A round of applause waved in the classroom for group D. With every clap I could feel my heart pounding harder and harder. Clap…clap…clap…CLAP! I look around for my partner but still, she is nowhere to be found.
“Group E it’s time to present,” the teacher says. I could feel that my body is frozen, stuck to my seat and shivers are being sent down my spine. And even though the classroom is extremely hot because the AC is still not working which makes everything smell like sweat and smelly socks, I feel cold. I looked back and see the teacher’s face, waiting for my group to go up to the board. I took a hesitant walk to the board.
“Where is your partner?” the teacher asked. I take a deep breath… not that it did much. My heart is still beating in an irregular pattern.
“She is not here today” I replied to the teacher.
“What was that? Speak up please” the teacher replied confused. Not again ughhh. I already said it!
“Marie’s partner isn’t here today,” one of my classmates said for me. Thank you… I should probably have said that out loud. Ummm no, I’m going to just smile at her instead. I smiled, she smiled back.
Oh no, people are already starting to stare. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I hope this is just a dream. I need to pinch myself.
“OW!” I shouted… in front of my whole class. A couple of kids laughed. I just want to go home!
“Oookay in that case, Marie, you can pick a classmate to help you or you can just present tomorrow,” the teacher says to me. I just want this to be done quickly as lighting McQueen speed quickly… but this means presenting in front of the whole class ON MY OWN… in front of everyone! Oh no. This can’t be happening again. My heart sped up and my head felt like it might start spinning.
I started to remember the taunts and chants kids called me at my old school. My feet once again are stuck as I listen to the taunts they say once again. That feeling of loneliness when everyone else was partnered in groups in class, in class, on the bus rides home..even though my class had more kids than it could handle no one talked to me. No one even said “I volunteer as tribute” and partner up with me. I didn’t even feel like a social pariah, more like the plague of awkward invisible nothingness. I felt angry but not at my classmates, at myself. Why didn’t I say anything?
It isn’t that hard to say it but every time I tried a lump in my throat pushed down all the words I wanted to say, I regret not just yelling at them that “hey! I am not a weirdo! Stop being mean to me!” Maybe, just maybe this is my chance? I already have been on the path of loneliness with my head down so maybe it’s time to walk with my head held high.
“I’ll do the project on my own,” I replied to the teacher.
Oh, why did I say that! Whatever I already said, let’s just do it already, people are staring again! Okay okay, I can do this. One. Two. Three. Breathe.
As crazy as this sounds it wasn’t that big of a deal. I presented the project and of course, I was extremely awkward about everything and maybe even stuttered a bit but when I was done I didn’t care. The entire presentation only took about 5 minutes and in comparison to my entire life span that’s about only a speck-like another tiny brush stroke on a painting that no one would notice…except for the painter. So much stress and worry for something that only lasted 5 minutes, it honestly seems so silly now that I am thinking back about it.
Even though I presented, despite my blindingly obvious stage fright, I don’t regret anything about it because that isn’t anything to regret. I already did it, and now I don’t have to wonder about “what ifs” or “maybe.” This is great because over time that regret and wounding about “what-ifs” and “maybes” brings you down, a lot more than something embarrassing since embarrassing things will eventually pass but not regret.
In 50 years no one is going to remember you tripping in public or doing something embarrassing because no one cares…except you. It’s time to let go of that fear of outcomes and judgment that is holding you back. Trust me, one is going to write down in the history books about that one tiny thing you’re been stressing about for the past week, just do it and regret it later.
In our lives, we spend so much time thinking of one thing and forget the bigger picture.
Your life isn’t going to revolve around one mistake or topic, so it’s not a great idea to try to bones do over the one thing for longer than was ever necessary. Although I know how hard this can be, sometimes you just seem to find yourself in these kinds of situations.
I can say from experience that it’s better to do something and regret it afterward than to not do anything at all and be left with what-ifs. Since that thing you’re thinking that you are probably going to regret afterward may not be that big of a deal and who knows you just might not even feel regret. So in that case just do it! Whatever is holding you back, do it and regret it later!
Sadly, we live in a society where we are expected to be perfect like the influencers and internet ads that so many of us consume daily. We become more and more scared to step out of our comfort zones leading us down a path of missed opportunities and you guessed it folks, regret. Trust me your life isn’t going to revolve around one mistake or topic, I know how hard it can be to just jump into a situation I was in, and am still struggling to do things that make me hesitant. However, I can say from experience that those times where I did step out of my comfort zone, I never felt regret. It’s time to let go of that fear of outcomes and judgment that is holding you back.
Just do it and regret it later!