Regret Is My Teacher


Friggin’ Brene Brown.

My partner and I have been taking her online course LIVING BRAVE. Apparently, it’s the first year it’s out.

We have an exercise in which we write about a time in our life in which we fell down. An occasion of regret.

What is a fall? For me, a terrible mistake. A time I didn’t show up, or couldn’t live up to my values the way I aspire to do.

I mean, seriously.

The result of all this is that I’m buying steampunk military clothes just so anyone who looks at me knows that I am badass. Never mind that the people who usually wear these clothes are late teen boys, and I’m a middle aged woman. I need friggin’ protection!

I should say, that I did NOT follow her instructions and pick some light, easy, whatever moment in life, a small fall. I picked the life-changing splat that I call They Named Us Mary II. Which was a production of a play that I wrote in which pretty much everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. (I knew it was a fall when I was in it. There was one big disaster and my partner said, “Now we’re in performance. Nothing else is going to happen.” and I said, “You wanna bet? This is just the beginning.” And I was right.)

I’ve been very grateful for the wake up call that was They Named Us Mary II, but absolutely haunted by my own mistakes and behavior, full not only of regret, but shame.

Regret is my teacher.

It should haunt me. Because in doing the Brene Brown exercise, and in picking this cage rattling, down to the core, shredding moment, I learned the core of my most painful mistake in this production is, well, still a big tendency. I learned something I so need to know as I move forward in my life.

I don’t ask for help. I forget that asking for emotional support is even a thing. I assume I’m friggin’ Hercules.

I act as though my life hasn’t happened to me. As if I’ve never been hurt. As if I’m up to every challenge.

To my male friends, I feel you. I am just friggin’ like you.

And it’s not true that I’m up to every challenge.

I wasn’t up to that one. And in my gut, I knew it. I knew I should have turned away the offered opportunity. I went silent when I needed to speak. I fell apart when I needed to lead and make hard decisions and have hard conversations. I fell into my own darkness.

Thank you to Brene Brown for teaching me that I can be so…well, wounded.

And to whatever/whoever for this understanding–that when I fall, I’m in pain, I need help, I must connect.

Human like everyone else.

This is what the start of self-forgiveness looks like.


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