I would like a place I could call my own
Have a conversation on the telephone
Wake up every day that would be a start
I would not complain of my wounded heart
"Regret" New Order
The theme of redemption has always been a personal favorite in film and literature. The theme of regret.... not so much. I have an appreciation for it, but my thoughts on regret have always made it less emotional for me. I have always thought that if one is generally happy with who she is, then you can't have too many regrets about the past - even your mistakes have framed you and made you into the person you are.
But that theory only address the regrets that a person has about our own personal choices. This was illustrated in an article I read last weekend in Entertainment Weekly about Wu Tang Clan member and founder, the RZA. Regret, when it comes to how we have hurt or failed those we love, is really just another word for guilt.
Aside from addressing the rise of Wu Tang and the RZA's current career as a composer and his aspirations in film, the article was really about the regret and blame he shoulders for the death of his cousin ODB last fall. The RZA trains with a Shaolin monk, Yan Ming, who is really his rock. The article states regarding the day ODB died: "When Yan Ming arrived at the RZA's midtown apartment, he was lying face down on the bed. 'He was totally shut off,' says Yan Ming. 'He couldn't speak, he didn't want to eat. To watch him, I felt such pain. He takes responsibility because he thinks he has the power for his family.'"
Who hasn't, at some point, shouldered responsibility that wasn't their's to shoulder? And then felt regret and guilt at the inevitable failure?
''I didn't give him the chances that I should have,'' he insists. Today, the RZA still believes he could have willed ODB well. The punishment we give ourselves is almost always worse than we deserve.