Saturday, February 16, 2013

Humanity- To Hurt or To Heal?

A couple posts ago, I wrote about the nonexistence of forgiveness. Being the emotional person that I am, I have been pondering that concept ever since. I ride waves of knowing exactly how to deal with my feelings; one minute I think I can forgive everyone else's sins and leave the past behind, then the next I'm cursing the day I made that first fatal mistake and wondering why I ever chose to forgive. It's a wild ride. My ex is in a show this weekend in town; he has the starring role as Prince Charming (oh the irony). My first reaction was to rashly throw out all evidence of this fact- papers went directly in the trash and I casually ignored the bulletin boards around town. Now as I sit here, fairly calm after a grueling zumba class this morning, I wonder if I should go. I still fall into the trap now and then of believing that I can alleviate my own guilt and regret by supporting those people in the past who have hurt me. So I try to play nice, to rekindle friendships long gone. I know it is a bad idea, but I do it anyway. 
The thing is, this method may work for other people- being friends with exs or trying to forgive a friend who stabbed you in the back, but it doesn't work for me. My guilt brings me back into the relationship, and then I end up more scarred than before as I'm spit out for not the first, but the second time. But it's so tempting, isn't it? I guess old habits do die hard. I lead myself to believe that I can have another friend in town, or start writing to an old friend, and it will all just resume as before. Well the truth is, it doesn't. Life doesn't work that way. I wish it did, and for those of you who can forget and forgive, well you are better people than I. 
I grew up Catholic, so forgiveness was part of the spiritual regiment with which I am well accustomed.While I attended church when I was younger, I have strayed in my older years. I still consider myself to be religious, I pray and attend mass occasionally. The chapel was always my place of calm in college, and I would often sit in the pews watching the sunlight fade through the stained glass and just think. I haven't been the greatest Catholic of late, especially with all this talk of forgiveness not existing, for which a certain old friend of mine with whom I no longer communicate would shake his head. It isn't that I don't think it exists, it's that I wonder whether I am capable of performing such a heavy task. How do you absolve someone else from his/her sins against you? How do you forgive yourself for your words and actions that have hurt others? 
I can not figure it out. I have claimed to forgive, but then I get hurt again. I ignore, but that hurts as well. Now, I didn't intend for this post to be a lecture or a depressing rant, but I really do grapple with the concept of humanity and our need to hurt and heal. What does an apology really mean? It never erases the hurt. 
Some of my friends have told me that I just need to get over it and move on. I have moved on in a sense, but I recognize that I am a highly emotional person, extremely receptive to love and thus extremely vulnerable to hurt. I am the people pleaser, not so much in that I forget myself, but I like to make sure others are happy. Therefore, I can't simply "let it go" or "get over it." It's just not that simple. Everything that has happened in my life, every person that has entered into it, has a part to play. They are pieces I don't take lightly, and as such, do not discard lightly either. 
So while this post has to end at some point, my emotions do not, my feelings attached to certain people or events do not. They are all a part of me, and while I have physically moved on, I am allowed to mourn the pieces that used to make up my life. For me, I just have to make sure that mourning does not morph into obsessing. There is a fine line between remembering the past and still living in it. 
So I write to you dear readers this morning, an emotional being, vulnerable and full of questions. Maybe some can relate, maybe some have no idea what it is that I am trying to express. I hope my musings are helpful for at least one soul out there. Remember to enjoy your life because it is important. Remember to always remember.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Be Thankful for the Present

Well, all of New England is stuck inside today under massive amounts of snow drifts. I am among the complainers who just wish that spring would arrive and we would be done with this nonsense. I shouldn't complain, the snow is almost over, and I'm not the one stuck in the driveway under eighteen layers of clothing making friends with the snow blower. But seriously, a person can only stand cabin fever for so long. In an age where we have copious amounts of entertainment sources, we still manage to find boredom quite easily. 
However, I should be thankful. I have spent the past two days at my boyfriend's father's house. Not wanting to deal with our drafty apartment and the impending threat of a power outage, we both packed up once work was cancelled and headed to his childhood home. While both of us have been grappling with boredom in a space we can't call our own, it has been nice. There is a wood-burning stove that he has kept burning since yesterday, and we made chicken noodle soup with his father's girlfriend last night. I went to the kitchen this morning to make some coffee and saw five blue jays on the porch, digging for food and fighting with each other. They were beautiful. I love looking out at the birds because they literally flock here- cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, chickadees. It's incredible, and I know my grandmother would have loved it. 
Grandma loved to watch the birds. She used to stand at the kitchen sink and wash dishes, watching the birds at the feeder in the yard. Her hands would be all sudsy as she pointed to a blue jay or a robin, and we'd jump up from eating our lunch to try and see. I thought of that the last time I visited my grandfather. As I was cleaning up the dishes at the sink, I looked out into the dark, imagining a time years ago when I wasn't bothered by the dishes or grown-up thoughts. She would stand at that sink for what seemed like hours, whistling and washing, as we anxiously waited for her to finish and play dominoes with us. I miss those times, I miss her songs, I miss listening to her Big Band CDs as she whistled along until my grandpa turned on the afternoon news. 
You never realize the importance of a moment until it becomes a memory. You never think that the present will become a snapshot to hold on to in the future when you've lost those that surround you. I miss her every day. The few moments I can remember stay with me, ingrained in my head until certain things bring me back to them. Today as I watched the blue jays on the porch, I sighed and wished grandma could have seen them. Maybe she can. So be thankful for the present because you never know which moments will bring you comfort in the future.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Nonexistence of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a funny word. Now readers, please bear with me; I am about to embark upon a rant that I have been building for years, a rant I thought I no longer needed to articulate until now. You see, someone from my past, who I have mentioned before, recently popped up in my community's paper. Now, I did realize that at some point it would happen. I moved here knowing full well that he lived in the same town, but I thought my reaction in seeing him would be different. I thought I would handle it with grace, with a small smile, with a calm and collected manner. Guess again. 
There he is smack dab in the middle of the community section surrounded by a bunch of girls. He is starring as the Prince in the play Cinderella. Isn't that sweet? I know it's petty and stupid of me, but sometimes I wish that the people who cause us the most hurt would just fall in a hole and have only bad things happen to them. Karma needs to be a bitch once in a while, agreed? Okay, now that I have gotten that out of the way, I should probably start preaching forgiveness and love, but the thing is I can't do it. I can not. I tried not to let it bother me, I really did; however, I remained in a sour mood last night and today, despite a scathing entry I wrote in my journal this morning. Then I came home after a busy day to his face in yet another weekly paper that we receive. 
So I'm sitting here wallowing with my glass of wine and can of mixed nuts. Yes, instead of counting my blessings, I'm guzzling fatty foods and feeling sorry for myself. I just don't understand how good things can continue to happen to bad people. I mean he took a lot of my best qualities away from me- my goodness, my naivety, my innocence, and I will always attribute that to him. So I thought I could be mightier-than-thou and forgive him, but it's harder than snapping my fingers and erasing four years of hurt. So how do you do it? How do you forgive? I'm asking, I'm truly at a loss. I can't help in this matter. 
Now, maybe I shouldn't be blogging in this despairing condition, but I think it's important to be real, to be raw, to be vulnerable. I'm sharing this story with the vast Internet, with strangers, with friends, with family, with people who probably know exactly of whom I am speaking. But this experience is about being honest. For me, blogging is about speaking my mind and not being afraid to take criticism from my readers. Writing is about sharing your heart, tapping into emotion, and not pulling back due to fear from those who might make judgments.
You see, the thing is we really can't understand each other's experiences and heartaches because we haven't lived them. We live with the burdens that life has allotted to each of us, and they are all unique and difficult in their own way. While we may empathize or even sympathize, we each experience our own levels of pain, some we can bear, and some we can not. But we write and talk about them in order to come to peace with them, in order to find a network who listens, in order to gain that cliche shoulder to cry on. 
Isn't that what life is all about? Honesty? So I'm being honest with you, dear reader. I was hurt in the past, I buried that hurt and now it's rearing its ugly head. I will deal with it in my own way and get over it until it comes back to haunt me again. Until I completely come to terms with it, I will write and I urge you to do whatever it is that helps you purge yourself of emotion as well, whether it is to paint, kick box, write, draw, work-out. Do the thing that helps you feel more like yourself. After a while the bad thoughts won't plague you, and you can be free, at least for a little while. If you're not free, then you always have someone to turn to... me. I can't say I understand or know what you're going through, but I can listen.