Forgiveness has always been a hard thing for me. I’m perfectly capable of muttering, “I accept your apology” through a fake smile and a church hug. True forgiveness is where I fall short. Moving beyond the fault, continuing to build a relation without harboring thoughts of anger or fury. The trusting, sharing of myself and my life experiences. Maintaining the bond and growing closer part, I don’t actually do. I’m a professional pretender.
I lackadaisically am your friend. I accept an invitation to hang out from time to time, I show up to your kid’s birthday party with quality children’s books and clothes, I meet your new boo and keep my comments on their worthlessness to myself. I’ll take pictures with you, letting you stand so that your good side is emphasized. I’ll even borrow my belongings and money because I’m just that nice. We can go to brunch and enjoy mimosa after mimosa, laughing and smiling while you post pics on your quality time spent with your BFF while doing that ridiculous looking “lip syncing the words of a song playing in the background” to Drake No New Friends.
But I never truly let it go. I never reopen myself again fully. I only share with you common information. Never delving too deeply into any information that could be used to ruin me. Never giving you the power to hurt me again. I have a problem with forgiveness.
I was raised in a household where we didn’t have friends. My stern mother’s motto was “you don’t have friends, you have acquaintances”. We didn’t attend slumber parties, stay overnight at anyone’s home aside from family members, invite people over our house or buy necklaces from Claire’s with the two equally divided curved semi-circles, shaped like hearts to share with our best friends.
My mother tried to drill in us that we were each other’s best friends. That idea didn’t work out so well because as much as I love my siblings, I don’t treat our relationship as I would a “best friend” situation-ship. We are each 2 years apart and in the eyes of my siblings, I am the anchor. I am the example. I am the sibling to call if you are in a bind and need support. I am the “few extra dollars in the bank that can be spared”, the “come over and look at this” the “fam, what chu’ doing?” plea for assistance. In my role as the big sister, I feel it my responsibility to show the kiddos my best me because I know they are watching.
In my anti-friend household, the only relationships we were allowed to cultivate were familial relationships, and those established at church. It took a while, but in my teens I grew to be friends with others. Once they learned that I wasn’t “little miss perfect”, we were on a good path.
I nurtured these relationships by being nice. I had not learned how to be a friend so in my mind, friends were nice. I carried this behavior into my late teens and adulthood. Being a friend meant spending time together, talking for hours on the phone while simultaneously learning one another’s breathing rhythm. Sharing your most private secrets. Crying on each other’s shoulder. Going to the club and turning up together. Rolling up one’s sleeves and going to bat for one another. It was basically the same as being a sibling, in my mind. That was the only close relationship I had to compare it to.
Because I invested so much of myself in these early friend relationship, if they backfired and slowly burned to bits, I was devastated. I had shared the most intimate details of Ashley and in exchange felt like I was laid out and covered in a fire-extinguishing blanket to stop the burning.
Even after these overly dramatic, earth shattering occurrences I could be given a half-hearted apology and be back in the game. Back in the game, as the ultimate pretender.
It is so hard for me to forgive because when I share myself with someone, I’m giving you all of Ashley. If we were on a blind date I’d be the perfect woman! I’m kind, generous, a good listener, I tip nicely, I look amazing in front of your parents, I cook well, I clean up, and smoothly transition from an evening of TURN UP to a sanctuary and even a choir stand. I’m a keeper!
When someone whom I’m entrusting my heart to rips it out of my chest and while it’s palpitating for the last time, takes a bite, then pours Sriracha on what’s remaining and takes another chomp, then allows it to digest and poops it out to be drowned in human-waste sewage land, I am devastated!
I try to continue with a friendship because like forgiving a lying, conniving, cheating boyfriend, “I do want that old thing back”. But it’s never really back, because I’m still hurt and feel like at any moment you will return to your wicked ways! Once you’ve been hurt, deeply, forgiveness is a joke! How can I continue on and pick-up a friendship where we left off before you decided that our friendship wasn’t valued enough to be respected?
Yes I know… I know… nobody is perfect, blah blah blah.
And I’m not asking for perfection.
What I am asking for is a trusting relationship where my pain is not opened up for the world to enjoy at the cost of your temporary gain. Friendship hurt, is the worst hurt.
I have clearly been thinking about my friendships.
I have all of… 2 people of whom I deeply consider friends. I’m not talking about “Oh hey girl how you doing? You look amazing! Let’s do lunch or coffee, what’s your number?”
I’m talking about ugly cry
talk me off the ledge
girl you won’t believe what bae did
what chu doin? I’m coming over right now
what yo’ mama cook
girl let me tell you the stupid thing I just did
girl I know you said you love him but…” friend.
One, I’m pretending with so we’re more like passive brunch friends.
Forgiveness is something that I have to truly work on! I want to stop pretending. So here’s my start, right now, today.
I forgive you for hurting me.
I realize that when someone is hurt, they say and do things that hurt others.
I accept the apology you gave me even though I didn’t think it was grand enough nor did it is cover the full scope of what you actually did to hurt me so deeply.
If I am going to allow you to call me friend, and I respond, I need to stop pretending.
I do love you, but I am scared.
Scared to be my authentic self and share my pain with you because I’ve seen what you did with that power before.
I forgive you and am willing to start again and truly be friends.
If I feel that I am being taken advantage of, or that the friendship isn’t serving me a purpose I will share that with you so that we are able to both make adjustments to do better.
I forgive you.
Woman pain, over a man also hurts sort of deep so I’ve gotta do some forgiving for that as well.
Ladies, I forgive you and ask for forgiveness.
When woman I is somewhere near the realm of love, they make decisions that would otherwise be unfathomable if they were in their right mind.
I’m certain that at one point we were both listening to the same guy tell us different versions of the same lie.
In those moments, it is so easy so listen to the devil who has your heart, over the chick that’s telling you what you know is the truth.
I forgive you and ask for your forgiveness.
I am woman enough to acknowledge my role in the classic Ricki Lake drama and am beyond it all now.
Although I may from time to time think a petty thought, I am human and am still working on that part of me.
I wish you well and hope that whatever you’re doing, it brings you happiness.
A scorned woman is a horrible sight to see.
I honestly wish you well－I said it twice because I repeat myself when I really mean it
& hope that you find the love
P.S. protect your heart girl, it’s a sacred vessel.
#SheJumped, I’ve gotta do the work if I wanna be better