I feel like this has been the month to purge. It's been liberating to put some of it out here. There are people on this wacky site who now feel like folks who are walking through life with me. I learn from the things you share. I respect you for your self-reflections, especially the ones that are oh-so-human and show you as a maker of mistakes, a person who has regrets and vows to step forward once again, a little chastised and a lot wiser.
I kinda DON'T like the person who thumps his chest and loudly vows that he "has no regrets."
I can't relate to it. I understand the spin that you don't regret your mistakes because you're who you are...but I still can't relate to the statement. I GRIEVE some of my mistakes. I would absolutely do things differently if given a chance, especially in the places where I hurt someone. I have loads of regrets.
I do channel those lessons into hopefully wiser behaviors, but the regrets are essential parts of who I am. I understand that and accept it. I even value it and try to teach from those places, especially to my children. It hurts to be a person, even in mid-flight when everything is glorious from horizon to sky. There is an essential connection to free-falling to the earth where the rocks lie...a certain knowledge that there will be another day where that will happen again.
That is what makes walking through life with others so helpful. We share that human experience...that soaring of the gods and the soul-crushing descents. We grow together and are better for the sharing.
Thank you to those who have ever encouraged me, offered advice, or simply shared your own little slice of crazy that makes up your days. I am better for being here, better for expanding for a moment or two into your shoes where the landscape and the rules are a little different from my yesterdays and todays. I'm confident that they help to color my tomorrows.
My regrets are the things that I know (with hindsight) that I should have done differently, but like you, these experiences made what I am, so only little regrets. Life is great.
You are a great inspiration to many of us here Joli and I know I have learned much from you.
However,when someone says they dont have regretsit might not be as "boastful" as you think...maybe it issimply because they believe that something bigger has forgiven past mistakes and that those mistakes are veiwed as lessons not to be repeated. Also,that some might believe that no matter what we are given in life,no matter what,it is nothing to regret.
In other words,if you hurt someone,dont go through life regretting it.Make it right somehow and know that you did your best to rectify it and make damn sure it doesnt happen again.
I absolutely agree that we must learn from our mistakes. We should try to make things right where we can. I advocate putting a foot forward again, never being crippled by mistakes and wrong choices. I also believe that regret is healthy. I WANT to feel it when I misstep. I want to remember it when it is appropriate. I want it to be as much of a feature in my self-portrait as the color of my eyes.
I never want to gloss over it and say, "because I did "y" today, the "x" I did yesterday is nothing to regret. For me, it always must remain. again, not to cripple me and martyr me somehow. I don't want to live in the pain of constant self-recrimination...but I want my scars to stay scars -. and not from the new thinking of "scars are hot and sexy", but from the old school of "I am flawed."I hope that makes sense.
To admit to being flawed...to having regrets...is not the same thing as being weighed down with guilt or low self-esteem. It is the eye-opening moment of self-discovery and potential wisdom. It is honest.
You are simply an equal, an equal that's really out there in front ;-)
What yoyu say makes good sense,and I agree with you in that we should never, ever forget our transgressions.One thing I should say is that when I speak in terms of regret,I mean lifelong regrets and feelings of guilt.
My pumpkin is gone.
18 and off to college.
My nest is a little emptier.
Her room seems to echo.
My last pumpkin is nearly 16.
I realized that there are no more skates in the driveway.
No more shoes and socks kicked off by the mailbox.
I actually used to yell about that stuff and now I'd KILL to have it back...I would.
No more bedtime stories will ever be read by me to my two blondie do's.
How the hell can that even be?
I did not approve this selfish monster who calls himself Time. Some days, I hate him with all my heart.
She has a new computer, all picked out by us and Stabb installed with all the fancy software she'll need. We're ordering her text books...most of them are digital - can you believe that?
She is majoring in Political Science and declared a minor to warm Stabb's heart - I.T.
She has a boyfriend. I didn't sanction that either. He better watch it.
She joined Student Council...already lawyering everyone, I'm sure.
I'm so proud.
I'm so scared.
I'm so not ready.
I can't possibly have any tears left...wrong again.
I miss her.
I have the shoes she wore yesterday here in the palm of my hand. She was only two and dancing like a ballerina in my living room. I feel so selfish...so helpless. It's almost as though I'm searching for a loophole, some way to talk Time out of Just One More Year.
This mom love ...it's stout-hearted stuff. Not sure I'm cut from the right cloth.
My head knows she's ready. I loved her and never held her back when it was her time to fly...but they were short test flights. This feels so big.
My heart wants me to stuff her back into the 5th grade...back into her room where I could open the door a crack to see that she was safe and asleep, or even mad as a wet hen because she had to clean her room.
I hate you, Time. I hate you. I want to type horrible words to you that mostly begin with Fs. You are so not fair. You suck. I hope that whatever YOU are afraid of kicks you right in the plums!
Stay away from the last pumpkin. I'm onto you. I'm going to warn everyone with kids what a bastard you are.
I still know that feeling and my 'kids' are mid 20s now. Sometimes, I'd give anything to keep them young and at home, just so that they'd be safe...but...that would be selfish of me.
Your 'kids' will be just fine. They're all grown up and making their way into the adult world and, doing a good job of that too. Just think how awesome it's gonna be when she gets to take a break back at home :)
I was close to tears reading this, and to think I have it all to come.
The foundation is there, she will make you proud and then some. This is her 'time' to shine.
Forget close to tears - I am a blubbering mess right now.........and my pumpkin is only 6......
I thought it would get easier.......................
Being a parent could never be the easiest thing to be, but it is the most precious :)
I've been through this... it's heart wrenching. You're excited for them and terrified at the same time. When mine left, I was sad for a good long while. Then I painted her room and turned it into an art studio... There are a lot of things that can be done with an extra room.
She has a good raising, just sit back and watch her become her own woman. :)
I love you.
The most astounding miracles can be right under your nose. Are you missing them?
A volunteer brought in a paper cup with 2 cone flowers from his garden. We placed it on a desk and didn't think too much about it at first.
Then we started noticing something moving around on it. It looked like a teeny tiny white worm. He was eating holes in the petals.
But not only that...he was taking bits of the colorful petals and placing them on his back until he looked like fairy wings were blooming from his back. None of us had ever seen this before.
Meet Pilar. We filmed him with my macro lens and learned from him about caterpillar camouflage. He curls himself up and looks like a part of the flower so predators won't spot him and munch on him. He has been an unexpected little miracle we have all enjoyed watching. We nearly missed noticing him at all. I wonder what we HAVE missed.
That is really something.
This reminds me... I still have a super-close-up picture of a cricket you once took; I mention it because, now I think of it, I believe it originates from the era of the lost harddrive. Would you like it back?
Oh, I sure would! I remember that. It was with my old point and shoot on the macro setting. I stalked that bug and got SO close to him. He wasn't too impressed with my lens.
I can't make him out :-(
He's the white bit with the purple petal pieces sticking up. Imagine an inchworm at the point where he's humped up until he stretches back out to move forward. The caterpillar is shaped like an arch and the petal bits are what birds and predators will see. In the last image, he's the holding onto the orange part of the flower and his back is covered in the purple flowers petals facing to the right of the image. He's shaped there a bit like a backward C.
Liam...thank you! I missed that pic. It's like finding an old friend.
That lil ole caterpillar is so small, that I think even the faerys would have difficulty finding him!
Dedicated to ChasingTheGhost, Sherri, and Bernadette.
I met Sherri when I was 11. We'd just moved in across the street and we sized each other up for a few weeks before any "hellos" were forthcoming. I don't remember who spoke first, but I know she teased me forever about the meeting. I was sitting on my front step playing a mouth harp...yeah, I was never cool.
Sherri liked disco and tight jeans. She knew all the songs on the radio and I was a hopeless teacher's kid who only listened to my parents' music. I wore dresses my mom sewed for me. And worst of all...knee socks that I was forever tugging up. Sherri rode a skateboard and swore like a boy.
We became best friends. She was brave and crazy to my calm and cowardly. I was magnetized by her gutsy charisma and I followed her everywhere. Soon I was riding a skateboard, too. I sang along to Black Sabbath while she taught me how to smoke a cigarette behind her house. We blew the smoke into the ac unit and thought we were so grown. We rolled our shorts up as high as they would go and we sneaked our moms' Mary Kay lipsticks out of the house in our pockets to paint our faces when we turned the corner. My first taste of alcohol was with Sherri, and so were my first real lies...the really real ones that can make your mother cry...and mine did.
She sneaked a joint out in her book bag one morning and we smoked it at the bus stop. I had never seen one before, but I knew what it was. I knew how to say, "no." But I didn't. It was 7th grade and I was so off my face that she yanked me behind the fence and we skipped school that day. We ended up getting suspended and the friendship pretty much cooled down after that. My mom and dad declared war. I was grounded and guarded for forever.
I was sent to a Catholic high school. Sherri went to public school. She didn't get very far because she got pregnant early on and married her sweetheart. She loved her kids...she had a little boy and a little girl later. She was a good person, generous to a fault.
She was also a drug addict. She made a few attempts to clean up. Invariably, after promises were made, she'd start using again. I kept up with her, but when I went off to college in another town, I lost touch with her. Her sweetheart tried to stick it out with her, but eventually, he took the kids and they divorced.
Mom called. Sherri had been killed in a drug deal shortly after a pretty successful run at being clean. It was a violent death. She was shot while driving, presumably away. The car crashed and she was no more.
I went to her funeral. It was surreal and wrong. She was so young...24 if I remember correctly. Her ex-husband was there, crying quietly against a wall. Her sadly unbalanced mother was standing over the coffin, mumbling about Sherri being an angel and didn't she LOOK like an angel. She had her dressed in a white nightgown. Never seen that before. I'll never forget that everyone seemed to be touching her, including her children. I felt disconnected and out of time with the rest of the room.
I would go on to dream about her for years, of walking up to her door where she needed my help, but I couldn't help her and I'd frantically try to reach her. I woke up crying for a long time.
I felt guilty that I lost touch with her, that maybe I could have helped somehow, maybe have been the difference that mattered. What kind of friend fades away? She had so many reasons for going in unhealthy directions. I was so blessed by comparison.
I wrote to her. I closed my eyes and imagined her responses. I thanked her. I am as much who I am today because of Sherri as for any other influence in my life. I learned real stuff from her. Some of it was fun and exciting and some of it was scary and dangerous. Life is about working those things out and choosing a path for yourself.
I skipped the part where I was mad at her. Oh, I was...for a very long time. She left two kids and a good man shipwrecked. She left me. She was supposed to "grow out of" that "phase" and we'd have years to look back and laugh at the dumb things we did while we reminisced.
I keep the letter, her obituary, and the prosecution clippings of the man who shot her, They're in a small drawer in my old bureau. The newspaper clippings went yellow a long time ago, but I imagine those papers will be in the top drawer of any bureau I ever have.
I still miss my crazy friend. I loved her and I still do. There was a noble spirit in her, and there was a downright stubborn stupidity, too. No illusions about that, but she was real. She was my best friend. She could climb a tree better than any boy. She was afraid of no dare, and she would give you the shirt off her back as freely as she'd cuss out someone who dared to sit on the back row of the bus...in her seat or the one next to it...mine, because I was Sherri's friend.
Beutifully written :)
Thank you for helping me start my day by crying a little.
But the things you write and share often do that to me, for different reasons.
:* With Birra- I love to read your work.
I don't know how I missed this. Sometimes Jo, I think you have the amazing ability to see inside me and understand it all. Thank you for this.
Thank you for talking about Bernadette. I'd never written about sherri. It was cathartic.
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