The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.-Mahatma Gandhi
In my writing and my stories I always try, in some way, to show a form of reality, the power of love, the freedom in overcoming and the strength of the human spirit. I think, or rather I hope, that I have been successful in that endeavor. For while I love writing sexy stories about men falling in love with men, accepting themselves and living their truth, I want to know that in some way I have left a tiny “Vic” imprint on every reader, a small drop of my soul on their lives so that some part of my journey and the truths that I have learned will mark their future. It’s a lofty goal I know, but I truly believe that writers, probably more than many other people out there, have the daunting ability to affect change. We all do (especially parents), but writers capture the atmosphere that surrounds them and can show the miracle of that atmosphere changing and becoming better.
So while I have written about love, acceptance, strength, fighting, overcoming abuse, family, there is one thing that I haven’t yet gotten a chance to truly write about, though I know that at some point I will.
I can remember growing up as a child hearing my Granny Mary tell me that if I didn’t forgive those who had hurt me that there would be no way for the Lord to forgive me. I thought that forgiving would be easy, so many people talk about it with such a flippant tone of voice and such a nonchalant attitude that it deludes one into believing that forgiving someone is easy. For small slights forgiveness comes naturally without truly even thinking about it. Someone steps on your foot, “Oh I’m sorry,” “No, don’t worry about it. It’s no problem.” Someone eats the last piece of cake from the refrigerator that belonged to you, “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me,” “It’s okay. Nothing to worry over. I didn’t need the extra calories anyway.”
Those things are easy. It is the major slights, however, the big hurts, the gigantic wounds that seem as if they will never heal, that need the most forgiving. Those are the times that you realize that forgiveness is not a one-time thing. Forgiveness is a process. A journey in itself. A 12-step course in understanding just how powerful the mind is when it comes to remembering pains and hurts and holding grudges.
Forgiveness is, unfortunately, not instinctual. Forgiveness is a choice (unlike our gender or our sexuality, race, physical sex, parentage). When you forgive someone for hurting you, for using you, for abusing you, you don’t just do it one time. You do it over and over and over again.
You realize that you have to forgive them every time you hear their name.
You have to forgive them every time you think about what they did to you.
You have to forgive them every time that you see them.
You have to forgive them every time you talk to them.
You have to forgive them every time you make someone else pay for what they did to you.
It sucks when people hurt you. It’s a pain in your bloody arse (can you see the influence of my British fiancé and European father?). You want to get revenge, you want them to hurt as much as you were hurt. You want to rail at the heavens and cry and scream and throw shit. And if you’re anything like me you create them on your Sims 3 game and watch them die horrible deaths. But the thing is, doing those things only puts a Band-Aid on the wound left by the betrayal, by the abuse, by the slight and the hurt, it doesn’t heal it.
That was something that Granny Mary forgot to tell me. Forgiving someone heals me. And I am all about making me a better Vicktor. I want to be healed so that when I have children, when I start my own family, I won’t treat them the same way my birth parents and my birth family treated me because I haven’t fully healed.
Because not forgiving someone, not fully healing over a hurt or a wound, makes you more likely to do one of two extremes. You either end up overreacting (like being super sensitive or overprotective) or you end up doing the same thing, or hurting someone in a different way but to the same degree. By not forgiving you continue that cycle of hurt. Forgiving someone ends the cycle and engages the healing.
I have been hurt a lot in my life. I haven’t shared everything, but I’ve shared a lot. There are days when it hurts to breathe because the pain of those memories is right there, right beneath the thin layer of my skin ready to slice me open from the inside out. Every day brings the opportunity to be hurt again and I was badly hurt recently and I almost closed myself off completely because I just couldn’t deal with being hurt again, but I woke up Saturday morning crying, with my big sister Cherie, rubbing my arm and telling me I was safe, that I could wake up and be safe.
Safe from the nightmares. Safe from the pain. Safe from the hurt and betrayal. But more than that, Cherie let me know, though she was probably unaware that she did this, that I was safe to forgive.
Safe to forgive and to finally let go.
It’s a process. And yes, there are certain things, certain situations and people that are unforgivable, but you’ll be amazed how in those situations the person that you need to forgive is you. Because if someone hurts you or abuses you, it’s not your fault and forgiving yourself for it happening, though it sounds insane, is sometimes the hardest, but most therapeutic, thing to do.
In some areas, forgiveness is just beginning. I’m beginning to forgive some people who just recently hurt me, but in other areas, forgiveness is becoming a beautifully healed scar. I’m realizing that those wounds never fully go away. They always leave a scar behind, but when we forgive someone we consciously make the choice to make sure that the scar that it leaves behind is beautiful and accentuates the wonder of who we are, making us a better person, rather than becoming an ugly scab that continues to open and get infected.
So I’m glad that I have learned that lesson about forgiveness, glad to know that it’s something that I can begin to put in my books, something that my characters can learn and experience themselves.
Glad to know that I’m healing.
I forgive, to set the prisoner free. Only to find, the prisoner was me.-Unknown