Twice in the last week I've had to deal with the matter of forgiveness. I thought I was dealing with it. In reality it seems I had just pushed the anger and hurt away, at the back of my mind.
The first person I have to forgive is my father. I am working on it. It's next to impossible because forgiveness is a very special animal. It's easy to forgive when the damage inflicted to you by a person is minimal, or you have found a solution and it does not affect you anymore. But when the damage done has shaped your life to what it is now, and the past choices of that person still echo in your present situation ten years after his death, then... then you want to take the ossuary with his bones, fill it with kerosene and light it up. You are sure it will make an excellent fire, and that's the only kind of gesture that reflects your true feelings for him.
There are those who say that once a person is dead, we should forgive them and move on. I consider that a grave oversimplification. So because they're dead, that means they didn't screw you over royally when they were alive? Hitler is dead too. Should everyone just forgive him because he's dead? That's the weird trip you get into with forgiveness. You can't forgive them when they've wronged you, when their decisions destroyed parts of your evolution and potential. They can't be absolved just because they are gone. The consequences of their actions are still part of your life, so forgive them how? And that's the paradox, because that is the exact case that forgiveness is needed.
If the person you need to forgive hasn't wronged you or hurt you, then you don't need to forgive them. You simply need to get over your ego. Forgiveness is needed when that person has left scars so deep that shaped your whole life. It's required when the damage done to you can't be undone, when their decisions have affected you deeply and profoundly and stolen from you your most valuable possessions; time and compassion. The one is the currency of life, the other is the currency of humanity.
If my father had been less of an asshole, my life would have been very different. He, too, would probably still be alive. I wouldn't have lost 14 years of my life trapped in a job I hated, without getting any stamps. I wouldn't have been forced to return from UK; I would have been able to get an MA and would have been working for the past 15 years in a job that would have paid me and given me social security. I would not have to deal with his sister taking me to court because she wants to appropriate more of his possessions. Perhaps I'd even have a companion. When your life has stability and security job-wise, it's not a giant leap to find someone. Right now I am where I am, doing what I am doing, and know that this man is more than 50% responsible for these things. I have a mother who's alone and slowly getting older and can't deal with everyday life, no job, no MA, no relationship, no previous job experience... The list goes on. I got social security for the first time this year. I am 39. And he has the nerve to ask for forgiveness when he has destroyed me, he has the nerve to think he can be forgiven when he ruined my life. Just because he died. So a bonfire with his bones seems an excellent idea. Right?
The problem with forgiveness is that it takes a leap of faith, a gigantic motherfucker of a leap of faith. You need to forgive someone exactly because they did those things to you. You need to say, "I will deal with this mess and I will do it on my own terms". Because this is how you take the power back in your hands. As soon as you decide there is something you can do instead of being angry and accusing the other person of how they destroyed your life, you stop being a victim of that person or situation. From a "waaah waaah oh poor me" mess, you become the "come any closer and you'll see if this bitch has any fighting left in her" kind of person. Because truth is, that bitch (me) has a lot of fighting left in her. But she should do something better with that fighting spirit than bash the head of a person who's dead.
I am trying very hard. Trying to let go while what I want to do is somehow get hold of him and yell at him, stomp him to the ground. Trying to forgive when I see children with fathers who are there for them, who care, who help, who try to understand. I stare at those fathers, with their failings and mistakes and good intentions and wonder what planet was my father from. I wonder for the umpteenth time why, as I wrote in my previous poem, "I was raised by wolves". Why there wasn't a single safe adult in the family I grew up. And what the fuck it is that I'm doing here.
And now I have to forgive him. How the fuck am I supposed to do that?
I am just so tired. But I need to keep going. There is no time to lose. There just isn't any time for self-pity. I need to stop being a victim. And the only way one can stop being a victim is, curiously, by faith, and by letting go.
The lyrics of the very beautiful song are here:
Chelsea Wolfe- Sick
This suffering brings me closer to you
and time is broken and moves slow
your pure heart, your white light
I should be put to death for ever being cruel to you
you washed me clean like no one ever could
come closer now and step right into
the wide mouth, the sharp teeth of the one you love
I'm not the kind of sick that you can fix
don't you worry about me baby
I've got no enemies and I've got no time
the song, we carry on
even though you pushed us down
we carry on
when you try to blind my eyes I can see tenfold
It's nothing that my heart can't take, 'cause your hate has made me strong
and stronger men than you have tried to break me
stronger men than you have tried to break me
leaning toward the golden days
forget about the older days
and everything we left behind
to stand here in another life
we carry on, even though you held us down
we carry on, with the song
we carry on, even though you pushed us down
we carry on