Thursday, November 04, 2010

"Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory."*

Day 04 Something you have to forgive someone for.

Contrary to the opinion of certain siblings of mine, having a good memory does not mean that I hold a lot of grudges: Just because I remember, very clearly, the time you broke the tiny little gumball machine I had in my dollhouse, even though you were forbidden to play with my dollhouse, doesn't mean that, 20 some odd years later, I am still hating you for it. All is forgiven, I promise.

But there are some grudges I do hold, and some people I will not forgive. If you've read this blog with any regularity, then you know that the atrocities of the PUS (People UpStairs, my former uncle and his family) are things that I am just totally, and without any compunction about it, unwilling to forgive. I've moved past them - cutting them out of my life completely was a big help there - but abuse and mistreatment, terrorizing people and contributing to our family in only a poisonous, vicious manner are not things I'm willing to forgive. Don't need to think about you anymore, thank god, but when/if I do, it won't be with a forgiveness that you never earned.

That said, there are some things that I've been holding on to that I could definitely let go of. These are things that still had a huge impact in my life, but were perhaps not meant to be harmful/hurtful, or were done thoughtlessly, or can be attributed to age/stage of life, that I can honestly say "Yeah: you screwed up there, but I'm going to just let it go."

The major one I have in mind is the way people dropped out of my life when I got sick. I've been dealing with the emotional fallout from that for as long as I've been dealing with the physical ramifications of my illness, and sometimes, the emotional stuff was harder. Because I didn't do anything wrong. But I still lost a lot of people who were important to me. And that wasn't right, and it wasn't fair: It was like I'd been sliced in half, and nothing made it clearer to me that I was different now than the fact that I didn't belong anywhere I thought was my place, not anymore.

But now that I'm older, and now that I can see it from the outside (somewhat), I understand that it wasn't so much that you all were rejecting me, it was that you got caught up in your lives, and mine - which was, by necessity, taking place in extreme slow motion - just fell behind. I know that you didn't mean to hurt me when you let me go, and that's an important thing to remember, to consider.

I also have to remember that some of you were teenagers, just like me, and others of you were younger than me, and what was happening to me was both scary and boring at the exact same time. It must have been hard to try to stay connected with someone who didn't show up to any of the social gatherings that are so vital to high school life. I can see how calling and being told that I was either sleeping or too sick to come to the phone could get old really fast. I can understand that watching me sleep in the corner at work must have been frustrating to you, especially when you had to cover all my classes for me. I can empathize with little girls who thought I was sucking up all of our mom's attention, who couldn't understand why I didn't have to do chores anymore, who hated that I wasn't any fun to be around.

And I can see how, as weeks turned into months, and months turned into a year, and the years kept on multiplying, that you could just keep moving on, while I had to stay behind. It hurts, I have to say that it's surprising how much it can still hurt that so many people just didn't have it in them to stay, but right now, at this point, I can see that it wasn't that you didn't care, it was that it got too hard.

And I forgive you for distancing yourself from me, because if I could have, I would have too.

And I'm glad that some of you came back, when you could. It's been different between us, but we are grown ups now anyways, so how could it not be?

So there: Some of you walked away, some of you ran, some of you just faded out. And it hurt, but I survived it.

Forgiving it - given the circumstances - doesn't seem like that big of a deal, after that.

* Beverly Flanigan

Day 01 Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself


Crazed Nitwit said...

True forgiveness is unbelievably freeing. Letting go of any bitterness is healthier for you. It will help you feel better. You do not have to give absolution just let go of any and all negative emotions relating to certain actions/events.

I totally love you. Just for who you are.

Sue Jackson said...

You hit on a good one. It's very tough to forgive those who left us in our time of need. I agree that some of what you experienced was related to your young age and the maturity level of your friends. I was 37 when I got sick, and though I lost a couple of friends, most stuck with me. I was horribly hurt about those who disappeared, but over time, I've come to accept it wasn't me, it was them - they just felt uncomfortable with the thought of chronic illness. I actually feel sorry for them, being unable to face some basic truths in life.

I found it much harder to forgive close family members who deserted me when I got sick. It took many years for me to realize that, again, it wasn't me, it was them. I know now they were actually acting out of love for me - the truth of my debilitation was too painful to they didn't. I know now that denial played a big role in how many of my family members responded to my illness. Most of them have gradually come around to a more accepting mindset (though not all).

Very hard to forget, but I do try to forgive.