I used to have many regrets. I used to dwell on what could have been if only circumstances had been different but I have come to a place of acceptance and even gratitude. Acceptance of the things I cannot change and gratitude for where these circumstances have lead me.
Despite that, there are just a few lingering things I wish I could go back and change. Events in which I wish I had acted with more courage and thoughtfulness.
The Girl I Bullied in School
I was in middle school, in maybe 6th or 7th grade, when I new girl got transferred and I got talked in to bullying and embarrassing her in front of everyone. You see, she had albinism and that made her a target and one day I unintentionally gave everyone a reason to pick on her.
It was after gym class and just before lunch. I had stupidly left the lunch my mother had packed for my on a bench in the locker room and after changing back into my school clothes I noticed someone had stolen my fruit roll up. Looking back now I realize I may have over reacted but at the time that fruit roll up was everything. We were poor and I didn’t get treats like this often.
I began shouting at every one “WHO STOLE MY FRUIT ROLL UP?!”. No one confessed but a few said they had seen the new girl, the one with albinism, hovering around my bag. I wanted to let it go after the new girls name was dropped. I wanted to let it go because I knew if it went any further I would have to confront her. I didn’t want to do that.
But middle school rules clearly state that if you do not call someone out for wronging you, you become the new target. I didn’t want that and so, without thinking, I marched into the lunch room and proceeded to yell at, and completely embarrass this girl in front of everyone.
The look on her face will haunt me forever. More than looking angry or sad, she just looked exhausted. She looked like she knew I was doing this because she was different and she was just tired of going through this. I felt so bad then, I still feel bad now. I wish I could go back and change things. I wish I could go back and be her friend instead of being one in a long line of people who gave her a hard time for no other reason than because she was different.
That Time I Got My Sister in Trouble
Around the same time in my life I got my sister the worst spanking of her life, and mine, because I blamed her for us playing around too much.
Every night it was my job to clean the kitchen, top to bottom, and my sisters job to clean the living room, top to bottom. We were under clear instructions not to play around during this time but kids will be kids and we broke that rule every time. One particular night my mother was in a particularly bad mood and was having none of our shit.
We began goofing off, like we always did, and my mother yelled down to us. I don’t remember what she said but I do remember thinking it would be funny to play a game of who could blame the other faster. After my mom yelled down I immediately yelled back up “TONYA STARTED IT” and immediately I regretted it.
My mother called my sister upstairs and after a few minutes of hearing my sister try to talk her way out of it I heard her screams and cries. I just stood there, in the middle of the living-room, hanging my head in shame.
I wish I could go back and change that night. I wish we never would have played around, or I at least wish I had taken the blame. I was the big sister and I should have protected her.
The Teacher I Blew Off
Years later I was in high school, sort of. I was enrolled but I barely ever showed up. I liked learning but I hated the other kids and at this point I was the new target due to my size and unwillingness to join social activities. I guess Karma had come full circle.
I occasionally showed up for math class though. For one, it was after lunch and before I could make plans on where to go when I ditched the rest of the afternoon and two, I took pride in showing up out of nowhere and showing the teacher how easy it was for me to do the work I never studied for.
After a long stretch of not showing my math teacher tracked me down in the hallway. She stopped me and asked where I had been. I didn’t answer because I thought I was in trouble and didn’t want to further incriminate myself. She realized this quickly and assured me that she only wanted to give me something. It was an application to take part in a program where I could begin taking college courses in math right away.
I was only a freshman.
I blew her off though and I have regretted it ever since. If only I had listened to her, if only I had taken and filled out that application. Can you imagine where I might be? I wish I would have listened but I also wish I could go back and thank her for even trying. I hope I didn’t ruin her for kids who came after me. I hope she never stopped caring.
These regrets may not seem like such a big deal but they are things I have regretted for a long time and so have grown bigger in my mind as time has passed. I am working on forgiving myself for these missteps, especially since I was only a kid when these mistakes were made. The girl who committed these acts is, for the most part, gone now, and I hope to help her rest in peace.
In response to The Daily Post Prompt: Revisionist History
Go back in time to an event you think could have played out differently for you. Let alternate history have its moment: tell us what could, would or should have happened?