So now that I’ve decided to embark on this fabulous journey of ending the resentment in my heart.. I wonder where to begin? I’m honestly unsure and I have only come up with a couple of self help books that aren’t entirely about religious forgiveness and seem like they might work for me. A couple websites and blogs seemed good but once I delved in many of them seemed to think forgiveness could be achieved by simply saying “I forgive xyz” and moving on. And maybe it can be. But I haven’t found myself able to do that yet.
My instinct was to start at a place of understanding–understanding what I am angry about and why I am angry about it. So I got very still and quiet and thought back 10 years ago to the beginning of this madness to see if I could connect to anything I felt then.
I was surprised. It didn’t take long to tap into some feelings. I put pen to paper and began writing lines. Some long, some short, about things that had hurt me, embarrassed me or somehow affected me and stuck with me from my time with The Friend. Immediately I knew it wasn’t a lost to be shared here.
That’s an odd feeling for me. To want to keep something regarding this situation close to my vest instead of sharing it all here. But I think it boils down to the embarrassment and stupidity I feel. I will tell you the first 10 items we’re benign and banal and stupid. Stupid to still be mad about them. But here I am.
I didn’t worry much about writing the reason behind the action down or the reason why I was mad. I just listed the things one by one. It was routine. It came easy and without emotion and I worked diligently to list things arranging them according to a timeline. This happened before that. That was before another thing. And then I came across the item that got me the most.
I’ve written about it here before in passing. It’s a story I’ve told to people as a funny “isn’t this ironic and proof that my life is pointless?” story. But it isn’t as funny to me as id like to think. And it is painful and embarrassing. And I didn’t acknowledge it at the time because it was so shameful.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had a bad Valentine experience. Sure, I still love the candy coated holiday, but this incident makes it hard to pass a card aisle without feeling a twinge of hurt.
I was in college, just 21 and thought I thought I knew a lot it turns out I didn’t know much of anything. The whole thing with The Friend was new, about a month old. It was an adrenaline rush constantly. It was intoxicating to be with someone who seemingly wanted me so badly and then at other times couldn’t have me near. It made no sense and yet it drew me in.
It was February and my girlfriends were all planning huge things around town with beaus. I played it cool because I hadn’t really been taken ALL OUT for valentines before. My anniversary with The Boyfriend was the 15th so much of my celebrating happened then. I didn’t mention plans or hopes for the holiday until a few days prior The Friend asked me what my ideal Valentine date would be.
Giddy, I delayed answer until I talked to my good friend with more experience than I. She told me to look at movies playing at the historic Tennessee Theatre because they often showed romantic classics. As luck would have it, An Affair To Remember was playing. A favorite of mine, it is a poignant story about..an affair. How PERFECT?
Shit like that really played me at that time. It seemed poetic and perfect and so I told The Friend about the movie and the sushi that would pair. A mix of classic and modern. A sweet tale of affairs and love and irresistible magnetism.
The day approached and plans were made. It was evident that we were exchanging gifts. We talked of this fact for days beforehand and I painstakingly chose a card and candies for a new gentleman suitor. The evening rolled around and we were chatting about swapping gifts when he let me know he’d come by my place after he was finished.
It was matter of factly stated–after he was finished. Finished what? Your guess was as good as mine. He didn’t respond, didn’t elaborate. And didn’t show up.
I texted him a few times. Called and found his phone shut off. His AIM away message was up for hors without coming off “idle”. It was 2006 and these were the best stalking tools I had. At 11 I was angry. At midnight I was bitter. And at 1 am I threw the card and candy in the trash. If he didnt want to go to the movies or see me, he should’ve just said so.
I went to bed defeated and sad. I cried a little. And I might’ve ended the story here but it got worse.
At 2 my phone rang and he was finally here. And against my better judgement I let him in. He acted like nothing was wrong, nothing abnormal about saying you were on your way somewhere and showing up at 2am. He gave me a valentine card that, when I opened it, was a joke about someone else and didn’t even say happy Valentine’s Day. And finally, when I incredulously asked what happened to him, he told me.
He took a girl to eat at Nama sushi bar and watch An Affair to Remember at the Tennessee Theatre.
He took someone else on a date I planned. I yawned, said I was sleepy, and he left. Happily.
I’m not sure devastated covers what I felt. I walked to the bathroom and turned on the sink and washed my face. The florescent light was harsh at 2 in the morning. I slid to the floor and sat. And I wanted to work up a cry but it didn’t come. I just felt stupid. And ugly. And unworthy of anything good. Because I had the audacity to believe someone wanted to care about me. And look how it turned out.
That moment stuck with me. I eventually picked myself up and saved face by acting like I didn’t notice what had happened to me. I was cheerful and happy and glad to be around the friend at any time. What, me worry? Of course not. I see my position now. Since you’ve cleared it up I’ll play it well.
I beat myself up a lot for having such a childish thought. A date. How stupid. And to think it mattered to me. How silly.
When I wrote this memory down I dropped the pen at the ending. I was so angry. Angry with him. Angry with me.
Angry with me… I say for a moment and tried to get into the anger I had at the time. I closed my eyes and I was in that bathroom. Painful hot tears stinging my cheeks. I was angry. There was no one there to fix what had happened. And there I sat, a big pile of stupid.
But was I stupid? Today Me, at thirty one, wanted a hug. I wanted someone to tell me it was okay. I wanted to hug the me on the floor and instead of saying “he’s so dumb” or “don’t care about that jerk” I wanted to squeeze me and say “it’s okay to care. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to think that you deserved a date.”
Real people care about real people. And it’s okay. It’s trendy. It’s cool. It’s normal. It’s what we are on this planet to do–connect and care. It’s. Okay.
I spent so much time trying to correct the wrong problem. I wasn’t wrong for caring I was wrong for not seeing that you can’t stick around for someone who doesn’t. And if I had chosen to give myself empathy in that moment instead of running from my embarrassment I might’ve had a different outcome.
When I began writing this memory I thought my sentence would be “I forgive you for lying about a date”. But my sentenced ended up more about me.
All this time I was looking for someone to save me. It was me all along. I could’ve done it. But I didn’t. I forgive myself for running. For feeling embarrassed. And for thinking caring was wrong.
But mostly I forgive myself for not begins my own savior. It’ll come.