Prompt: If I Could Turn Back Time
If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?
There are a lot of clichés about forgiveness.
Forgiving others for their trespasses, for example, is apparently more beneficial to the forgiver than the forgivee, because bitterness and resentfulness are harmful to our health, or something. I agree that it is more pleasant to eliminate unpleasant thoughts than it is to linger upon them. But the world is an unpleasant place. Sometimes bad people cross us and do us wrong. Fuck them. I don’t have time to forgive everyone. It’s too much hard work, processing degrees of wrongness, forcing unwanted empathy, and meditating on the esoteric peace I will achieve by virtue of forgiveness.
Of course I forgive people— my family is easy to forgive, because I know they have never intentionally caused me pain. So if they do, we’re all shocked for a moment, stumble about in confusion, forgive, and move on.
But the guy who assaulted me? Fuck him. The “friend” who humiliated me? Fuck her. Dick Cheney? Fuck him. Margaret Thatcher? Fuck her. Wayne LaPierre? Fuck him. The people who keyed my partner’s Camaro? Fuck them.
The question is, am I deserving of forgiveness, or a Fuck me?
I’ve apologized for most of my miserable little mistakes, and am delighted if I was granted forgiveness for any of them. I don’t want the pain I caused someone else to live and thrive, so forgiveness is desirable, lovely, sometimes needed.
Sometimes it’s just too bad on me if people don’t forgive me.
Except when it comes to forgiving yourself. It is important, if you are deeply regretful, because that asshole in your head who keeps kicking your cerebral cortex with their steel-toed cowboy boots, reminding you of what a piece of shit you are, needs to go away.
So I try to forgive me. It’s hard. Sometimes I don’t deserve it. Most of the time I do.
One thing I don’t want to do, is forego forgiveness with a lot of fantasies about what I could have or should have done. What I did is there, plunked down in my consciousness like a dead squirrel on a highway.
I don’t want to go back and relive it, relive the distresses I caused, the squirmy embarrassments, the petty misdemeanours. They are done. There is no time machine or magic spell that can transport me back and allow me to make better choices.
I am going to live with the decisions I made. The bad ones too. I’m going to forgive myself, instead of dreaming of a magical world where mistakes aren’t made and people don’t get hurt.
To me: You’re forgiven, you old slut. Just do the best you can, from this moment forward. I forgive you. I forgive you.