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I forgive myself

A blast from the past post – 2016

When I played a 19-year-old gospel singer in American Arcana, I had a screaming crying dead baby why God why monologue. And at the end I said “oh God forgive me, wait. No. I don’t need your forgiveness, I forgive myself.” I forgive myself. I forgive myself. I forgive myself. Sometimes I hear myself saying this inside my own head over and over again like a broken record, hoping it will stick.

When I played the 19-year-old gospel singer I was 24 or 25 and I thought- how foolish! What do you need to forgive yourself for!? Of course, I was only 24 or 25 and I thought I was so wizened and mature. How young and lost I was. Now I am 36 or 37, And I know how young and foolish I am, so at least there’s progress. I remember doing sun salutations on the stage every day before rehearsal. I remember I had two jobs and rehearsal six days a week and I thought I was fat so I only brought enough food for a stick figure type person to get by on for my whole day that started 8:30am and ended at 11pm and had three jobs inside of it and no time to think. But I loved playing that gospel singer. My cat had just died and I had to put him to sleep and watch the life drain out of his body three days before I auditioned for the role and I think I only got the role because I had to read the why did you kill my baby God monologue and all I could think about was my cat and the life draining out of his body. And I was trying not to cry, but I did anyway, and I nailed that bitch. In fact I think that was probably the best I ever read it. And every night of the performance I performed that monologue, and I went off stage and I drank a little wine, and I beat myself up over and over again for what a terrible job I had done. And then I beat myself up some more for the calories in the wine. And still I didn’t think I needed to forgive myself.

I went through a time not too terribly long ago, where I had a very difficult time forgiving someone I love very much. They had done something not very good. What, I won’t go into here. Maybe a story for another day. But I spent a time thinking that perhaps I would not forgive them at all. That they deserved it. Because the thing they had done was so terrible. And it took me many months to get to the point where I could forgive them. And I actually remember the exact moment that I forgave them, I felt the shift in my body. And I felt my anger at the incident move and leave.

And that was a really wonderful feeling, a profound moment. And yet when I saw this person, I didn’t tell them. I didn’t act any differently. And almost as soon as I saw them again it was as if the feeling that I had, the lightness, the ease, was gone.

And I said to myself, “it’s because I’m afraid they’re going to do it again”. and myself said back “of course it is, but what are you going to do about it?” Yes, what exactly? I have zero control over any other humans besides myself. So I can walk around being afraid that someone I love will hurt me again, and let that run my life. Or I can do the work, the very ridiculously hard never ending work of forgiving. And I can walk around unsure of whether or not someone I love will hurt me again. But I can love anyway. And I can forgive myself.