For weeks I've been stumped by the idea of high school regrets, because as far as I can figure, I only have one and I've already blogged here about it (not standing up for my best friend when I had the chance). But that's it.
Before you roll your eyes and click away, let me clarify. I'm sure if I examined my past long enough I would find things I wish weren't part of my past, things like coral lipstick, rosary-bead necklaces, and clogs. (For the record, I never regretted leg warmers. It gets cold here. Leg warmers were A Good Thing.) But those don't really stand up as things that affect the person you become, and for me, that's what a regret is: something with a lasting effect on your life.
So what do I have to talk about? how oddly disturbing it is not to have regrets. Because it says something about the person I was in high school. No surprise, I was horribly shy. I was the book-loving girl who spent her free periods in the art studio. I had a core group of good friends and very few acquaintances. The school bus terrified me. I was too much of a wimp to ever do anything I might regret later ...
And I sorta regret that.
Don't get me wrong. I don't regret not being the chick passed out next to a toilet. Truly, I do have some perspective.
But I do regret not being this girl:
No, not Anna Paquin. The other one. I regret not being the girl who was willing to take a chance. Not being the one who had the guts to step out of her shell -- or allow someone else to help her with those steps. Or ask for help in the first place.
Straight through high school, through much of my life in fact, I let fear rule me. I was afraid of not being cool, afraid of being mocked, afraid of doing something "wrong" or "bad". Afraid of failing. So I never tried. I never took chances. I never risked. I played it safe, and boring, and silent, and slunk through high school (virtually) unscathed.
Now this little voice in the back of my mind is asking "and that's a bad thing? to never fail? to never be the object of ridicule?" Well, okay, nobody wants to be mocked. But the thing is, never having those experiences? I never learned how to recover from them. I never learned how to laugh off an insult - and each one stings to this day. I never learned how to recover from being stabbed in the back -- and that holds me back from close friendships now. And it took me a really long time to learn how to stand up for myself.
So. That's why I regret not having regrets, why I regret not being brave enough to... fill in the blank with a legal activity *s*. I regret not having a fuller life... and not understanding the errors of coral lipstick until much, much later.
And now the question goes to you. What color lipstick... no, I'm kidding. The question is, have you ever had a time in your life when you were too afraid to take a chance? Was avoiding the situation the right choice, or do you regret missing out? And hey! Keep it clean and legal!