Recently a friend and I were talking about fear and things that people regret; how someone had said that people don’t lie in their death beds and regret the things that they did, but the things that they didn’t. While I know that I am not necessarily unique in this regard, I (and those that know me for any length of time in real life) realize that more often than not, it is not what I “do not DO” per se, it is what I do not say that I regret. Doing things is easy. I am prone to bouts of monomania and once I decide to do something, I pretty much do not stop until I do it. This has both hindered and helped me in my life. It has gotten me out of shitty relationships, shitty situations, kept me from being an addict, kept me from having a criminal record, etc.
On the other side, it probably contributed to me being in those relationships/situations and it also provided me with a less than stellar job history in my early 20’s. Now that I appear to be a responsible adult on paper, it leads to some really interesting conversations about why my unique name and social security number come up in at least ten states connected to lots of different things. It’s also why I could never change my name again (not that I would want to, Jesus.) My wanderlust may be considered maladaptive, but I think it is the ultimate adaptive strategy; I either become what I need to be to fit into the situation or I leave the situation. It has definitely been a key piece to my resilience. It’s how I cope. What else can I say?
The things that I look back on my life and wish I had done differently are always things that I wish I had said; opportunities I passed up to say something and just see where the chips lie. When I was younger and didn’t really give a fuck about what people thought because my temporal lobe and prefrontal cortex had not finished developing, it was no big thing. I could say something and mean it for a half hour and then change my mind immediately.
As I got older, and more experience with how people received the things that I said, I became afraid of seeming needy or sounding weird or maybe I was afraid people would think that I wanted something from them, even if I didn’t want anything except the shared experience.
It really has become a “white men can’t jump” situation and I am Rosie Perez. Don’t get me a glass of water, motherfucker. Tell me you know how it feels to be thirsty. Or better yet, tell me you are thirsty, too.
I very rarely tell people how I really feel about people or situations these days. And I regret that. I regret not allowing myself to not have control of a situation or not being able to control what people think of me when I say something so I don’t say it.
And I know, oh I know, control is an illusion.
But I still feel like I must be my best PR agent.
If I tell you what I really think and feel, you are going to think I am a fucking loon.
Or, in the alternative, you will reciprocate. We will have a laugh. We will share a moment that no one else has experienced with either of us and feel freedom in the genuine exchange of energy and sincere emotion, regardless of the influence of chemicals either internally created or externally consumed.
But fear does not let me see that reality when I am calculating the potential outcomes.
Living in a choose your own adventure book has it’s negatives as well. The end is always evolving based on every choice, every word.
So today, I am letting go of that need for control.
I have put into motion certain things that will free me from this illusion of control over actions and feelings.
No more will I reflect upon a situation and wish I had been totally fucking honest in my words as well as my actions.
Actions are easy.
Ironically for me, words are hard.
If they like what I have to say, awesome.
If not, fuck em.