this is how you set a table for dinner; this is how you set a table for dinner with an important guest; this is how you set a table for lunch; this is how you set a table for breakfast; this is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well, and this way they won’t recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming; be sure to wash every day, even if it is with your own spit; don’t squat down to play marbles—you are not a boy, you know— don’t pick people’s flowers, you might catch something; don’t throw stones at blackbirds, because it might not be a blackbird at all…
– Girl, Jamaica Kincaid
Like the little girl in this poem/story, I was warned. I was warned of a lot of things. I was told not to do a lot of things, and I listened to most of them. Most of them I didn’t. I have suffered the consequences of my actions, and I blame not a soul because of it. However, I’m learning in this process of…growth (I guess we’ll call it that) is that though you’re in a new space, in a new vibe, in a new feel, the person(s) that you wronged, or didn’t help, or lied to, or didn’t believe, or didn’t want, or didn’t love, may not be there and you simply can’t right that wrong. Even if it was a wrong you’ve done to yourself. Most of the time people that want to gloss over facts, rearrange history, make themselves feel, better tend to not want to hash up the past. Well, that’s exactly what I want to do, I’d like to go back and tell the old me that I’m sorry, I’d like to tell some of you that I’ve hurt, inadvertently and advertently, that I’m sorry and I’d like to fix a few hearts that I somehow managed to break, but I can’t. However, if my world was perfect, if my life was perfect, if things were just, I’d start off by saying the following:
I apologize for leading you to believe something that wasn’t true. I apologize for leaving you when you needed me the most, I apologize for not understanding you, I apologize that I really don’t mean any of this.
You heard me.
I don’t believe any of it.
To go back and right a wrong means that you get to rearrange history, and I know we’ve all seen the movies or cartoons or stories what-have-you about changing one minor fact and it possible rearranging your whole life.
I believe that to be true!
I believe that every heart I broke, every person that I hurt, and every person that has hurt me and broken my heart has helped shaped me into the character that I’ll become. And like the girl that Ms. Kincaid so avidly illustrated, I’m inclined to believe that there was a good part of the “Warner” that knew she (the girl) would do the things warned against and while I don’t have literary proof, I’m willing to bet it made her a pretty special little lady…I’d bet the farm, and so, I choose, with all of my might to dismiss all warnings now, and just be. The ones that I thought I listened to, I now renounce them and the ones that I know I didn’t listen to, I’m thankful. And I am forever grateful and you should be too! I’m so damned excited to get to this next chapter in my life that I don’t know what to do, because as a hopeful fiction and romance “penista” (Yeah, damn it, that’s a word…MY word. DON’T steal it) I’m conditioned to believe in happily ever-after endings and once upon a time beginnings. The first chapter of my tale started out perfect. There was drama, lust, lies, deception, peace, good sex, bad sex, all the stuff that Mrs. Ellis, my 9th grade English Teacher, said made for good foreshadowing. And I gotta say, I can’t wait to see what’s next. Stay tuned…
Vive sine paenitentia!
Res Ipsa Loquitur