You’re Still An Asshole, But I’m Choosing To Forgive You

iStockPhoto.com / AZarubaika
iStockPhoto.com / AZarubaika

Considering how much of a cocky and self-obsessed man you are, it would be highly unlikely that you ever read this. I’m sure you’ve moved forward in your life and thought very little of the destruction you left in your path. I’m sure I was just another speed bump, just another indent that you quickly smoothed over. They say habits are hard to break, and you broke me like it’s what you’ve always done. Like brushing your teeth, or ironing your white button-up, our brutal undoing seemed utterly routine.

On one of our first dates, you told me you were incapable of love. I laughed, as if it were a joke. But now I see the harsh reality. You were telling the truth.

So, I’m not writing this for you. I’ve already spent so much of my time doing whatever I could for you. I wanted to be enough. I thought of little ways to make you smile, to warm up that cold, mechanical heart of yours. I wanted to prove I was worthy of your affection, even though some part of me knew you were too busy making love to your own reflection every night. It would always be a losing battle. But dammit, I tried.

I’m writing this for me. And I’m choosing to forgive you for me.

I’m not doing it because I’ve suddenly seen the light and finally get why you did what you did. I’m not forgiving you because you’re some wounded, misunderstood creature and I shouldn’t have been so quick to think of you as an asshole. I’m not forgiving you to ease your conscience.

Because the thing is, you are an asshole. And you know it. You’d never deny it. It’s part of your sickening charm. You own everything you are. You’d be the first one to nod along and agree, “Yep, I’m a huge jerk. You’re not wrong.”

I choose to forgive you because holding onto this resentment isn’t hurting you. It’s only hurting me.

I choose to forgive you because I deserve to hear your name or see your face and not taste bile in the back of my throat. I don’t want to fight back tears, to pretend I have allergies for the first time ever. I don’t want this bitterness sitting captive in my heart.

I choose to forgive you because resentment does nothing positive for my life. I want something big and beautiful. I want happiness and hands that touch me tenderly, not roughly. I want a love worth speaking about.

I choose to forgive you because forgiveness is not the same thing as forgetting. I won’t erase what happened. But I can let go of my anger. I can stop beating myself up for it.

I want to let you go. I need to let you go.

My forgiveness doesn’t mean you didn’t do something to earn my scorn. My forgiveness doesn’t mean all is fine and dandy. My forgiveness means I’m finally putting myself first. My forgiveness means I’m letting myself heal. My forgiveness means I’m doing this for me. Because if I’m being honest with myself, I never needed you. I never needed what you put me through. And you definitely don’t need my forgiveness.

But I need to forgive you. I need to forgive you for me. TC mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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