i used to think that i didn't hold grudges. which, in my mind, meant that i was a forgiving person. but i actually think that i've just had a really, really lucky blend of personality and circumstance where, in the instances when i felt like someone has "wronged" me, i didn't really have to deal with it. i just told myself, "okay. relationship over. i'm going to find a new friend." the first time i can remember this happening was in the second grade. my best friend sarah started hanging out with the new girl in our class instead of me and it hurt my feelings. so i stopped hanging out with sarah in any capacity and found a new best friend.
distancing myself has always been a thing that works for me.
the other thing is empathy/accountability.
i've always been able to see the other person's side of the conflict and see my part in it. and once you have that, it's pretty hard to think of that other person as pure evil.
my point is that i realize that i've never really had to actively and consciously practice forgiveness. and i know that now because this year i have struggled to forgive and, frankly, i have never felt this feeling before. forgiveness is hard. and forgiving someone who isn't sorry feels impossible. i don't resent the situation because so much good has come out of it. i know this sounds weird after what i've just written, but this last year has been one of the happiest years of my life. i've been a better person and i've connected so much better with people. and i was driven to do so because i was hurt and i wanted to turn that hurt into something constructive. so i don't regret what happened situationally. but i still hate the person who started it all. which is awful, because i never hate people. i apathy people. i apathy people all the time, but i don't hate them.
and i feel like i've put in some solid effort to move past/through/around all of this. i've read a lot of touchy feely, self-help articles, i've tried to let the anger go using sheer strength of will, i've tried empathizing (but somehow that just made me angrier), i've tried to think of a time when someone forgave me, i've prayed a lot, i've read religious talks on it.
i really have tried.
but i can't get this ugliness inside me to just magically float away. and it's so frustrating because i would so much prefer to be filled with my usual sunshine and unicorns (or whatever it is that i'm usually full of).
i guess that, if you let that petty anger get inside of you it doesn't just float away overnight and it becomes a year-long project to get over it.
i want to be clear that i'm not writing about this because i think it makes me look in any way sympathetic. i hate admitting how angry i've been. it makes me feel pathetic and weak and weird. but, in the interest of full, ugly disclosure, i wanted to write about it because it's been such a big part of my life this past year. and i like to think that in another year, i'll read this and go, "oh ya! i vaguely remember that. that was really hard."
Saturday, February 07, 2015
the other night, this guy introduced me to his friend by saying, “this is kat. she’s hilarious.”
i love that compliment.
and also sometimes i hate that compliment because it has rarely, if ever, meant, “this is kat. i find her super attractive.” it’s more synonymous with, “this is kat. she’s a goofball and i’m actively friend-zoning her as we speak.”
which is fine because here's the thing: i am a goofball. and i go back and forth trying to decide how important that is to me.
i don't know that i'll be able to succinctly get my point across, so bear (bare? (i think it's bear)) with me. in my opinion, a big part of life is figuring out 1. who we are/who we want to be, 2. what aspects about ourselves we like or dislike, 3. what others like or dislike about us, and then 4. taking all that information and deciding all over again who we are/who we want to be. it's a subtle balance of self-acceptance and personal growth.
i have no problem with the idea of changing something about myself to be a better person. even if the impetus for change comes from an external source (family, friends, coworkers, religious leaders, random street people). they probably all have their own agenda (don't we all) but i would say that it's still a good thing if it's pushing me towards being the person i want to be.
i'll even take it a step further (farther? (i think this time it's farther. although, it's not a literal step that i'm taking, so maybe it's further.)) and say that to a certain extent, i also don't have a problem changing myself to conform or to be more likable. give me a makeover. point out my rough edges and bad habits. "can't buy me love" me. whatever. that's the window dressing and if it changes, i will still be me. but here (hear? (just kidding)) is where it gets more complicated; when i feel pressure to change something about myself i really like.
and this is where the goofy sense of humor thing comes in because, well, i like my sense of humor. i like making people laugh and laughing at myself. i like that i'm weird and talkative and expressive. i like being goofy. however, i also don't have a problem adapting to circumstance. i downplay my sense of humor at work and at church because those circumstances aren't about being a special unicorn. they're about getting something done. but when I think about my personal life and what kind of relationships i want with my family and friends, it involves feeling accepted and loved for who i am.
that is why, when the cute guy introduced me to his friend as "hilarious," i smiled at him and said, "thank you."
just because he didn't mean it as a compliment, doesn't mean i can't take it as one.