Frequently as I can manage, I stand with my toes in the wet sand and stare out at the Pacific Ocean. The amount of revelations I have had while standing on some San Diego County beach is endless. I spend all my time inside my own head: thinking, wondering, processing.
I remember once as a kid, boogie boarding with my family. My boogie board flipped over and for too long, I couldn’t get on the other side. I was stuck underneath the board. When I finally was able to push the board out of my way (after being sure of my death), my mom and brother were a few feet away, laughing and playing. It was the first time I understood the ocean as a terrible force. I still loved it, but it terrified me.
Something being terrifying and horrible does not stop love. I’ve learned that this year in the form of a person. The love doesn’t stop. Hatred covers it though. Hatred makes the love bearable for awhile. But hatred also overtakes you and darkens your soul. Sometimes that might be necessary to get you through a rough time. Sometimes the hatred is the only thing that keeps you from reaching out to them, from trying again, from remembering the painful love. Sometimes hatred saves you. After seeing how much I needed to spend years hating someone, I would never try to force someone to just forgive and forget. You have to make sense of how you feel. You have to come to terms with things on your own pace.
Eventually for me, the love came through. I started having dreams about a person in present world, where I was spending time with him and he would tell me about his life now. I would wake up unnerved and confused at how my dream self could possibly enjoy spending time with him. So I did what I do when I panic, and I started to write.
Here are some pieces of it:
We can villainize the people who have hurt us, but it will only make it that much harder to admit we love someone that we have now made so evil.
I’ll never understand, not fully, what happened. And I give up trying to make you evil, or good, or anywhere in-between. You just were — you did bad, terrible, evil things with intention, and you did loving, kind, passionate acts of love as well. I wanted some peace of mind, but instead I found love.
The past is the past is the past. Parts of it were wonderful. Parts of it were beautiful. Parts of it were terrible and evil. Some of what I did was horrid and unfair. Some of what he did was horrid and unfair.
Doing this again, remembering good things along with the bad, has not been a particularly easy process. I feel like I’ve been down this tunnel over and over, but this is the first time I’ve seen the glimpse of forgiveness. You can’t forgive someone for hurting other people, but you can forgive them for what they have done to you.
In some situations, you don’t sit down with them. Ever.
You sit with your journal on your lap and maybe an ocean within eyesight. You sit with a Starbucks cup next to you, or whatever your preferred coffeeshop location may be. You sit wondering how to put it all in a letter you’ll never send.
And you write words like these (edited out name and particular details):
A long time ago, I thought I would never be able to even look at you again. Even longer ago than that, I thought we would be forever friends.
I know none of this matters to you now. A little too late, I suppose. But I want you to know that I forgive you… I’m still angry, but that’s the kind of stuff that will always have an anger attached. But the hurt is faded, like static on the radio.
Neither one of us wanted it to turn out anything like how it did. The past is the past is the past.
I wish you happiness.
With all the love I never knew I had,