Thursday, September 19, 2013


I have regrets. And they all come flooding back to me in wave after merciless wave when I fall into certain moods. I regret things I've said, things I've eaten, and things I didn't do. And I regret feelings and thoughts I have as well as ones I don't.

It's always surprising which things still have the power to overwhelm me during a regret assault. For instance, I regret inexplicably running directly into Ben Godfrey's chest during a game of Red Rover senior year of high school. I regret tweets I wrote several years ago. I regret trying to make that one guy like me. I regret trying to make that other guy like me. Okay, I regret 99% of the things I did to try to make any guy, or girl, like me ever. I regret boasting about my awards and accomplishments in poem form in an attempt to win a student council position in 6th grade (oh how that couplet mocks me!). I regret boasting about getting the biggest cupcake in first grade on a classmate's birthday. I regret not sending a nice older lady a wedding picture of Matt and I when she asked for it but said she knew we would never send it to her (she died). I regret several Christmas Eves ago not finding out if that person who looked like my friend Erin from high school was actually my friend Erin from high school. I regret not doing more to connect with my friend Maureen after every dream I've had in which I've met up with her and I'm so happy to see her again. I regret not going to Karen and Mike's wedding even though I had to miss it because I was in another wedding. And then there's the uncharitable thoughts I had about a random selfish lady on my college graduation day... Anything I've said when I'm hungry... That biker I cut off when I made a bad judgment call about if I should pull out or not...

I have to remember though, there is hope. Not "hope that I will eventually forget" (though there is that) as much as "hope that I will eventually forgive" my past self. Some recollections that previously manifested as regrets have finally faded to mere nonchalance. Like not telling my last job reference that I got the job (5 years ago). Not giving a professor a copy of my paper after the term ended even though she asked for it because she said it was good. The bouncy ball I lost to a gated-up empty store in the mall in first grade. High school band. My past dating relationships. The time I went out with somebody I was pretty sure was going to be boring and I was right. Calling in to quit a job before I even started it. Spilling that entire gallon of milk in my friend's living room and crying over it (though I'll never forget the way he laughed and laughed about my crying over it as I sat there witheringly embarrassed).

Logical thought holds no power during a regret storm (distraction is the only way to thwart it), but afterwards if I'm lucky I am able to remember and take comfort in the fact that there are some things that I have never regretted. Believe it or not, some times I actually approve of nay relish in the actions I did take even when I've had time to think them over. Starting a blog, for instance. Or immediately ditching work one day to hang out with a friend who admitted to feeling self-harmy. Quitting high school band to join choir. Convincing Matt to date me (the 1% of things I did to get someone to like me that I don't regret). All the money and effort I invested in my education. All the time and energy I expended on college marching band. Telling a guy I had a crush on who didn't like me back that I didn't want to go to lunch with him anymore so I could get over him.

Regrets and embarrassment are from the same cloth. Do you happen to know any of those self-possessed yet humble people who don't really get embarrassed? My friend Mike doesn't seem to get embarrassed by anything and it is the most amazing thing to me. He seems so at peace with himself. I'm not even in the least worried that he'd be embarrassed I'm saying this about him on the Internet. I wish I'd met him sooner in life, when I suffered from crippling embarrassment that kept me shy and from exploring new and unknown things. I could have used more role models in being comfortable with one's own self and abilities. Heck, as someone who made herself cry today because she was upset that she freaked out and cried earlier in the day for some lame reason, I could still stand to work on being comfortable with my own strengths and weaknesses. Because there's a good chance today will rise up and attack with the other undead zombie recollections the next time the regret offensive strikes.

I've realized that one of my coping strategies for dealing with my own regret and embarrassment is to support other people when they feel regretful and/or embarrassed, to try to make them feel less dumb. If they can see I'm not judging them, maybe they can judge themselves less harshly and healthily move on instead of carrying regrets around like me. I'm reluctant to make anyone feel bad about stupid things they did, perhaps to a fault. If you want tough love, go elsewhere. If you've already judged yourself and learned your lesson and just want a fresh start, I'm the friend you're looking for.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go And Bite Me

My sleep last night was heavily punctuated. The first time I woke up was when I heard a mosquito buzz past my ear. I opened my eyes, targeted the bug, and brought my hand down hard on the pillow under which rested my other hand. I did not succeed in squashing the intruder, but I did succeed in hurting my hand. We couldn't find the mosquito again, so I went back to sleep. The second time I woke up when I experienced the sensation of falling and my legs twitched violently. The third time I woke up when Matt heard the mosquito and leaped up to chase it down. He couldn't find it so he sat there waiting and watching for awhile, and I fell asleep again. I next awoke when he accidentally shined a sizable Maglite directly into my closed eyes (presumably still searching for the bug) which caused significant momentary pain in my eyeballs. A strange way to wake up, rivaled only by the fifth time I woke up which was when the back of both of my hands became spontaneously tremendously itchy. I scratched and clawed at my knuckles in a confused and tortured stupor until after several minutes the telltale white bumps of twin mosquito bites appeared. I couldn't fall back asleep, so I thought I'd try out the hot spoon method of bug bite relief. I had to run the hot water tap for several minutes to get it hot enough, so I used the cooler water to rinse out some yogurt cups and other dishes in the sink first. Wet itchy hands were worse than dry, but eventually I administered the hot spoon to both bites several times before giving up with that and getting out the hydrocortisone cream. I laid back down and the cat sat on my chest, so I distracted myself from my itchiness (which my mind was telling me was all over now) by petting her until I fell asleep again.

All that happened in under hour.

Luckily I got in a few hours of sleep before morning when I awoke all tense from a dream in which I was attempting to get out of being executed for providing the wrong proof of purchase of a digital song by bribing the executioners with a new fireplace. Like you do.