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REGRET

When I began this blog I had no idea of the scope of the journey it would take me on.

I also had no idea how much I might unintentionally hurt people that I love in the process.

Not only my parents who from time to time I talk about when telling the story of my sometimes painful past, but also any of the people who might feel I have overstepped my bounds or crossed imaginary but implied boundaries.

I regret that.

I do not, however, regret starting Relish Your Story.

“To admit regret is to understand we are fallible: that there are powers in the world beyond us: to admit regret is to lose control not only of a difficult past but of the very story we tell about our present; and yet strangely, to admit sincere and abiding regret is one of our greatest but unspoken contemporary sins.” – David Whyte Consolations

I believe with every cell of the trillions of cells in my body that it’s vitally important to follow where your heart leads you and to always trust your gut. Every time I have ever ignored that impulse, I have lived to regret it. My heart led me to write this blog. I needed to tell my story. I needed validation. I needed to be heard.

It has taken courage and determination, patience and persistence and an awareness that I am risking important relationships in the process.

My stories are mine to tell, but it is not lost on me that many are entwined like a vine with others making it impossible to entirely separate them from my own.

I regret that I do not have the type of relationship with my parents that would have allowed me to feel at ease talking about the past with them. I regret that some of what I have written about may have caused them to feel ashamed about the way they parented me.

That was never my intention, but I accept responsibility for any hurt feelings I may have caused or any pain that I have inflicted.

In earlier posts, I wrote about feeling invisible for much of my young life, about feeling neglected and at times unwanted. But in the process of telling my stories, I became aware that those very same stories were not always true. At least not my interpretation of them anyway.

I may have felt that way at the time, as I suspect any child would, but looking back now I can see many things that I couldn’t see then which has allowed me to forgive myself and others for painful actions I sometimes (wrongly) perceived to be intentional.

I have carried these stories around with me like a weighted backpack never putting them down and only now by my releasing them into the world do I feel heard; only now does my load feel somewhat lightened.

I have mentioned several times throughout this blog that I will be turning fifty in December. For whatever reason, I felt it mandatory to reflect on my past with as much honesty as I could muster.

I have shared stories that some people may rather I didn’t, but in doing so, I have given myself what I believe to be the greatest gift I could have asked for as that milestone birthday fast approaches.

I needed to feel my pain so that I could own my past. I needed to tell my story so I could finally let it go.

I will no longer be defined by what happened to me; my life is now my own again.

“Fully experienced, regret turns our eyes, attentive and alert to a future possibly lived better than our past.” – David Whyte Consolations

I also regret that I have not had more opportunities to share any of the so many happier stories from my past.

Stories that would describe every holiday that was made to feel magical – and they all were, even Halloween.

Or stories about our huge family summer barbeques with all the cousins that lasted until all of the kids were exhausted from hours of playing wiffleball or badminton or hide and seek until it was too dark to seek.

Or stories about every summer spent at the lake, sleeping on cots in tents, preparing our meals in an outdoor kitchen and eating them inside a large screen house. And fishing alone in a rowboat every day it wasn’t raining and often even when it was. Campfires and marshmallows almost every night. Epic games of softball and capture the flag with all of the other campers. And the best part – never leaving there from late June until Labor Day, (unless you had the bad fortune of being sick enough to require a trip to the doctors). The effect was that I always felt like I was entering a new home when I returned months later to get ready for the start of a new school year, which added to my overall excitement.

And in those days leading up to the first day of school, the most exciting moment for me was always the same every year. It was when my mother would walk through the door with several large shopping bags in her arms and call us all to our large dining room table where we would gather around and excitedly wait for her to pass out our new school supplies.

For the most part, I had a very good childhood. I was fortunate to have had loving parents that always tried their hardest and did their best. Parents that were and still are devoted to their children and to each other.

I learned everything I know about cooking, not from The Food Network, but by watching my mother slave away at the stove every night and learned how to identify the wild birds that would visit our feeders by my father teaching me each of their distinctive songs.

By basing this blog on David Whyte’s essays in Consolations, I have had to stay within the parameters I established for my telling my stories by using the words he writes about in his book as prompts each week. As a result, I have been accused of taking advantage of tapping into other peoples pain. I have been told that it’s no surprise people relate to my stories because all I focus on is the negative.

The person who said this to me said it as an accusation and meant it as an insult. It hurt to hear it coming from someone I love, but it made me more determined than ever not to quit. Not to throw in the towel the dozens of times I was ready to.

This past week Nike came out with a new ad that boldly states: Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

I believe in this blog. I believe that by sharing my stories, I might inspire others to reflect on the stories they’ve been telling themselves all their lives and ask themselves, are they true?

Might they be trying to tell us something different?

Might there be something buried under all that pain for us to relish?

I suspect and regret that many of us may never know.

 

NEXT WEEK: REST

About Amy

I am many things to many people. Daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, friend. I am a worshiper of nature on a journey inward, rewriting my story one word at a time.

2 Replies

  1. BettyAnn

    “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” ― Maggie Kuhn

    I’ve been reading your blog every week and have never had the feeling you were writing out of any malice or to bring pain to others. Life is full of ups and downs and you express yourself beautifully. Your story is honest and it’s YOURS. You are so brave, Amy. Love you.

    1. Thanks so much, Betty Ann. This means so much to me. I’ve tried so hard to be mindful of how this would be received by the people closest to me, but I’ve learned it’s damn near impossible to control that, so I just have to keep following my heart. Love you, too!

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