Damn Disney Channel. I can easily look someone in the face and say that if I want to get a Star Wars fix, this is my only outlet for new material. Somewhere along the line it became okay for adults to watch cartoons again. So when someone might see Disney on the DVR they don’t think much of it. But hidden inside the folder is something a little more pathetic, possibly subversive, but every time I watch an episode I get the full range of emotions to experience.
Inside that folder is a show called “Girl Meets World”, and I have watched every episode. Last Spring I went to dinner at a fiend’s house while I was trying to be social, remind myself that the world existed beyond the walls of my office or home. Their 5 year old daughter is a fan of this show and the cross-eyed glances while I was talking to her about it made me realize to keep my mouth shut in the future. Lots of things had been learned about me that night, the daughter issue, the cancer issue; so information overload about Lary came between the salad and pasta!
Last Friday they had an episode about forgiveness. The plot details addressed a very serious adult issue the way teenagers might approach it. But it hit home faster than most things once the credits rolled at the end. While it’s important to forgive others, the most important thing is forgiving ourselves. It was like stepping on a rake left out in the leaves, smacking me right between the eyes.
Anger was easy to express. After everything that my former mother-in-law did to upset the apple cart, I always tried to understand. Even forgiving her for something while I was still railing about it. I’ve been pissed at God, doctors, my family, people on the street and mostly myself. I’ve been able to forgive every single one of them at the same time I was so angry. I needed to get rid of the anger.
I can’t forgive myself. Talking to people about it they keep begging me to try. Asking me to do the one thing I haven’t been able to do. The level of anger I feel at myself I can’t undo. All of that need to protect others came back to take it away, take them away.
There was a point when I was working towards accepting my life the way it was unfurling where I reached out and apologized to a couple of people I needed to clear the air with. When I was met by silence it just intensified my inner pain. I realize their desire to ignore things is on them, not me; but I still took it back on myself. I had been wrong in the first place, so I must still be the one who did the wrong thing.
Learning to forgive yourself is about changing your history. At least that was the way they stated it on that show. You can’t change history, but you can make a difference in the way your future might unfold. I guess you alter your present so that those memories become something positive. Those recent portions of your history supplant the more painful ones. Turning a negative into a positive?
When I look into the mirror I want to scream at the person I see looking back. I’ve tried anything short of directly shocking my brain to forget being told I’m to blame for everything. Those words have become so much a part of who I think I am, who people want me to be so that they have an excuse for their behavior; that I have made it harder to forgive myself for the things that were under my control.
My mother always told me you can earn forgiveness by making sure to not repeat the thing that caused the issue to begin with. Learn from your mistakes. You’re doomed to repeat history if you don’t study it!
That guilty pleasure is about my seeing the world as my daughter might have at some point. Fathers always worry about doing or saying the wrong thing where their daughters are concerned. Forgiveness might have taken a little longer for some of those things, but life isn’t a 22 minute sit-com where the world changes by the time fading to black arrives. I might have spent time at the Mall making up for those errors, but it would have been worth it.
I can easily forgive other people, why can’t I even forgive myself?
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “No Apologies.”