No Regrets

Regret is double-edge sword.

The should haves and why didn’t I, are inevitably followed by the crushing weight of regret. I almost had a regret, a near miss, if you will. Mine was waiting too long to be fearless enough to pen a book with my quirky voice. Mrs. Lopez, a hardened by life, college professor, told me I shouldn’t write because I didn’t follow the rules. Take up business it’s more suited for your innovative style. She stopped me dead.

For too many years, I hid my passion from the world. I wrote under the light of the moon, in journals, but mostly on Par Avion blue paper. It wasn’t my ideal but I soared on those pages. I might have stayed in my comfort zone if not for the burly arms of fate. I cannot say it was luck because I don’t actually put much stalk in the rabbit’s foot, but there was a falling star. I wonder.

When destiny came barreling into my front door a few weeks after, it required immediate action on my part. There was no time for the plus and minus lists, no thoughtful consideration. It knocked me back against the wall and whispered in my ear. Are you game for the thrill of a lifetime? Will you jump without a net into the arms of the unknown, take a walk on the wild side? Heartache is a possibility but you’ll take with you a lifetime of memories. It’a win-win.

For me the decision was clear. It was more a calling than a choice. Today  I was looking through my past for a regret and lesson learned for another essay I am writing, but I couldn’t lock on one worthy of my attention. I kept coming back to my near miss and Mrs. Lopez. I felt the urge to write her a letter, to explain that rules are guidelines and up for interpretation. I wanted to tell her about my life and the near miss, which almost cost me a life without passion. I didn’t but it got me thinking about all those other Mrs. Lopez’s out there in the world stomping on percolating passions.

The lost chance, the regret we revisit long after the moment to live it has passed, can render a person immobile when remembered. Breathing slows down until only the tiniest sips of air slip in and out. For the length of an expansive, fat and juicy, exhale, which spans the Ice Age in the mind, the body surrenders.

Tic

  

Toc

 

Tic

  

Toc

 

Somewhere, somehow, fortitude kicks in and pulls the mind lost in the pool of regret, out, and administers CPR. The heart, which almost stopped, resumes, and breaths are full and rejuvenating. Time returns to its steadied, predictable pace.

1000

1001

1002

1003

Your spirit slides back into your skin with each breath, unnoticed. The only sign of recovery is the rumbling of your mojo in the pit of your stomach. Your invincible Wonder Woman or Hulk like persona is ready to tackle the other side of regret. For some, it takes a hearty glass of Pinot Noir to steal the mettle before traversing the flipside.

I’ve never been sure which is worse, the why nots or the whys, not really.

Regrets, both the whys and why nots are not a subject I spend a lot of time debating with myself. Regretting past decisions, the good and the gnarly bad, is like saying to myself, you’re not who you say you are. I arrived at my current definition of me because of what I did and did not do over the years. Would I be the same if I had made a different choice at the crossroads of Chance and Fate?  Would I have a villa in Barcelona and a hefty writing portfolio behind me if I had spit in the wind and chanced it?

I haven’t a clue, which is why I refuse to walk over my life picking it apart and why I didn’t write Mrs. Lopez a letter today.

What I know with certainty is my past is what makes me, me. I can’t cry over losing my heart, missing a plane, jumping without a net, saying goodbye, hello, or saying yes when I should have said no, or telling Mrs. Lopez to stuff her rules where the sun never ever shines. I cannot. To do so would say I am a fake and my history is fiction. It’s not. It’s full of intrigue, mystery, lovers and friends who were lost and found, books started, reread until the spine broke, while some were tossed aside after page ten. And, yes, I confess there are gnarly, scary bits, which require a glass or two of Pinot to unpack. There’s the lover who left me in pieces…

But that’s a story for another day.

What’s your near miss?  

by

I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

46 thoughts on “No Regrets

  1. Susan Deborah

    Ah, I have had many like that. I better let them rest and die a natural death. Sometimes I feel that the near miss was for a purpose. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this post which was a very honest one, right from the innermost depths of your heart. And as for a lover — there were many at different points of my life.

    Joy always,
    Susan

  2. I so agree with you and again your writing reflects a lady with spunk. I never dwell on the if nots or the whys. Today I am what I am because of all the heartaches, the joys and the agonies and the ecstasies. I so love reading your posts Brenda!
    rimly recently posted….GONEMy Profile

    • Aw, Rimly, thanks kindly. I dare say we all have spunk and when it comes to love, there isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t get tangled up in past. We ask too many questions and want resolution. Love, isn’t that tidy. It swoops in, kisses you on the cheek and goes. No questions asked. You’ll make peace and then your poetry will send a different message, love and all its will further define you. Watch, you’ll see.

  3. You are beautiful Brenda! You speak from the heart and I can always relate. Shame on Mrs. Lopez. I think we all have one or two of those in our life, and maybe they are sent so we can say, “I will prove you wrong.” but all too often we are vulnerable when they enter our lives. Or we are too young to know better. We shrink back when they say their bit. It may take us years to recoup. As we get older, it is not even minutes…

    • Jodi – When I am writing, as I was here, I don’t stop to consider if I am writing the truth or a version of it. It is what it is. I suppose speaking from the inside of my heart is that quirky voice, Mrs. Lopez, didn’t like. I know my own daughter had her doom slayer but thankfully I recognized him for what he was, and took my girl aside and told her to be who she and follow her heart.

  4. I always say that what’s happened in my past is what got me here today. I can’t have regrets because I’m happy with my life now and those experiences shaped me into who I am today.

    I’m proud of you, Brenda. I remember you telling me about Mrs. Lopez when we met, and I was so upset with her. Teachers should encourage, not discourage. You have a style that is unique and I’m sure that’s what will make you succeed. You know I’m one of your biggest fans. :)
    Kelly Hashway recently posted….Monday Mishmash and Very Inspiring Blogger AwardMy Profile

    • Kelly – and you are my shero. I know how hard it is to have a young child and do all those things, like be a mom, wife, and live the dream (which you are) of writer/author. When I feel myself getting blue over a rejection letter or the lack of response to my book I think of you and how you made it. It’ too damn late to turn back now.

  5. I’ve never regretted anything in my life… at least I have tried not to. Every thing in my life made me who I am today. Every single good, bad, and ugly moment. I accept that fully.

    There was a time when I would look back on my life and pick it apart. I focused on every thing my father and step-mother said, every bully said, every person who have said bad things about me either to my face or behind my back. They were all my Mrs. Lopez. Some of them are still in my social network life most of them are gone for good, and many of them are welcome only when and if they change their tune and realize that my life is mine and the way they live their life need not interfere with how I live mine.

    I put off many things because of the “Mrs. Lopez’s” I’ll never become anything because they said so… the thing that hurts the most in those words is that I believed them. Now, I just go through life and when something happens I spend a moment on it and move on. I don’t dwell anymore and I am more at ease and less an anxious mess because of it. Nobody knows the future, we sometimes pretend that we do but, we don’t. Therefore nobody should tell someone they can’t or they shouldn’t.

    What if someone had told Mrs. Lopez she was more suited for something else and she believed them? Then you would have gone straight to writing and not tried to keep it hidden for so long. At the end of the day, it isn’t about what the Mrs. Lopez’s say, it is about how you move on and overcome the inner voice that mimics their voice. It is about doing what is best for you, what makes you happy, what you are meant to do. Not what they think you should be doing.

    Hope you are well and having a great week.
    InJensMind recently posted….The Busy Blogger’s Biggest Issue Resolved By The Broad With The Big BrainMy Profile

    • Jen, well said. I am glad to hear you’re persecutive on the world and the people in it is positive. I think a person has to find their voice in life, whatever the voice is, and then sing. It’s my near miss and it makes me sigh deeply because everywhere else in my life I was fearless, bar the writing. I can’t cry over it now, it is what it is. I took my chance when it came back around and haven’t look back since. And yes, I’m having a great day except for being stuck on an opening for pitch letter. ARGH! Thanks much for visiting.

  6. All of our experiences, Brenda, hit or miss, seizing the moment or failing to, add up to who we are today. It is how we are able to overcome the weight of regrets and what ifs to find and pursue our passions that sets us free.
    Your post reminds me so much about my latest Meditation of My Heart in the story of Jay. It took the right words, the right moment, to set him free from a past of discouragement and judgment that had plagued his life and tied him down to the falsehood of others. He was finally freed to see he mattered. His life mattered. His passion mattered.
    I’ve had my share of the Mrs. Lopez types, too. Glad she didn’t deter you. Glad we both have learned to follow our passion with vision and determination.
    Love and blessings, my friend!
    Martha Orlando recently posted…."But, if We Are the Body, Why Aren’t His Arms Reaching . . ."My Profile

    • Thanks kindly, Martha. I am always moved when I see similarities in blog topics across the blogs I read and visit. It’s not as if we call one another up and say, Hey! I’m sure many of us have a Mrs. L in our lives. Sadly, not everyone recovers. It’s the closest I come to having a regret, but on the other side of the story, perhaps I didn’t have anything to say back them. Who knows.

  7. Hi Brenda,

    I agree that we shouldn’t spend to much of our time with regret, but a visit every once in a while is okay. There’s no doubt that our past contributes to what we are today, but the act of regretting a bad move, especially a gnarly one, can be a good reminder to not do likewise in the future.

    The presumption of hindsight is that we did whatever it was that we did because we wanted to, but the truth is we can all remember things that we did without really knowing why we did them — or caring why we did them at the time. Regretting those things is okay. Flipping those instances around wouldn’t necessarily change who we are.

    The Mrs. Lopez’s of the world can do a lot of harm with their words, even if that’s not what they set out to do. Even when they turn out to be right, they are wrong for erecting new barriers for others to overcome.
    Ray Colon recently posted….To Hell with Everyone ElseMy Profile

    • Ray – Hindsight is glorious, like fiction we can change the endings to suit ourselves, but it’s still fiction. I tend to think when a person is in the heat of the moment they make the best decision possible at that instance. Often we know the decision we are making isn’t the best one, but we want to live on the edge an taste the sweet nectar of life and throw caution to the wind. I wasn’t even planning to post on this topic but I was struggling with another essay and couldn’t find my start until I wrote the post. I remember reading something Stephen Cannell wrote about one of his teachers, she said something similar to Mrs. Lopez. Good thing he didn’t listen to her, as he want to write books, television shows, and is living the high life.

    • The only way to go, Cathy. I don’t think a person can escape it totally, but so long as it’s a glance and not a deep dive, it’s not a bad thing. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. I know that writing is your call, Brenda. And I’m glad you chose to follow that call in spite of old Mrs. Lopez 😉 I’m happy to hear that you are living with no regrets. That’s my new motto. Live with no regrets. Thank you.
    I saw a falling star too. Hey, maybe it was the same one you saw! You on the west coast, me on the east, and we saw that same star and made the same wish! Yah us! Cheers!
    Debra recently posted….House of DreamsMy Profile

    • Debra, It’s highly likely we were wishing on the same star. I am often befuddled by the mystery of life but I’ve never tire of it. I am grateful to have writing in my life. It’s truly more a calling than a choice.

  9. I don’t believe in regrets, either. I’d be lying to say I don’t have one or two — times I could have been nicer or more available to someone — but even with that, I can’t wish for anything different, because God knows what the ripple effects would have been.
    Life is strange. I had a professor in college who was cold, tough, and, I thought, gave me an unfair grade. A year or two ago I discovered her online. These days she’s writing mysteries, and looks a whole lot happier. We’ve even emailed once or twice.
    Do NOT start me on Mrs. Lopez.
    June O’Hara recently posted….Swim, Charlie! Swim!My Profile

    • Hey June, I wonder what Mrs. L, is up too these days, she might be writing Harlequin romance novels and happy as a clam. I confess it wasn’t my best work, but if she had taken time to understand where I was coming from or said… I don’t like your writing, but look around…. who knows. As for regrets, too costly to cry over the past. I can’t afford the water proof mascara.

  10. I admire your hutzpah! (Did I spell that right?) I’m one of those sensitive, artsy types who tends to analyze and search for meaning. That said, The Mrs. Lopez’s of the world — at least when it came to my art and writing — tended to spur me to prove them wrong. And, as I approach 50 (and practice meditation), I’m becoming more inclined to let go of regret and accept what I cannot chance, as they say. Good for you, going for it!
    Terri recently posted….Nature, Mysticism, Depression, and The MoonMy Profile

    • Terri – I think so, looks right anyway. Oh, I’m sensitive, way too much, but I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. I come home and cry into the pillow or drink a glass of wine and listen to sappy songs, you know, to sink into the abyss. It’s actually cathartic. I end coming out the other side with a poem or a story. And good for you too, letting go takes an enlightened person.

  11. Like Kelly said, teachers should encourage instead. Great that you followed the whispers inside you instead of what one person said. Mrs. Lopez was entitled to her opinions, for sure, but maybe she could have insisted that was her mere opinions. Recently, I have a kid who has to give up studying medicine because everyone around him was telling him to stay in the business school he is currently studying in. They are all worried if he chooses to drop out, he would forever be frowned upon as a ‘drop-out.’ But he wants to be a doctor! I tried my best encouraging him to follow his dreams, but what he chooses in the end is still his decision and I’ll help him in any way I can. Not having regrets is exactly what I’d told him.

    My regrets are mainly not spending even more time with those I love. You’re right, our pasts make us the people we are now. Soar, B., soar with the past weighing only slightly on our backs to remind us of where we want to go and to fly with courage.

  12. So, So true. Luckily, I have few regrets, as I was raised by parents who were very supportive of my creative drives, as well as teachers, so I was able to pursue my dream to be a writer. But I see deep regrets in my mother, of a different generation, one which wasn’t so encouraging. She is an artist and as to self-confidence it has been a hard road. Well-written and astute post.
    sandra tyler recently posted….Old-Post Resurrection Hop: The Unknown NeighborMy Profile

    • Sounds idea, Sandra, for you. I think every generation sees it’s own issues. Today it’s easy breezy, tell all life, leaves little mystery for a young woman. I’m sure when they arrive at midlife they’ll have their own stories of regret, or wishing maybe it wasn’t always wonderful being an open book. Too soon to tell.

  13. love this: “I arrived at my current destination of me because of what I did and did not do over the years.”

    i don’t believe in the concept of a “miss” — near or otherwise.

    although, there were a couple/few photos over the years that felt sort of like ‘the one that got away’ because i wasn’t fast enough or whatever …
    Dangerous Linda recently posted….it’s not how it looksMy Profile

  14. What really gets to me is when anyone-especially a teacher-would dare to dash a dream. No one has the right to do that, and when a child hears that they are ‘less than’ it lasts forever. Glad you’re over that :)
    mamawolfe recently posted….When I Stop TalkingMy Profile

    • Jennifer – there are few teachers who should consider alternative careers, still. I am long since over Ms. Lopez. I think having both a dark and light memory isn’t always a negative (assuming the person can channel the energy). In my case, it she makes me work harder.

  15. I try to avoid feeling regret, though there are at least a couple of times I wish I could go back in time and change history. If I knew then what I know now. Oh well. Good post, Brenda. Your passion shines throughout.

    • Monica- I don’t know that I am perfect and always headed forward, but at some point I stopped worry so much about the yesterdays. I can’t say, hand on my heart, I am REGRET FREE, but I can say I’m not walking backwards.

  16. “Regretting past decisions, the good and the gnarly bad, is like saying to myself, you’re not who you say you are.” Brenda, that is lovely wisdom! My regrets come when I get into a self-blaming attitude re: my kids (both are fine, by the way–typical mom stuff)
    –I should never have sent them to THAT school (well, given who I was at the time, there was only THAT one choice…)
    –I should have given the older one far more structure (That’s a tougher one, but he has to make his own way. He’s a grownup now…it’s not all about me)

    I’m happily low on regret at the moment. Worry is more my vintage of choice!
    Helen W. Mallon recently posted….Tell a Thousand Lies–and see what you getMy Profile

    • Helen – it wasn’t an easy road to get here but not that I am, I don’t see the point in picking over old bones. As for parenting, I long ago accepted I wasn’t perfect, was going to mess up, and pass on some dysfunction. We do the best we can (most of us anyway). I love my kids more than .. anything, and regardless of how mad I make them or push them, they know it. Woman, yours do to. I am glad you are low on regrets.

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