This is our truth, tell us yours
Recently I was online, and bored wondering if a certain someone was likely to pop up somewhere (pop up domming, a business opportunity the Dragons would surely turn down). Remembering I had an ask.fm account I decided to waste some time om one of the most pointless pieces of social media ever invented. In amongst the usual troll questions was one that actually made me stop and think, for a long time afterwards. Did I regret not being friends with anyone I used to be friends with online.
Of course the first part of the question is the idea of regrets, its tempting to mention the Sinatra line, but then that is a way people often try to pretend they haven’t spent the small hours awake, looking at the ceiling, wondering how things might have been without the what ifs or if onlys. Regrets are hard because they are the one thing we cannot hide from, or from our responsibility for events we might wish had been different. However they are also pointless, since we cannot change the past, and often they can paralyse us in the present, living in an impossible what might have been instead of the possibilities of the here and now. This was a vital lesson for me to learn as like so many survivors of child sexual abuse I had to learn there was no alternative time line, that clinging to who I might had been without the abuse was actually stopping me from loving who I actually was.
So do I regret things? Yes, but when regret leads down the road to oblivion, to those black places I prefer not to inhabit I see it as a bad habit, and one I must break for my own sanity.
As for the second part of the question, it’s based on the idea that somehow I broke friends with people in a playground manner. When relationships break down they usually do so because one side no longer fits with what the other believed them to be. Be it a romantic relationship, friendship or union of nations things break down because the of the gap between perception and reality. This may seem oversimplistic, and people use lots of other more complex explanations but it really does boil down to this. People assumed that my views on bullying or doxxing only applied to others, their perception of me was someone who didn’t apply their ethics and standards universally.
Or to be so much less naval gazy, look at the current situation of the Scottish referendum, The English rarely think of Scotland, and if they do it tends to be as a nice holiday destination or perhaps worse case scenario as a few Begie sterotypes. The Scots however seem to care far more about England, and in reality have been badly treated by a number of governments, in recent history starting with Thatcher deciding to impose the poll tax on them a year before everyone else. This created the perception in Scotland that the English for some reason disliked them, when in fact benign indifference is probably a more accurate description. I am not saying that Scotland does nt have legitimate grievances, but it is that gap between perception and reality again.
This gap will I think cause quite a shock to the average English inhabitant if the vote is for independence. Like the person coming home to an empty house, and a note that explains nothing there will be a lot of surprise and questions of “What did we do?” The answer is of course nothing, my English ancestors who endured gang rape at the hands of the Border Reivers* suffered as much at the hands of Westminster as my Scottish ancestors who ended up in the Glasgow tenements. If there is a yes vote then a lot of English people will be asking why are we no longer friends. Right now I do not believe the Scots will have any regrets, but I do wonder how much the break up is based on a perception of the relationship, rather than the reality.
* in the manner of most history, written by patriarchy the rievers have been turned into an almost romantic thing, contemporary accounts show rape of women and girls to defile them in the eyes of their male clan members was standard.