I’ve had you on my ego’s mind lately. Blame it on the current era of my life in which I’ve finally stepped up to my self-copyrighted standards and reached for what I’ve deserved all along; but my ego’s little trip these days is to be witnessed by those that have tripped me up before.
“See! I’m still walking!” it wants to throw over the shoulder at those I’ve left behind.
While I was never the one to lack dreams, these days I’ve finally harnessed the courage to get me to them. Although the manifestations of success are still audible primarily to me — there are no manuscripts published yet, no dream jobs to speak of, no gypsy journeys committed around the world to reunite with my heritage — but oh how close I am to becoming what I was always supposed to be! (The bitchy irony here, of course, is that my lacks, my insufficiencies were self-manufactured all throughout. I am the reason I’ve slowed down before. I am the one to trip myself up.)
“See: Still standing!” my ego wishes to telegraph to the past players who had no comprehension, patience, or — let’s just be honest here! — acceptance for the girl I was always becoming.
“Why the hell are you dwelling on the fuckers?” the stronger, wiser girls of mine bitch-slap my slower Self who, truth be told, can be a real sucker.
They are correct: The memories of the past losses — and the last asses — tend to slow down my step. But there is “a method to my madness,” I realize: FORGIVENESS. Fucking forgiveness! The bitch is high-maintenance, isn’t it?! One can earn herself bloody blisters and very high bills from her shrink when chasing it. Forgiveness demands work, and it is the type of work that comes with no owner’s manual. It is only between you and you; and despite your girlfriend’s or mother’s endless advice, only you can do the heavy lifting of brutal honesty and self-knowledge.
But what even I didn’t comprehend, despite the three decades of fucking around and being fucked with — is that forgiveness is a bloody chameleon. Not only does forgiveness vary depending on its owner and that owner’s past; not only does it take an encyclopedia of diverse methods to access — but it changes along with you. If, immediately after the loss, it feels right to be angry while maintaining a distance between you and the wrongdoer — then, at that moment, that is all forgiveness is meant to be. After months of copying, it may change to a feeling of lightness (and maybe an occasional nausea at the sound of your ex’s name) — then, that is forgiveness at that moment. For some, eliminating all contact with an ex is the way to go; and that little imaginary death is their way. I always aspired to be the fuckin’ Mother Teresa with my ex-fuckers — tending to our friendships for the sake of the lessons, and the stories, and the blah-blah-blah. No matter how idiotic it appeared to my girls, that — was my forgiveness.
Oh sure, I wish I were the type of a girl to let Beyonce simplify my emotional baggage via her lyrics of arrogant feminism or angry regret:
“And keep talking that mess, that’s fine!
But could you walk and talk at the same time?!”
Uhm-hmm: to the left, to the left!
But you see, though, my comrades: I like digging through the mess for answers — sometimes doubled over because the pain has taken the wind out of me — and get my hands nice ‘n’ dirty. I’m more of a Nina Simone gal: well lived-in, well-used, wrathful, self-sufficient and little bit insane; writing her lyrics with a nose-bleed and a foaming mouth:
“I hold no grudge
And I forgive you your mistakes.
But forgive me if I take it all to heart
And make sure it doesn’t start again.”
But alas! Here is a little “aha” moment for V, as of very recently: Despite the ego’s desire to be witnessed by those whose mistakes have gotten me here — I want no part of them. For a change, I’ve lost all desire to carry the baggage. Can’t I just check it in somewhere?! Yes, I can: on my bloody pages! Commemorating my exes on the blank canvases of my own is my way of honoring them; and I may even feel a pinch of gratitude for those tales of defeat — but that, my dear ex-whatevers, my fuckin’ ghosts, is as far as we go. I’ll let the ego telegraph my successes when the unconscious is activated at nighttime, behind my closed eyelids; but those smoke signals shall be the only ones sent your undeserving way.
So, take it away, Nina:
“I’m the kind of people
You can hurt once in a while.
But crawling — just ain’t my style:”