“Yesterday ate me alive, or maybe I ate myself. Bad attitudes are like oil in a hot pan. Everything spits fire. Everything burns. But who’s to blame? The pan? The oil? My hands that are now blistering and painful? My mouth that is now breathing flames? Was the day already burning, or did I set it on fire?”– L.E. Bowman
It’s no secret that October is a difficult month for me. I tend to withdraw from people, and places where I might accidentally cross paths with people, whom I may know. In times like this, I tend to crave solitude more than ever. I need the distance, I need the space, and I need the silence more than anything in the world right now – because, only in the silence, can I truly hear the sound of my own voice, calling out to me through the plethora of memories, life lessons, unspoken words and occasional regrets.
It occurred to me recently that a big part of growing up and into our own adult lives requires UNLEARNING a lot of the shit we were taught as children – by people who didn’t exactly know what they were doing either.
Take, for instance, the concept of forgiveness. For as long as I can remember, I have been taught that forgiving someone must first require them to be sorry for what they’d done. So, in my mind, due to my own religious upbringing, how could I possibly reach a place of forgiveness with a person who would never say that they’re sorry or admit that they were wrong?
In the case of my parents untimely deaths, if no one actually cared enough to review all the evidence of the case, and let the jury hear ALL of the details, how could they possibly make an open and honest decision on the case in the first place? And, while I was never trying to seek revenge and really didn’t want the man’s FAMILY to be impacted by a guilty verdict, it still really hurts to know that justice was not actually served that day. I mean, if there’s never any consequence for the severity of his actions, what is there to stop him from repeating the same kind of behavior again? And, in the grand scheme of things, did the lives of my parents – and the fact that they died that day as a direct result of this man’s reckless behavior, even matter to anyone else but me? These are just a few of the thoughts that keep me awake at night, even after all these years.
I do not have all the answers, but I do need to find my way through this. Because it still burns, because it still bleeds, and because no amount of time is going to change that. I need a fresh perspective, one that sits well with my soul. I have got to change the way I think about it, or the way I feel about it will never change.
“They” say that the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do is forgive a person who isn’t sorry. I now know, in this particular scenario, that “they” are very right. I wish I could say that I am there – but, the truth is, I’m still so far away from it. What matters most, though, is that I am still trying.