This is a post I started two years ago. I was in a contemplative mood apparently and to be honest, I have no idea where I intended to take it or where it could have gone, <big smile> but here it is.
What if I had my life to do over again, would I find myself in a different time and place or would I be where I am today as an inevitability of FATE?
My childhood, I know, I cannot change because my parents would have been the same, having endowed me with the same hangups and insecurities I have now so that when I finally grew up, which would later influence the decisions I made in life. Wow!, that was a mouthful. Yet, there were turning points in their life that could have been different. In those known cases, my childhood could have taken another turn.
Turning point #1
What if when mother left my dad early on in their marriage and fled back to Mexico only to learn that she was pregnant with me and had decided NOT to go back to her abusive husband but instead stayed where she was and do her best by me and her life in Mexico? What would my life have been like then? For sure I know I would not have had the three siblings that followed. For sure I would not have suffered an abusive father or would that have been a destiny either way? Curious thought. Would I have managed to end up back in the states? Would my mother have married a Mexican fisherman or farmer, or would she have managed to hook a rich guy somewhere else? Had she been an educated woman, perhaps, but she wasn’t.
But no, she did go back to my dad and she did have three more children by him.
Turning point #2
What if my parents had not divorced when I was 15 and I had been able to stay in Hollywood, auditioning for parts to be an actor. Would I have made it? Did I even have a chance? I never got to find out one way or another. I never got to know.
Again no, they did get divorced and she married a man with four kids of his own and had another child between them, so I became “mother” to 8 younger siblings and Hollywood was no more.
Turning point # 3
What if I’d not been abused and looking for love in all the wrong places but instead paid attention to my studies, where would I be? According to testing done in the short time I was in college, (before I got pregnant) I scored high for an aptitude in scientific research studies and/or teaching. I would have loved to have pursued those as a career. Scientific research, I mean. Perhaps even become an archaeologist, a botanist or in lieu of current events, a research scientist. Except for the math part, I loved science.
Turning point #4
What if I’d married my college sweetheart? Where would my life be? Would the marriage have lasted? Given each of our backgrounds as they were, probably not. Once again, if we could change the baggage we were each carrying, could we have made it work, who knows? Also, had I become an actress and/or a research scientist, I would not have gotten pregnant in the first place. LOL Worse than that, I wouldn’t have my(our) sweet, loving daughter, who I love immeasurably.
(I tried to find a picture of the SST to put here, but failed miserably, so look it up, it’s an amazing obsolete jet). Picture that.
Turning point #5
If I’d taken up the offer to become a mistress to one of the French designers of the Concord SST, what would my life have been like? Let me make it clear, it was never a consideration but… what if it had been?
For one, I would have compromised my ideals of marrying for love for money. I was taken aback by the proposition in the first place because I thought a mistress had to have certain “talents” and we had not bedded. He said in his country (France) it was customary for a man of means to take one. There was no leering or unseemly behavior before the offer was made. His offer was all business-like and respectful if you can believe that. He said he liked me because I was “an innocent” despite the fact I was an unwed mother. He offered me a villa on the Riviera and of course more children and a place for my family and he would accept my daughter as his own and she would attend the finest schools in France, as would our children. I would be his courtesan to events. What a temptation, you might think. NOT! There was so much more to our conversation but I firmly told him I could not deliberately enter into a relationship that was in conflict with my beliefs. We parted and that was it. I sometimes wonder if he ever found his “innocent”. I might add, this man was extremely handsome. Movie star handsome but I turned him down anyway, but I never forgot it. Keep in mind I am an American Girl, so such a proposition couldn’t be anything but memorable. LOL
Turning point # 6
What would my life had been like had I not walked away from a good man who just happened to get drafted and sent to Vietnam? Would he have made it home safe and sound? Would we have made a happy family? Would I have been able to deal with his horrid mother? Why didn’t I wait? But sometimes destiny takes a different turn. Think about it, all those in my life now would not have been. Weird huh?
Turning point #7
What would my life have been like had I not been raped and had I not married the man that raped me? She was a gift and though she and I had a rocky start, we love each other dearly today. Yes, it is possible to love a man who hurt you repeatedly and it is hard to love the child that was a reflection of him, but anyone determined to, can. Had we not married he would not have adopted my eldest nor become the father she never knew and he was good to her. It also, however, would not have caused a deep seated rivalry and competition between the two sisters vying for his love, as we all were at the time, but I got over my effort and they are still working through theirs.
Turning point #8
What if I’d never married husband number two?
Turning point #9
What if I’d never married husband number three?
I’m sure we can take each of our what if’s and visualize the best and worst that could have been and imagine it’s possible results. Mine are as follow:
#1 would have been drastic. It would have been a life I can’t even fathom. I know mother would have worked hard to give me a life free of the burdens she endured as a child. She hated being a beggar and being poor, so those were things she would have never settled for. I could possibly have ended up a street urchin, or working and running a restaurant? Mother was a determined woman and always had the entrepreneurial spirit and liked to cook, so that was a viable option. I know I would not have been barefoot, because shoes for some reason were important to her. I, for sure would have gone to school (she was big on education) and maybe she would have managed to return to the states. She did it once before, so there was that. But… would her husband there have stifled that? Nope! She was too strong natured, even for that culture to let a man stop her, which is interesting because, I let everyone stop me. Beyond that I can’t really imagine what it would have been like.
#2 Had I had the opportunity to be an actress, I think I would have been a great one. I say that because the other night, working with a film group, no female actors showed up, so I got to read the part. It was a dramatic scene, where I pleaded and cried and I could see the camera man nearly crying with me!!! It was the best complement ever. And… I am now making my own films, such as they are and I’m not great but the fire still burns.
#3 Had I kept my head on straight and finished college, I would have loved being a research scientist. I love animals , so there’s a good chance I would have found a critter to advocate for. Maybe I could have made a profound discovery or two. The cure for Covid, maybe?
#4 If those elements that would have destined us to fail had not existed, I imagine we could have perhaps had one or two more children, lived in a number of foreign countries and continued our travels, exploring the world together today, living happily ever after. He got to live that dream and is now retired in Bali, lol.
#5 I think had I chosen 5, my children may have been happy, well placed, but I doubt that I would have been happy. Any time you go against your true nature, you cannot be happy and my true nature is what it is and likely to continue to death. Isn’t there a song, “you gotta stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”. – Aaron Tippin/John Mellencamp
#6 So many things could have changed the dynamics of this relationship. It was the Vietnam Era and it may have turned out fine, but it could have gone south. I really have no ideal speculation other than perhaps I would have given this young man something to come home to.
#7 In pretty much all the above cases, I would not have had the children or life I have today had things been different. I think our experiences make us who we are. The compassion I have today may have come from the pain I went through before. It’s a tough call. Our history is who we are.
#8. It’s interesting but husband number 2, being the religious man that he was, actually turned me away from God. It was ten years after that I would even pick up a Bible to even look at it. There is so much wisdom in the bible but when it’s used as a whipping tool, it can sour the stomach. Yes, there are verses about reproof, but I like to think of it as forming. Yet, that’s not how it was. If my values seem conflicted sometimes, it’s because of that. A part of me longs for the faith I used to have.
#9 Husband number three was an atheist, but that didn’t last because there was still enough belief in God for me to turn him into a believer, albeit it a weak one. He may go to church if I insist, but I never force anyone to do anything they are uncomfortable with, so I accepted the discomfort. I long to have someone at my side that shares my faith in God and who will encourage me and sit with me in church and sing praises as loudly as I do.
Since the previous information, so much has happened…
I fell out of a relationship and in love with someone I can’t imagine ever getting to be with and every day is painful. I am trying to accept this. My heart feels like that of a teenager trying to get over her first love. How can that be, I ask myself? Did I never really love before? I can’t imagine taking hold of my life deliberately and that’s where I want to be.
Now, my what if is, can I go for a life that is too unreal and be happy, like I’ve never known? Or am I looking at the grass is greener on the other side? Have you ever seen a picture of a pasture? Well, it looks green, even and beautiful, right? Wrong! My cousin’s cow pasture looked that way, but if you walked it, it had dips and cow pie obstacles you had to navigate through, so nothing is at seems and I haven’t lived this long not to know it.
It’s like the acting, my writing or any other endeavor anyone goes for, it’s not all smooth sailing. It all requires effort, but can I do it? ME! Can I? Do I have the guts to change my what if?
I have always gone with safe, but safe has left me wanting. I guess, I’m my mother’s daughter to the end. <big smile>
What are your what if’s or do you ever think about them?