Sunday, April 25, 2010

John Cusack, The Boss, and Ex-Boyfriends: Part II

I could talk about forgiveness tonight.  I could talk about redemption.  Instead, I think we're going to go for the absurdity of life.  So absurd, in fact, that I found myself in tears of laughter by myself in my kitchen.

So. You ready for the Scoop?  The Big Story?

Yesterday we talked about the idea of 'do-overs.'  Or, at the very least, about the chance to go back to people in your past and make things right.  I have to say when I conceived the idea for the post, I was actually thinking about all the people in my past with whom I have unfinished business - you know the ones, where you're driving down I-95 at 8.30 on a Thursday night and the memory of the last conversation you had with them pops into your head and you want to stab yourself in the eye with a fork?  Yeah.  Those people.

But dangling the prospect of an old boyfriend story is so much juicier, right?

So there's this ex.  We didn't have a great breakup.  He kept my favorite sweater (this is an inside joke for him, if he's reading, and for anyone else who heard about that sweater that fall. Oh ok, so it's for everyone who knew me then.)  It's a long, convoluted story involving three continents, lots of letters, a long hot summer and a pathetic sort of anti-climactic end. 

Now, our guy Rob in High Fidelity let this one girl, Charlie Nicholson, be The One. As he says, looking back at their breakup, "Some people never got over 'Nam or the night their band opened for Nirvana. I guess I never really got over Charlie."  Now me?  I got over this.  We broke up that September and by December I was reporting to my parents that I might be getting married sooner rather than later.  And I was right.

But..... one of my specialities is carrying a grudge.  If, in the end times, they need someone to bear bad feelings until the end of days, I'm the girl.  This is no boastful claim, except to say that the sheer extent to which I work to preserve and defend my long-borne grudges is pretty spectacular.  I think I could probably hire myself out as Grudge-Bearer-By-Proxy.  I'm that good.  So it's fair to say I didn't *really* let this one go.  There were some pretty deep wounds, and let's just say I nursed 'em.

Fast forward [ahem] a bit, and we welcome the Brave New World of Facebook.  I get a Friend Request.  In a total gut reaction, I click NOPE.  Hell to the NAW, in fact.   And immediately feel bad that I did.

A year later, I finally decide I've hung onto this long enough. I click the "Add as Friend" button.

I send a friendly email saying hey.  We have a little email exchange,  where I completely over-share (I blame this blogging habit), and admit to having hung on far too long to all of this, that I hadn't been ready to forgive, but that I realized it was time, blah blah blah blah........  [hey! you in the back!  Wake up! I'm gettin' to the good part!]

This email response comes back:  "remind me please... for what?"

[crickets chirping]

Wait. WHAT?!?!?  In the instant I read that, I stopped short.  And then I giggled. Which turned into gales of laughter.  All by myself, in my kitchen.  Literally weeping with laughter - laughing at myself.

This is me, in full-bore guffaw mode

All this time.  ALL THIS TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I bore this grudge.  I nursed the hurts, I replayed the insults.  I let it color my view of that entire period in my life.   ALL THIS TIME.  And come to find out, it isn't as vividly horrific in his memory.  Come to find out, he has no conception of what I could possibly have held onto for that long.

In an instant, the years of anger and resentment have become so incredibly silly.   Maybe the hurts weren't laughable, but giving that much energy to hanging on to them?  Just..... silly.

I couldn't have asked for a more profound A-Ha! Moment if I'd had Oprah herself sitting on my sofa.

Let it go. Let it go.  What in our lives is so egregious that we cannot possibly move beyond - that we can't offer ourselves the gift of letting it go?  This is giving yourself the profound gift of acting from a place of love, instead of out of fear, and that is nothing less than life altering.

(Now, for a really life-altering take on Unlocking the Prison of Fear, please click over to Ken Kovac's site here.  Intense.  If you want to keep being afraid, don't read.)

So, well..... crap.  There goes my career in Grudge Bearing By Proxy.


erica said...

This is so funny. And totally reminded me of Rob and Charlie in High Fidelity.

One of my favorite movies, by the way!

So, I guess he let it go for you, right?

LoveFeast Table said...

Too funny! Isn't it amazing how time can dim certain things and magnify others! How is that?!

kirsten said...

yep Erica, I guess he did.

That's part of why I felt so silly - all it too was a teensy little phrase like 'remind me, please?' and the years wasted fell away like so much sawdust. Unbelievable.

Michelle said...

I don't think I hold grudges but it is interesting how something can be so vivid to you but years later doesn't matter at all to the other person.

Guess that's life. You've got to let the small stuff slide.

Did you respond to his email?

Diane said...

Great story. When Heather was younger she was a great grudge holder up there with the best of them. You might ask her about this some time. I think I would have been hurt had I nursed those feelings all those years and then learned/discovered the other person was totally oblivious to my "pain" does put things into perspective though doesn't it?

Sheri said...

Thanks so much for sharing this story. When I read it, it made me think of an old room mate (Melanie) that I still occasionally have nightmares about seeing again. Although I have made progress in learning to forgive and let go, I still have a long way to go. One "light bulb" moment for me was when I witnessed some dear friends have to deal with a unbelievable series of deceptions (spanning three years) from someone very close to them. I saw how the difficulty in letting go of the anger and forgiving was really causing my friends pain and not at all phasing the one that hurt them. Witnessing this caused me to start looking for ways "unforgiving" people in my life was hurting me as well. Although I realize each day that I probably have a never ending list of people I have unfinished business with, I am happy to report that the list gets shorter.

Cheryl said...

How did I miss this post? Hilarious! I, too, have had a similar experience. I also had someone who remembers all kind of stuff of what went on and was insulted that I had no clue what he was talking about! Selective memory, I guess!

Amber Page Writes said...

It's funny how that works, isn't it? I try not to hold grudges, but sometimes...sometimes I can't help it.

Harold of Scaggsville said...

As one of your token guy followers, I'll just say this is typical. And NO, we don't remember what you were wearing that day either.

Facebook paves incredible paths to past emotions and relationships. I have found most of these to be very rewarding and as contradictory as it seems, I have had much longer conversations with people on Facebook than I have in person.

Maybe this is your new vehicle to forgive and forget. Now if you can figure out how to address that person who seems to know everything about you from high school and their name doesn't ring the faintest bell in your head.

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