Regret All of Your Past Regrets

Regret All of Your Past Regrets

There is a common life philosophy—one should live free of regrets because regret creates unhappiness, and past actions are beyond one’s control. While the former statements are true, there is another (perhaps better) reason that people should try not to rue their past acts. Whenever you make a decision, you are making what you believe to be the best one with the information you have at that point in time. The saying “hindsight is 20/20” means, that, with the knowledge, wisdom and emotional distance, you might conclude differently and by extension, act in another way than you previously did.

We constantly make decisions all the time, actually, most are unconscious. Even if the choice made was, in retrospect, a “bad” one (although that is a relative term), it was made because you genuinely thought it was for the best. It is our nature to take care of ourselves. Even when someone does something that is constituted as “self-sabotage” such as, passively-aggressively ruining a relationship or intentionally missing an opportunity, there is some reason he or she has done so.

People don’t hurt themselves for no reason. Many times an avoidance relates to fear of rejection or getting emotional entwined with something, or someone. This is a defense mechanism. Arguably, not a very good one in the longterm, but it keeps people within their comfort zones and protects them from their fears.

We can always learn from past mistakes, and apply that knowledge to the present and future. It’s important to be compassionate to yourself and give yourself the benefit of the doubt, and not chastise yourself for past errors. Most importantly, accepting mistakes or your past means that you can be compassionate towards yourself, and move on from more difficult times. The most unlikable and miserable people you’ll meet are this way because they don’t like themselves.

Or, as RuPaul so wisely said, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love someone else?”

Micaela Gardner

Victim Blaming

Victim-Blaming Isn't Just a "Woman's Issue"

Recently, a San Francisco bartender was assaulted with a hammer by an Uber driver and woke up in the hospital. While this horrific event is adding to the discussion about the new tech transport companies that have sprung up in the past 2 or so years, there is another issue at hand here: Victim blaming.

The article I read discussed potential lawsuits and liability of the companies that hire these drivers, but what stayed with me were some of the comments on the story. The passenger used the UberX in San Francisco with friends, but remembered nothing of the evening or the ensuing trauma when he awoke in the hospital with his head bashed in. He risks losing an eye due to the attack. This struck me as such a randomly terrible event that I assumed most people would empathize with the victim. Surprisingly, however, I found that there were many people who didn’t.

Something happened to provoke the driver.

That bartender looks like a UFC fighter.

Sounds more like somebody had a genuine reason to plonk that big husky bartender on the head.

All of this victim-blaming and the accompanying language is exactly what rape victims experience when going public with their experiences. His strong appearance invalidates this assault because he looks tough and strong.

She was dressed like a slut. Why didn’t she protect herself?

He provoked the driver is equivalent to she was asking for it.

I will never understand people who automatically assume a victim (of any crime) is lying when there are no facts to prove such assumptions. So many people can’t possibly have personally experienced being wrongfully accused of a crime before. Therefore, I doubt the assumptions typically come from personal experience.

Knee-jerk reactions that question the victim are not only harmful to the victims, but to our society as well. After all, where is the incentive to stop hurting people when society automatically sides with the perpetrator?

Micaela Gardner

"Aging Gracefully" ≠ Never Changing


There is something wrong with the way we look at women aging. On a feminist website, there’s an article titled “Meryl Streep, 1979 and Now, Same Dress.”

My first thought was “I love Meryl Streep! She’s so talented and classy and…” Then, I did a double take. The only line in the “story” besides the two pictures of her in the dress was “She is gorgeous!”

Look, I love Meryl Streep. She’s considered one of the most talented actors of all time. My problem has nothing to do with her. The problem lies in the idea that women should be able to fit in dresses worn over 30 years ago, and feel comfortable.

This isn’t a new idea. Many women have dreams of fitting in their wedding dresses for their 10th+ wedding anniversary. Such absurdly high standards have been internalized by our society so deeply that we don’t ordinarily question them.

Besides the issue of weight, which wearing the same dress is indicative of maintaining, there is also the concept of women not otherwise aging. We expect our celebrities to remain stuck in a time capsule. Yet, when they get plastic surgery there are scolding articles written. If they don’t choose to get plastic surgery there are different scolding articles written.

Essentially, it is a losing battle because women will always be seen, first and foremost, as visually appealing ornaments. Even in the case of one of the most renowned actors of all time, whose beauty is not the reason behind her fame, but exists nonetheless. Recently, a pro-women website decides that the most amazing aspect of her personhood is the fact that she can still wear a 35-year-old dress.

Greatness comes from pure talent, not a dress size. Meryl Streep is an amazing woman. But not because of her dress size.

Micaela Gardner

The Overlooked Bond

The Overlooked Bond


One of the most undervalued relationships in our society is friendship. While, on an individual level, people appreciate their friends, in books and film friends tend to be sounding boards for the protagonists. Still even more than friends, the relationship between siblings seems to be overlooked most of all.

This isn’t at all the case with parents, possibly because our identities are shaped so much by who raised us. It truly is rare to find a book or movie dedicated to the relationship between siblings, which is one of the most complicated sorts of relationships. Essentially, you are raised with someone who is both a peer, and sometimes, an authority figure. This person could be your friend or not, but either way, they are, on some level, your equal. This person undergoes everything you experience as a child, or at the very least, bears witness. On account of this, there is an understanding about what makes you who you are, and where some of your quirks come from because they have seen your personal history.

I am blessed with 3 siblings. My eldest brother doted on me, always finding a spot on his bicycle that I could sit on and he sang made up songs about us to my sister, brother, and I. He is a natural performer and phone calls with him are like free comedy shows.

My sister invented a whole set of characters that my other brother and I, absolutely transfixed, would interact with for hours. She invented a story called, “The Enchanted Forest,” which guaranteed the three of us were never bored. The goofy brilliance she had as a child, fortunately, never left her, and even now, as adults, we spend a lot of our time laughing our makeup off and getting strange looks from our parents and strangers for inventing odd voices and stories. She never leaves the house without drawing some sort of tragically demented cartoon on the backs of junk mail.

My last brother, only three years my senior, put up with my endless bullying with a zen-like quality I have yet to find in another human being. He, too, would invent games for us to play for hours, which would always distract us from what was going on around us, sometimes to the chagrin of our parents. His boundless kindness was summed up one time when he won a cookie at school and saved it all day to share with me as I was still at home at the time. He was so excited that he ran home, and, on the final step into our house, tripped and broke the cookie everywhere. He instantly burst into tears because he had been so excited to share it with me.

There are no words that could do justice to how much these three weirdos have enriched my life and made me a more interesting, happier person. My family is something I am always grateful for, even in the hardest of times. Well done, Mom and Dad, you’ve done good.

Micaela Gardner

Scarlett Letter

21st Century Scarlet Letter


Last week, a story came out regarding a teen who after attending a Florida school for 3 days after moving from Oregon was punished in a disrespectful way for violating the dress code she didn’t yet know about.

She wore a skirt that was considered too short, and she was taken to the nurse’s office right after first period, and was forced to wear the “shame suit.”

The shame suit is a huge, neon green shirt that reads “Dress Code Violation” across the front and baggy red athletic pants. The 15 year-old was not offered the option to go home and change and was instead, forced to wear this outfit, which the school openly admits is used to embarrass and publicly humiliate students who violate the dress code.

Dress codes are commonplace and make sense. While they are abused in a manner as to police women’s bodies in an unfair way, the point of this story has nothing to do with whether or not the code was violated. Rather than allowing the student to go change and fix the problem in a reasonable way, the school has instituted a cruel punishment that far outweighs the violation itself, even acknowledging that the code is based on a shaming system.

Once again, the idea that women’s bodies are something to be controlled and feared is reinforced. A terrible message is sent to this student as well as the rest of the student body (no pun intended) that it is okay to shame women for what they wear. I wonder how often the male students are forced to wear the shame suit?

We are always talking about women’s twisted relationships with their bodies as a society. Unfortunately, this story is another confirmation that our institutions do nothing to help, and, in this case, actually worsen the situation. The teenage years are formative and the relationship a teen has with her body is already a complicated one. A body is nothing to be ashamed of. Although what are considered appropriate outfits for appropriate times do exist, the outfit forced upon this girl was not appropriate.

Makes me wonder if The Scarlet Letter is assigned reading at this high school, because it seems that the faculty needs to brush up on their reading.

Student Forced to Wear ‘Shame Suit’ for Dress Code Violation

Micaela Gardner

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