Germinating seeds of forgiveness .

Submitted into Contest #116 in response to: Write about a character seeking forgiveness for something that happened in the past.... view prompt

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Contemporary Drama

There´s a part of me, who lies all the time, to tell myself a truth, I´m afraid to bear. That part of me has many names and none. It cries it howls, it is caged. It is sad and it is lonely. It wants to break free from its burden. It wants to wash. It wants to breathe. It wants forgiveness and to give absolution. It craves the light; it longs for warmth. It labors to forgive, to pardon! To break its chains and bathe in the sunlight.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn´t exist.                                       

Charles Baudelaire.

It´s quite the metaphor, I realize. I´m about to open a cesspool of filth and dirt. The discomfort of the feelings that surface causes me to want to abort this writing. But I can´t. I need an outlet for everything I have buried.

Take heart dear reader; there will be tectonic violence wreaking havoc beneath the ground. The stars might go dark. Develop a sense of curiosity about what lies beneath, for my inner world is a terrifying playground. We must move forward gently.

Let me put on my brave front as though I write in confidence. We are entering a sensitive and overwhelming territory. I can´t do this alone. I need company, and please remind me to engage with compassion. Help me find and honor my truth. Dictate me to hold space for grace and above all forgiveness.

I carry a wound; it must be unearthed and named! 

I was sentenced and burned at the stake a long time ago. I need to perform an inner excavation. Diving into memories will carry an intensity that suffocates. But I can no longer bear to live in hiding. I was led to believe I´m defective. I was never enough and always too much.

As a child it was not safe for me to be myself; I had to hide. It was dangerous to have needs. There was a lot of turmoil in my inner world because it turned out to be a place of terrible self-attack and there was no shelter there. It led me to build a fortress around and within myself to keep all true feelings out. To avoid inner poverty, flee from the pain. Leaving a wound to fester; minimizing myself and my needs to destructive ends, developing self-sabotaging behaviors: distorted eating, addiction, and harmful lack of self-care. Self-loathing became my normal state of being.

I no longer wish to hold on to that story where nothing, but rage, deep shame, profound fear, and emptiness is to be found. I don´t want to be a victim but find the courage to march to my own drum. I have been going around begging for a living and making deals with the future. Today I stop being the destitute child. I am here to claim my heritage!

My mother had a narcissistic and borderline personality. She´s no longer among the living, but she often springs up in my mind in the guise of intrusive thoughts.

She was a complex woman; dominant, dramatic, a pathological liar, abuser both physically and mentally: her wickedness was bottomless. No matter what I did, she would despise me. my goodness and innocence drove her to hate. She was jealous and resentful of me, angry at her own mother and projecting this wound onto me. As a child, I always felt scared and lonely. That sums it up. Guidance and nurture were absent for the most part.

She was a devouring mother; trying to extinguish me through psychological and even spiritual control. Keeping me like a bird in a cage; she tried to isolate me from the world unless of course, she could be the center of attention.

She was very controlling, smothering my will with her own. I had no sense of the outside world outside my mother´s expectations. 

She was physically overwhelming and had no boundaries, violating my personal space and prohibiting me from moving freely in the world. She was excessively involved in my life, so she could make sure I believed I would never be able to survive on my own – and that she would need to be there to take “care” of me.

I was never allowed to simply be and grow or see myself. I was forced to see a version of myself she wanted to see.

It´s not that she was unable to mother, but there always had to be something in it for herself. Incapable to attune to deeper needs, she was emotionally absent.

She was good at smashing my dreams, and she never thought me to love myself. Her idea of being nice was ridicule, mockery, and invalidating my feelings leaving me feeling ashamed for my stupidness and guilt for thinking such “wrong” things. My growth was an exercise in pleasing her. I had to reject myself and mold myself into an image she had of me: a submissive applauding audience.

Feelings of guilt arise as I write this, and in my head, it´s getting dark. I almost want to hide. Her voice is still in my head always making me doubt, always criticizing, analyzing, and dismissing my every move.

Through her attacks were physical and verbal (scream and yell), she could also attack quietly, lacing demeaning words with a polite matter or even maternal tone. She excelled at playing the victim: Oscar-worthy material! Especially when domination didn´t work.

In a way, my mother and her mother were in a way remarkably similar: cold and bitter. Both had borderline personality. Both were born out of wedlock. 

My great-grandmother was different, and it is to her I refer to as grandma. She was the only one who ever showed me love and kindness as a child.

All of this left me with a soul earing emotion: shame! It came even before I knew the meaning of the word. All that I believed about myself and was embedded in the bedrock of my identity was fed by false narratives: that I would never be enough, that I was fundamentally bad and broken and that I was not worthy of love, and most of all: that I needed to be perfect to be loved.

Shame feeds pain, negativity, and hard-heartedness. It wants me to stay small and threatens me with all the fearful outcomes that might arise if I break from its hold.

Stepping out of it is terrifying because it requires looking at the dark part of myself that my armor doesn´t want me to see. I can´t almost imagine what life would be like without shame because in a twisted sense it has been a caretaker of me.

As a child, I needed to disappear into my imaginations or become stoic in order to learn to meet my own needs: to cope and survive. Shame is festering deep in the recesses of my being. To get rid of it I need to descend into a dark basement, and I´m so afraid of what I might uncover there. more pain and even more shame; buried way back in the darkest corners. I don´t like to venture there, it feels like drowning.

The basement is an ugly place. Dark secrets lurk there. it´s dirty and full of rot. There are spiders, yes, and probably rats too, but they´re the least of my problems.

God help me my head is so heavy!

What I find there is abuse, punishment, and torture. If I remove some clutter, I can find the estranged relationships with ease, the abuse, the co-dependency, addiction, anger, and fear.

I´m no longer willing to keep them hidden, they kept my vulnerable self hostage for way too long! Out of shame, I created a false bulletproof identity. I throw off the armor now. It feels bewildering, and it pierces my heart with sorrow.

It is frightening to confront the dark, but it is in the dark that the light of a single candle shines the brightest. It is that light that reveals the shame that conceals my innocent child-self. In that light shame has no power; I can pull it up by the roots.

I can never unsee my brokenness, pride, fear, desperation, and pain: but I am not to be identified by my shame. I shine that light in my basement and I can never allow myself to unshine it again!

I truly was a victim of emotional and physical abuse. But I can also truly be proud of certain things I have accomplished in my life, and I believe I can declare myself strong, though this was never really felt at the core of my soul.

I feel naked without my armor. But I have to take it one step further: I need to forgive my mother. We live in a culture that equates forgiveness with passivity or timidity – another form of letting someone walk all over you.

I think I have a right to be angry. Feeling anger, after all, is a fundamental part of reclaiming feeling and healing. Without it, I remain disconnected from my heart and the fire in my soul. It´s not easy: rage, anger, heartbreak, sadness are too deeply held and too formative to be easily sanitized by oversimplified fed notions of forgiveness.

For me, forgiveness is slow and incremental. It does not ignore the truth and depth of the wound. It voices the rage and the fear and honors them. It is the only way I can let the seeds of forgiveness germinate in my heart.

Forgiveness does not ask me to forget, nor does it ask me to make excuses; only to soften what is hard and warm what is cold. It certainly does not remove the harm experienced.

I can never change the past, no matter how I may wish I could. I cannot erase the pain or recover lost years: but my heart no longer wishes to rattle the bars of my past. My mind no longer strives to undo the reality of my wound, thinking it will disappear if I only do this or that; be the perfect wife or the perfect mother.

I no longer judge the past or attempt to make deals with the future. My wound is now a mark of acceptance: a scar. No longer festering. I´m no longer afraid to visit that dreadful basement: because I will never ever allow the light to snuff out again!

Life can be understood backward but must be lived forwards. And it´s up to me not to take it all too seriously, so I can learn how to laugh wholeheartedly and turn a tragedy into a comedy. I will vanquish all that was done to me and left me with false limitations. I will tune myself for the world to move through me.

I will be at ease; all contradictions reconciled as long as I speak in my own voice. appreciate life and work hard at things I love. Bringing my complete self to each moment with grace and enthusiasm. I decide to keep it simple: I will make use of myself every day in the service of truth, while at the same time getting satisfaction out of life through love, work, and of course: laughter! That to me is beauty. I´m not fully there yet, I also need to forgive myself for all the destructive ways, I let the wound direct and define.

I forgive my fumbling. I forgive myself for acting like I never met myself. I forgive myself for sweating in the pursuit of importance and acceptance. I forgive myself for growing spikes when ashamed. I forgive myself for being more willing to die than to fight. I forgive all my defeats stacked up inside of me.

I forgive myself for not knowing better. I forgive myself for how tired I am. I forgive myself for knowing better and yet not doing better. For my hiding and my running.

I forgive myself for the suffocating disguises, for the secrets I still keep from myself.

I forgive myself for the times I unbecame myself for someone else, a partner, a parent… because I was failing to be real.

I forgive everything that ever called me forbidden, for kneeling before who and whatever tagged me a sin. I forgive myself, for deceiving my head. For thinking a lie would make me matter, more solid. Even more indestructible.

I forgive myself for breaking my heart, for lashing out, for falling apart, for losing my mind.

I am here now. I let this matter more!

October 20, 2021 16:33

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