Have you ever thought to yourself: ‘I wish I’d said something’.
I know that we’re meant to live in the present, have no regrets and not contemplate on what could have been or perhaps what should have been but, I think there may be lessons to be learnt.
It’s why we love romantic comedies so much, or the last ever episode of friends, or actually, the latest series of Love Island, because they just said it. They threw caution to the wind, set fire to intentions and let go of embarrassment and guilt. ‘I LOVE YOU’ they yell across the airport lounge. ‘I don’t know why I didn’t tell you sooner, but, I LOVE YOU’ gasping for breath from the frantic run through a long line of parked cars, angrily sitting in traffic.
Great stories wouldn’t exist if this kind of honesty didn’t work. We most definitely wouldn’t have Romeo and Juliet. He’d have seen her at the party, and thought to himself, ‘she’s a bit of alright’, but due to laziness and fear of rejection he focuses his attention on the music and the canapé table and alas we have no tragic love story.
Besides, you do here those tales; wild, unbelievable, intoxicating stories about the woman that had a sudden urge of ‘fuck this’, forcing her to waltz up to the tube man that she’s been staring at for months and just say: ‘Can I give you my number, I think you’re gorgeous Tube man, and I’d like to have your tube babies.’ Then they live happily every after, Mr and Mrs Bakerloo Line.
There are so many moments in my past and recently that I didn’t bite the bullet. Rather, I chose to carry on with my boring life and harbour the irritating feeling of ‘what if’. Well what if! I’m not even just talking about love, and people I fancy on the street, I’m talking about every moment where I stopped myself from saying anything because the consequences quenched my thirst for exhilaration and risk. You really do just have to ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen?
You don’t get the job that you’re completely under qualified for? Fine. They say they have a girlfriend and that you’re not their type anyway? Bruised egos will heal Hun! You have a friendship and you don’t want to fuck it all up by telling them you love them? Well you’re lying to them anyway by keeping you’re secret infatuation close to your chest and as far as I’m concerned no real friendship is based on lies. Or what about someone behaves in a manor that you don’t think is acceptable? If you don’t say anything, they’re just going to continue pratting around until eventually they really upset or offend someone.
If I think about the type of person that I’d like to be with, and list all of their qualities, I think I’ve probably already met them. I just never told them and now it’s far too late.
I heard on the radio this morning that rather than giving something up for lent, you could perhaps start doing something positive. I think that this is where I start, no more what if’s, no more ‘oh it’s too embarrassing’ or laziness surrounding things that for a short while are in my control. Once they’re gone, they’re gone and you’ll never have that moment again just to say something.
It all stems probably from feeling not good enough and being a bit ‘English’. We’re all so fucking polite and non-intrusive and it’s really arrogant to back yourself to the extent that you tap someone on the shoulder and tell them that they need to hire you or in fact, shag you. But actually, you’re just becoming the leading lady of your own life, rather than wallowing in the victim role. Quite literally, the worst that could happen is rejection, and god knows rejection only makes you stronger. If you don’t ask you won’t get, and you don’t have to be aggressive or overly persuasive, you just have to have the confidence to tell your truth and not worry too much about the consequences because QUE SERA SERA.
Of course it’s daunting and you’re putting yourself out on a limb but nobody ever really achieves much in their comfort zone. I think that there are these unwritten rules that keep us in our little boxes. We don’t deserve the job because we don’t have the right qualifications. We don’t deserve love because it hasn’t been offered to us yet or we can’t change because that’s not who we are. But the thing is, we will never know our full capacity unless we keep pushing the limits, we don’t have a measure that indicates our volume. And these rules, I think they’re made to be broken. I’m using love as an example because it’s such an easy one to draw from, but this really can be applied to most aspects of our lives.
Dating for example. Friends will say to me, ‘okay that’s good, now don’t text him back.’ I just sit there thinking, what? Why? Who created these rules? Annoyingly the rules normally work, but that’s only because we’ve all become accustomed to playing with them. Nowadays if it feels right or even if it feels wrong I just want to fucking say it.
When I was younger I was in a relationship that I stayed in for far too long. It got nasty because we were so bad for each other, and I knew that. I could see where it was heading, down the slipperiest of slopes, yet I said nothing. I fought and I cried and I lashed out and I blamed everyone but myself when really I should have just let go, because I didn’t owe him anything apart from honesty. It took me six months to break up with him. Six months of deliberately hurting each other. Six months of avoiding sex and gritting my teeth when it felt unavoidable. Six months of thinking about other people. Six months of wasting both of our time. I should have just said something, and actually, I know that it doesn’t serve me, but I do regret that. Although I do not regret the lesson that I learnt.
A lesson to listen to the little feeling deep in your gut. Even if it just says, you should call that person or book that flight. Don’t be scared of failing, because failing truly is the best way to learn how to succeed. If fit tube man (or woman) looks flustered and makes up a story about how their dog ate their phone so they can’t really give you their number, you know that they’re not the one and you don’t have to lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling thinking: ‘What if’. Be bold, be brave.
As I always, I shall now quote the great lyricist Kelly Clarkson: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’
Go for it, I believe in you x