A Little Veruca-Like

After hearing some disappointing news recently, I set out to walk a few avenues and call whoever would listen to my fretting and rambling. The unluckiest of my friends who picked up my call happened to be R, who listened intently and calmly, letting me finish my obsessively inappropriate freak out.

As I neared the end of my story, over exaggerating, and emphasizing the disappointing facts more harshly than I highlighted the good, I concluded with: “It’s just I want it! I want it now! I don’t want it to be complicated! I just want time to go faster.” Pushing the tantrum to the extreme, I went as far as to stomp the pavement, and glare up at the sky in despair, regardless of the flocks of people on either side. Bringing my stance back to street view, I happened to be right in front of a candy store in Chelsea, and in that instance, I channeled a character that’s not a positive person to relate to.

Veruca Salt.

You know – the brat from Willy Wonka? Who says the same words to her father that I happened to slip to R, and is as intolerable as it gets. She’s the gal who wants the world, the whole world, and demands to be given it…now.

Am I Veruca-like?

I don’t come from money and I’ve never dated men for their money – being rich isn’t a qualification to grab my attention. I’m not a child, though I may act like one from time-to-time, as all well-adjusted adults allow themselves to do. I really don’t want a magical squirrel, though I’ve convinced myself I’ll name any animal I get “Henry,” no matter what it is, which perhaps is more irrational than wanting a rodent, anyway. On the surface, I don’t have the fundamentals of Ms. Salt, but in my actions and in the words I use – sometimes I’m impatient and demanding, and perhaps, I may even have a sense of entitlement. I mean, I am a Gen Y-er, right?

It isn’t so much that I think I should get things because I’m me, Lindsay Tigar. My name isn’t significant or noteworthy; it is just another byline in the hundreds of thousands of budding journalists and bloggers who write to be heard and to give, not to be famous. I don’t usually jump up and down, complaining and whining that my life isn’t going as planned or I’m not receiving all the things I believe should be coming my way. But I do think that if I work hard, if I’m positive, if I’m a basically a good person, everything I’ve dreamt of will surely be mine one day. As long as my visions aren’t magically and lofty, or my commands unappreciative and rude, like Veruca.

But sometimes, what I see for myself is probably unrealistic. I can be overly demanding of what I find myself deserving of, and if the mood strikes me wrong, I can be a bitch just like the next cranky New Yorker.

Once I hung up with R, I walked the 30 blocks back to my apartment, deciding fresh air would be better for me than a crowded cart. Annoyed with myself for overreacting, for getting my hopes up, for getting down on myself for things that are sincerely out of my hands, I thought about the Willy Wonka character I so enjoyed watching as a child.

Confessing to myself for the first time, I realized Veruca had been my favorite to watch. She was so over the top, so awful to her old man and Mr. Wonka and the other kids, that she eventually was declared a “bad egg” and sent down a garbage chute. I liked her though – even though she didn’t have refined qualities like respect and patience, virtue, and understanding – she just wanted what she wanted when she wanted it, end of story.

And that’s the truth of the matter – we’re all a little Veruca-like at times.

But if we learn from the sugary-sweet factory she played in, we know the one who finishes the race isn’t the one who skips ahead. It isn’t the one who rushes Father Time or gets everything they want. It’s not the person who overindulges or decides to cut corners and not fight fair.

The one who eventually finds that golden ticket – in whatever form it takes that means the most to us – remembers to be honest. Not only with the world, but with themselves too. Even if that means admitting Veruca is a part you play more often than you’d like to admit.

Releasing Regret

I’ve been very blessed in many ways –and often, I take all of my good karma for granted. I can complain easier than I can breathe and I can find reasons to be unhappy much easier than I can find reasons to be thankful. All self-loathing aside, I have been lucky in my life that I can happily and easily say I have no regrets.

Maybe that sounds like I’m trying to brag that “I’ve done everything right in my life and have made all the best choices” –but that’s far from the truth. Sure, I’ve made many mistakes, said things that I probably shouldn’t have said, broken hearts that I could have prevented breaking, and manipulated people or opportunities more than what’s acceptable.

I’m not perfect (I certainly don’t claim to be), but I realize that part of life is screwing up. Even though I’m not a fan of being single (I am, however, working on it), I realize that like all good things in life – without a little work, you would never value them as much as they deserve.

Recently, Mr. Unavailable (another guy who tells me to chill out) sent me an article he thought I would find interesting about regrets. This popular blog has now been turned into a book (hint, hint, hint) and is a sounding board for people to write what they most regret in their past.

Lemondrop published an article based on this blog/book called “20 Things 20-Something Women Regret.” Of those 20 regrets, 18 of them relate to lost relationships, unrequited love, marriage, or lust.

Hmm. Of everything we’ve ever done or not done in our lives, the things we regret the most have to do with relationships. Why is that?

Why are the choices we make concerning the ones we love, the ones we make love to, the ones we want to love, but don’t, or the ones we love who don’t love us back – so damn important?

I spend more than enough time thinking about the past – and while I’m satisfied with the decisions I’ve made concerning previous loves, I find myself asking “What if I would have handled the situation differently?” or “What if I would have just accepted him for who he is?” or “Why didn’t I walk away sooner?” or “Why wasn’t I what he wanted?”

I realize concentrating on the coulda or the woulda or the shoulda is not healthy, but I believe its part of human nature (as validated through this blog).

But instead of regret –why can’t we look at the end of a relationship as the opportunity to find all of the wonderful things to come? Being stuck in a relationship that doesn’t work only prolongs the process of eventually finding the right person and doesn’t do anything for your self-confidence.

Instead of regret –why don’t we trust in a presence higher than ourselves who controls the fate of what’s meant for us? No amount of wishing or hoping will change that a relationship ended, regardless of who ended it or why.

Instead of regret –why don’t we stop blaming ourselves or putting ourselves down because of those who walked away or shattered our hearts, and realize there is a reason for it? If they could live without us (and we most certainly can live without them, I promise), then they would never give us the love we need and desire.

Instead of regret –be proud and be thankful of what you’ve learned and that tomorrow, a whole new page could turn into an exciting and passionate chapter of your life (either single or taken).

They say it is better to of loved and lost than to never have loved at all. And I say it’s better to believe in tomorrow and live today, than to dwell in yesterday.

This journey is teaching me to embrace myself, today, right now, in this moment, and to stop wondering about all that could (and will) be or should have been.

So take a plunge, all of you who are living with regret, including you, Mr. Unavailable (my difficult and charming friend), and surrender all of it. Just give it away and let the floods rush through you.

You can’t stop them. Believe me, I’ve tried. You won’t regret them. Believe me, I never have.

C’mon Baby, Make it Hurt So Good

To overcome fear –must you feel pain?

I’ve been reading a daily mediation book since the start of the year. It was a suggestion from my mother (by the way, I love reading suggestions, so if you have one, please share!) that she recommended because it helped calm her nerves.

I should have taken it as a sign that I would ultimately write this blog, but it’s an everyday “food for thought and prayer” that was written based from Alcoholics Anonymous, and my mother used it for anxiety issues. However, I think most of the material can relate to any addiction…or just those of us who tend to be utterly obsessive.

Regardless, The Language of Letting Go has proven to be helpful –and a bit of a mind reader. It almost always seems to know exactly what I need to read. It’s like it knows what days of the week are more difficult and about all the different moods I cycle through.

Yesterday –the entry was about “feeling the pain”. In a nutshell, it says to overcome fear –you must feel through all of your discomfort. Of course, acknowledging is part of that, but even more –is allowing yourself to physically go through the ordeals.

To believe my higher power can take away my distress and my fears and intensity towards not being in a relationship or being single –I’ve got to feel my way through it. I have to let myself cry, let myself get upset, let myself get angry, and let myself…

…let go.

It makes sense to me now why Step 3: surrendering all of the negativity to a higher power comes after Step 2: believing. Before you can give up anything – you have to figure out why you need to get it away from you in the first place.

Letting myself feel the longing, the regret, the sadness, the loneliness –all of it…is actually kind of refreshing. Maybe that makes me a sadistic love lady, but crying it out, yelling/screaming it out, writing it out, talking it out –just flat-out getting it out gives me a little bit of freedom.

I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to “surrender it” or how long it may take me –but I think I’m ready to approach it. My longtime friend, T, said in a comment on a previous blog that “I think this is one of those steps that you have to keep coming back to, that you have to keep reminding yourself of.”

I agree with her. There are always going to be periods of highs and lows, and moments where you believe with your whole heart and moments when you just want to eat some peanut butter.

I’m human. I’m single. I’m struggling. I may believe today and tomorrow I may not. But for now, I’m accepting myself as I am and attempting to keep my head held high. And, even as it hurts (hurt so good, actually) –I’ll keep pushing through.

Because one day – all will make sense and all will unfold as it should.

As soon as I figure out how to surrender….and all that.