Tuesday, June 10, 2008

True Confessions

Be forewarned from the title...

Yesterday I heard a song on the radio. I turned it off autoplay, but it is in my little music player at the bottom of the page if you want to listen. It was from 1986, in the spring. It took me back to my fourth and last semester at BYU and a man in my student ward (church congregation) we'll call C. I have to call him a man because he was not a boy or a guy. He was 26 and had graduated, worked for a couple of years and was back at BYU for law school. He rode a big motorcycle and owned a white BMW 7 series. He played rugby. He had already made the switch from cassette and vinyl to CD's. (Back then a CD was 25 dollars and a CD player was about 800.) He was incredibly bright. His answers at church and the way he expressed himself completely fascinated me. Sigh.

I am writing about this because usually when I hear this song, I change the station. And I don't sigh or reminisce. I tear up and then tear myself up. For years I have been filled with regret over my college years. I was not in particularly good form in college-suffered from depression, had a very low opinion of myself, etc. Went looking for love in all the wrong places. Blech. I have always looked at those years in terms of the mistakes I made and the fact that if I wasn't brilliant socially, it must have been all my fault. It never seems to occur to me that others were involved that were probably in about the same boat as me.

So what happened to C? Nothing. I remained fascinated with him, he was cautious. We dated, I went to his rugby games and we sat together in church. His roommates said he was smitten, I could never tell. I left with no real assurance that I would ever see him again. I came home and about three weeks later, out of the stinking BLUE SKY, Eric asked me to marry him. (Seriously, we never dated-we were just friends up until the day we got engaged.) I was so relieved to be rid of all the angst of college (and also I fasted and prayed about it) and he was such a safe, kind, faithful, good friend that I said yes. It was obvious how he felt and it felt right to marry him. There was no game-playing or guessing with Eric. A WEEK after we got engaged, I got a letter from C telling me how he'd felt all semester. Sheesh. I fasted and prayed again and wrote C back telling him I wasn't coming back to the Y. And all these years I've felt guilty for breaking his heart.

Until now. I don't know exactly what has happened, but over the past months, people and memories from way back have popped back up in my life in unexpected ways and I've started seeing myself as I really was: a normal, if slightly depressed girl, trying her best, learning, growing and yes, making mistakes, but not the jerk I always thought of myself as. I was pretty much the way I am now-a generally nice person who tries to do the right thing. Funny how clouded our view of ourselves can become.

ANYWAY, to make a short story long, when I heard All I Need is a Miracle by Mike and the Mechanics yesterday, I did NOT change the station. I loved that song-why deprive myself of it? I listened to it, enjoyed it, and thought of C and how happy I was when I was with him in the midst of a really difficult year. I wondered for a minute what would have happened if he'd told me how he felt sooner, then let that go, sent out a prayer of gratitude for those moments and wished him well.

Regret is overrated. Don't do it. Forgiving oneself and moving on is much better. DUH.


  1. Oh, your post has amazing timing. I've just gotten in touch with an old flame and all those "what if" scenarios seem to pop in my head. It was so nice reading your post. I would love to just chat with you some time, because I think you'd be a great comfort to someone who wishes she was more like you.

  2. Beautiful post, Kellie. I really believe in letting yourself feel your emotions and then letting them go. I think it hurts worse to try to suppress your feelings. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It is so wonderful to finally let it be. I have many many a thing that I have held on to and each one of them has been such a burden. Deal with them one at a time I guess. Thanks for the post. Such a "real" moment.

  4. Oh, I have felt this way a lot. I beat myself up for such dumb things. I blame myself for a lot of things that happened to other people, but really, we all have our agency. This is random, but this very thing is happening in Battlestar Galactica . . . Also, I think you just gave me a great theme for our journal group tonight!!

  5. Wow do I ever have similar thoughts. I lay in bed at night, falling asleep thinking about all the different paths my life could have taken.

    When I really think about it though, I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be :)

  6. I am frequently reminded of something TACKY or silly or annoying that I did in my younger days and it fills my gut with total despair. I am going to work on letting it go. As you wrote, I was young back then and it isn't fair to judge my 18-YRO self by my nearly thirty-something standards. We are all pretty nice people trying to do the right thing, more or less:)

  7. reading about your college years sure made me think about mine...it's so strange to look back and see what all of the hard, crazy situations i had (or got myself into) and how they made me who i am. it is such a relief to let those past things go (though i still have lots more to let go). thanks for reminding me that it's worth working on being happy with where i am and not worry about where i could have been and what i might have done.


Thank you for sharing your insights!