Means giving up control.
I say this because it has recently been brought to my attention that I am not a very forgiving person. And by recently, I mean this past summer. And by brought to my attention, I mean that I have been experiencing situations involving forgiveness and they have shown me to myself.
I have had multiple situations involving friends where we have left FURIOUS at each other, and then some time later the relationship seems to repair itself–usually, they extend their hand in a display of forgiveness of some sort.
Through these multiple (no seriously, multiple) situations, I have slowly developed the ability to look at myself and my reactions in relation to them and theirs.
Were we both angry?
Did we both feel that we had the right to be angry?
Did we both say fuck it and write each other out of our lives forever?
That was just me.
I realized something on the drive home just today and that is that I am a control freak.
Pause for laughter from everyone who knows me well.
need like to be in control of things.
Take, for example, my upcoming semester schedule.
I am doing my Practicum (student teaching) through a place that, up until about 3 hours ago, hadn’t let me know what dates and times I’m expected to be there with my mentor (outside of stuff like “just plan to be there a lot).
This. Was Driving. Me. NUTS.
It wasn’t the fact that I’d have to be there a lot. I’m fine with that.
It was the fact that I didn’t know my schedule–I couldn’t plan how I was going to spend my days; I couldn’t RSVP to any meetup activities; I couldn’t give my boss a for-sure work schedule; I couldn’t get a set-in-stone mental picture of the requirements of my weeks–I felt like I didn’t have any control.
And somehow, this idea of control jumped from my schedule to my relationships, where I realized that in them, too, I
need like to be in control.
But perhaps for someone like me, who has been hurt a lot in a variety of relationships from a very young age, being in control of relationships means being the one who controls all of the negativity, since somehow my understanding of relationships apparently hinges on the fact that they are fundamentally things that have the power to hurt you very much.
So for someone like me, who believed that she must hold all the hurt cards because she must be in control,
Forgiveness was not really possible.
And being forgiven was not to be trusted.
Which makes being forgiven a very curious sensation.
The first thought is always suspicion. “What the fuck is this person texting me for like we’re cool? Is this some kind of trick?”
The second thought is…well…suspicion.
“I don’t need anyone’s fake forgiveness. I’m going to hold onto my anger even tighter now because they need to be punished.”
The third thought is pretty much confusion.
“What the hell do they keep calling for? Are we friends for real?”
The fourth is something along the lines of begrudging acceptance. But beneath it is still suspicion.
“Well OK. Long as they keep playing nice I’ll play nice. But I’m out at the first fuckup!” (in these types of situations, fuckups can be either real or perceived).
I realized this past year that I was holding onto these grudges in these situations as a way to maintain control of a relationship that I was in some way hurt by, and that I was withholding forgiveness in these situations as a way to try to punish the people involved for hurting me.
Sometimes this works and you can manipulate someone into being your emotional footstool.
Try as I might,
I just suck at manipulating folks. I think I am just too damn dramatic or something, I don’t know. It doesn’t work like that for me.
But on the drive home today, I thought about all of the relationships that are repaired around me every day. Relationships that happened between people where people were hurt,
But they somehow worked it out,
And I asked myself why, years after the relationship went in a direction that I found to be hurtful, do I STILL have some people blocked on my facebook. And why I continue to block out people who I feel have hurt me.
And I realized the answer was control–if I couldn’t control a thing going “right,” then it would be wrong on my terms.
And then I realized that seizing control of a broken thing to that degree completely removed from it the option to heal itself,
Like it were a garden that didn’t blossom and so in my anger I dug up the seeds and roots and put them in a jar in my closet,
Instead of just leaving them in the ground,
Turning them over to the soil and the rain,
As I go about my days.
P.S. I’ll be 26 in a week. I think this is what I learned this year, and what I will take with me into the next.