“Forgiving is not forgetting. It’s letting go of the hurt.”
It was instantaneous and vitriol and in my head before I even had a moment to register.
“Ughh…I hate her!”
“Her” was a girl I went to high school with over 20 years ago. I have not seen nor spoken with this girl since then…yet seeing her profile picture flash across a friends Facebook page brought it all back. Even though I know I shouldn’t hate her – I really don’t even KNOW her – it was the first thing that popped into my head.
The funny thing is – we were on again/off again best friends through much of junior high and high school. However, it was a friendship based on mutual disrespect. She had a “reputation” that made her quite popular with the boys. I had a self esteem problem that I fed relentlessly. We were a perfect storm of self loathing.
Sometimes, the stars would align and we’d be brief but glorious allies. Most of the time, however, we were using the other as stepping stones towards something bigger, better and brighter in the bad world of high school politics. She spread a very viscous rumor about me that nearly took me down senior year. I, in turn, made fun of her clothes, hair and moral stance. She stole my friends and turned them against me. I shared a secret of hers that was deep and personal and NOT my business to disclose.
We were pretty terrible people.
After graduation I never saw her again – at least not in the flesh. Her picture would pop up occasionally on social media and I would get a secret thrill…oohhh…she’s getting a divorce….and then I would forget about her and go on with my life. Since we went to high school together we have a lot of the same “friends” on social media. One time she posted a class picture from 6th grade. She proceeded to tag and name EVERY PERSON IN THE PICTURE except me.
For some reason this really bothered me. It’s like she was still playing some power trip – excluding me – some 20 years later. The funny thing is I joined social media kinda early – and she was among the first people from our class to get an account. This was at least 10 years after we graduated from high school and when I saw her name I didn’t feel hatred. I felt sad. I wanted to outreach, say I was sorry, and try to make amends.
So I did.
I wrote a really heartfelt message apologizing for my behaviors, explaining that I was just a dumb kid full of insecurities and desperate to be accepted and liked. That I was wrong. That I had grown up and seen the error of my ways. That I wished we’d taken all the energy we’d put into beating each other up and instead built each other up.
She never responded. I know she saw it – there is of course a “Big Brother” feature that shows when someone reads your messages – and that just added fuel to my now blazing fire.
SHE DIDN’T CARE.
So to see her pop up again – it just brought back all the hurt, rejection, lies and ugly words. It’s a scar, a blemish on my quest to live a kind life. What can I do? Can I let go of this ? Can I view her as the sad, angry, lost child she was instead of seeing her as the villain in my own personal story?
I don’t know.
Maybe living a kind life means accepting what I can’t change. Knowing that there are people in the world that do not like me. Realizing it’s just life and that is okay.
Maybe today I can finally let go of that hatred and hurt. Maybe today I can walk away from 20 plus years of anger. Maybe today I can make the choice to move forward and let go of the past.