So I talk about forgiveness. I have experienced forgiveness and I have extended forgiveness.
But there is one aspect of my life that I have not expressed, or truly thought about, forgiveness. After all of the feedback from others on forgiveness and what it does for your life, how can I ignore it any longer.
Some time ago I wrote I Am Not Ashamed. What a relief it was to write that. In writing it I freed myself of so much. One of the most important of these freedoms was that I did not have to hide, or keep this secret. It was liberating to say I was not to blame. It was not my fault. And I have no shame. Because I don’t.
But I did. For a very long time. I felt less than. I felt not as good as. I felt safer alone. Safer in the dark. Safer not letting anyone know something so ugly. I hid from who I was and who I could have been. I hid from success and achievement. The more anyone saw of me back then, they might know, and I couldn’t have handled the embarrassment and increased shame. I was safest doing nothing and being nothing.
Freedom. It came when I learned that it was not my fault. I can’t begin to tell you what I experienced when I started to understand the truth of what had happened to me. It wasn’t my fault I didn’t stop it. I was a child. It wasn’t my fault I didn’t tell. I was a very scared child. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault.
As I look back it seems like ‘suddenly’ my world opened up. The sun shined and I didn’t hide from it. But in truth it was a period of time that these things changed. I went to college, later in life, and learned that I could think. And I liked it! I didn’t have to shut down my thoughts. I didn’t have to shy from opinions. It took a long time to share them, or be okay with having different opinions than others.
It was a learning process, this freedom. I had to learn how to be free from all that I had hidden from and that I had shied away from.
I had to learn to be me.
I had to adjust to not hiding.
I had to be okay with not being perfect, taking risks, and failing. And accepting the responsibility of who I am.
I took control of my life.
But I never forgave.
I didn’t consider it until now.
And now…I want to be as free from this as possible. I do think about what happened. Differently than I used to. But I do. I remember. I sigh in sadness in my heart. I think of the possibilities. I don’t dwell on it. But I do, on occasion, wonder.
So to be done with this I will forgive.
I will forgive you for the fear you instilled.
I will forgive you for stealing huge moments with your actions and years with the memories of your actions.
I will forgive you for making me feel worthless.
I will forgive you for making me see ugly when I looked in the mirror.
I will forgive you for not only affecting me, but my parents who didn’t know, my siblings who didn’t know, my friends who didn’t know, my spouse who didn’t know, my children who didn’t know, my grandchild who didn’t know-who I really was and could have been.
I forgive you for altering the course of my life because I truly believe it would have been different. And certainly better.
I will forgive you for you touching me in any way that you had absolutely no right to do.
I will forgive you for robbing me.
I will forgive you for scarring me.
I will forgive you for your assumption I was yours to use and damage.
I will forgive you for stopping my life in it’s tracks. Life went on. Without me.
I will forgive you for hiding the value of me, from me.
I will forgive you for every tear I did not shed because I did not think I was worth crying for.
Not, I will.
I am done with what you left in my life. It’s yours. Take it back. I hope you can forgive yourself. I truly hope you can. Because if you want forgiveness then you have accepted responsibility.
And now, so do I.
I fully accept responsibility for my own life. My own actions.
And with forgiving you, I am owning me. I am taking credit. For all I do. All I fail. All I am.
Damnit this feels fantastic.