‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’

If you are unfamiliar with the song I have borrowed for the title of this post, the paraphrased story is: no regrets, not one, not for the joys or the pain, I have swept away my love stories, lit the fire with my past, because my life, my joys today they begin with you… It’s a lovely sentiment but its just not true though, is it? We like to think with a new relationship or a change within a relationship that this would be the case but we always have some things, negative or pleasurable, in the back of our mind that like an old photo album or playlist (or mix tape for those of us who remember) we pull out, dust off and reminiscence over. Be they good or bad, but to light the fire with them and banish them forever? Partially perhaps but not entirely.

This song holds special meaning for me. When I first committed to my man (fast becoming my Sir) I had many regrets. Prior to this I had to choose between two very different men. Both passionate, gorgeous men that challenged and excited me. One I would have the opportunity to make a family with, be challenged sexually and lead an exciting life full of creative pursuits but in another town. With the other no more children but a family with his children and their children (he a young Dad and his daughter a young mum) in the same town and to dance and grow in Tango together. I chose to have neither. I really sunk both ships. Total annihilation. Depths of fucking despair. Because I could not decide. And the needs of my son had to come first. And my son (who was recovering from severe depression) wanted, needed the familiar routine and town he knew, he begged me to remain close to our family he simply couldn’t handle anymore change. Eventually proximity meant that my tango partial friend became my tango dance partner and although we tried to remain just friends that just wasn’t going to happen. Back to Edith Piaf, we were at a local bar and I was meeting a very good friend of his for the first time. She was a was a wonderful, gregarious French woman who put me through the hard yards, please imagine a heavy smoker French accent: ‘you look very young, you know he can’t have any more children. He can’t take another loss either, you know he nearly died when you said just friends? I was with him through all that, he is happy now but if you go…’ She would kill me, I could see it. Then as the night progressed she realised my worth and accepted me whole hearted which meant time to play and sing as loudly as possible to what she referred to as her national song: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. What a beautiful lady, I had the pleasure of calling her friend for another 6 months before she dropped to the floor one day and never regained consciousness. Stroke. But I know she clearly believed in and lived a life with no regrets.

Two random points to expound upon 1. Contextualise the song, it was written in 1956 and made famous when Edith Piaf recorded it in 1960, she dedicated it to the French Legion who were in conflict at the time in Algeria. What a damn fine song to take to heart and into battle. I don’t know if Edith sang it with irony or not she sang it with intensity and passion (just wait till I start on tango songs oh my, God!) 2. The man not in close proximity, three years later he has just welcomed the birth of a beautiful daughter with an equally beautiful woman, regrets? Yes I have many. He is a part of me that can never be removed. It is a strange time in my life, my father starts radiation therapy tomorrow, my sister is suffering severe anxiety and is fearful that she will harm her children, my niece is trying to die, my brother (the niece’s father nowonder) had a heart attack and me I am celebrating liberation through honesty about my true nature, loving my son and all he is becoming, loving my man for all he is becoming. I yet I look at ‘his’ Facebook updates and can’t help but wish that was our baby and that he was still mine. When I saw him last I didn’t know if I could handle seeing him. I missed him so much I had no idea if I could stop myself from kissing and kissing and kissing him. And if he ever wanted me again, could I say no? I do not believe I could. I love him and I love my man who became so by default yet still was chosen. Lucky am I to have had such love in my life yet I regret (Yoda moment for those nerds among us). I could have been a mother again. But I chose not to, I chose to give that up to honor the child I already had. Since I am on the topic of songs; two songs come to mind (actually so many on this playlist of woe, ‘Indifference’ Pearl Jam, ‘Wonderwall’ Ryan Adams version, ‘Hallelujah’ by Gin and along the more mainstream ‘Stay’ Rihanna) for me Lorde (a New Zealand girl and damn talented at just sweet 16) ‘Biting Down’ and for my distant love Adele’s stunning version of The Cure’s ‘Lovesong’. He already knows he is home to me. Stupid girl. Not so stupid girl. Just a girl. The ones I want to ask for advice, they are gone already. Damn death that sneaky fuck who stalks those most cherished and takes them away. You just leave my Dad and niece the fuck alone.

This was not a ‘popular’ post first time round… But it’s honest and nothing has changed between now and then…






Today’s random interaction with a work colleague; he passed by my desk on his way out the door and innocently enough in a humorous tone asked: ‘behaving yourself?’ to which I responded ‘I have done my best so far.’ To which he paused mid-stride, turned to me and replied ‘Good girl.’ Time stopped for the briefest moment as I caught myself from replying ‘yes Sir’, his words had me weak at the knees; a random moment with a colleague where we were both speaking another language… or possibly not. Luckily he missed the depth of my blush.

This highlighted to me how subjective life is, how we have to be careful what words we choose to communicate with an Other.

If we choose nominalisations that have different (often emotive) meanings to every individual we can end up sounding like a politician with each person that has heard the conversation hearing something different because they associate different values to and experience the word differently (like ‘education’ as a stand alone with no further context). Although this will always happen to some degree simply because life is subjective.

It also reminded me of autopilot or default screen saver ‘syndrome’ where commonly used phrases (or behaviours) drop out of your mouth out of context. For example, in the scenario above, I happen to know this colleague has two young daughters at home. The phrase he used is very liked to be commonly used by him in the context of his family but transposes to the workplace a little incongruently. If I had responded ‘yes Sir’, a phrase becoming common to me with in the context of a D/s relationship, it may have sounded odd, or perhaps an attempt at humour… (A similar thing happens in Tango, when either the lead dancer or follow goes into autopilot mode they have left the context of the dance, left the present moment and killed the improvisation.)

Anyway, what all this made me realise is that I want to be more ‘in the moment’ during my day. I want to be clearer in my communication. To do that I need to be more present and receptive to those I am engaged with in conversation. Language is a powerful tool and I want to further enrich my toolbox with a deeper vocabulary – just call me the word whore.