There are certain things that even madness cant shield you from; pain, regret and in most cases, both.
I laugh when I hear “normal” people talk about living a life without regrets. That’s madness. Why would you want to live a life without regret? As long as you have choices, you will have regret. Maybe your understanding of regret is different from mine. I am a Mad Man but allow me to share my insanity for sanity’s sake.
My mother like most mums from her time, had very “crude” methods of “rewarding” bad choices. If I, using the power vested in me to make decisions made a bad choice like going to play after showering or playing (read skiing) in a puddle of mud, she would ask me one question; “My son, (affirmation first because what she was about to do would make me doubt that status) did you have a good time playing in the mud?”
Now, if your mum went to the same school as my mum, torturing the victim before “the kill” was a crucial element of the discipline process. If I said I enjoyed myself, she would tell me to prepare to enjoy a beating as well. If I said I did not enjoy myself, she would ask me why I did not stop doing the wrong thing when my seemingly functional brain told me I was doing the wrong thing. Punishment for the second response was doubled.
That wasn’t the torture bit. My own mother (not one for hire) would then behave as if she has forgiven me and forgotten. ( The torture begins) I, in return would also behave as if I have been forgiven and would try to forget what I thought was coming. I would shower thoroughly and in record time, (this is a tough task for any boy child) pick a story book and read (trust me that was enough self affliction). I ignored the lures of the demon in front of me (TV) no matter what the show was; The Rich Also Cry, No One But You, Dunia Wiki Hii, Professional View, KBL Festival of Darts -The best family show of my time, you name it, I would ignore it.
After dinner, which always seemed to me as “The last supper”, especially because I prayed fervently that the lord would take away the cup of suffering that awaited me, I would proceed to tell my mum goodnight hoping that her response would be something like “Go your way and sin no more” or better yet “let him who has no sin cast the first stone”.
My mother being the diplomatic leader of the house would ask me; “Do you know what your mistake is?” A question that only incited one response. “Yes”. The woman (formerly known as my mum) would then proceed to beat (hit, strike thrash, bang, hammer, pound, punch, thesaurus – I did not know that this word was a synonym of “beat” but it does come close to what that woman would do i.e. Thesaurus me!)
This silly heart would wake up the following morning having forgotten what happened previous evening! It would even succumb to my mothers “bribery” of great pancakes before heading out to do the same thing that made me go to sleep cursing myself and swearing never again. Oh foolish heart, I wonder from whence thee came?
This unfortunately is the story of many of us. A father who loses his temper and hits his wife is tormented by his action and swears that he will never do it again. After a few drinks, he heads home. Enough said.
A young lady in love defies her parents pleas and moves in with the man of her dreams. A year later she is back home with a son, shattered dreams, a broken heart and a broken arm. She swears “Men are beasts! Catch me dead with another man”. That was then. Her mother recently passed on from high blood pressure but she still wont stop “seeing” that violent married man. “He apologized” She says.
After aborting once in high school, she said she would never have sex again leave alone unprotected sex. She was only 14. A few years later, I met her at the clinic. Her fourth abortion cost her her uterus. She will never know the joy holding her own baby in her arms. She is contemplating suicide.
It was his first time. He was tired of being teased about being a virgin by his friends. It started as an itch that wont go away then a pimple. He went to the clinic and they did a test. Then another, and another. He is starting his ARV dose today. The one time that he did it, that one time that the house girl agreed to do it with him will forever remain in his mind.
What about you, yes I saw you too. With that woman you swore to your wife if she gives you a second chance, you would never (ever) talk to her. (emphasis yours) It was you. Wasn’t it? You were deleting your texts clearing your browsing history, taking mints after a smoke, taking just one more drink. Yes. it was you coming out of that hotel ten minutes after he had left just as you agreed.
After what it almost cost you, after the pain and the heart break? After losing everything, your job your family, your money? After you swore “Never again”.. Here you are. Wait, here she is, There they are. Here we are! Again?.
Live a life without regret so they said. They were wrong!
I say live a life full of regret (be sorry, be apologetic, be repentant, be unhappy, lament, thesaurus – there is that word again…yes do even that). Why wouldn’t you want to be sorry, apologetic, repentant or unhappy about your mistakes? What other treatment would you prescribe to a mistake if not regret?
So go ahead; regret every mistake. I said regret not repeat. Regret.
But what do I know, am just a Mad Man who regrets talking to people who have no regrets.