on relational forgiveness
and the power raging grudges
It was the weirdest situation. I was at the late night jock bar with the hottest girl from the rival school across town. She and I had been spending time together. I had good reason to believe that she ‘liked’ me. As the school weirdo and resident scapegoat, it was absurd.
She was blonde, fit and desired by many. We were ‘dating’. Nothing serious yet, but things seemed to be headed that way. At the club? Dudes were both checking her out and sizing me up - me with my cut of jeans, parade boots and Misfits tee. Her? A pretty little philly in pink pastel polo’s by America’s great Waspy Wizard, Ralph Lauren.
The entire room stunk of stale draft, jello shooters and Drakkar noir. It seemed back then I was either in places that stank of stale beer, badly cut hash and pitchouli or of an ugly combo of stale beer, ralph lauren and drakkar noir cologne all enveloped in the acrid smell of tequila poppers playing yo-yo onto the floor.
That and vanilla.
Holy crap do I ever hate that smell. Slathered on and as welcoming as a barbed wire condom.
The only good thing about all of the ‘environmental sensitivities’ is that I had an excuse to complain about and way to eliminate that invasive species of ice cream seduction.
Who the hell was it for?
I don’t know any dudes who liked it?
Perhaps the ladies did.
Ladies? Did you inflict this olfactory hate crime on the world?
What the fuck were you thinking?
I’ll seduce him with my ultra moist funnel cake of love?
Gentlemen, did you ever find yourself walking down the street, smell a woman wearing too much vanilla scented perfume and think to yourself, Fuck a cupcake? Never before. Today’s the day!
A bakery is a great place but not exactly what I have in mind when I think of getting jiggy with it.
This young lass was pure vanilla. She danced. She bopped. She flirted.
There was something quite intriguing about this vanilla!
I imagined eating Oreo beginning with the mid-
Hey Dalling? What are you doing here? Your mommy let you stay out late?
These dudes. The jocks, nightmare assholes that followed me from elementary school, to Jr. High, then high school.
It had been seven years since I’d had any encounters with these shit stacks of humanity.
Fuck I hated those guys.
The cupcake danced up and grabbed my hand to pull me onto the dance floor.
I tried to move. Crabbe and Goyle stopped me.
What the fuck? Is this really happening?
My mind raced… The fifth grade flew into my head. Their ‘joke’ then involved picking me up by my underpants in a wedgie, The two were inches taller and able to hang me from the barbs of the school’s chain link fence.
They pulled on my legs till my ass bled.
When I finally freed myself taunts of ‘bloody assed faggot’ followed me the rest of the year.
Grade six? After they finished with their delightful game of ‘gas pedal’ where they’d stomp on my cock and pull on my legs, they became more inventive. They discovered the basket ball pole. Similar script as the gas pedal game. By this time, I moved more quickly. That year I broke two of their wrists by letting them get just close enough then collapsing in a pile sending them flying over my back.
In retrospect? I’m sad that I didn’t sever their spinal cords or cause them traumatic brain injuries. They’d look great in a vegetable stew.
They continued on me: Hey faggot! What’s a girl like this doing here with you community service? Hey Doll, it’s kind of you to spend time with a retard, but he really needs to be sent home.
At this point, I was envisioning them on life support and me mutilating their bodies before pulling the plug. These fuckers. These shitbags. Years ago when I was small, they’d pick me up by squeezing the side of my head at my ears while waiting for the bus. Once on the bus, they’d take my book bag and throw it out of the window.
When I was twenty five, I had mostly forgotten them.
On this night, they reminded me of why I hated them with every fiber of my being.
I still hate them. I wish them every ill imaginable. They were / are bigger than me. And with three of them? I’d never stand a chance. With a high powered rifle though…
The movie ‘Heathers’ was a favorite of mine. Blowing up the school was a constant source of joking. That was before Columbine and shooting up schools became as predictable as a Berlin train in 1940.
How long can I hold onto this ugly, dark hatred? Ummm. If they die before me, I promise not to piss on their graves.
I will attend their funeral.
I will shit on their casket as they are lowered into the ground with their entire family watching.
That is what they deserve. I wish them nothing but pain and the most unpleasant and painful deaths that the a vengeful, wrathful god could possibly provide.
I want that old testament motherfucker to take care of them for me.
I said as much to the prancing pink pony as she danced and shook her booty in their general direction.
She was alarmed.
Why don’t you just forgive and forget?
When you fuck up badly and you betray both yourself and others, our society puts a lot of pressure on the people who have been harmed to ‘forgive and get over it.’ The work of the harmed to heal is all their own. Hurt people are expected to ‘get over it’. Hurt people are expected to fogive ‘for their own good.’
Fuck that. My anger is a gift. My hatred of people who bully in the here and now? I do not give a fuck if they are a diversity and inclusion bully calling me privilege and slinging shame at me for crimes I did not commit against people who are no longer alive and I did not know, or if they are the playground bullies causing my ass to bleed and call me faggot. My anger and lack of forgiveness is a reminder that when people seek to dominate me, I have nothing to offer but vitriol.
Think this is problematic?
Suck it. I’ve long hear the calls from Pollyanna to free myself for my own good.
Fuck you. Who the hell are you to tell me what my ‘own good’ looks like.
When I was twenty five, I saw no benefit in me forgiving these apes. I made that clear to the prom queen. Then? I told her that I didn’t think things would work out with us, gave her a twenty and told her to take a cab home. That’s right, the village idiot dumped the prom queen on a Monday night at The Palace. She slapped me. I smiled, turned on my heel and headed for the hills.
They say you’re only as big as the opportunities that you turn down. That night, powered by rage I felt like I was fifty feet tall. I was stoked I dumped the prom queen at greasiest bar in town! And I did it in front of those desperate dogs! The ego rush and confidence that I got from that was better than any fleshy pleasures she could have offered.
Integrity feels good? Who knew!
In her monumentally important book How Can I Forgive You: The Courage to Forgive and the Freedom Not To, Janice Abrahms Spring spends a lot of time on how those on the other side of infidelity and other such betrayals experience pressure to ‘forgive and move on’ for their own sake. The central augment she makes considers this to be 'problematic’. What’s her better take?
Forgiveness, she argues, can only truly occur when the person who has committed the transgression personally acknowledges what they have done to harm the other and takes steps to make amends. Further, she argues, forgiveness is individual and relational.
These fuckwads have never done anything to warrant my forgiveness and, very recently when I was a hockey coach as a forty year old man, one of them doubled down on his douchebaggery. No forgiveness. No remorse fellas.
Forvgivness requires that those who hurt you to acknowledge what they’ve done and work to make amends.
Then, it’s on you to recognize the change in behaviour and observe the most recent and most consistent ways they treat you.
Expecting forgiveness because you’ve said ‘sorry’ is a weak ass game that puts the burden on the person you’ve personally hurt to do the work of making the situation better. Let me stress the words ‘personally hurt’, not systemically been an avatar for the oppression caused by a system that you had no hand in the creation of to people who are the decedents of people who are no longer alive. Let me say it again for the woke folk at the back: Forgiveness can only happen between individuals. Not systems. Not classes.
Justice and forgiveness is an I / thou engagement.
And the bullies?
They don’t just pick people up by their underwear anymore.
Though they do seem to have a desire to castrate us dudes.
Be wary my dudes.
If you fuck up and wrong someone, or, if you were a piece of shit in your past like these assholes were, here’s two tips:
1 do not double down on being a fuckhead. If you do and come home to a smouldering foundation where your house used to be, I’ll be the first to say “I told you so”.
2: if you ever fuck up and hurt someone - either from your past or in the present. I doesn’t matter if it’s physical abuse, or an extramarital affair, don’t be surprised if the person you hurt is in no mood to let you off the hook. The repair for what you’ve done may take longer than you want.
A lot of people experience great relief when they apologize and the apology is accepted. Those apologies? The really are not for the hurt person. They are there to appease the guilt of the person who has done the actual harm to the other.
Only apologize if you’re the individual who has harmed another individual. If the relationship is important to you, it might be in your interest to find ways to make amends If not? move on.
Love the people who love you and put miles between you and the domineering bullies - both the physical and emotional ones.
And if you get a chance?
Go poop on their graves. Preferably with their children watching.
Your anger is a gift
It’s a really big present that’s obnoxious, unwieldly and badly wrapped
That’s ok. Anger is your gift to yourself that protects and cleanses.
Hydrochloric anger is toxic in large quantities, but sometimes when the shit stains are that big, you need more than a bucket and mop. Sometimes a pump is more efficient.
Stay foolish my friends.