Several years ago, when I was a child enduring constant teasing and bullying at school, I did something that today I still regret: I blamed my parents for the car accident I was in that resulted in the third degree burns on the left side of my face, my entire left arm, and my left side. I know, it was a horrible thing to do. I’m not proud of it. I knew fully well that it was NOT my parents’ fault that a drunk driver plowed into me and my mom. I mean, it’s not like they WANTED that to happen! My mom lost the bottom part of her freaking LEG because of that accident! But at that time, in that moment, I was not thinking logically. I was acting on an emotional level. I was fed up with all the teasing and bullying at school – and I took it out on them. At one point, my dad even threw up his arms and said, “We’re sorry!” (How I wish I could go back in time to have stopped that. My parents must have carried that guilt with them for years. Sorry, Mom and Dad. But you both already know this.)
I remembered that this morning because I did the same thing, with my own daughter. I threw up my arms and said, “I’m sorry!”
Why did I do that? Because she got upset with me last night – while I was sleeping – over something that happened in the past. As a child, she had to be restrained by doctors and nurses to get a shot. And now, several years later, she took that memory and blamed me for her needle phobia happening because of it. She sent me a very angry text message in all caps blasting me about it. Then she sent another text apologizing for that and she said some other stuff but now I can’t even remember any of it because she deleted BOTH messages on my phone after I said something about the first one. (Woulda been nice to keep that apology there.)
First I thanked her for the LOVELY text that I woke up to. (And I was being sarcastic here. But, seriously, that was NOT the first thing I wanted to read on my phone after waking up.) Then I told her my apology about it and I explained myself: I didn’t interfere with those doctors and nurses holding her down because I TRUSTED THEM. I thought they KNEW what they were doing! Yes, I know I was stupid to allow it to happen. I should have done something about it. But I was ALWAYS taught to trust doctors and nurses and that they knew better. (Well, obviously NOT!) What I didn’t tell her is that I was once in that same situation, only I was being held down to receive 15 shots in my freaking spine! Yes, that WAS a traumatic experience, and every once in a while I had a nightmare about it, but I don’t blame my parents for allowing that. THEY trusted the doctors and nurses, too. It’s just the same old bullshit that I am dealt in this life! But it’s over and done with and I don’t dwell on it. IT’S JUST LIFE!
I also let her know that she should not blame me for something that happened in the past. First of all, that is the PAST. It is NOT the present. It is over. It is GONE. Second, I am NOT the same person now that I was then. These days, if my kid had to get a shot and didn’t want to, I would not allow doctors and nurses to hold her down and FORCE it on her. I know better THESE DAYS.
But it would seem that she expected an apology for my past stupidity. SEVERAL years later.
Well, I gave the apology to her. And NOW I just hope we can all move on past ALL of that. And I really, really hope that she won’t hold it against me for the rest of her life. And even if she does, I WILL NOT let her beat me with a stick until I crumble into a ball and disappear. FUCK THAT! That will be ON HER and NOT on me. That will be her own issue to work out on her own. I apologized. I owed up to it. I recognized that it was wrong and I will not make that mistake again. I won't keep apologizing for it for the rest of my life. I will not allow it to ruin the rest of my life, make me feel guilty forever and ever, or give up on living because of it. I’m not going to go somewhere and kill myself over it.
She is a different person now. And so am I. I have LEARNED from past mistakes. I know better NOW. It’s not like the same thing will happen again, because these days, I KNOW it was a shitty thing to do. I was a stupid bitch in the past and there’s no way I will go back to ANY of that.
Blaming my parents for that car accident was wrong and it was a stupid thing to do. It was also a stupid thing to do when I blamed going trick-or-treating on that one Halloween night that resulted in my catching spinal meningitis from someone that caused me to become deaf. These days, I laugh over that second one. I was SO STUPID to do that, but it is what it is. That’s the way I was then: Stupid and naïve. That first thing does not make me laugh, though. I mean, I understand WHY I did that, but I still regret doing it. It was wrong. But I can’t go back and change any of it.
The whole experience with those texts pretty much soured my morning and put me into a bad mood. I was in an even bigger bad mood after discovering she deleted the texts from my phone. She may have deleted the texts, but they’re still there in my mind. The emotion behind them is still there. I still remember the pain and anxiety her words caused. But I will forget about it and move on at some point. I will get over it. And hopefully she will understand that it’s not a good idea to send someone an angry text message while they are sleeping.
I will move on past this, though. Just like I have moved on from a lot of OTHER mistakes I have made in the past. I can’t go back in time and fix anything. I can’t get back the friends I lost because of all of it. I just have to accept what happened – the same old shit in life – and move forward. But there’s no way in hell I will continue to punish myself for them. Other people might think that’s okay to do, but I personally will not do that. I just have to make sure I don’t ever make those mistakes again!
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