Regrets? What would you change, if you could…

Posted on November 24, 2013

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I’ve been watching Being Erica on Netflix, a Canadian comedy drama series about a 30 something year old girl (Erica) who, down on her luck, never having really made much of a success of anything in her life – finds herself being offered a special kind of therapy, where she can go back in time to past regrets and ‘rewrite’ them, changing the course of her destiny. Think Quantum Leap meets the Devil Wears Prada.

“It wasn’t nice, and it implied I smelled… ‘down there’.”

So i’ve been thinking about own past regrets. Would my life be different, had I not necessarily done certain things in my life? Would I be happier or more content in my career, or have a better love life, if I’d not behaved in certain ways around specific scenarios that have been presented to me over the years.

Here is my ‘do-over’ list, should a Dr Tom walk into my life and present me with the option of travelling back in time and re-writing my own history. I’m not a believer in dwelling too much in the past, and this list has forced me to think of things i’ve not thought of in a really long time. But it doesn’t hurt to explore it, and recognise how different things could be if I had behaved differently, right?

My life do-over 

(The things I regret, and how different I think my life would be if I had the chance to re-write history. In no particular order…)

#1. Losing my virginity to Andy CW. It wasn’t emotional. It was pretty uninspiring actually. Was over very quickly. And because of his own failings and insecurities was disrespectful to me after behind my back to my friends taking the micky out of me for being a virgin. Nice.

If I could go back to that time, having just turned 16, despite me being really eager to lose my v I just simply wouldn’t have slept with him. End of.

How would it have changed my life? It would have given me a shot at having romantic relationships from the off, as opposed to purely sexual ones. It would have meant I’d have more of a shot of respecting myself and my body? I’d like to think so at least, anyway 🙂 But then the next guy who came along I had a massive crush on, and whilst he wasn’t as much of an idiot as the first guy, he was still a ratbag – as it turned out he had an on-off girlfriend, the kind who thought she was his actual girlfriend. You know that kind of guy right? Charming, sweet, funny, extremely good-looking, amazing kisser etc… destined to be a heartbreaker.

#2. When I was 14 I had the best holiday in Cyprus, and had my ‘first kiss’ with this German boy I made friends with. I still wonder about him now. I wander what he looks like, where in the world he is, if he remembers me…

My regret is two-fold. On the holiday, I so desperately didn’t want my new friends to reject me. They were older.

I was 14 and really inexperienced. My new friends drank, had sex etc. I was hugely intimidated. So I lied to fit in.

I told them I was 16. I talked about sex as if I’d done it. When I got back to the UK we all talked about meeting up again, but I was so racked with guilt I wrote to them and fessed up in a letter. They were hugely disappointed in me. The only small mercy was that it turned out my first kiss had lied too – he was actually 13. Not 16. Needless to say, I ended up writing to him to finish it. His mum rang my mum and told her I’d broken his heart.

I would go back, and be truthful. Honest. This is was the landmark moment in my life where I think after this I had always felt inadequate about sex and relationships and ashamed actually. Ashamed that I didn’t have much experience. And worried that I was shit at sex, following what Andy CW had told my friends. I then spent my 20s having meaningless sex, never emotionally intimate with anyone. I reckon when I was 14 I could have been confidant and upfront about who I was, and it could have set me off on a very different path…

#3. Later that same year,  when I was 15, I had a boyfriend Darren – who was cool. But it didn’t last long. He lived just down the road, and I fancied the pants off him. He was a mate. We had a laugh. He was a good guy. I don’t think his path turned out especially well but who am I to judge. I don’t think we went out with each other for very long…a few months maybe…

One night we had decided we were both going to lose our virginity’s together and it was all planned. We were going to his best friend Paul’s house, as his parents were away.

Everything was set up – I told my parents I was going to a friends for a slumber party. But my parents aren’t stupid, suspected I was up to something, and a search party was called. I only found out through the pirate radio station we all listened to – where one of my best mates was giving me shout outs telling me to call her as it was an emergency! So dramatic. I ended up having to fess up, and get my parents to come and pick me up. They were so mad, I was grounded for months. I hate the fact that I hurt and disappointed my parents so much that night, but its also a shame that I never got to lose my virginity to someone who cared about me and liked me where the feeling was mutual. Despite being in so much trouble, lying to my parents about where I was going and what I was doing became a regular thing after that and it just created more distance between us, a distance which lasted well into my 20s.

#4. When I didn’t stick up for one of my good friends at school when she was being bullied. So not like me, but at the time I think I just couldn’t be doing with the drama, or drawing any more negative attention to myself. But she didn’t come back to school after that, and her life became really challenging. She needed me, and I wasn’t there for her.

#5. The day I had tuna stuck in my braces when I was 12, only I didn’t realise. I had a two-faced friend who wasn’t really a friend. I adored her, and thought she was amazing though, which is what hurt the most. I confided in her about how everyone was calling me Tuna* and I couldn’t understand why I was being called that. Turned out it was her who started the name calling. For two years people called me names  and made mean jokes that I was always the butt of, and I never understood why because I had zero idea that my friend had fucked me over . If I could go back, I wouldn’t eat that tuna sandwich my mum made me, and just avoid that whole saga. Looking back it sounds like typical school stuff but at the time it was horrible, it made me push people away, I became a loner and wanted to leave the school. I was close to tears most days, and felt very isolated and alone.

Finding out it was my supposed ‘best friend’ who started calling me names made me very distrusting of people, and really paranoid that people are always saying negative things about me behind my back.

For me, this was a very big turning point in shaping some of the insecurities in my mind, and doubting voices that I have, that i’m ‘weird’ or ‘unliked’.

*I wasn’t actually called Tuna. But I couldn’t bring myself to type the name that I used to get called. I just came online whilst I was trying to get to sleep and I suddenly though ‘shit! My blog is about being able to say the truth, and I couldn’t even do it’. I won’t mean anything to anyone what the name was, but I don’t think I am there yet. You can get the idea though. It wasn’t nice, and it implied I smelled… ‘down there’.

Meh.

#6. Not kissing Stephen. The guy who helped me write my script at university for my major project. I found out just the other week that he had been majorly into me. I had fancied him too, but didn’t have the balls to do anything about it for fear of rejection. There was moments where we definitely had ‘moments’ and if I could back, I would wholeheartedly have embraced them and let a natural romance into my life. Something i’ve shyed away from for most of my life, for lack of awareness or belief in those moments.

#7. Slagging off Jasmine at my halloween party, and her overhearing me. Because the guy I liked was interested in her and not me. Yeh sure, I had told her I liked him and she was only talking to him – but I lost it. I was jealous, and annoyed and shot my mouth off under my bedroom window out in the courtyard at the front of my flat, without realising my bedroom window where Jasmine and Johnny were, was wide open. Not cool. I was so cut up about creating such bad vibes at the party amongst everyone, and ashamed of my behaviour that I ended up getting fucked up on GHB, Meow Meow, Alcohol and weed and nearly had a nervous breakdown the next day.

#8. Drink driving when I lived in the caribbean. There was one night where I wrote off my car from being too blasted. We had all over done it a bit from excitement. The night was amazing on the rooftop of a famous hotel – but then things started going wrong.

Firstly my flatmate & best friend had gotten upset but I hadn’t picked up on it. I was too caught up myself in having a good time. She went home in a cab, then realised someone had taken her car keys off her. Which had the house keys on it. I didn’t understand any of this, was annoyed she needed me to let her in because I didn’t want to drive home – I was having fun! Needless to say I got home, shit faced – unaware she had been sat on the porch for 2 hours waiting for me. I pretty much threw the keys at her and said ‘I shouldn’t be driving. I could have killed myself’.

I got back in the car in a strop and speedily drove off – only to crash the car into a ditch and a fence on a bend whilst texting my friend that I was really shit faced.Classy.

My flatmate, who was a friend, didn’t talk to me for days after and I ended up moving out shortly after. Not one of my finest moments, but I pieced the pieces of the puzzle together once her and I were talking again. The tricky thing was that she was also my boss. And I was in a mess. Distraught, a car in the garage looking likely to cost me thousands of dollars and no one to lean on, I felt like a stranger in a foreign land. On a massive come down. And with the police on my tail. I was terrified. And it could all have been avoided if I had just taken it a little easier, noticed my friend upset in the toilets, and taken her home in a cab and looked after her. I was selfish. My desire to have fun had overwhelmed me, and ultimately it all blew up in my face.

#9. Not sleeping with the Great Love on the first night I met him.

If only I had taken him home, and just looked at it as a good night of sex and nothing else – then I think we would have done as nature intended, and not over-analysed the whole thing like we ended up doing. Less angst, no control, no frustrated craziness, and no me saying we should ‘wait’ as if it was going to then be the start of something exciting and new.

Because after I finally did sleep with him, he disappeared on me. It messed my head up and triggered something really dark in me.

I wonder how different my love life would be now, right? Because in six years, whilst I’ve had a sex life many people would only fantasise about – my love life has been pretty slow. In fact, I’ve not fallen in love with anyone since him. Grown to love someone yes. Once. And it was beautiful in its own way. Real. But not fallen.

I feel like for me, that like the innocence and limitlessness of falling in love has gone. That the excitement, headiness and intensity has been depleted in me.

#10. I had a promising date with a guy from work back in 2006. He was really cute. He was smart, funny, successful, boyfriend material. Seemed to like me. When the night of the date came, I was so nervous I drank a bottle of wine, got really drunk, overdid the confidance (to cover up my yet unacknowledged/unrealised lack of it), acted like a twat and messed things up basically. He liked me so much that we went out a couple of times despite that, and even had sex, but it was never emotional or intimate. I didn’t know how to do intimate. I was so freakin scared back then. And even though i’d build this thing up in my head to be more than it was, the reality hit when he dumped me, fairly coldly one day after we’d been up all night together. He was shortly after seen by a colleague kissing someone else on the tube. Fail.

#11. I regret letting my headspaces – depression, anxiety, confidance issues, insecurity, heartbreak, unhappiness – affect my working life. I don’t handle things very well in the workplace sometimes due to my darkness, and in the place I have worked in the longest in my life, a job that I truly loved, I created a scenario for myself where I think they thought I was a bit off the wall, or unstable. But that could be me just being paranoid. I definitely gave out mixed messages though. There was a tornado going on in my head, and there’s no way people couldn’t sense the storm. And I think the mixed signals I gave out only contributed to my unrelenting lack of grip I had on reality.

#12. Saying something I shouldn’t have about work on a friend’s blog, getting caught, and losing my job.

Similarly to the above point, when I am in a bad place I become a pressure cooker. I don’t say how I’m feeling because I don’t trust myself to be honest with colleagues and bosses. I lose judgement and objectivity. I feel aggressive, generally. So I retreat into my shell like a snail that’s being poked. I go quiet. I just do my best to ‘get through’ each day without walking out or doing something i’ll regret. Invariably though, I always blow. In this case, I did on a friend’s blog in a failed attempt to reconnect with him when my head was in a mess about The Great Love. And it was in the early days of social media, and it got picked up. I got caught. It was hugely embaressing.

#13. And finally, I regret getting in that fight in Camden when I was 27 that involved my friends getting a beating too. I was an idiot. It was all my fault, I started it by being a drunken mouthy fool at the cash point when someone gave me some agg. Instead of ignoring it or brushing it off I mouthed back. Not saying I asked to be beaten up, I’m not saying it was a bad thing for me because it taught me a very big lesson and caused me to grow up a little bit. Sort of (see #8 – which only happened 3 months later). But I regret that it happened because of how it affected my best mate. She claims it kicked off her depression. She responded to the fight really badly, and it affected our friendship. She built up a lot of negativity to me after that, especially as I left the country shortly after and she felt I had left her behind to pick up the pieces. I can’t help but wonder though, if the fight hadn’t happened, wouldn’t something else have just sparked her negative headspaces? Who knows…

What about you?

Do you have many regrets in your life?

And if you listed them out, how do you feel afterwards?

I’ll have a think about how I feel about my list above and write about it in my next post. I want to try and turn this exercise into something positive!

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Posted in: Journal, The Truth