I mentioned it in my last post, but my birthday was this past Friday. I am the big Three – One, and to be quite honest I cannot believe it. Now, I know a lot of people do not put much stock into birthdays. Sometimes I feel like people down play the importance of them because that is the expectation when you become an adult. It is apart of maturing – I suppose. And I’ll be honest, I tried that once. To pretend my birthday was not a big deal to me. That it was, “just another day.” Needless to say, it did not work.
I like celebrating my birthday! For me it is an exciting period. A new beginning. A sort of personal new year’s day. I try to make the most of it, taking an extra week day off if I can. I try to do something I have never done before, or allow myself to indulge in a little extravagance for a day. I pamper myself like no one ever will. I think it’s worth it. We all deserve to feel a little extra special, and when you are a single girl, such as myself, sometimes you have to be your own best friend and splurge on yourself.
However, birthdays are not just about good times. My birthday is also a period of reflection for me. I like to take a serious moment to sit down and really go over, not just the past year, but the past in general. I know they say that we should not dwell on the past because it will hold us back. However, I do not completely adhere to that way of thinking. I think it is equally important to reflect and revisit the past. It is important that we exam our previous actions and the results of the choices we have made. I firmly believe in the old saying that if we do not learn from the past, then we truly are doomed to repeat it.
I do not want to repeat the past. Do you?
So, here is a question. What does the past look like for you? How would you sum it up?
In my case, the past is angry. It is depressed. It is tragic. It is perseverance. It is a lot of confusion. It is being alone. It is being lonely. It is getting to know ones self. It is travelling. It is a lot of new experiences. It is socializing. It is befriending. It is seclusion. It is honesty. It is challenges. It is knowing when enough is enough. It is many, many things.
After much reflection, I like to come up with what I call, “My Personal New Year’s Resolutions.” The ideas and concepts are not so much resolutions as much as they are changes I wish to focus on for the year to come. This year, when I took the time to reflect, there was only one thing I wanted to work on.
I want to stop being angry with my ex.
Yes, you read that correctly. I want to stop being angry with him. I have been exceedingly angry with this one person for nearly seven years now. Far longer than I have ever felt any anger before. Furthermore, I wanted to stay angry with him. Even now, I want to stay angry with him. I do not want to give up my anger, so much as I know I need to give up my anger towards him. We all have those traumatic break ups that leave scars that run far deeper than we could ever have thought possible. He was and still is an open wound for me. For years I took for granted that this was my new reality. That no matter which direction I go down in life, or who I come across; I will always hold a disdain for this one person. I was sure that I could never stop being angry with him. I allowed my anger, rage, and hurt towards him to become a solidified part of my identity. I was my anger, my anger was and still is me.
But a few months ago I really started to exam why I was so angry and enraged. What was it that was making me feel a deeply rooted hate for this person? I know, hate is a very strong word. However, I cannot be honest with you if I do not use it. I feel an immense amount of hate towards him. Rage, anger, hate these are the concepts I associate with him when I picture his face or hear his name. No, its not healthy, but it is the truth.
Hello. I am human and I am imperfect.
But, back to my earlier question, why was I so angry? And for so long? Surely, I have let grudges and anger go before. But why was it so different for this one person, who I have not seen in years now? What made him so “special?” I had to take a moment and ask myself these questions before I could discover the key to letting go of my anger. In other words, I needed to identify the why of my anger, before I could discover the how to removing it. These were the answers I came up with.
1) We as humans naturally adapt to changing environments. Our ability to adapt with the needs of the land has been our key to evolution and survival for centuries. However, in this modern day and age, I think we have gotten comfortable and we have slowly forgotten how to adapt. Abrupt changes can stop us dead in our tracks, and leave us confused, angry, and scared. This was the first of my hurdles to get over when he dumped me. It came as a complete and total surprise.
Usually there are warning signs, and my intuition is rather good at tuning into those subtle changes to sound the alarms within me. Yet, in this case I had no warning. Nothing to indicate what was just on the horizon. In fact, all signs pointed to a positive future ahead: spending the holidays together, being introduced to his family – including the cousins no one likes to mention, being encouraged to make plans for New Year’s Eve together. I think any sane person would say that these are all good indicators that things were progressing in the right direction. So, when he ended it, I was completely thrown. Floored, literally; I think I fainted ever so slightly because I fell to my knees on the floor.
2) I felt as though I had been misled the entire time we were together.
“The biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her.” – Bob Marley
This is a well-known quote by a man who was well-known to have a lot of “love” for a lot of ladies… at the same time. So, I’ll be frank, he is not exactly the best example to make such claims. However, the sentiment or meaning behind the quote remains the same. Do not, under any circumstances, excite the love of a woman you do not intend on being with. Does that mean when a woman falls in love with a man, that man is obligated to love her in return? No. Not at all. However, there are some men who go out of their way to “woo” a woman. They do it for the thrill of the chase. Those are the men I think Mr. Marley was referring to. The men who do it for no other reason than to conquer.
My ex pursed me passionately, romantically, and said all the right things in every way possible. Yes, we had our arguments, but he always reassured me that he was happy to be with me in the end. We were partners in crime, confidantes, and friends. In the time we spent together, he created a safe space for me to be unapologetically myself! In return, I accepted him just as completely. It was the stuff love is made of, and that is where the crux of the anger comes from.
I had fallen in love. Without even trying or looking, I had fallen hopelessly in love with this man. What’s more, I had fallen in love without knowing it had happened. I did not realize I was in love with him until he came to my door step and ended things abruptly the night before New Year’s Eve. The moment he stated he did not want to be with me anymore, I knew I was in love… and apparently I had been for some time.
3) Finally, and I think this is the biggest reason why I have held on to my anger for as long as I have, there was no closure.
When he ended our relationship, he admitted he had no good reason to do so. He had NO. REASON. He just wanted to end things. He could not tell me why, or more like he did not know why himself. He even agreed that it sounded completely idiotic. That, taking in all factors into account, he agreed that we did seem like we should stay together. But despite all logical reasoning to the contrary, he still ended things.
This was the most frustrating aspect to the whole break up. The complete lack of logic. Why end something that was going well? Why destroy a relationship that was healthy and not broken? Why? Why? WHY?
Guess what… I never got the answer. I never got the reason. I never got the why. It ended with no closure and a whole lot of confusion, and I had the hardest time accepting that I would most likely never get the closure I strongly felt (and still feel) I deserve. So, I decided to be defiant. If I could not get closure, then I would never forgive him. I would never stop being angry. I would hold onto my anger and rage, and I would never allow myself to forget. Never.
The way I saw it – and still see it – he did not deserve my forgiveness or for my anger to be appeased. He had left me, coldly and cruelly, and without cause. Why on earth should I forgive and let go of my anger for a person like that? Why on earth did he deserve to get off the hook? Scott-free? With no consequences to his actions? He did not deserve it!
And you know what, he still doesn’t.
But letting go of my anger towards him has nothing to do with him in the end. It has everything to do with me. It was nearly 7 years in the making, but I finally came to the conclusion that I would never get the closure I deserve. I had to accept this as my reality. However, it does not end there, I also had to realize that accepting this was ok. To me accepting that I was not going to get the closure I wanted, equated to giving him a free pass on breaking my heart. But that was wrong. So, very wrong.
Just because I am accepting that I am never going to get closure, does not mean he is getting a free pass. Nor does it mean that I do not still deserve it.
Of course I deserve closure. I deserve to know what the reason was for leading me on for as long as he had. I deserved answers. But I am finally accepting that this may not ever happen. He ran out with no reasons in a cowardly way. That is just the truth, and I feel so much better for accepting it.
However, let me be clear, this does not in any way absolve him of his actions. He still has no place in my life, and I am not going to attempt to be amicable by befriending him. I have just come to finally make peace with my broken heart. I have accepted it and it is still on the mend. I am no longer bitter and angry about it. But I have the consciousness to say, “I forgive, but I have not forgotten. So, you are not welcomed back into my life.” Forgiving someone does not mean you have to give them another chance. Forgiving that person means to recognize that they have committed a wrong against you, but you are willing to let it go enough not to let it destroy you.
So, today, I can say with a lighter heart that I do in fact forgive him. I do not want to be angry with him anymore. I am finally ready to let that piece of my identity go. However, I now know his lack of character, and if he were to ever make an appearance, he would not be welcomed.
I forgive you TDC, but you have no place in my life.
You have no idea… those words were seven years in the making.
So, does that mean my anger has completely dissipated? No. Not in a long shot. What it does mean is that I have begun the process of letting it go. That I know that there will be a future day when I no longer feel any anger towards him at all. That one day, I will hear his name, and I may not smile, but I will not longer shed angry tears.
“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” – Bernard Meltzer
I look forward to that day of indifference.
That is my New Year/Birthday Resolution.
Until we meet again.
May we all be sweetly inspired.