Today I realized that hatred has a half-life. And the heaviness I held within my heart had evaporated long before I took notice of its departure.
I was never one to hold a grudge, simply because my memory is incapable of holding onto one. But there was one instance in my life that even my flimsy memory couldn’t seem to let go of, and approximately three nights ago, it finally did.
I will spare you the gory details and spare myself the long walk down memory lane, but four years ago, I became friendless. Four years ago I was the loneliest I had ever been. I still remember the nights of pillow-screaming, and the mornings full of tears and a sore throat. I remember walking to school with what felt like cement blocks tied around my ankles. I remember the pain in my chest when I looked at all the faces I had once counted as friendly and familiar—they were strangers. I had lost them all in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the skip of a heartbeat, and the swallow of saliva. And eventually, the pain I felt ebbed, and complete and total hatred flowed.
I held onto my anger and sadness like a life raft, refusing to let go in fear that I would be swallowed up by the empty sea that seemed to surround me even though I walked upon dry land. And while I clung to my life raft, I ripped apart the pictures, I cursed their names, and in a drunken stupor, I threw my hatred and beer bottle at them.
I turned my back on everyone, walking away with my middle finger in the air and my suitcase at my side. I left, but they followed.
It seemed I would never be rid of the people who broke my heart and erased my smile. I fumed at the fact that they lived a hop, skip and a fucking jump from my new front door. When I ran into them I feigned happiness and sincerity, I couldn’t let them see me in ruins, not again. I still had nights of screaming, I still had days where I cried into my notebooks, I still found myself wishing that I could go back and change things, I still clung to my anger, my pain. I refused to let my heart mend; I was afraid that by letting go of the past, I would forget what had happened to me, and there are some things one should never forget. But you have to forgive yourself. You have to forgive your past. You need to accept that things have happened to you, horrible, awful, wonderful, amazing things have happened to you and every single one of those things has brought you to this single moment in time. You are the sum of everything that has happened to you.
So I did it, three nights ago, I forgave myself. I sat down with one of them—one of the friend-strangers, and we laughed. I couldn’t believe myself, I was smiling and laughing and sharing life stories with the person who had been the sole target of all my anguish. And I saw it in her eyes, the apology I had so longed for. And before she could say it, I waved it off. That was when my hatred dissolved, I think. In that one gesture, I rid myself of four years of pain and loss. It was incredible, it was liberating. I slept like a baby that night.
So here I am, not entirely at peace with myself, but feeling a lot better than I have in years. I am content. I look forward to living a life with a lot less hatred and lot more optimism.
Try to forgive yourself, but let yourself feel pain. Allow your heartbreaks and your upsets to wash over you. Cling to the negativity, but remember to loosen your grip after a while. Let yourself drift away so that you can come back with a new perspective. Make your life raft out of tear streaks and screams, sail only through storms, but remember; eventually you will find land again and the stormy sky will clear, and I hope that when it does, you are happy.