I've been thinking about forgiveness lately, partly because someone recently told me that I am not a very forgiving person. Well, nope. I can carry a grudge further than you can imagine; it's practically a point of pride. I understand that there's a school of thought out there that forgiving others is a way of setting ourselves free and I will say to disciples of that school that they are welcome to feel that way and I celebrate whatever sets you free from pain but I personally would prefer to be stung just the once, just one time with the shock and the rush of tears and the ridiculous ages spent mulling it over and trying to play it different ways to reach different potential endings. "If I had not put my heart out, perhaps it would not have been sliced open," you think, these three a.m. thoughts that can take hours from your sleep, the thoughts in which you try blaming yourself as that's easier than imagining that anybody else could be that cruel. They can be, my sweet, they can be. Sleep with one eye open.
My feeling is: once I've been hurt, I don't forgive, because I don't want to be hurt that way again. And I tell you what: people get in the habit of hurting other people in the same way over and over if they aren't careful. I of course never make mistakes but if I did, as sorry as I might be I would probably keep fucking up that way unless I really really really paid attention because I have been practicing that, whatever it is, for a long time. I am a person who strives on the daily to be better, specifically to be better to others, and I know I have blind spots, so it's no surprise that other people who maybe aren't trying as hard to tread gently around the emotional landmines of others will set things off time and again. So: Yes, people have hurt me. Why won't I forgive them? It's nothing personal, or almost nothing; I have seen that this is how they hurt people or at least how they hurt me and I'd prefer not to feel hurt so depending on the caliber of the hurt I will either avoid that person in certain circumstances or avoid them altogether and that's how it is.
It does not go without saying that one reason I am thinking about this so particularly is that I have just been hurt in the fucking exact identical way as I was before and the child I was more than half a lifetime ago has two faces: one grieving, tearstained, broken; the other haughty with all the righteous impatience of the young with the elderly and the sentimental: are you serious? no: seriously? again? you chose to do this again? Adult me rocks the child as she cries herself to sleep, which is to say I put my arms around my knees and try to pull myself together. I could have known better. And I hope I don't forgive myself.