Perhaps you didn’t know better, or maybe you did and did not care.
Perhaps it was true viciousness, or, as people told me after the fact, “kids being kids”. It didn’t seem that way, but who knows what was going on in your life? Maybe this is what you thought it was about. Maybe, given enough time, that was what I would have thought too.
But then we crossed paths. In the end, only one of us could walk away with her head held high.
I never quite knew such loneliness before.
It’s not just the things you would say to me, but the fact that everyone else seemed to agree. Everyone, including the adults, rushed to tell me I was wrong to have my feelings hurt, that I should not be taking you seriously. Everyone seemed to defend what you were doing.
It went against everything I knew. What happened to kindness, what happened to empathy? It seemed as though it didn’t matter at all. What mattered was how much you were liked yourself, and how many people you had on your side.
That mindfuck is not your fault, of course. That’s not what I’m forgiving you for.
I’m forgiving you for being cruel.
I’m forgiving you for taking out on me whatever it was that was torturing you at the time.
Mind, you probably don’t care one way or another. But then again, I’m not forgiving you for your sake. I’m doing it for mine.
I know where you were coming from that day. This place, when you are in so much pain, it seems like you cannot hold it inside anymore, and that you must let it out, or else it will destroy you. I know how good lashing out seems when you’re doing it. And I know how dirty it feels afterward when the adrenaline has worn off and you realize what you have done. Maybe, like me, you found the feeling so repulsive you never indulged again. Maybe you learned to suppress it. I’ll never know.
I forgive you anyway.
It’s taken me years – and a trip to that bad place – to realize what you did had nothing to do with me. It was personal, but only in the most superficial of ways. The cruelty, the viciousness, that was all for you. I gave you an opening, and you went for the jugular.
Perhaps it was all you knew to do.
Perhaps you just wanted to do it.
It’s okay. I’m letting go of that now.
I’m letting go of looking for you in the face of every person who is cruel, selfish, or evil. I’m letting go of trying to appease you, of being your friend. I’m letting go of letting you walk all over me so that you may feel better about yourself. I’m forgiving you for being you so that I can stand up and walk, instead of crawl, and help others walk too.
I forgive you.
Perhaps, in time, you will be able to forgive yourself, too.