..."To them, the complete sum of my parts is only calculated by a few measly days, compared to my 38 years." - excerpt taken from 7 Seconds in a Restaurant
That excerpt was in reference to my interpretation of how other people in my community think of me. That I am judged everyday for a mistake that actually only amounts to a few days of my life. I guess that's really all it takes though. I understand and accept the fact that you "reap what you sow". I get that there are definite consequences to the choices we make in life - whether the choices were made with a sane brain or not - and whether or not that is even an excuse. And I definitely believe it is called "suffering" the consequences for a reason. It is suffering, even when we bring most of it on ourselves.
I've been thinking about that quote though. It never even hit me until a week or so after I wrote it. That "them" should be replaced with "me": "To me, the complete sum of my parts is only calculated by a few measly days, compared to my 38 years." Yes, I know that should have been obvious, but I just really understood the truth of it recently - that I am judging my whole existence and worth on what amounts to about 4 days of my life. That all of the other days don't count. That the stains of those 4 days are bleeding over, smearing all the others with their mess. When I think of it mathematically, it really just doesn't add up. How can 4 days cancel out the other 13,866? Yes, the mathematics alone can almost convince me to jump into the pool of forgiveness that I'm only sitting on the edge of now, contemplating its temperature. I just don't think I'm ready to stop serving the sentence I've placed upon myself.
I will never go into the exact details of what I did. I've decided I need to give myself at least that small measure of dignity. It really doesn't matter what it is, and some things just don't need to be revealed completely to be understood. But, being that I am a perfectionist, and that I like everything to be in order, those 4 blemished days just mess up the way the others appear in my eyes. I don't even see those other days. For me, it's like they weren't even lived. I have now become those 4 days of mistakes. I wake up to those 4 days. I eat lunch with those 4 days. And I go to sleep with those 4 days. They are in my thoughts constantly - like a horrible flashback - without the luxury of blaming someone else. I own this one. I did this.
I think it's funny when people say "You just need to forgive yourself" - like it's something that I can magically will to happen. Like I can wave my magic wand, and suddenly feel forgiven. Can forgiveness really be so forced? Is it so logical? Can it be repeated like some magic spell, and somehow become believable? Do I just deny the fact that I haven't forgiven myself, and don't feel as if I ever will, completely? To deny feelings does not make them less real. Should I overcompensate with daily quotes of self-esteem, and pacify myself with the fact that everybody else makes mistakes too? Yes - I am aware that everybody makes mistakes - but I'm not everybody, in my mind. My standards for myself are much higher than what I expect of others. Is that fair? No - but it's the truth. Do I just lie, and say I'm forgiven? Lie and say I'm fine? Lie and say all is well now, so others don't have to worry their pretty little heads about me anymore? So their own mistakes will be okay then?
The truth is, I don't think forgiveness can be forced. I think it's maybe an evolution that happens gradually. An understanding you may someday reach. But I don't think you can get there quickly, for it to be real. The way people talk about forgiveness these days, you would think it was some mystical answer to all of our problems - like you will reach some enlightened state of nirvana, once you've reached that place of forgiveness in your heart. Like reaching that state is completely within your grasp, if you just try hard enough. I'm much more of a realist than that. Or maybe my definition of forgiveness is just different. To me, forgiveness is a feeling - more so than logic. I can't "logic" my feelings to death, and beat them down until they feel what I want them to feel. To me, they just are what they are, at any given moment. They can't be relied upon anymore, and they certainly have no solid place to land on - some steady ground with promises of consistent emotions - from here on out. To say "I forgive myself" means no more than saying "I'm not hungry right now" - no prediction of longevity. No promises anymore - not even for myself.
So, logically, can I think about forgiving myself? My brain says "yes", logically - it's a few days of mistakes out of 38 years of doing nothing but good. But it's not how I feel. It's not what is evident in my actions - when I look around my bedroom and see the piles of mess that I'm living in - because it feels comfortable to the mess I am on the inside. That pattern of self-destruction has not quite let me out of it's grasp. But I do think I'm closer than I was a few years ago. This new realization, struck by the above excerpt, shows me that my thought patterns and feelings just may be able to consider forgiveness somewhere down the line - maybe even sooner than I think. But I'm not quite there yet. Not yet sure how to loosen that grip of blame around my neck, that I choke myself with. Not quite sure how to come to the understanding that I do deserve the things that I haven't quite earned - bought with the free pass of imperfection.
So, yes, I should forgive myself. I should let things go. I should understand that everyone makes mistakes, and I'm no different. I should grant myself the same gift I would give to someone else. I should understand that I'm still a good person. I should stop living in the past. I should give myself a break from my own wrath. I should understand that forgiveness doesn't mean condoning bad actions - it simply means letting go of whatever it is you let go of. I just can't seem to let that thing go - to release it - into whatever universe the mistakes we make fly away to when we let them. My sins seem to be super-glued to my hands, not easily shaken off.
Maybe, just maybe, one day I will feel the punishment has been enough. That my mistakes have been thoroughly processed and digested - with no need to be regurgitated. That I will absorb the good lessons learned, and have the ability to let go of the waste that is left behind - the waste of my 4 days of crappy mistakes.
© 2013 Lipstick and Lithium
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