Feb 17 2010

She Who Forgives Most Is Happiest (or: Forgiveness, Douchebaggery, and Mooks)

This too shall pass.

I wasn’t looking for a title to this post. I wasn’t planning on writing about this, period. But something happened recently, something that  stung. Then I was filled with regret, self-loathing, repulsion, pity, and compassion. And then I got angry. Good and angry. And this is what I chose to do about it.

What does it take to get me this angry? Put it this way: If you were to draw A Map Of Moral Behavior, and there was a territory  called Things You Don’t Do; what this Mook (though he is far too old by definition, the rest of the description is spot-on)  did to me would be bordering Sleep With Your Best Friend’s Wife. Yeah, it was shitty and selfish and low (that’s where the self-loathing comes in: I actually trusted him).

I don’t believe in blaming others for our actions and choices. With one exception: when our actions are based on another person’s deliberate deception; when we act on good faith and later learn that someone withheld information that they knew would affect our behavior — but they witheld it anyway. I call that being violated emotionally. Again, certain things you don’t do: You don’t violate another human being. Emotionally, physically: You Do Not Do That. Especially to a friend. Hey, I’m very open-minded when it comes down to what goes on behind closed doors: as long as all parties have their cards on the table so that everyone’s eyes are wide open: All’s fair.

I’ve never used the term “douche bag” before, unless I was quoting another. I always thought the expression was childish and banal and better suited for those lacking any imagination, originality, or a respectable vocabulary. But it’s stuck in my head.; it so perfectly crystalizes how I feel about the Mook. Douche bag douche bag douche bag! God, I’m not kidding. Douche bag! Okay, there is a certain satisfaction in saying it, I have to confess.

I want these feeling to go away. I want to move on. I realized yesterday: What I need is to forgive. But… I don’t know how to forgive in this case. I was just about to begin a yoga class and I was getting anxious about not knowing how to forgive because this is just eating me, and I didn’t want to go into the class like that. I don’t want to go into the next hour like that. So I shot off a text to a dear and wise friend (whose blog, “Belief Systems & Other BS”, I highly recommend): “Any words on forgiveness?”

He wrote back “She who forgives most is happiest”. It made me cry. I instantly got a picture in my head of a very old, very happy woman who’d lived a very hard life — yet with the biggest toothless smile you can imagine. She had forgiven a lot, this woman in my head.

There you have it. So simple. I want to be the “She” in his text. Okay, realistically, I’m never going to be “happiest”.  But I can be happier. That’s realistic. And then the yoga class started. And I’m fortunate to have two instructors who feel like home to me. I feel safe and alive and grateful in the environment they create. I relax and breath and am open to thoughts/feelings/ideas that the stupid 8-track in my brain often drowns out.

Let’s get back to the Mook. Part of the problem is that anything I have to say to him would be extremely hurtful. It would be truthful, and if I thought for one second it would actually do him some good to hear it, that he’d learn something from it, I might confront him. But he’s not at that place now. We all have our demons and our issues; hopefully we learn from them and grow and they make us better, more compassionate people. But some people choose to remain children. And no amount of adult dialogue will make them get it. It being the fact that their actions directly affect others. Sometimes deeply hurting them even.

So I won’t be confronting the Mook. Because at the end of the day, being hurtful has never been who I am, and I’m not about to start now. No good would come of it. The one and only thing I would say to him — and it sounds snarky but I mean it sincerely — is this: I hope he gets the help he needs. As I’m trying to get the help I need. Help To Forgive.

Which starts with: How did I get here? I never let a Mook get so close to hurt me like this before. Maybe I just didn’t let many people in before, as a way of avoiding hurt. But now that I’m divorced and single again in my 40’s, I’m taking more risks. I’m being more open because for so long I felt nothing, and I pined to feel alive. And half of feeling alive is feeling pain. Can’t have your ecstasy without your agony. So… I guess I asked for this, to a degree. But I’m learning. I’m learning to gather more information before trusting someone with my heart. There were signs — there are always signs — but I was so hungry for the newfound bliss that I missed many douche bag signs along the way. It’s a tricky balance: head/heart. Bliss/information. I’ll use a food analogy that we ladies are so fond of: eat healthfully, but you must indulge occasionally (and moderately) in the sinful — for if you deprive yourself too long, you will gorge and regret it.

I’ll trust again. And again. I won’t be trusting him (I’ll stop calling him a mook now — see? I’m already mellowing), but I will trust again. But cautiously next time, receptive to the flags on the field (a little sports analogy for the guys this time).

I think I’m starting to forgive.

PS: If you aspire to be a man — or if you already are, but want to be a better man — I strongly urge you the check out  The Art Of Manliness.

Manly, yes. But I like it too!