Five years ago, I never thought I’d say this. In writing. On the Internet.
He’s not a monster. He never was.
It’s all too easy to paint someone as an inhuman caricature. It’s all too easy to use that as a dumping ground for everything that’s gone wrong or hurt or upset me over the past decade. I read something about forgiveness recently that made me stop. Realize that person is still a person with faults, thoughts, feelings, good sides, and bad sides. Monsters, as it were, are few and far between. I’ll never know what was going through his head all those years. I’ll never know if he knew what he was doing. What I do know is he’s human, too. I’m certainly no saint. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t give me free rein to lay every bad thing that’s happened to me, or that I’ve done since then, at his door. That’s my responsibility to clean up what needs cleaning up and dumping out what can stay in the trash. I don’t have the right to point at him and say “He’s the reason I don’t like cartoons! He’s the reason I’m covered in all these tattoos!”. I don’t like the way it makes me look or feel. It’s worlds easier to point at someone else rather than say “Yup, I screwed this one up,” or “No, that’s just not my bag,”. It’s finally seeing a picture of yourself in the baggy sweatpants, messy bun, & old sneakers in public and realizing what the rest of the world is seeing. Then it’s getting off your ass, washing your hair, putting on clothes that fit, and walking out of the house knowing you look like a completely different person. I don’t know about you, fair readers, but I would much rather be seen in public looking fabulous.
When all this occurred to me last night while I was falling asleep, I felt nothing. As strange as it sounds, I didn’t feel a sense of relief or a deep gut reaction. Maybe this is what real peace feels like. It doesn’t provoke a strong reaction either way. It just is. I forgive him for having his faults and making very poor choices when we were young. I forgive myself for hanging on to something so horribly broken, I cut myself in the process.
Just like yesterday, another small step. A small step that when I look behind me has left a trail of hundreds of miles.