Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” Tell us about it.
At first I couldn’t figure out what I would never do again. I mean, sure, there is a long list of things I shouldn’t do again, but I couldn’t think of one thing to call out, on thing to really pin down.
But? There is a style of decision making that I will never, ever, ever, ever repeat. The way that I made those choices is the very reason my list of things I wouldn’t repeat is so long.
I will never make a decision based on what someone other than me thinks is best for me, or what they think I should do, or to rectify a situation the disapprove of. I will never again make a life changing decision based off of another person’s belief system.
When I was fourteen I decided to get baptized. I didn’t agree with the church I was attending. I knew I would leave the church later but my peers were all doing it and my mother wanted me to. So, I stood up in front of hundreds of people and “devoted myself to God” knowing full well that it wasn’t what I wanted. Leaving the church after my baptism (once I was an adult) cost me every person who I’d ever loved that wasn’t a family member and even some family members.
When I was twenty-one I decided to marry a man because I was “fat” and should take any love thrown my way. I had also gotten pregnant, so it was the right thing to do. When he became violent, and I found out he was already cheating weeks before our wedding, just after I lost the baby, I decided not to call of the wedding. What would people think? They would think I was worthless, I couldn’t even satisfy one man. When my family showed up for the wedding, I nearly begged to leave with them. He was the best I could do because I was to fat. So, instead I pasted on a smile and signed a contract that would bind me to a violent, selfish man for years to come, based on the beliefs of other people.
When I was 24, I subjected myself to nearly a year of public shaming. My family would support me financially while I got back on my feet if I was going through the process to rejoin the church. I was publicly reproved for things that had happened months and even years previous, twice. I was made to jump through hoops and shamed until I cried for them. I was told that I would be “happier” and I would “get better” and “live a fulfilling life” if I set things right with their god. Know what? It made things worse, I was miserable. I tried and tried because my family thought it was the “right thing” for me to do. It cost me a year of my life. I started cutting myself again and my eating disorder came back. It nearly even cost me my life. It did cost me two friends who had been like family since we were babies.
I will never, ever, ever, ever make decisions for my life based on another person’s beliefs about what is best for me. I will follow my heart and trust my own spirituality and beliefs about the universe when I make life altering decisions.
Certainly, I will still make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. I will however make my own mistakes and have no one to resent when the effects of a decision slice deeply into the tender places of my heart. I am in a deeper place of peace with myself than I ever was before, not that I don’t struggle, but I have come far.
I live with no regrets. Each and every decision, the wonderful and the piss poor, plays into who I am today, into where I am today. If I changed one little thing I would likely not have my beautiful son and partner in my life. I wouldn’t give them up for all the second chances in the world but I most certainly don’t intend to keep repeating old, painful mistakes.