In recent days, weeks, months, I have been so emotional. One day I am angry, the next, I might be in tears, a week later, maybe I’m laughing uncontrollably. I have literally been all over the place, but my mind seems to fixate and circulate around the same sort of thought.
Being a black person in general is rough out here, but being a black woman in 2020 is scary. I have no energy to go into the details and debates about what we have all seen on the news. But between this fear, COVID19 isolation, and generally being an anxious and overly reflective person, has sparked some discomforting resulting in some growing pains.
I do not forgive easily, I hold on to things. I have physiological reactions when I remember nasty things that were said to me, things that were done to me, or even things not done to me, but done to someone else I love. I get worked up when I remember, effecting my blood pressure at the time, my mood, shit, some things will even throw off my whole day. I had not forgiven ex-boyfriends, that I still think about and get upset over. I had not forgiven my father for…countless things. I had not forgiven my rapists, my deceased abusive partner, my college basketball coach, my college teammates, hateful white people, etc. There are many situations and thing that I had no forgiven – and truthfully, some things that will take me much longer to forgive after this moment.
But with all that’s going on, I’ve had time to think about how I want – how I deserve- to feel. I want to be calm. I want to be happier. I don’t want to chip and eat away at myself for things passed, things out of my control. While forgiveness is a choice, the mental and bodily response to it can take longer to notice or respond. I’d woken up one day a week or two ago, just ready to let it go and forgive and move on. Why was I mad about something my dad did when I was two. Why was I angry at a dead boy because he beat my ass in high school. Why was I so angry at these white girls calling me names on social media or in the street. Why was I still so angry. It hit a point where it really seemed pointless to let these people have this much control over my emotions and my damn body. Like really. So, I made a conscious decision with myself and God to forgive -not forget- these people and these situations.
I only noticed, though, that I was really starting to forgive when I stopped having reactions to unrelated situations that would otherwise be triggers, and when some of the same people (i.e my pops) would reach out, and I was no longer angry. In forgiving my college coach, teammates, and other prejudice and degrading individuals, I noticed that I do not seek negativity first when I meet new people (before I would automatically assume they were prejudice or didn’t like me or whatever, and so I was automatically rude and standoffish). In forgiving my father, I feel like I can speak to him, build a better relationship, and understand who he really is. In forgiving my deceased ex, and my rapist for that matter, I have slept a little better. I don’t feel like I NEED to sleep next to my current partner. I don’t have the night terrors and the sweats and things.
When you forgive, not only is there an understanding of where people are coming from, whether you like it or not, but you really start to see WHY something bothered you or what certain reactions are stemming from. You don’t done have to, and I didn’t, forget what has happened to you or who hurt you. Remember allows for us to not let things happen again, especially in the same way. But forgiveness eases the burden and the pain of the heart.
I held on to things for so long because they spoke this constant unsung narrative in my head that I was not good enough, that I was unloved and unworthy. They affirmed what I had thought about myself, and so those feelings could be attached to those people. Yes, what these people did and some of the situations that occurred were flat out wrong. Yes I had every right to be mad, sad, and hurt. But to let these things affect me so long, to reiterate to myself a story of worthlessness, AND give these people’s actions the power to keep telling and control that story, thats just a HELL NO for me.
Forgiveness gives you ownership of your life, ownership that we should have had and long for. It allows us to control OUR narrative. It does not happen fast, and ya’ll, it is not easy. But it is so worth it.
Who do you need to forgive? Maybe it’s a parent, partner, friend, coworker. Maybe it’s yourself. Whoever it is, it’s time to start to forgiving process. Give yourself time, and be kind to yourself, but do the work.
Positivity, Growth, and all the things,