A Mistake I Have to Make

As growing and evolving human beings our lives are strung together by a series of lessons we’ve learned from mistakes we’ve made and sworn never to repeat again. But for some of us (hopefully there is an “us” and I’m not completely alone in my shame) there are mistakes we knowingly repeat and can never explain our motives to the satisfaction of anyone with half an ounce of common sense. The routinely revisited error is a difficult one to comprehend. There are a slew of quotes floating around the universe pontificating on the absurdity of reverting back to old missteps.

One of the most popular, beautifully illustrated by a myriad of self-proclaimed graphic designers throughout all of Pinterest, is “you can’t make the same mistake twice, the second time you make it it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a choice.”

[Side bar: I can’t find actual attribution to that quote anywhere because it seems to be bastardized by the Internet like so many other quotes before it. If I’m to trust a Google search, at least 73 teenage girls from the Midwest said it first on Twitter. So for all I know some cast member of the Hills said it and I’ve completely discredited anything further that comes onto the page.]

And if there is any area of my life where I knowingly make bad choices it’s in the male relational department. I’m a complete moron when it comes to a pair of dimples and a resonant voice that seems was created just to say things that make me feel pretty and special. Especially after months of being made to feel unpretty (that definitely comes from TLC so don’t you even try to steal it, Midwestern teeny boppers). I know, I know, my codependent insecurities are showing. But I got ‘em. So deal.

I have a list of deal breakers designed to keep my heart logical and out of relationships with boys who are no good. And those deal breakers have rescued the sappy, brainless organ that beats within my chest a number of times. But, I’m ashamed to say, sometimes the right combination of jawline perfection, mischievous eyes, five o’clock shadow and charm without a hint of irony will take my brain completely out of the equation. Because who needs logic when the flawless marriage of Adam Levine and Cecil Otter is dying to see you again? (Ok that combination won’t float everyone’s boat, but it will end me.) In particular when this gorgeous dude can make you feel like the sole bird in the lounge (I had to go British with that to make it less clichéd, did it work?).

I’ve been down this road and know what waits at the end of it. Those deal breakers are there for a reason. I’m not suddenly going to become extremely accepting of the fact that he smokes copious amounts of weed, can’t afford gas for his car and has trouble defining a single major life goal beyond buying that Camaro he’s always wanted. And eventually he’s going to realize I’m an uptight Jesus freak whose no-sex rule isn’t just me playing hard to get. Despite being fully aware of these realities, I’m going to travel down that road slowly becoming attached to an empty prospect as I approach a dead end that can’t get here soon enough. And when it does, it will sting. But I will live.

Ugh. This whole thing is so painfully emo. I’m sorry. It’s probably because I’ve been listening to Green or Blue for two weeks and their music, while spectacular, turns the 15-year-old girl in me into a sniveling twit.

I’m not sure where I am going with this. I obviously have no real wisdom on the matter. If I did, I would smack the stupid girl who wittingly took my life in the wrong direction when the misadventure began. So maybe this is an admission of guilt. I know you’re all shocked to hear that I do stupid things at an age when I can no longer blame them on innocent naiveté. Maybe the moral of the story is we must allow ourselves to make mistakes so we can put them to rest. Conveniently, I watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother wherein Lily eloquently explained this phenomenon for me:

There are certain things in life where you know it's a mistake but you don't really know it's a mistake because the only way to really know it is a mistake is to make that mistake and look back and say, "Yup, that was a mistake". So really, the bigger mistake would be to not make the mistake because then you'll go your whole life not really knowing if something is a mistake or not. 

So perhaps that is all this vague situation I’m alluding to was. A mistake I had to make if only so I can look back on it now that it’s over and say, “Yup, that was a mistake.”