I was boggled with work. I was traveling between Seattle and Dallas and San Francisco and Portland and Austin, every other city in America. I was seeing friends, making new ones, even falling in deep like with someone, reconnecting with family, nursing old wounds, reinventing my sexuality, repairing myself to what I thought was a former glory, but in reality I was becoming someone new, a better version of myself. But there was something I just hadn’t dealt with yet.
One day I just couldn’t run around it anymore. I sat in my room after a shower drying off when it came — a wave of tears, torrents, and gasps of breath. I felt so much pain, grief, loss, regret.
I immediately thought, I can’t deal with this now. I have work to do. I have a whole list of errands to take care of. Then I realized that I needed to be taken care of in that moment, and everything else could wait.
I was thinking of how much I missed a friendship I no longer had. We would stay up late into the night talking about dreams and how we would rationally accomplish them. He was more of a dreamer than I, and I was the planner. We were a dream team. But our dream team turned into a nightmare collision when our dreams fell to our respective circumstances.
I blamed him for my terrible life and he blamed me for his. Inadvertently I punished him and then he punished me. I felt especially guilty for ending our relationship and taking time for myself to work through things from my past; a life rehaul I couldn’t successfully do in a relationship that required me to be present fully. It was very hard to leave him. In fact, I tried 3 times. I remember the first time we took a break for 3 weeks and I thought that was all that was needed to get over 25 years of heartache, abandonment issues, resentment, etc. And every time I would say what I needed, which was time and space, I felt guilty. Sometimes he would make me feel guilty. He didn’t want to lose me, and I didn’t want to lose him either.
Through all of this, I just needed my best friend to help me through. Oddly, I think he needed the same thing. We were just too selfish to realize what each other needed. I knew that it was the both of us that prevented us from being friends, but emotionally I accepted the full responsibility. I began to beat myself up — ”You did this” — but would stop to do something else, work maybe, because it was so silly. But it all caught up with me recently. The pain, grief, regret, sadness, loss I was feeling was due in part to the fact that I had not forgiven myself.
To borrow a scene from Eat Pray Love:
Liz: I arranged it all. Nobody forced me into anything.
Texan: And now you can’t forgive yourself….
Liz: Honestly, I’m waiting for him to forgive me, to release me.
Texan: Waiting for him to forgive you is a damn waste of time, Groceries. Forgive yourself!
Liz: It’s not that easy.
It isn’t easy. But I know that it is part of the process. I have always realized my capacity to love someone else. An ocean, an immense wave of the stuff. Why not take some of that and love myself by forgiving myself for what I know needed to be done?
Learning to forgive yourself takes almost as much work as learning to love yourself.
I have forgiven in the past.
I forgive in the present.
I will forgive in the future.
I love us both. I wish you much luck in life.