“I hate her!” I said.
“I understand that you feel like you hate her. You’re hurt,” my dad said.
“I’m not hurt – I’m pissed off!” I said.
“You’re also hurt,” my dad said. “And, while it feels like hating her is hurting her back, it’s only hurting you. She’s going about her life, either feeling guilty for betraying you or not. Probably not. Your hate and anger for her isn’t affecting her. It’s affecting you. Carrying anger for another is like carrying a dark ugliness. Eventually, it will eat you.”
“Well, maybe,” I said. “I guess. But I still hate her.”
“Work on that. Forgive her,” my dad said.
We Have To Forgive Those Who Wrong Us
UGH, right? Here’s the deal, friends. Forgiving people who’ve betrayed us is hard. Like, really really really hard. The mere thought of forgiving somebody who has wronged me – especially when it feels as if they’ve done so on purpose, brings out the bear. The bitch.
When the bear feels too wounded and bumbling to know what to do, I become an older, taller, more wrinkled version of myself at the age of two. I become the I ain’t havin’ none of it, no matter what, arms crossed, feet stompin’ “I know best and you wronged me” toddler.
I’m not talking about giving the kind of forgiveness that happens when a spouse comes home too late from work to ensure that dinner, bath and bedtime are ideal. Of course, you want to throw a sponge at his head, but that type of forgiveness is understandable, and easy, after the moment.
I’m talking about giving the kind of forgiveness that we have to breathe deeply to give. I’m talking about the forgiving of people who were mean, thoughtless, and deeply hurt us.
The kind of forgiveness that brings out our toddler.
I KNOW, it sucks. It totally suckity sucksuck SUCKS because why should we?
But guys, we need to. We do, and I know it sucks.
We Have To Forgive Those Who Wrong Us
Why should we forgive the guy who laughed at us when we fell? Why should we forgive the stupid single beotch with a full cart in line at the “12 or Under” checkout when we stand there, with a I-NEED-TO-NURSE-NOW-BABY and we’re in the store for tampons (and wine)?
Forgiveness is about ourselves, and making room for light. It’s about not carrying around darkness.
And while I grumble and cry and stomp my toddler feet, I am writing this:
To those who have hurt me: Fuck you. Stupid Dicks.
Wait, sorry. Start over.
To those who have hurt me, I’m choosing light. Here are a few of the moments I want to release and the ones I choose to forgive.
To the girl I spent more time with than anybody else once we found ourselves lost, but together, in eighth-grade science and boys: You were my best friend, until you weren’t, and I’m not sure I’ll ever understand why. You messed with my ability to trust friendship. I forgive you.
To the vet who wanted me to do exploratory surgery on my failing and fading dog at the age of 12. You said “Would you like me to do a quick test and see whether his kidneys can handle surgery?” I said yes, and so you did, and charged me $400 for that test. I wish you’d shown me, and my dog Chief more empathy. I hope you’ve gotten better at that. People don’t make decisions like I had to lightly. I forgive you.
To the trolls on the site when I wrote honestly and wanted to share, I don’t know why you felt the need to attack me as viciously as you did. Does it help you to know that I cried, reading your words? That I hid under the covers when I realized you’d created new Twitter accounts simply to harass me? I think you’re awful, and small, hiding behind your keyboards and your righteousness. There were those who had my back, even though I never asked for that. I thank them, and I forgive you.
To the guy who fixed my Jeep. Gawd, I still miss that car. I know, it’s a bag of metal, but it was more mine than any vehicle I’ve owned since. I wish you’d been honest that you didn’t know what you were doing. That I’d park and that my Jeep would catch on fire. That that stupid vehicle was part of my identity is something you couldn’t have known. I know, and I forgive you.
To the doctor and nurse practitioner who told me that my son was fine when I said “I’m worried. I don’t think he’s talking as much as he should be.” I was right, and I wish I’d have listened to myself rather than to you. I forgive you.
To the evaluator who said “It’s not just a speech delay,” so clinical, and matter-of-fact. I forgive you.
To the boy on the bus who bullied my son. You may be one of my most difficult to forgive, for you did not hurt me, but my little boy, who I will carry islands for. It took everything I had to not ride the bus with him the next day, but I trust that you’ve been spoken to, and that you’ll find a way to embrace your demons and to embrace that my son does not fit your idea of a perfect friend. I forgive you. Also? Mess with my kid again, and we’ll revisit this. Bear-style.
To me, and my regrettable mistakes. You’ve been stupid, and flawed. You’ve lived imperfectly, and strived for better. You’ve failed, and will continue to do so. You’ve been unkind to yourself, and to others. You’ve f*cked up. I forgive you.
To the world for being less than I thought it was supposed to be and more than I’d ever hoped for, I forgive you, and I thank you. You’ve taught me lessons beyond any I’d have gotten had you never tripped me.
I forgive you. I thank you.
Also? I forgive myself, because, friends, we must. Always. For all of it.
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