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Monday, January 20, 2014

Forgive and Forget: Life's Other F Words

"The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward."

Steve Maraboli


Oh is that all I have to do? Thanks Steve, I'll get right on that. How many times have you heard, "forgive and forget" and thought it to be quite an impossibility? I know I have, more times than I care to count. The truth is, life has done a number on me. My scars are fierce. My wounds are deep. With every heartache comes yet another round of F words. Failure, yes. Fear, of course. Forgiveness, now wait a minute here....you want me to do what now? (Perhaps another F word comes to mind at this point....sorry Mom and Dad). So how then? How, after loving unconditionally and being betrayed or abandoned, do I forgive? Take it up another notch and try and fathom forgetting! That's just inconceivable. 

This is where I found myself only a mere week ago. Thinking I had already done the forgiving thing but wondering why I was still haunted. Why I was still cold and closed off. Wondering why the blanket of depression was suffocating me as I tried to sleep, or shadowed me with darkness during what should have been the brightest of days. I had wanted to forgive, in fact I'd already spoken the words, multiple times even! I stared at the ceiling in darkness and silence and awaited an answer. My lungs felt as though I could only utilize about 20% of their normal functionality, and my heart pondered beating out of my chest. I cried tearlessly. Do you know that kind of cry? It's the kind that effects you more than sobbing or weeping because there's no release. Four months and two weeks had passed, where was the closure I had so easily preached about to others? The closure I had promised YOU was inevitable. The closure I so desperately needed. 

The truth was I hadn't finished the work that needed to be done. I had stuffed the pain down again when it got difficult and when I thought enough time had gone by. I didn't stuff it in ways that used to be my pattern, a new relationship for example. That's a tragedy all it's own. This was some new technique I didn't even realize I had. It wasn't even denial. This was simply ignorance. This was, "I'm fine because I'm supposed to be fine and I don't want him back so I must be fine and that's just fine. Fine." This was fine. What a detestable word, fine. Another F word for the list. In all actuality, if you're saying you're fine, you're probably not, and I certainly wasn't. 

The answer I was waiting for hit me like a ton of bricks. (Or at least what I'd imagine a ton of bricks would hit like). What had I forgiven? When I said, "I forgive you," it was vague and misguided. I had granted forgiveness for his benefit and not for my own. Fine. I sat up in bed, grabbed my phone and started typing a list. At first this list was only for me, and what I believed would only consist of two or three specific instances. (Such as: breaking your promise of forever you asshole). When I started writing I was floored...there were far more hurts than I had even realized. They poured out of me like some dark, filthy ooze of ewwness. Some were huge like the most common unforgivable of relationship sins, and others were small, like a forgotten phone call. It hurt to read the ooze pouring out of my soul, but I continued. Before I realized what was happening the tears were streaming down my face. My lungs had reached 50% capacity and I was breathing a little easier. Fine? 

3 am veered it's all too familiar, ugly head, and sleep called my name. It had been so long since I had been summoned by sleep that it almost caught me by surprise. I had done enough purging for the night thank you very much. I woke up the next day and felt like a new person....for a few hours anyway. Darkness returned later that day and I thought, "what the hell?!" 

Here's what I realized, forgiveness is a process and a daily choice. Forgiveness is NOT a singular event. I read the words I wrote every day last week until they no longer ripped my heart out. It's really just more of like flu shot status now. Every morning I wake up I don't try and stuff those hurts down, justifying them with happy memories. That's where things get all jumbled! I force myself to say, "what's hurting me today," and I talk myself through it. It is not easy, it's F word difficult, but I do it anyway. 

I wish I could tell you that someday I'll forget, but you know what, I don't think I will. However, I have to believe that remembering doesn't hinder moving on. The inability to forgive, however, does. I'm choosing to forgive because I despise Fine. I'm choosing to forgive because I deserve it! Do you understand what I'm saying? Forgiveness isn't something that's given just so the other person can sleep at night. That's all nice and rainbows and butterflies and hearts and sun shiny shit, but that's not always life. Sometimes we have to forgive so we can breathe, eat, sleep, and SURVIVE!! It's about becoming whole again, putting your own pieces back together and throwing Fine out the window. 

So here I am, a week removed from Fine, and I'd say my lungs are at about 65% capacity and my trash can has less beer bottles in it. In the process of finding forgiveness I have realized that forgetting isn't essential. Once I have mastered forgiving the person, the situation, the hurts, and so on, remembering won't effect me in the ways it has been. How's that for a dose of hope for ya!? 

Maybe good ol' Steve wasn't so far off after all... Maybe he is SPOT ON. You'll notice he said nothing of forgetting, he just said, "move forward." Whoop there it is. Here's to Forgiveness, to not being Fine, and to moving Forward, and all the other F words as well. 

Finally. 

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