June was marked by the start of my official “no Facebook month.” I actually deactivated my account a few days prior to June and honestly could not have been happier with the decision. I was more connected with those around me. I felt less jealousy and depression trying to keep up with what everyone else had achieved. I was reading more, started planning several vacations and art projects, and started spending more time with my loved ones.
Things were going fabulously. I was loving life, the people in it, and the amazing opportunities I was given. I realized somewhere along the way, that I have been blessed beyond measure, and I began living every day to its fullest.
But, as is often the case with life’s journey, when things are going great there’s always something that has the potential to disrail this happiness. And of course, my life was not immune to this phenomenon.
I was told this time would come. I was warned he would contact me again, even though he dropped contact with me many months ago. One of my very close friends, and someone who knew both him and I very well, told me several months ago “He’s not done with you Andrea. He can’t let you go. I’m not convinced you’re not going to get a text from him in the future.”
She was correct.
Only a few days into the month of June I woke up to a text. A text from someone I have had absolutely zero contact with in almost 6 months. There was no name attached to the message, just a string of ten numbers. Ten numbers I have memorized all to well. I deleted his contact information a long time ago, but the numbers, just like the memories I cannot force my brain to forget, no matter how hard I try.
It took me two whole days to work up the courage to open the message. When I received it my heart was racing. My hands were physically shaking. He was obviously someone I was no longer excited to hear from.
When I finally worked up the courage to open the message it read, “I’m sorry I never responded to your email. I guess I was bitter from everything I suppose. I just want you to know that I am sorry for all the shitty ways I treated you. I apologize. You did nothing but care and I was an asshole. I hope you are doing well Andrea. :)”
The email he was referring to, I had sent him shortly before he left town six months ago. I honestly don’t remember what it even said, because I deleted it, along with almost every other bit of evidence that reminded me that he was ever a part of my life (for my own sanity). But I think the condensed version was along the lines of, “I’m sorry. We both have our faults. I wish you the best.” Something that today, I realize I shouldn’t have sent him, because continuing contact with him was a disservice to both him and I, regardless of what I had to say.
Without any context, or knowing the relationship I was in, the text may seem heartfelt and sincere to the people reading this. After all it was an apology. And while it is entirely possible that it was sincere, I will tell you, I had received countless apologies identical to this one in the past, and they were nothing but a way to manipulate me. Something that worked every time, because I allowed it every time, and I only have myself to blame for that.
For instance, one of these apologies in the past, came shortly after he had been in the bar drinking several states away. He had tried to hook up with the bartender who shut him down after he had drank too much and apparently made a fool of himself. Something I only found out because he told my friend the whole story a week or two later. If I remember correctly we weren’t technically together at that time, although honestly it was hard to keep track of (we were constantly on again, off again.) However, he knew that no matter what our status was, I would be waiting to accept whatever apology he gave me, and in a bizarre turn of events, beg him to come back to me. Something that helped him feel better about himself, and drug me further into my own self hatred.
Thankfully, I have changed immensely from the person he once knew. I am no longer an option. I am no longer a doormat. I no longer base my own self acceptance on someone else’s ability (or lack of ability) to love me. It’s been several months and he very well may have changed as well. Sadly, after the relationship I had with him all I will ever see from him is manipulation, no matter how sincere the apology may actually be, and no matter how much he may have actually changed. That’s the saddest part of it all for me. . . The fact that it is possible, although in my mind, almost completely unlikely, that he is apologizing for sincere reasons.
The thing is though, I don’t need a sincere apology to forgive him. In fact I don’t need an apology at all. I realized I had, and still do have, just as many faults as he does, and for that reason, among many others, my heart let go of the hate along time ago. Something, that if we’re being honest, probably helped me a lot more than it did him.
With that being said, today forgiveness for me does not look like pushing my needs aside and being a doormat. I realized that I had a very poor understanding of what forgiveness was, and today I wish him nothing but the best, however I do not desire any form of contact with him. It is an experience I could not, and will not, put myself through again. It is an experience that I do not deserve. And so, after reading the text, I deleted it, with no plans of communicating with him now, or in the future.
In the past, not responding to his apologies was difficult for me. Partially because, as a child I was told to never leave someone on bad terms or without them knowing that you love and care for them. After all, you never know when that person might be taken from you. I also struggled with the fact that when someone who was a major part of your life decides not to respond, that usually sends a pretty harsh message in regards to your feelings towards that person. A message I hope he does not assume I feel towards him when he receives no contact from me in the future.
But by now I hope he knows my heart and the person I am deep inside. And although there was a time when I truly hated him, something that to this day is hard for me to admit, it was something out of character for me, and something my heart could not hold onto. I hope he knows that I still truly care about him. . . I hope he knows that there is no room for hate in my heart, and that he is no exception. However, in order for me to heal the wounds I caused, I cannot go back to the one thing that I kept burning myself with. . . And that was him.
In the end, the experience that I had with him taught me how to love and forgive someone I didn’t even like, and somewhere between the turmoil I created in my life, and the settling of the dust and wreckage, I realized that I too, deserve the forgiveness, love, compassion, and healing I so freely believed he and everyone else deserved. I realized that although I fail miserably every day at being the person I strive to be, liking every aspect of who I am and what I do, should not be a requirement for loving and forgiving myself. I can truly say now that I want what’s best for everyone. However, today I can happily say that, “everyone” also includes myself. And if there is one thing that I learned above all others, it is that nobody has the ability to affect my happiness unless I allow them to, and that is a privilege he no longer has.