I don’t know that it’s my favorite part of The Holy Grail–there are so many fabulous parts–but I’ve always had something of a fascination with the killer rabbit. It’s the perfect comic setup, right? Something that should be cute and sweet and cuddly and harmless ends up being deadly. That’s hilarious.
And it’s funny, in part, because it’s ridiculous. But it’s also funny because it’s such a silly representation of what happens all the time.
Nothing is more part of the human condition than betrayal by people who should love us or–at the very least–be on our side. Nothing is more a part of MY condition than agonizing over how to move past such things.
Forgiveness is such a complex topic. Especially for a champion grudge-holder. Not that I know anyone like that. Please ignore that room in the back with all of the colorful ribbons and trophies.
I’ve gotten pretty good at forgiving people in situations where I’m able to believe two things: First, that they are doing the best they can, and second, that they do care for me (again, as best they can). There was a time when you having the gall to LOVE ME made it that much harder to excuse you for not ACTING LIKE I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD. Because REALLY. Love was supposed to mean doing it RIGHT.
Hahahahaha! I’m definitely older and wiser, in that respect. But you had to admire my naivete, no?
Now that I’m a bit more sophisticated I understand that love means lots of things, but perfect achievement of every expectation isn’t one of them. Except maybe for Smurfs. But really, who trusts THEM?
What remains a difficult situation for me is when someone wrongs me (again, that’s in my perception; whether it’s TRUE in the absolute sense almost doesn’t matter) and it’s not at all clear to me WHY. If the only motivation I can surmise presupposes that the person in question sees me as disposable and/or unimportant, I have trouble forgiving. No; screw that. I not only don’t forgive, I stay angry.
Now, three guesses as to whom that hurts the most. If you answered the person who did me wrong, you’re dumb! No cookie for you!
A while ago, I found myself blindsided in a situation that left me spinning. Someone I loved very much (Primary) punted me out of their life. While I tried to make sense of that, someone else who had no business being part of the equation (Secondary) stepped in and made it worse. Soooooo much worse. I could only guess at motives, but the only ones that made any sense were universally infuriating in their selfishness, inappropriateness, and complete disregard for my role as an actual human with feelings.
After a lot of time and therapy and earnest work on my part, I’ve forgiven Primary. The aforementioned criteria were met: Primary did care for me insofar as they were able, and did the best of which they were capable. I could see that. I could forgive and move on.
Funny; I thought I’d forgiven Secondary, as well. But it turns out that I’d just sort of assumed that they were no longer of any consequence to me because I didn’t have to see them or think about them. It turns out that’s not quite the same thing. Go figure!
This past week I found out that I’m going to have to deal with Secondary, and I was shocked at how the fury from that long-ago time came rushing back to me as soon as I realized I couldn’t just pretend this person was dead. I really liked pretending they were dead. (Okay, I lied. I liked pretending they were IN HELL. Technicality.)
I also realized this past week that even when there’s forgiveness to be had, there is no such thing as walking away from trauma unchanged. “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” is something I’ve always believed. I still believe it. I think. But I’m not sure.
In my case, that which doesn’t kill me tends to scare the crap out of me. Here I think I’m processing and moving on and forgiving and being healthy… and when it comes right down to the wire, I realize that what I HAVEN’T done is GET OVER IT. I mean, sure, I’m over it in the sense of it not hurting any more, it doesn’t inform my every move or occupy my mind, nothing like that. But I am not over it in the sense that I am fearful of it happening again. So much so that I’m avoiding situations where I might experience a repeat.
And that would all be fine, if, you know, if we were talking about having a safe dropped on my head. “Self,” I could say, “let us not walk along sidewalks where cartoon people are apt to be throwing large money-holding devices out of the windows!” That would be easy enough to handle. Check! No more walking under windows!
But in a case where I end up hurt just by opening myself up to other people… it’s trickier. I find myself pulling back, even now. That part really sucks.
Anyway, if I may be so bold as to open myself to internet assvice based upon this vague scenario: I need some suggestions. I am most likely going to have to face Secondary, and I would really like to be less of a basket case before that happens. Hate is such a useless emotion. I would like to stop hating this person.
How do I do that?
To realize I’d have to face this particular demon around the same time I was grappling with the spectre of what happened before (as it was impacting my current life) has left me feeling really… ummm… stupid. I want to use another word, but stupid is the right one. I need to find a way to move on. I need not to feel like facing this person will be a challenge that I might not be able to handle.
I need to be okay enough to forgive them.
Or I need to know where I could get a bucket of pig’s blood and some rope. Either way.