Thinking about forgiveness makes me start thinking about regrets. Previously when I thought about regrets they were each the worst thing I thought about at any given time. They were each the most depressing thing I had to think about. I had no way to work through them because they made me so angry or sad. I had no way to rank them, I had no way to even see which ones I regretted more. Then when I was talking with someone they mentioned that a regret they have is ‘like’ a regret of mine. That word, that comparison made me realize though a series of connections that that one regret by far is My Biggest Regret.
DISCLAIMER: Inversion of personality: When telling the actual story, the words ‘I’ and ‘me’ refers to the person I was, not Josie. There is a section after and before where the narrator returns to the person I am now, Josie. I will put that story in block quote for clarity.
I mentioned some of my big(ger) regrets in my previous post trying to forgive myself. After being grounded, there is one that stands above the rest. Now I can think clearly in this regard. I still hold so many things over my own head. I’ve talked about regrets of treating people, especially former significant others, poorly. I’ve talked about regret in not being able to thank those who really deserve it in my life, because they are now gone… I’ve talked about regret in school and many mistakes I’ve made. And even regret in the upheaval brought to people though this transition. However, my one biggest regret was one night…
The Story of that Night…
It was about average for this time of year probably around forty degrees. It was roughly 2AM in the early morning hours of October 31, 2011. I was moving, in six days, from my mom’s house into the city. There was somewhere I needed to go. I realized I would never see this place again as the same person. I don’t know how I knew that, I just did. I would not be back here for years, my mom’s place was a short bike ride away and the place I was moving to was 45 minutes by car…
I also realized that there was a series of things I kept in a locked cabinet away from the eyes of everyone. I could not allow those to be seen by another living soul. Things I was taught to be afraid of people seeing. Things I was taught that I would be in trouble if they were discovered. Stuff society ingrained in my head that was ‘bad’ ‘evil’ or otherwise wrong. Things that expressed some of the true darkness, but some of the true light in my heart. Papers and books that expressed who I was at that point.
I gathered all of my papers and books into a large duffle bag and wore it like a very heavy backpack. It probably weighed upwards of thirty to forty pounds, at least it felt like that. In a very real way I felt like I had all my burdens on my back that day. My life existed in the form of school records, diaries I wrote, random papers I wrote, including three suicide notes, and my spiritual books, readings, and life. I only left the spiritual books I had not written/annotated.
The large duffle bag was completely full, and containing my diaries, six of them I had filled completely, Bible, Torah, Qur’an, Books of Mirrors, four of them, which is a pagan equivalent to a Bible, Books of Shadows, five of them, which is pagan equivalent to the hymnal and contains spells and rituals, and all my writings, which were mostly depressed and angry ravings of a teenage boy dealing with an unknown inner conflict.
I left my room and did what I needed to do to make sure my mom didn’t intrude and find me gone… I closed the door. I would be back before she awoke anyway. I hopped on my bike and was off on a three-mile bike ride with the weight of my life on my back.
I went to a place where I found myself frequently over the years from 2001 to 2011. Some of my best, and worst memories come from a place that, having recently returned there still feels like a ‘home.’ I could do anything I wanted there, it was pure freedom it was a place that allowed me to scream as loud as I want. This place provided me calm in times of anxiety. This place provided me happiness in times of depression. This place provided me safety in times of fear. This place provided me a way to vent in times of anger. This place is a location many of my friends and family will recognize but will not have realized how important it was to me. It is a section of forest preserve that I called my emotional and spiritual home for ten years.
The cold weather was just about to really sink in for the year. It had rained the previous day so building a fire was a challenge, but it didn’t take long for an Eagle Scout who felt at home in these woods. I got some of the driest logs and kindling and started a small fire. Using a lot of the lose papers and those three notes as some of the first kindling the fire took slowly but did start. However, I felt someone standing there beside me. I looked around and there was nobody there to be found, yet it felt like they were close as close could be, breathing on the back of my neck… She was there that day, Joe and Josie were standing side by side by that fire. And they let it burn together.
As I burned things book by book, paper by paper she was standing there absorbing the energy. This was the fire that awoken her from her long slumber inside me. The fire struggled and winked on and off throughout the time I was putting on the early stuff. I was wondering if I would get though everything. It all needed to go away. The only way I knew how to effectively destroy paper, was fire. As I was about halfway through my duffle bag, I reached for my third Book of Shadows, they were always kept in the same order. Each one was based on an element. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. This one was the one that contained all my spells and rituals based around fire. The moment I threw that on the dying fire it kicked up far enough to kick me off my feet.
I could feel her standing over me laughing. I had woken her up. There was enough of a fire now to throw everything else on at once, so I did. As I watched the things I hid for years burn into the depths I felt a war inside me reigniting. The remainder of my past was burning in that moment. This was the beginning. I had undone the seal in that moment holding Josie back.
End of Story.
I had lit my heart ablaze that night. However, I am fully convinced if it did not happen in this way, it would have happened anyway. I do not regret transitioning. Not one bit. I’m happy now. Partly because that day I lit up my heart in golden flames. I began the process that would see me to become a whole and happy person. The shell I had created to protect my heart burned away over time. My shell, went up in flames.
I have poured some water on the fire. My life is starting to calm down around me. My life is starting to become happy and whole. My heart has stopped burning and it leaves a regret behind. What I regret is burning everything that I could now use to write by book. I am now spending time rebuilding so many of those thoughts and documents. They aren’t the same, they don’t feel the same. That night caused me to lose a great deal of realism in these documents. I miss that realism, that raw feeling of being a torn person detached from my soul and myself. I can hardly remember many of the documents and what they contained. There is no way I can rebuild that feeling… I don’t feel like that anymore.
I regret not locking away those documents in a safe deposit box or something, anything, that would allow me to be separate from those documents but for them to continue existing. To grow away from those documents but retain their realism. I know I would have found myself, and grown without that night, but I have no idea how it would have happened. I started that night breaking the bonds of assumption and breaking down the walls of society, that had kept me confined. I started to become myself. That day when I cut my past lose… The day I truly began to transition…
Yet today I regret destroying my past in this way, for his past, is my past. We are one person. There is no we, us, or separation anymore. I am whole again, in many ways I have that night as a trigger that started much of this, however, I also regret that night heavily. This is my biggest regret, tied together with my biggest happiness. I am me. I am at my core both Joe and Josie.