The truth about mistakes

“Here’s the thing about mistakes. Sometimes, even when you know something’s a mistake, you gotta make it anyway.”


It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post based on these truth prompts. Maybe because so many other things have been occupying my thoughts that I didn’t need to be prompted for written material. Now, however, I find myself wanting to write, but not knowing exactly where to start. So the topic I want to write on will wait for now as I continue this 30 Days of Truth project…

 

Day 22 – Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

You know that quote up there? The one about mistakes? I completely agree.

See, I try not to live my life with any sort of regrets. And the best way that I know how, is to go with my heart. I rarely listen to  my brain in those situations that do not involve filling in Scantron sheets. And living a life without a huge amount of regret ultimately means that a few mistakes may be made along the way. And, although no one ever truly wants to make mistakes, they are what connect us as humans. The fact that we’re not perfect. We are all flawed in some way.

I’ve been thinking lately, as I drive up and down the snow-covered streets watching people shovel out their sidewalks and driveways, that snow makes us human. If you don’t understand, just watch someone shovel for a few minutes. They breathe heavily, wipe their forehead, adjust their gloves and hats, accidentally throw snow in their shoveling-partner’s face. They huff and puff and get the best workout of their life without ever going to the gym. They’re real. For a moment, those lawyers and bankers and doctors are not invincible.

They’re human.

We’re all human. We all make mistakes. But should we regret those mistakes? Should we wish that we hadn’t made those mistakes in the first place?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but, for myself, I honestly don’t think so.

There isn’t one thing that I can think of that I sincerely wish I hadn’t done in my life besides the trivial things. Like, for instance, I wish I hadn’t spent $10 on that supposedly amazing mascara that makes my lashes clump instead of giving them 90% more volume as advertised. Everything that I’ve done in my life has led me to where I am at this very moment. And although I’m not perfectly content, although I’m antsy and restless, although I don’t have it all figured out yet, I’m learning. I’m growing. Everyday I’m finding out more about myself by making these mistakes.

Like, for instance, I can bat my eyelashes perfectly fine without mascara.


Day 23 – Something you wish you had done in your life.

I think that I’ll answer this question when I’m 95.

Songs of truth

Day 24 – Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs.

I’m starting to skip around with these truths because I could pretty much answer most of them with one word. I’m snowed in, and inspired to create this playlist. I love creating playlists. Last year I had an online radio show that I adored putting mixes together for. Unfortunately, the time slot I was given was tricky and my Mac was not alltogether cooperative with the software the radio station used. So, here is my playlist truth. I’m doing this as kind of a retrospective. Looking back at songs that remind me of a certain time in my life. That really stand out as being a kind of soundtrack over the years. Who’s it for? Possibly my future beau, but, more so, this is just for me. So that I never forget how important these songs were to me.

Green Day – Welcome to Paradise – This song defines the summer of 1995 for me. I realize it came out a year before, but as I was only 10 at the time, my mother didn’t let me buy the album until the following year. It reminds me of good, carefree times. Of kissing my friend S’s cousin who was visiting for the summer (I’m quite certain he was my first…). Of walking down to the “Ave” getting Italian Ice with change collected at our lemonade stand. Of prank calls and water gun fights. Of catching fireflies and drinking Kool Aid Bursts until we got sick. Those were the days…

Jimmy Eat World – The Sweetness – Fast forward to the summer after junior year of high school. Driving down the street in hand-me-down cars, the windows rolled down, singing at the top of our lungs; buying a pack of cigarettes only to smoke one, nearly choke, and vow never to do it again; attempting to make mixed drinks and trying to erase every memory of what type of liquor we actually used. These were still the innocent days. The days right before the world changed. The days before the word “terrorist” was used in daily vocabulary. The days before the world corrupted us…

Thursday – Signals Over the Air – I left college in the fall of 2003. I moved home, got a job at a bank and took a good, hard look at my life. My father never thought that I’d go back to school. He didn’t talk to me for months. It wasn’t until I got in to the local university that he even looked in my direction. I remember sitting in my car, listening to Thursday’s War All the Time album on repeat. This wasn’t really an amazing time in my life. I fell in with a bad crowd during the time I was out of school. But I quickly got back on my feet and straightened my act up. Still love this song (and album) though.

Nickel Creek – Jealous of the Moon – In the summer of 2006 I wanted to work abroad. I had a very specific place in mind. I wanted to go to Ireland. My father refused to let me and I’m actually quite glad he did. Had he let me, I wouldn’t have gone the following year and I wouldn’t have had an experience that changed my life forever. Anyway, I remember listening to this song non-stop around the time we were arguing about me going or not. I would sit in my car and cry fat, salty tears, wishing that things were different and that my father woud just let me be who I knew I was supposed to be.

Snow Patrol – If There’s a Rocket Tie Me to It – A little over a year later, I played the album this song is on non-stop. It brought us closer together while we were apart. And this song felt like it was made just for me.

Rascal Flatts – When the Sand Runs Out – He loved this band. The country girl in me loves them too. When he sat in my car, flipping through my albums, he picked up the one that this song is on. He popped it in and when this specific song began to play, he looked at me in awe. “I’ve never heard this before…I think it’s my new favorite.” Later on I’d make him the album. I wonder if he ever listened to it. I wonder if, when he does, he thinks of the girl that made it for him, and wishes things were different.

Bon Iver – Skinny Love – The moment I heard this song I was just struck with the raw emotion of it. It really touched me in a way that makes me very hopeful for the music of the future. I still love this song just as much as the first time I heard it – maybe even more.

A Fine Frenzy – Almost Lover – Tears streamed down my face as I parked in a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike. I kept replaying this song, even though it played a huge role in the crying. But this was just one of those time that I needed to cry. And God it felt good. Beautiful song. Still makes me teary-eyed.

Brett Dennen – Make You Crazy – Summer of 2009. Driving down the shore with the windows down, blasting this tune. It was a summer of learning. Of experiencing. Of healing. This guy helped me do just that.

The Black Keys – She’s Long Gone – I love The Black Keys. I find their music extremely sexy. This is the last song that played when we were together. I guess it’s kind of fitting in a way…

Phoenix – 1901 – This song never ceases to put a smile on my face. And that’s exactly what I need these days.

Sunday Morning Truths

I’m a PostSecret girl. I start my Sunday mornings reading people’s secrets, drinking coffee and listening to Etta James. It’s my routine. Years ago my routine included going to church. I haven’t been feeling quite so holy the past few years, so I’ve kinda skipped out on that. Anyway, I decided to add a little something to my routine this morning, and that is to answer some more of these truths. I skipped day 14…I’ll go back, I promise. I just am not feeling very inspired by it at the moment.

So, without further adieu. . .

Day 15 – Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

Now, I know this may seem like a dumb answer, but I’ve tried and failed miserably. During the summer, I was diagnosed with a bladder problem which may cause severe pain when you eat or drink certain food triggers. Coffee is one of them. In June I decided that I’d try to live a coffee-free life. I went to the fridge and got out a bottle of water instead of turning on the Keurig machine. It worked for approximately 3 weeks. And then my sleep cycle got royally messed up for some reason, and I started relying on Tylenol PMs to put me to bed and coffee to wake me up in the morning. I got out of the Tylenol PM phase, but coffee has stuck stronger than ever. I have at least 2 cups a day. I have to. It’s all mental, I’m sure. And I kind of don’t care. When I feel my bladder acting up, I take a pill. Coffee gives me too much joy to stop drinking it.

My name is Amanda, and I’m a coffeeholic.

(Edit: funnily enough, here was one of today’s secrets…)

Day 16 – Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Him. And him. And him…

It doesn’t matter what “him” I’m talking about, because it’s all the same.

I meet someone I start to fall for and, somewhere along the way, decide that I can’t see my life without them.

Then I am forced to.

I realize that I can live without them. I won’t die if they aren’t in my life, and I don’t. Sure, I mope around for a bit. I complain to my friends, I drink margaritas like they are water. I play lots of James Morrison.

But I live. I have no other choice. I refuse to give up. Somewhere along the way I understand why we are not together. I learn to accept it and realize that it was for the best.

Despite thinking the contrary in the beginning, I survive.

I more than survive.

I thrive.

Musical truth

Day 13 – A band or artist that has gotten
you through some tough ass days.

Dear Amos Lee,

Thank you for having a beautiful, soulful, sexy voice filled with raw emotion.

Thank you for writing songs that touch me.

That make me teary-eyed.

That make me nod and think “Ain’t that the truth?”

Your music has gotten me through rough patches and made me smile even wider on days that I was already in a wonderful mood.

Thank you, Amos.

XOXO

Amanda

4 for the price of one

Day 09 – Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
My friend K.

I don’t really think I need to explain it. It’s just one of those things that happens…No hard feelings. Just a case of growing apart.

Day 10 – Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
I am pretty sure I’ve let all of the severely negative people in my life go. And that’s what I really needed to do. It was hard and sad, but therapeutic. It’s not healthy to be surrounded by people that bring you down. It took me 21 years to learn this. Better late than never.

Day 11 – Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
My eyes.

Day 12 – Something you never get compliments on.
My non-existent ass.

 

My answers to these were very lame. I apologize. I stink lately.

The truth about getting hurt

I’m doing terrible with these truths! There always seems to be other things that I’d like to talk about. But, since I’ve been sitting here writing and deleting posts for about a half an hour now, I decided it was time for another edition of The Truths. I’m now on day eight and the topic isssss (drumroll….)

Day 08 – Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

I know that talking about a certain male here would be taking the easy way out . . . but . . . what can I say? I’m kind of lazy today. And, also, it’s the complete and total truth. No one has ever hurt me as badly as The One. No one’s made me cry for a month straight except for him. No one’s treated me with less respect than he has. The day he walked out of my life, I knew deep down in my gut that I would never see him again, but I didn’t think he’d actually end things cold turkey. I thought that, possibly he’d have the decency to explain himself to me. To tell me why he didn’t want to make things work. To wish me well, like I wished for him. To thank me for the countless hours spent driving him around, the dinners my family bought for him, the little gifts I’d give him for no reason.

Instead, I got silence.

I wrote a letter. I said everything that I needed to say. I thought he’d at least have the decency to respond to that.

Crickets.

When you’re young, you tend to think you’re invincible. When you’re a  fairly attractive, well-put together girl, you don’t ever fathom the possibility that you could be dumped. That someone could NOT want to be with you. And then you are, and your world gets completely flipped upside down. You begin to realize that even if you think something is going wonderfully, the other person might feel the exact opposite. You learn not to believe everything you’re told. You wonder if what he’d been whispering in your ear for months was a complete and total lie. You begin to question your looks, your intellect, your faith in love.

And then, somewhere along the way, you start to heal. Your daily thoughts begin to get filled by other things. You no longer replay conversations that you had with him in your head. You’re too busy for that. Maybe you meet someone new and exciting and different. Maybe you decide that you’d rather be single for awhile and play the field. Maybe you dive head-first into a huge project at work or in school. Whatever the case, you move the hell on.

The person treated you like shit, they hurt your pride, they made you cry, but you decide that you have to let them go. Because, someday, you will meet someone who would never want to make you anything but happy.

It took me a whole, entire year to completely get over him. To stop wishing that he’d change his mind and show up at my door. But it happened. I fell for other guys. I got hurt again. But I trudge along, because what else am I supposed to do? You have to take risks in life, or you would never get what you want. It makes me think of the poem “To Risk” by William Arthur Ward.

“To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails.”

My seventh truth…a life worth living

Day 07 – Someone who has made your life worth living for.

There are some people that live their lives being what they think they should be. There are others that live their lives being what they are. My Cioci (Aunt) Florence was one of the latter people. She lived in the same two-story house on the same street in the same neighborhood of the same overly-populated city in New Jersey for 70 years. Her best friend was her sister, they did everything together. They owned twin houses nextdoor to each other. They went food shopping together. They went to church together and volunteered at soup kitchens. They were inseprible. Neither ever married. Neither ever needed to. Neither cared what anyone else thought of their situation. It was who they were, and they were beautiful.

My aunt was an amazing woman. She kept up with everyone’s whereabouts. She knew everything that was important to know in the family. She was the one that people went to when they had a problem, needed guidance, or just an ear to listen. Before she passed away last year, she sat me down while we were at a family function, and told me how proud she was of me.

You see, she had always wanted to go into the career that I was in graduate school for. She had taken classes at New York University years prior, but hadn’t stuck with it. Life got in the way.

She told me how happy she was that I was going into that field, and that she felt like she was living vicariously through me. She wanted me to succeed in the career she wasn’t ever able to get off the ground. She believed in me. She knew that I could get through the program, even when I had my doubts.

Every time I have an exam that takes me days to study for, or a paper that keeps me up at night writing, I think of my aunt. In part, she is the reason why I have come this far and have never given up. I made a promise to her that I would succeed in this profession. So, in part, I am living for her. I love my future career, but she has given me even more of a reason to pursue it.

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