This is a two part question on forgiveness… this is the first part – forgiving myself…
QUESTION: Something you have yet to forgive yourself for
I usually don’t live in the past or regret anything I do. I have made decisions that I am not proud of, but you know what, I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t made those decisions.
I think if I had to choose something that I feel like I need to forgive myself for, I would have to choose my decision to move to Pennsylvania. I don’t want to go into too much detail about that, bringing to the surface unhappy memories/feelings, but what I can say is that this was one of the worst decisions I ever made. I dropped out of University at Georgia State to move to Pennsylvania to be with some guy who was too old for me to start with. Besides the age difference, he was not the best person in the world. In our year of long distance communication, I had been to Pa twice. Then in February 2007 I moved up there.
When I had been there previously, it was lovely. I felt loved & cherished (which I was throughout), which is something I had not felt in a long while. This is not an excuse by any means, but the feeling that I got when I was there was one I wanted to experience all the time. I chose to move away from everything I had known. I loved Georgia more than any place I had ever lived & knowing what I know now, I would have never moved.
The relationship was unhealthy from the off. He was always drinking & I wasn’t able to work or anything at first. I just hung out with his mom. It was a bit of my life that I felt inferior to her. She was a domestic goddess, for lack of better term. I think the culmination of this was when I was sitting at the table one day. My partner, his mom & a (male) family friend were there. We had just finished eating lunch & my partner, the family friend & I were sitting at the table. The men started talking and his mom left the room. I stayed where I was, enjoying the conversation. Later on, after the friend left, my partner had a go at me. He said, “Why didn’t you follow my mother’s lead & leave the room when the men were talking?” I just responded with an astounded look. I then said, “What is this? The 1950s? Is that why you gave me that horrible look when I jumped into the conversation?”
I was livid. Anyone who knows me knows that I believe that men & women are equal & can talk intelligently on any subject. I don’t think that women should have to leave a room when “the men” are talking!! This was the beginning of the longest 6 months of my life.
I took on his 3 kids that he had with other women. I became this woman who stayed home & cleaned and cooked. I even started getting obsessive-compulsive about the way the hangers were facing in our closets. I persuaded him to get me a dog, & he did. A Chihuahua named Shaggy. It wasn’t until maybe June before I decided that I wanted a job. I got one at Giant Supermarkets. My pay went straight into his pocket. I hardly saw any of it.
He would buy me calling cards to call my mom in England, but if I pissed him off, he wouldn’t let me call her. He held back those calling cards for 5 weeks once. I felt so isolated and it wasn’t fair. It was then that I started to really question the relationship we had. Then the day came that he hit me.
I decided to call my dad & apologize to him. I told him that he’d hit me, & my dad came to my rescue, as he always had done. I hated that I had to rely on him. (I think this has made me more determined not to rely on anyone & stand on my own two feet.) He bought me a plane ticket to England. I had to manoeuvre around my boyfriend to catch this flight. It was a Friday. 10 August 2007. I got paid from work and decided that I’d use alcohol to his detriment. I bought him a case of Corona. I told him to just let me know when he wanted a beer and I would get him it. He drank himself to sleep & this was my chance to leave. I had been packing throughout the week, so all I had to do was get the rest of my stuff together, grab my passport & go. The look on my dog’s face, I will never forget it. I gave him a kiss and I left.
A friend from work gave me a lift to the Philly airport. I had to spend the night in the airport departures lounge. I arrived in England on the 11th of August quite late at night.
On the 13th, I checked my email. There was an email from him. He said, “I can’t believe you just left like that. You didn’t even tell me. You got me drunk instead…you run away when things get hard.”
It’s true I do run away when things get hard. I don’t know why. I can’t cope with it I guess.
This move to Pa was the worst decision of my life so far, & I have yet to forgive myself for making this decision. But if I hadn’t have made that decision, I wouldn’t be in England now. I wouldn’t have the relationship with my mother that I have now. I wouldn’t be who I am now.
Forgiving myself for this mistake will take time. 3 years on, I haven’t forgiven myself… I haven’t properly apologized to my dad either, face-to-face… I plan to do that, but I have to forgive me first.
Growing up is hard. Part of that is learning to live with the mistakes you have made. I hope that I will be able to forgive myself for those mistakes without regretting making them. Like I said at the beginning, if I don’t live in the past, but the past makes you who you are. I try not to forget that.
Xx Determined Creature xX