“Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.” Oscar Wilde
This quote has very often intrigued my sense of human nature. We all make mistakes, right? And with making those mistakes, we judge our very character from the extremity in which we feel the magnitude of the burden can amount to on our subconscious. If the mistake was small, and easily justifiable, you can forget and move on. If the mistake was gigantic, and completely unjustifiable, your mind presses against the burden of regret, error, and poor judgment. From this, you cannot easily move on. Therefore, to justify the entire spectrum of mistake-making, is it human nature's way of coping with the pain and regret of mistake, despite the magnitude, to refer to a mistake as merely an "experience."
As in my previous blog, Worrimania: A true Disease, I have expressed my tendency to worry and overthink/overanalyze most aspects of my life, from the most minimal to the most colossal. It has, more times than I would like to admit, make me physically sick and set upon my shoulders a burden that proves detrimental to my everyday routine and interactions. I have a tendency to become depressed and fretful about future events, knowing all along I cannot change things. My personality is far from laid back. It has consumed my mind at times that are precious and should be memorable, making it hard not to run away; far, far away, from those I may burden from my cognitive tribulations.
Throughout my life, this had led to my inability to forgive and/or forget easily. And this often leads to a feeling of shame or embarrassment, two actions that have gloated deep in my mind, taunting me to become reclusive with my feelings and ideas. I am afraid to express my frustrations and concerns in the fear that others may shun me and become angry at my endeavors to retaliate my feelings in a positive, productive manner. However, when left to fester, a wall of resentment builds higher and higher until the actions ball into a state of a mental breakdown. At this point, no one should ever experience the inability to control their emotions.
What has potentially created these states of anguish deep within my soul? Worrying.
However, in this instance, it is the aggression of my past transgressions.
I'm far from perfect. I have always known this to be true. But I have also always known that I am different. Do not misunderstand me, I had a wonderful childhood. I was encouraged to be creative and use my imagination, to play outside, and express my feelings through a positive means. However, at a very early age, I also became too private, too nervous, too prideful. I coped with my nervousness by pulling out my hair (an addiction I have never truly been able to express the horrors of to anyone). I became ashamed to express my feelings outwardly, my anguishes and my fears stored quickly and quietly in my mind. In order to cope with all these dastardly emotions, I became prideful, afraid that if I allowed myself to become vulnerable in expressing my fears, feelings, and ideas, that I would be reprimanded and punished for thinking differently.
Again, you must understand that this was not a product of my parents or family life. I have amazingly wonderful parents and family. They were supportive in my endeavors throughout school and college. Love was never an issue. All of my mental tribulations (the worrying, the overanalyzing, the embarrassment, the nervousness, and the private-ness) began to pile higher once I became aware of death.
You may be thinking, "Ummm??" *blank stare* ...but bare with me.
Every one handles death differently. As a child, you never really understand the concept. By the grace of God, thankfully I have never had to deal with the death of an immediate family, but I have had to deal with two extended family deaths, and they were hard enough. However, as a child, I remember very well, in third grade, we experienced the death of a classmate. You may be thinking, "That happens, more often than not because of a tragic accident or health anomalies." This was not the case in my experience. Somewhere, deep in my mind, this haunts me, because I remember how I felt that particular day when Shay had not been to school for days. She had been murdered. Her body was found stuffed in a sewage pipe. Our teacher had us write a journal entry about how we felt about what had happened to Shay. I opened up my Lisa Frank journal and wrote, "Shay was my friend." It was this particular experience that broke my mind down, made me hide away feelings that would haunt me still 21 years later. The cruelty, the horrific experience that an 8-year old child went through replayed in my mind. I began to wonder her emotions on what was happening, or if she even knew the extent of her murder. I became anxious, nervous, and coped by pulling out my hair. This was a feeling of control, which eventually controlled me.
It was through this inability to express my feelings that I became selfish and self-conscious; my self esteem plummeted and reached out in the most harmful ways. If it hadn't been for my family's resilience in coaxing me back from despair, I would not be here today.
Therefore, I must elaborate on my identity through my mistakes. As my teenage years trickled into my college years, my mistakes became much more garish. Most of them being in the form of boyfriends, relationships built on nothing but control and dominance over each person's emotional capacity. Whether it incorporated a dalliance with drugs or hedonistic foul play involving alcohol, the beast of fear and failure fornicated lustfully with any sense of morality. I hid under the copious amounts of devils within my mind, unable to pull myself away from the self-loathing and hypocrisy toward anyone who truly cared whether I live or died. You may be thinking, "You make yourself sound like you were incapable of succeeding, and yet you obtained your BFA and MAT."
Well, my friend, it wasn't that I showed signs of utter distress outwardly. Nay, these festering minions of self-corruption were only visible to me, for they made their dwelling deep within my mind; latching on fiercely any sign of fear, failure, resentment, nervousness, and distress. The only manifestations outside of my head was my excessive binges and unhealthy relationships. I lived under the radar of my family, protecting what little string that still held me in their graces. I was foolish, but I have always been smart enough to retain satisfactory to exceptional grades in school.
I never coped well with my mistakes. Buried deep within the confines of my mind to this day, are spiders that haunt me, webs of tangled self loathing for the past, memories of uncontrollable impulses and behaviors. I speak of the darkness of the mind because you never know who around you is struggling with transgressions they would not dare speak to anyone, even the most trusted confidant. This is not the darkness that haunts in the form of mental disruption with the capability to physically hurt anyone else. However, they are the disturbances that linger in times of despair and depression, possessing the possibility to harm themselves.
In took me until I was 25 years old and pregnant with my child, to realize that what I was doing - holding in my fears and failures, my beliefs and ideas, my resentments and distress - was unhealthy, that I had the option to begin healing. I wholeheartedly believe that the universe, the dexterous work of an unassailable God for whom I had turned away from despite my hauntingly pinnacle fear of death, intervened with my destructible mind. I do not believe I was "destined" to be a single mom, but I believe God had the discernment to give me the gift of life to mend a dying soul. Was it a mistake to continue sleeping with my ex secretly, allowing him to continue his upperhand on my emotional fragility? Yes, because is was a lack of judgment, an error and carelessness in my state of mind. However, the consequence of my mistake turned around my life. My son is my saving grace.
Unfortunately, that does not mean that I began a harmonious walk of religious guidance and obtained an aptitude for exhaustive holiness. I did, however, begin knitting the delicate strands of my own spiritual connectedness with my unassailable God. I continued to question and seek answers to the garrison of ideas that fortified themselves at the forefront of my mind. And my God-given intervention did not come without hardship and complications. I still continue to make significantly garish mistakes that hinder my emotional and spiritual rehabilitation; but they never involve my son, and are few and far between. To aide my healing, I have incorporated hobbies and passions that I could have never accomplished in my mental state from the age of 8-25. However, I do combine small parts those hidden spider webs in my creations, placing a web into each drop and word I utilize, because it will always be a part of me that I despise, and in turn, inspire me to reach beyond my past transgressions.
Appalled and disgusted by my honesty? Or inspired and understanding of its evolution into a peaceful acceptance of my mistakes?
Don't get me wrong. I am still continuously bludgeoned by my past, critical of my worthiness in the eyes of God, and lingering upon the edge of receding into the despair of shame and regret once more. And for those who are not spiritual nor religious, it is because of my overwhelmingly persistent conscious, to accomplish what is good in the eyes of human kind, not to encourage its already defiling nature. However, I continue to talk about my feelings and beliefs to those who will listen; blog about them upon their arrival in my mind; become entranced in my hobbies for a healthier, cleaner, more chemical-free lifestyle; paint and write with a desire beyond control; and watch my son grow bigger and stronger, each day bringing forth new discoveries and adventures. Those, to me, are experience. The growth upon which your soul feeds, grasping upon the covert strands of hope in each grueling, life-changing task, no matter how mundane or irrelevant it may appear. I am merely not making excuses for the repetitive lack of judgment and conscious choices executed on the grounds of being caged by my own subconscious. Honestly, they were not "experiences" that made me stronger and the person I am today. They were mistakes, unnecessary hindrances made by a frightened, tortured mind. If anything, these choices, these mistakes, linger like apparitions.
"...by the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes." And in those moments, I must be alone to dissuade their arrival.
Through all of this, I hope you begin to analyze your feelings and emotions on a larger spiritual level. To not only realize that the someone's mind is a dark and dangerous realm of infinite possibility, but that it can fester within anyone, not just the underprivileged and mentally unstable. I am learning to cope with my mistakes through different methods of expression and communication, concepts that have been entirely void through most of life. I pride myself on my growth and expanding curiosity. I will never be able to rid my cognitive space of the spider webs completely, but I can utilize them to abstain from future detrimental choices.
Therefore, is it utterly wrong for humans to refer to their mistakes as mere experience. No. However, the tendency to sweep our transgressions under the carpet will collect like dust bunnies. Once they build an entire army of dust bunnies, the mistakes, the detrimental choices, will poison your mind, attacking silently until it drives you mad. I do not count my mistakes within my experiences because I do not feel that thorns do not compliment the beauty of a rose.
Though the thorns may cut deep within your flesh and commence a trickle of pain, humbly exult the exuding wounds and never allow the circumstance of your blossom to wane.