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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Forgive + XForget

The expression "forgive but don't forget" always seemed strange to me. It was an expression I thoroughly did not understand. Don't "forgive" and "forget" always go hand in hand in cases like faults and grudges?

For me it has always been so. At a certain point in time I'd be so angry and upset with someone and with my friends as witnesses, I could recount every tiny detail that caused that antagonism. In fact, I could even remember the details that weren't the cause, but rather all the things they did that annoyed me - even those unrelated to me. I'd also possibly argue that they were part of the cause, because well, the person was the cause, and they did things that displeased me so... Yep. Petty anger - but anger nonetheless.

Because when you hate someone, everything they do becomes annoying. It's a universal fact. They even have memes for it:



And I swear on my dead cellphone's grave that I could even remember their breathing patterns (which honestly, isn't saying much, but I had to swear on something). I even had meters and currencies named after them to keep track of how annoying they were. ( +10 ----- on the ------o-meter!!!) But I'm not about to elaborate on that one. I know the difference between expressing my feelings and digging my own grave - though people who know me might argue otherwise.

All that anger, annoyance and attention to detail disappear once I've forgiven a person. No, not at will of course. That's impossible (although there was this one time that it unbelievably happened - but besides that, all the other ones are the same). Eventually I find myself thinking back to that person who I couldn't stand, and remember none of why I wanted to incinerate him/her alive.

You might say that since I've described this emotion as petty, then maybe that's why I could so easily forgive, because they were't serious transgressions. And yes, while that may be true for some, not all of my anger can be described as petty. I only use the word because that is what they are to me now - petty. They aren't as significant as they were before, and I'm not about to pour out my non-existent emotions on a blog. Because if I wasn't clear enough, I don't care anymore.

In fact there was this one person whom I grew to dislike so much, and eventually I forgot what she did that was so wrong - although I remember quite clearly the fact that for sure they were offensive not only to me, but for many people. After that, she reverted back to her old self again, and did things to displease others, including me of course, and I was surprised still that even though part of my second anger was the fact that she was actually still the same as her past offending self, I still couldn't remember what she did the first time around.

Now, I can't remember the first and second.

The forgiveness I'm talking about isn't something gratifying or patronizing or any adjective that might condescend. The forgiveness I'm talking about is the absence of previous resentment that was there.

I'm not one of those people who forgives others for herself. I mean, what the hell does that even mean? You didn't forgive others for them, which only means you still bear negative emotions regarding what they did, so doesn't that mean that you're just forcing yourself to forgive them? That's not only condescending which actually goes against the nature of forgiveness, but also a denial of a truth that could so easily disappear, if you just let it be.

In fact, the reason I eventually forget what they did before was because these people change, for the better - which isn't all that curious due to the fact that we all go through angst-y adolescence.  Being young doesn't give us the excuse to be assholes, so it's alright to be upset with each other when we are. There's no need to force yourself to be patient with each other just because we're all teenagers, but it does give us an excuse to forget the past when it has passed and long gone.

The reason why people forget when they forgive, is because they deem the past insignificant. It's either this person doesn't hold the power s/he did on you before - because what they did in the past, it's stopped happening - or the thing they did to you once, doesn't hurt you anymore. You don't care anymore. And nothing's better than letting go of the bad things in life willingly and without pressure.

If you force yourself to forgive, thinking that it's the right thing to do, then you're only hurting yourself. Being friends with someone who reminds you of what they once did will fill you with bad thoughts and emotions - ones you can't even voice out because you've already forgiven. This is self-destructing.

And so I do not change my thesis or my mind. I still don't understand the meaning of "forgive but don't forget". And I hope I never do, because once I do, then I'd be the type of person who'd hold grudges against someone deep inside, and never letting go - all while I'm not even aware of it.

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And it was while I was thinking of this topic and writing it in my mind that I realized the same was true of positive feelings.

That day, when you were laughing and I reminded you of my past problem, you'd told me you'd forgotten, and waved it off as part of your latest incapacity to remember things. It was understandable of course. I understood when I had to tell you the story of that cute boy in class twice. I understood, when you couldn't remember the small things that we talked about. That one big problem though, for sure even a random reader on this blog would remember it if I voiced it out. It was just that big a deal.

I'm not angry, nor was I at the time when it happened. The thing I'd felt was disappointment - not for you, no. It was regarding our friendship, that I realized it could only go so far. I wasn't that important to you anymore, and to be honest, I don't so much remember what we did back in high school - save for the everyday rituals that we did. And so because you were part of my important memories in high school, I'd never forget those. The small talks and the details - I can't recall anymore.

It was at that time that I could finally admit it to myself. That feeling that I got when we talked on the phone or met up, it wasn't because of the slightly awkward feeling of friends who rarely get to talk anymore.

It was the feeling of your best friend slowing becoming just an acquaintance.

And so because today, I cannot greet you as your best friend anymore, for the last time, I want to remember the memories of when we were.

Happy Birthday, my dearest friend. Thank you for the phone calls every night, talking about boys and classrooms and lessons and feelings. Thank you for all the rendezvous we had in washroom breaks where we'd talk about anything from petty feelings to heart-to-heart anxieties. All those times that we'd meet up and loiter around the school would be the most exciting in my days sometimes, and eventually they became constant and a ritual. That didn't make it any less fun. Thank you for making me feel like a rebel, and I'm sorry that teachers thought you were a bad influence just because I had a first impression of a good student.
Thank you for the first year that we were friends, and I was one of the two people whom you told anything and everything to. You told me about tales and feelings for boys that you didn't tell anyone yet. Thank you for the constant conversations that started even before the first class and ended only on evening conversations. Thank you for being someone my parents thought was my boyfriend because I'd still be talking to someone on the phone till late at night. What they didn't know was that you were my shoulder to cry on when I had my first crush and had my puppy heart broken. 
Thank you for being the most bipolar and insecure friend ever - though I'd tell you in real life to please change that. But since it's part of you, I'm grateful for it now.
In your future birthdays to come, I might not be your best friend anymore, but I'm happy that I was important enough to be your best friend on your 17th birthday.

Happy 19th, Ella! (Remember when you wanted that nickname before? Now you regret it.)

You might never see this, but I'm grateful regardless.



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