Over the summer I read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, it was the book club read for July and I’m very glad to have done so. In case you’ve not read this and fancy it I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say that I was deeply upset by the introduction of something called The Book Of Regrets. As someone who has always believed I live a life without regrets this was a slap in the face. Perhaps I’m blinkered but I was shocked that people have lives where they’re constantly second guessing their actions, believing that life would be better if they had done something different, chosen a different path. Thanks to the Wicked Wednesday prompt for encouraging me to get my thoughts in order on this; they’ve been a long time coming!
So, a life without regrets… Really??
The book club discussion showed me that my outlook is not very common, certainly in this circle and in a second discussion the following month in a vanilla group. I guess the first thing to do is define the word, regret. According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary to feel regret is “to feel sorry about something you have done or about something that you have not been able to do”. Looking at this confirms that I was right, I don’t have any. This does not mean I have never made questionable decisions, that I’ve invested my time and energy into people who truly deserve it. But, you know what, the choices I’ve made have always been right for me at any given time. Reflection occasionally makes me say “Holy moly N. You were lucky to get away with that!” A stark contrast to “You shouldn’t have done that N.”
Pre-P I was very promiscuous.
Friends would occasionally ask if I regretted any of my fucks. That always felt like an odd question. Why would I regret my time spent in the hedonistic throes of lust? When I started to feel like there was something wrong with my life choices I made the decision to become monogamous, and accepted a marriage proposal from a man who said he loved me. 12 years and two children later I made the decision to leave that marriage because it was so, so unhealthy. Do I regret marrying him at all, or not leaving sooner? Many, many people struggle to understand that it just wasn’t the right time for me to do so. I had wonderful children to make, and in spite of not being a maternal woman I am so, so grateful for their presence in my world.
I’m a strong believer in the butterfly effect.
Had I made one decision even slightly differently in my teens my life would be entirely altered. I would hope that I could have carried my core through and had an amazing life no matter what, found adventure wherever my feet took me. But that doesn’t reduce the value of this life. One that is filled with compassion, love and new experiences.
But where did this life without regrets start?
From a very early age I was aware of the phrase “You can’t live your life backwards”. If something went wrong we were always tasked with putting things right. My problem solving skills were definitely developed in those early years and have stood me in good stead. Not only that but my parents always encouraged me to dance to my own rhythm. And while I suffered at the hands of P for a long time I found a way back to my own dance. Finding Sir who, in his own way, has reminded me that it’s ok to follow my own feet.
Even if that does take me away from him- not that it has yet.
The way I see regrets (for me) is as another stick to beat myself with. Yes, I’m a physical masochist. Not so much an emotional one, but I have more than enough opportunity to torture myself emotionally by borrowing trouble over what could happen. Why would I spend all that energy on what has already gone?
Being mean to the past me who’d not quite learnt self-compassion is just cruel.
When I look back at the less than desirable outcomes of my life I can see learning opportunities that I’ve been able to take. To grow from. I’m certainly not living my life backwards, but I am using those moments as a springboard to propel myself forward. And I will always be thankful for these opportunities.
I also know that I have upset people along the way, with my honesty.
I was brought up with painful truth rather than comfortable lies. This doesn’t sit well with everyone though. Over the years I have learnt how to communicate without being brutal. Learning to manage people through my work as well as living with P for so long it was only natural I would mellow in the way I share answers to questions. I will always take a breath and think, try to plan my response and share things in a constructive, healthy way.
There are, however, times when my brain melts down and I empty it at Sir.
These less than coherent moments are rare, but when I purge my brain of the toxic thoughts and fears it’s not how I wish to communicate. He is my rock however, standing firm as the jumbled mess floods past. Cool, calm and firm. Seemingly unscathed by my poison thoughts- the ones that are really directed at me and my inadequacies but that take a detour towards him- though anyone else would be badly hurt. He reflects it back, asks questions, states how he feels- occasionally stern words come my way- and then… I can unpick my thoughts in a more ordered way. I guess I got lucky with him as we communicate in a very similar way. If it were anyone else I would regret opening that door.
With Sir, however, I feel something different.
I feel remorse that I’ve been unable to untangle the silly and unhelpful thoughts without exposing him to their unpleasantness. But I can’t regret opening up to him, he gets to see the whole of me. His tasks break down my walls, they rip me to pieces at times but all with my best interests at heart. This is part of the process of being His. I may not always be able to show him directly, but by opening up in this way I hope he can see that I my faith in him remains intact.
But if I don’t regret the things I have done, what about the things I haven’t?
Surely that’s part of living a life without regrets?
Well, I’m a dreamer. And I used to be a perfectionist which stood in my way of trying new things- fear of failing leads to some questionable thought processes. But my life as a submissive has taught me many lessons, fortunately Sir is a very patient teacher! And creative in his ways of imparting knowledge. These lessons often cross over into my everyday, rather than just being kink related, and through tasks I’ve grown in confidence that I can set my sights on a goal, plan and achieve it. Which means that I am steadily ticking off my bucket list items.
That leads to it’s own problems. For every item I tick off at least three more are added. But no matter, I’m having a lot of fun exploring different opportunities. When I come to the end of this life I hope to be able to say I made the most of every opportunity.
I occasionally wonder if, had I not faced adversity, would I have the energy to push forward? What if I’d never lost myself? Would I be as excited to let the real me shine through in such a variety of wonderful ways? It’s difficult to say but I do believe that I had to hit rock bottom in order to bounce back up. By falling out of the world where I was weighed down by expectations and judgement, I could climb back up- intact and authentic.
That’s probably enough for today.
I shall leave you with a quote I’ve found to be perfect for me. Hopefully you’ll find it useful yourselves.
“Give your real being a chance to shape your life. You will not regret it.”Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
From the story of how the barefoot sub became the woman she is today, to toy reviews, with a hefty dose of contemplation, a sprinkling of erotica and a LOT of nudity in between, you can be sure to find something to tickle your fancy at A Leap Of Faith.