i have been aware for quite some time, that i am a person who never forgives myself for anything.
well, let me amend: i never forgive myself for anything, until i feel i have "made up for it" somehow, or suffered enough for it...if that's even logical.
funny enough, i am pretty quick to forgive other people. i wasn't always; i used to hold a grudge like nobody's business and (for some reason) was very proud of it. i could hold onto something somebody said or did to me years ago until the world ended...was this some great quality or virtue? no. what a weakness. nonetheless, it was something i did.
then over the last few years, things changed. see, along with holding a mean grudge i also used to be very judgey mcjudgerson about people. i made fun of people for being fat, for being too skinny, for acne, for getting married young, for getting divorced. i was the first to believe a rumor about somebody being a "skank" or stuck-up, and i never apologized for any of it. there was a part of me that always felt bad, but it was easy to suppress. being that way was easy- i never had to feel bad for anyone or care too much about anybody because i'd just let myself focus on their perceived "flaws" enough to think that they must have "deserved something" somehow.
i know, i sound like the devil. bear with me. the story changes.
like i said, over the last few years things have changed. for one thing, i noticed that nearly EVERYTHING i'd ever made fun of somebody else for seemed to be happening to me. i got married young. it was an unhappy marriage. i gained a bunch of weight. my marriage ended. in the middle of all of this, pretty much everything i thought i was and everything i'd built "myself" upon crumbled. when the dust settled, i no longer had my looks, my husband, the sarcastic and cynical wall that had protected me had disintegrated and there i was....like a burn victim with fresh new skin...i had a life- a whole person to rebuild.
and it hurt.
around this time i began working with the kids at foothill and got sick, and the rest is history. or at least, i've written about it so much that most people probably aren't even reading anymore and are thinking "seriously, you're sick, we get it. move on!" but here's the thing: the way this all played out was integral to what my life is now. certain things would never have fallen into place without the things that fell before them. working at the school at such a vulnerable time reminded me that i WASN'T all of those things i'd thought i'd lost over the last few years- i was more. and the love i had for the kids i worked with reminded me how much better and truly easier it was, just to love people.it was so beautiful, how easily it came to me to love those children like they were my family. life was so much fuller and richer that way.
also, after going through all of the things i'd so easily criticized others for...it wasn't so easy to judge anymore. in fact, i pretty much STOPPED judging, period. i thought about the battles we each fight every day and how every person had them- what did i know, to scoff or judge or criticize? i had a couple of experiences that i felt were somewhat unjust on the part of the other person in the situation, and realized- they don't know everything about me. they don't know what i'm going through. more than likely, they would have felt differently if they did. and so the impulse to judge others so readily was washed out of me pretty quickly.
but that wasn't the end.
unfortunately, things don't disappear. a person who tends to be hard on others, usually takes awhile to truly get rid of whatever it is inside of them that spurs that on. a lot of it disappeared, yes. but much of it has turned inward. i have realized that for the last few years in one way or another, i have tried to absolve every perceived wrongdoing on my part. anything i've done or said that i've felt bad about, i've turned inward and in effect, tried to "pay for". and that's just not how the world works. i'm certain that this thought process has something to do with this illness that i just can't seem to get under control. i'm also certain that it's something i HAVE to let go of, as part of my personal journey.
i can't needlessly criticize and effectively punish myself, any more than i can anyone else. the measure of understanding i try to extend to others is something i should also extend to myself. who am i, to take all of my imperfections on solely on my shoulders?
i am only human.