10/10/2005

The Drive to Forgiveness

I went home this weekend to visit my family who lives 3 hours from me. It's strange driving back to the place you think you grew up, the place that seems like another lifetime ago where some faded memory of a self you used to be remains unchanged. Getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road, is like therapy. As I drove yesterday this feeling of nostalgia came over me. Every corn field I passed reminded me of the many nights I spent parked in my boyfriend's pickup making out in the bed of the truck with only the stars to shed any light on who we were. I think of him often, this boy who I gave my heart to. He wasn't my first, but he was the first who meant something. I remember him, his face, his voice, even his touch. It's almost as if no time has passed between what was and what is, although in reality I know too many mistakes have paved a highway I must travel forward - not back. You see, even if I wanted to go back, which sometimes I do, I can't. It's hard really, to admit that you screwed up. It's hard to remember yourself as someone you never wanted to be, someone you never want to know again. Even here typing the words, it's hard, to tell the truth. The boy who laid me down in his 4x4 as if it were a bed of roses, the boy who told me he'd love me forever - and meant it, he became the man I married. He became the man who needed me, the man who I couldn't need back, the man who's heart I broke...because I didn't now how not to break mine. I lied, I cheated, I hurt - him, and myself. I wanted him - not to want me. I loved him, yes, I loved him, but I could not - did not, understand what unconditional love really was. He gave it to me but instead of making me feel safe, it made me feel guilty. Somehow in the years I pretended to grow up, I convinced myself that unless love hurt - it could not be true love. I thought love was supposed to shred your heart, make it ache, turn it inside out then back again. After all the kind of love that I knew, never wrapped itself around you and kept you safe. From my father, to every guy I dated through high school, love became my battle - something I hated to have but couldn't live without. So when that boy, so sweet with his soft spoken voice and his eyes of blue asked me to marry him, I said yes because inside - I wanted love to be different. It was different...for him. So many details led to our eventual destruction but only one defines this memory. He came to me pleading that I give 'us' one more chance, I couldn't. I told him I didn't love him anymore, it was a lie, but those were the only words strong enough to make him go away. He did go away but amazingly enough we stayed friends. That's how great a man he was - or how much he loved me.

That person I was back then, has disappeared - or maybe grown up is a better choice of words. I spent so much time beating myself up for hurting him that I spent little time trying to figure out why I ran away from everything that was good in my life. I went to therapists, none of them could heal me. I spent so much money trying to figure out how to fix my life, that I didn't see how the only thing that could possibly mend me, make me whole, was forgiveness. Not forgiveness from my ex, forgiveness from me to me. It's hard to forgive yourself, especially when you think you don't deserve it. With every one night-stand I had, every guy I pushed away that maybe could have loved me, I punished myself. I did a damn good job making myself feel worthless. So I drove many miles and never seemed to get any distance between where I came from or where I wanted to be. The walls around me were built brick by brick upon a solid foundation. No one could, would, penetrate my fortress. I thought I could live my life untouched, unloved, keeping my pain and walls in tact. And in one moment a shot blasted through the walls built tall and strong. They crumbled. Destroyed, gone, only dust remained. Her hands were tiny and frail as they tossed those bricks aside, but then I caught a glimpse of her, so beautiful. I called her Alice. It wasn't the driving that finally helped me sort through it all, it was the staying still.

I'm better now. I still remember the pain every time I drive back to that place I was raised. I don't call it the place I grew up anymore...that happened years away from there. As for that boy...the one who tried to heal me with his love, he's still my friend....and every now and then he tells me how wrong I was for letting him go..."I know," I tell him. "But I was broken back then." "And now," he asks? "Now I'm just a little sore," I say. You see it's hard work being good to yourself, hard work...I remind myself....every single day. Now when I drive back home, the place I live now, I remember that self I left behind....and I don't hate her anymore.

15 Comments:

  1. k said...
    Great post. I understand. Almost too well. It's getting over/under/around/through the walls that's the touchy part. And realizing that keeping them up isn't going to enrich your life. Being such a fabulous & skilled builder calls for strategically placed charges though. I haven't exactly found someone with an explosives background...
    WDKY said...
    NWC... you've written about something that will strike a chord in many of us, and written it beautifully. Growing up - really growing up - is fraught with pain, and the lessons are hard. Sometimes we can undo the damage, sometimes we can't... learning from it is the one positive we can take from it all, though.

    You don't write as if that door is completely shut. Do you think it is?
    NewYorkMoments said...
    Hmmm...I still haven't grown up. And my wall isn't built of bricks anymore. It's iron.
    k o w said...
    A very thought provoking post.
    TJ said...
    Wow, that was a great post. I agree with wdky--it sounds like there's still some possibility there for the two of you...
    Morris said...
    You wrote too much for me to read, but from what I did read, I wish you luck in your court case. Not everyone goes to jail for indecent exposure, I doubt you will either.

    Mr. Morris
    Ask Morris
    sirreene said...
    The truth is you can go home again, but the enlightened will find it impossible to travel the same path home. Excellent progress networkchic!
    Blueprincesa said...
    yeah, so that was really beautiful. It's easy to forget that love and pain don't have to be the same thing. I still forget it sometimes.
    Networkchic said...
    WDKY, I'm not sure if the door is completely closed. It may be too late for us to carry on a romantic relationship, we've both run so far away from that place we were that it seems the distance is too great. At least I know I'll always love him. Strange thing is that you can meet your soul mate, but that doesn't mean you always end up with them. Sad, but true.
    WDKY said...
    Well, I guess that one thing you can be sure about is that you can't be sure about anything.

    If you get my drift.
    check said...
    hey networkchick...been reading ur blog since a while now...and hav always enjoyd it...this one was just amazingly written...some soul searchin is always good..i guess the good part is that ul r stil friends..so thats a positive in the whole situation...again..ur blog rocks , as do u!
    NML said...
    Brilliantly written! Incredibly honest, open soul searching. I really enjoyed reading it. So much so that you have to be Blog Post of The Week on baggagereclaim! I'll email ya x
    NML said...
    Just realised that I don't think I have your email, so just let me know in your comments if you can :-)
    Networkchic said...
    Hey NML it's emily@networkchics.com and thanks for reading.
    Da Gal said...
    What an amazing post. I am going to print this out and take this home as I am doing growth work all month...

    Thank you for your courage - you light the way for me.

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