Forgiveness

I think there might be two definitions of forgiveness.

The first is the one I held most of my life: to tell someone that what they did is “okay.”

As in, someone breaks your pencil, and you say, “It’s okay,” therefore absolving them of blame and guilt.

It’s hard to do that kind of forgiveness.

How am I supposed to tell an abuser, either in real life or in my head, that what they did to me is “okay”?

It wasn’t okay.

In the words of Herb from Bojack Horseman, “You ruined my life, and I will never forgive you for that.”

I think Herb was kind of right. Why should the person who hurt you get to live without blame? Get to feel like what they did was okay? Later on, another character tells Bojack that it’s not enough to just apologize–he has to BE better.

Yeah. Absolutely. Bojack has to BE better. He doesn’t just get to be forgiven every time he hurts someone.

But then…why is it a good thing to forgive people?

I’m not religious, but Jesus’s whole thing is forgiving, right? He forgave our sins, and all that? Forgiveness is next to Godliness. It must be a good thing.

I realized recently when fuming at someone for doing something small that they couldn’t take back that I could either be mad at them and fight with them for an hour, then get over it and make up, or I could just skip the “being mad and fighting” part and just get over it and make up.

Or I could do something in the middle: tell them that what they did hurt me so they can try to avoid doing it again in the future, then get over it and make up.

So that’s where I realized that “getting over it and making up” might be the second (or, alternately, the true) meaning of forgiveness. It’s not telling someone that what they did to me was “okay,” but instead telling them that it was not okay, but then getting over it and making up.

I think that that is why the word “sorry” is so disappointing. Hearing “sorry” is so rarely placating. It doesn’t help the situation. It doesn’t make anything better. It doesn’t make you unlate. It doesn’t unbreak the pencil. But it’s all you can say when you know you are in the wrong.

And if someone knows they are in the wrong, 90% of the time they will try to be better next time. To BE better, like Bojack needs to be. Isn’t that the point of telling them that they hurt you in the first place?

(P.S., those 10% who won’t try to change aren’t worth your time)

So now I’m working on a second definition of forgiveness: telling someone, either in person or in your head, that what they did was wrong, and that it was not okay, then getting over it, moving on, and making up.

“Getting over it and moving on” might take years of therapy.

The “making up” part is optional, depending on what they did.

This definition makes more sense and is much less angering than the one that involves telling someone that what they did was “okay.” Especially when it wasn’t.

Maybe this was just me finally understanding what “forgive and forget” means.

Acceptance

You have me in denial

Daily begging for you back.

I’m angry that you never showed

A warning of attack.

It’s depressing that I’ll never know

What you would’ve become.

I’m waiting for acceptance

That I doubt will ever come.

 

What words that could have calmed you?

Where were you all last week?

Am I hopeless as I’m feeling?

Did you ever think to speak?

It’s depressing that you fought with darkness

While flashing me a smile.

I’m waiting for acceptance

But it’s taking quite awhile.

 

Perhaps I’m being selfish

Or perhaps I’m being vain.

But I can’t help but feel guilty

That I never saw your pain.

It’s depressing that you sat beside me

Just that afternoon.

I’m waiting for acceptance

That I hope is coming soon.

 

I know these words are futile

As they’re words you’ll never read.

But writing out my feelings

Seems to be just what I need.

Thank you for the time we had.

You’re one I won’t forget.

I’m sad but I’m surviving—

Though I can’t accept it yet.

A sisterhood of night and day

I have a sister…but I wish I had sisterhood.

My grandmother sometimes called my sister and me “night and day.” When I was young, I asked if I could be night.

I realize now—and then, too—that she just meant that we were total opposites. It’s still true. I went into the arts, she went into athletics. She’s a loud social butterfly, I’m…well, come now, I run a blog called Introvert Playground. In so few words, she prefers the beach and I prefer the mountains (so meta).

Some of the ways that we are different amazes me. She refuses to try most new food, hates going to the movies, and will only play a board game if its Pictionary, and even then only if her friends don’t see her. My friends and I have Catan tournaments, have heated discussions about Fight Club and cook for fun. Then again, I don’t particularly like photography or any of her bands or any of her television shows. One is not better than the other. We’re just so different.

How did this happen? Born nearly exactly three years apart, raised by the same parents in the same house in the same school system until high school (she went to a technical high school to study nursing). I will always believe that nature has the advantage over nurture.

It does sadden me that I don’t think we’ll ever be close, especially when I see how close some siblings are, like my parents and their siblings. I really think that we could be good friends, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m open minded and she refuses to be anything but my opposite.

Closed mindedness keeps us apart. She seemed to decide one morning years ago that she disliked me. I don’t understand why she is so stuck on hating me, but nothing I do can ever seem to change it. Just when she seems about to sway, the winds change and she becomes shockingly nasty to me. Nearly everything we argue about is rooted in her refusal to see things from my point of view.

Night and day was an interesting comparison, but I think we are closer to ice and fire. She burns merrily, crackling and bright. I enjoy her light, but when I get near her I suffer. She wears me out, and occasionally lashes and scorches me.

So I keep my distance from my little sister. I don’t want to, but I do. It breaks my heart, but distance hurts less than her pointed attacks.

Night and day were never meant to coexist anyway…but I hope one day we can compromise and meet at dawn.