Regret.

13 02 2008

I have only one big regret in my life. And that is that when I was young, I did not believe I could. Not anything.

I never believed I could finish any badge in Girl Scouts on my own. So I didn’t.

I did not believe I could go to a university. So I didn’t.
I did not believe I could have a career in theater, so I never even tried.
Similarly, I did not believe I could have a career in any of the arts.
In fact, I did not believe I could create art.

I went to Europe, but not of my own ambition because I did not believe I could really earn the money for the trip. When we talked about going back someday and backpacking across, I never once believed it would happen. So it didn’t.

After I quit my job to stay home with my daughter, and later my son, I never believed I could make a living at home. So I never tried.

At one point I decided to learn to teach childbirth education classes, but I never really believed I could. And so I let it go.

Conversely, there have been a few things I’ve done that I never believed I could do – moving out of my mom’s house, quitting my job – but it felt as though I was nothing more than a puppet in some grand plan. I really do not feel like I made those decisions.

The only thing I ever truly set my mind to and achieved was when I worked more than 100 hours onstage and off in high school to become a Thespian, and then, achieved Honor level (although, that really only took writing a letter to the drama teacher as he was trying to prove a point to everyone who just expected to be chosen). Becoming a Thespian is possibly the proudest moment of my life, just next to birthing and raising my babies. (Even birthing those babies did not feel completely like I accomplished a goal since I felt Life leading me, not me leaing Life.)

I was googling an old classmate of mine recently. Seth was a dorky little kid who told stories to get out of assignments – like the time he got grass behind his eye and could not read, or the time his entire semester’s poetry notes got blown up in the bathroom. Seth was awesome to have around. Probably I gave him too much of a hard time, but, hey, I was a kid and it amused us. When I was in college and entered a photo in the Del Mar Fair, my friend told me he had also entered and had “beat me” – I think he won First Place. Good for him! A few years later he opened a studio in downtown San Diego, right across from where I worked. Good for him. In my recenlt Googles, I discovered he moved his studio to New York. Good… um. for him. Pft. Hear that? Jealousy? I was a tad jealous of his talent when he won at the Fair, but it was nothing compared to the jealous I had when he opened his studio. Because of his talent? Maybe a little – he’s good for sure. But the root of the matter is that it was because he believed he could. And so he did. And how it hurts.

Clearly, I still struggle with this. That kind of midset doesn’t just leave like a small *poof*. It takes learning and trusting and seeing results, even if they are just little ones. But there is a little light coming into the box I’ve been locked in. I am slowly poking holes in it each time I make a goal. And sometimes I don’t make goals, but I either decide I am OK with that, or I decide I’m not and I work to finish it. Either outcome pokes another hole in the box. I think if I keep poking holes there will be enough light to see what I am really capable of. And then? Watch out!

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8 responses

13 02 2008
Sonja

Keep poking! You can.

13 02 2008
vickii

I believe you can.

But then again, I always have.

From the moment I met you.

And then…you did.

13 02 2008
enviromama

Yes, you can. And yes, you already are.

14 02 2008
Alana

I still cringe whenever I see Mario Lopez. Cringe I tell you. Why him and not me? But then, I guess I was in the same boat as you. Working on it though.

14 02 2008
ZebraBelly:

Alana, you are more than Mario Lopez will EVER be. Maybe not as rich or famous, but a far better person.

14 02 2008
Mandy

You sound like me. I was always saying “I can’t” and I didn’t.

Now, I’m changing too. Mostly because I was my daughter to grow up saying “I CAN!”

14 02 2008
earthmama

if this is who you’ve become telling yourself you can’t, it blows my mind to think who you’ll become…

15 02 2008
Anna

((hug))

I think you’re awesome. You can!

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