybe things would have played out differently. Better or for worse.


Google also shares similar words

first one up:


OH boy. Yeah that’s a word I knew well. I could pronounce that one for certain but what I didn’t know was just how much control controlled everything.  The way I thought about myself controlled what I allowed to happen to me. The education system I was a part of that controlled how and when I learned. The friends that decided they liked me enough to be my friend, that was the determined whether I had a friend or not. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s before I knew that some people may want to be your friend and it’s okay to not get along with everyone.
I knew the concept that everyone’s not your friend. We even made jokes in high school with the phrase, “Stop trying to be my friend” when someone was copying us or trying to tag along in our ideals. I just didn’t realize that sometimes there are others who think they want to be my friend and the parts of themselves that they reveal make me think that we would be able to be friends.

The way that I thought about them was the determining factor and sometimes those factors can be skewed. I thought I had control because of the facts I knew. When in reality I didn’t know anything at all. We can all be blind to things when we are so determined to see things our own way.

I am usually trapped in a loop of busy. Being so damn determined to do everything that I the simple act of doing nothing it unobtainable.

So I have to sit down with my determination and serve it a drink.

Tell it that his first name is Deter and it’s last name is Mine.

Mr. Deter Mine, let’s drink some wine and have a good time.


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