Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

Sorry you don't understand how important I am

Today, I was pondering forgiveness. If you love someone, or what is much likelier the case if the act of forgiving is involved, loved someone, is it necessary to forgive them for the sins they have committed against you? Or is it ok, healthy per se, to move on with life harboring the resentment and anger?

I haven't had the greatest breakups in history. Ok, ok, I've had some of the worst breakups ever.

This is no exaggeration. On New Year's Eve in 2003, I got into a fight with my then boyfriend in San Francisco, where I had flown out to spend the holiday with him, and he was so angry at me he kicked me out of the city. As in, no joke, I was puking into his toilet and he threw open the door, tossed my suitcase in, and said, "Pack your shit. I called you a cab and it'll be here in 20 minutes." With no return flight booked I had to sleep in the JetBlue terminal until 6AM when the next flight departed to JFK.

At the time, my friend who I had managed to get on the phone in the middle of New Year's festivities told me to buck up because in another year we'd be able to laugh about it and at parties I would have the uncontested best breakup story. She was right. I am a hit at parties.

(Side Note: The last time I had indirect contact with this ex was this past Superbowl. My friend R and I had decided since we didn't really care about the Steelers or the Cardinals, we would root for "Team Booze and Buffalo Wings." Therefore, as a joke, I was wearing my Hooters tank top when much to my dismay, I ran into the ex's little sister in line at the bathroom. I hadn't even known she'd moved to New York. She proceeded to tell me her brother had just gotten engaged and asked me politely if I enjoy working at the Hooters in the city. Absolutely mortifying. I haven't worn the shirt since.)

The point of this digression is that I have had a good many situations in which forgiveness seems implausible. As I've mentioned before, I'm pretty terrible at staying friends with my exes, because after the explosive breakups, it's difficult to revert to small talk.

But today, I was wondering if I am wasting precious energy on bad feelings. After all, if someone was worth loving in the first place, shouldn't they be worth forgiving now for whatever ugliness passed between us?

For the past month or so, I have found myself actively mad at my most recent serious ex-boyfriend, Goldsomething. We had managed to stay friends for a while, mostly because we parted mutually when he moved away about a year ago. The reasons behind the anger are complicated and entirely uninteresting to anyone except my diary, but in short he lied to me about something insignificant, which made me realize that our friendship was based on a very unstable foundation and wasn't healthy for me to partake in any longer.

Despite my efforts not to dwell on it since, I found myself having bursts of anger at random moments, and refused to allow myself to miss him or ponder if I had made the right decision in cutting him out of my life.

I don't really have the energy to be angry with him anymore, though. I think at his core he is a good person, which is validated by the fact that I loved him not too long ago. And thus it logically follows that I should be able to forgive him and move on, with or without him in my life (for the foreseeable future, it will be without).

On the other hand, I'm not sure some people deserve forgiveness. For example, I can laugh about getting kicked out of the West Coast six years later, but I'm not sure I will ever fully forgive the guy for doing so. If I ran into him on the street today, I would have a hard time not inflicting physical pain. Once again, I am not sure this is the healthiest attitude to have, but that would be my honest gut reaction.

All in all, forgiveness sounds like a lovely idea in theory, but practicing it seems to be the difficulty. I would love to be zen like the Dalai Lama and some of my other friends who are undeniably better people than I am, and much more open to forgiving those who have wronged them. But I'm not sure I'm completely capable of that.

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