When I think about my childhood, I have many poignant memories and one of them always makes me feel some level of guilt.
It is a memory from when I was on holiday with my family. I can't tell you what age I was exactly but I would have been about three or four. I was sat up on a sunbed and although I can't be certain, I think it was a hot day. Most of my family were in the pool but I didn't want to go in and sat with my mum instead. My dad came up to the side of the pool and excitedly asked me to go in with him. Three or four year old me seemed to have replied with something along the lines of "no" in an angry tone, and seemingly for no reason. "Please," my dad would have continued to ask, still excited and grinning stupidly. I continued to be angry and rejected his offer even though he was seeming sad, both feigningly (whether this is a word or not, I cannot be sure, but I enjoy it) and legitimately too.
Whenever I think of this memory, I hear the phrase "cutting off your nose to spite your face."
I don't feel like my memory is lying when I remember saying "no" just because I wanted to and then becoming even more worked up when my dad protested, thereby making me want to prove a point: I supposedly didn't want to go in.
I wish I did go in.
Throughout my life, when situations - especially involving my dad - like this have occurred, I have thought of this memory and reminded myself that I might feel the regret that I still genuinely feel for not going into the pool after I have potentially said "no." Naturally, this wouldn't apply to situations that have the chance or will end badly for me or others, but with other situations, I can't help feel a feeling in my stomach - that I'm not sure has a name - when I may reject an offer that could mean me and someone bonding. I think it should be called "pre-regret." (Okay, I just searched it up in case it does exist and, well, it does: pre-emptive regret.)
I feel like my rejecting of making my dad smile happened because I couldn't bite my tongue and swallow my irritable mood and, because I regret it so much, in my head my dad was really sad (even though he probably was only momentarily sad) and this upsets me!
Naturally, sometimes I'll have other reasons for not taking up an offer (I might even just not want to or lack motivation) and this is okay, of course, but the moral of this memory is: I try not to cut off my nose to spite my face!
Does a memory of yours tell you something important?
This memory taught me a little lesson that I keep close to my heart.
Making Memories & Trips to the Pool,
The Girl in the Moonlight.