I finally figured out what happened to me back in school. You know, I was terrified when people told me that everything we go through is to toughen us up … make us stronger … like a muscle, that you break down and build up over and over. I was terrified because I was thinking, as I was getting beaten, pushed, spit on, mocked, and … well, it was kind of a game that they thought it was funny that I didn’t cry — I just took it. Took it all. They thought it was funny to see me break without breaking down. I thought, what is it that is coming… the Thing that I’m supposed to be stronger for, after having been ‘strengthened’ by all this ‘practice’. I didn’t want to know what was worse, what it was that made all this useful. Necessary.
When I got to college, I found there were a few people who called me out on my … demeanor. One, from NYC, told me he was going to keep sneaking up on me until I stopped flinching. One, a supervisor at one of my jobs, told me that I was an asset because of who I’d been. Where I’d been. People needed to know that someone understood — not just hear the words.
Until now, I thought that’s all that I was. A damaged, bruised, ball of worry and calcified bones. I tried practicing my social skills, and failed. And failed. And failed. But I did learn love. And I learned that I could hurt people without meaning to. I learned that people don’t only hurt people when they’re being bad. We are imperfect, and broken, even when we’re just living.
But what I’d learned back in high school, while I was getting pushed around, was the forgiveness that maybe I would have been too stubborn to allow for if I wasn’t broken down like that muscle. Over and over.
I forgave my father for being unprepared and unable, for not listening and not hugging me enough — though he really did try. I forgave my family for … well, a lot. I never did think about waiting for them to forgive me for anything; just assumed that would never come.
That’s what I’m processing now. That everyone, not just people I have reason to know, everyone is walking around, mad at someone. I can never see it coming. I can never see how broken people are… never see what they’re carrying around. I never know when they have horrible expectations of me because of their experience in life. I never know when I will never have a chance in their lives because their burdens are so great that I can’t make a difference.
I will never know how to be good enough to matter more to them than their wounds. That, and my failures that reinforce their illusions that no one… no one is ever worthy of their love. Their trust. ‘Everybody lies.’
I’m still learning patience. I’m waiting on my Lord to come back and fix this shit.