Lily Tomlin said that forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. This idea has been barraging me the last couple of weeks as I confront my history.
No, not Mr. X. Not that history. My involvement with him is the symptom, not the root cause.
I was talking to a friend (who, well, let’s just say that she would win the gold in just about any “Worst Childhood Olympics”) this past week about this, and ended up saying at one point in the conversation that I felt strange talking to her about my childhood, because compared to hers, I grew up at Disneyland. Well, it wasn’t Disneyland, but admitting that the facade of the happy childhood isn’t real is very hard to do and more painful than one might think.
This is not the post in which I blame my parents for every uncomfortable thing in my life, but this is the post in which I admit that I bring this baggage that I’ve carried since I was very young into my present day. This is the post in which I attempt to acknowledge that nobody is going to rescue me from my own life, from my own past. Nobody is going to rescue me from me.
I had dinner with another friend last week. She has recently decided to quit her job and step into the great unknown. She admitted that she was hoping a certain thing would happen so that she could leave her job with an excuse; she was hoping to be rescued. “Nobody’s going to rescue me,” she said.
Her statement has been bouncing around my brain ever since. This is familiar territory for me, this waiting for the-thing-that-is-just-around-the-corner-and-will-make-everything-okay-as-soon-as-it’s-here.
So I’ve fallen into that old well-traveled way of not thinking about the pain of right now by thinking about everything else or nothing at all. And it slipped up on me, but I can see now it’s been gaining steam ever since I started confronting the truth that as a child I didn’t get enough of what I needed, and much too much of what I didn’t.
I don’t know that it’s as much about forgiveness as acceptance that this is the way it is and relinquishing the notion that things will look different if I just squint hard enough. There aren’t any do-overs for childhoods.
I was going to try to end this on a perky note about new years and new opportunities, but some things don’t have a perky ending. Some things just are, and we have to figure out how we will deal with them: to fight them, to ignore them, or to accept them. The serenity to accept the things I cannot change, or something like that.