What Would I Burn?
I’ve never thought of myself as a big Everything Happens For A Reason kind of a person, but when I started contemplating the “What would I burn?” question, I realized that I might have to stand in line with all the other cliché-ridden Southern Californians, spouting all those gag-worthy, life-embracing platitudes.
Because I wouldn’t burn anything.
All right, presented with the great sweep of human history, I would burn Pol Pot, Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and that evil woman who egged on neighbor to kill neighbor via the radio in Rwanda.
In the more personally political realm, I would burn corsets, girdles, and weird, conical-cupped bras that left marks under your arms; voter registration lists that contained only male names; and “whites only” everything.
And finally, mostly in the Dear Former Self realm, I would burn all the fears that kept me from saying “yes” to a great number of experiences that might have turned out bad and scary, but also could have turned out freeing and exciting and great. And also the fears that kept me from saying “no.”
But in terms of burning actual things out of the course of my life: no. Certainly, there are things I could have done without. My application to law school, for example. But even that, even any tiny thing that would have resulted in me having different children and a different husband: no way. Anything that would have left me writing different books or not writing books or writing books on a different sofa or in a different chair with a different dog. Anything that would have left me a different me than who I am: no.
I like where my life has brought me. While I do have some regrets, for God’s sake, life is short, and carting those regrets around with you makes it, if not shorter, not as sweet. Never burn sweetness.
Ann's second novel AFTERPARTY is forthcoming. You can vist Ann here.