December 5, 2010


Posted in kate, RADVENT at 10:07 pm by kate

The fourth Radvent prompt is about forgiveness: who and what are you ready to let go of resentment toward?

1. When I read this prompt I immediately started thinking about something my mother told me repeatedly while I was growing up — if someone bothers you, it’s because you see something in them you dislike about yourself.

2. When I was in my early twenties I realized yeah, OR MAYBE THAT PERSON IS JUST AN ASSHOLE. Seriously. Sometimes when someone bothers you it’s because they’re a shitty person doing something shitty.

3. In the same way, I assumed for a long time that I was obligated on some societal level to repair my relationship with my mother. Because isn’t that how it works? Towards the end of the movie the characters realize that they have so much in common! And they have been letting little tiny differences get in the way of a real relationship with each other! And they should tearfully make some pie in their artfully lit kitchen! But this summer I finally realized that I am not required to forgive my mother. I do not have to mend things between us or make things right. She doesn’t bother me because we’re so similar or because we have regular-person mother/daughter differences with each other, she bothers me because she’s an asshole.

4. There are other people I am willing to forgive, of course. I forgive my ex-husband for ending our marriage. I forgive those men in China for beating me up and mugging me. I forgive my father for being abusive and addicted and mean and I forgive myself, too, for eating half a jar of dill pickles while I wrote this post, half an hour before bed on a Sunday, which is probably the stupidest thing I will do all month.

1 Comment »

  1. Maura said,

    I don’t know how you were somehow dropped from my google reader, but you might be getting a lot of comments from me in the next half hour. 🙂

    Your mom was (unknowingly?) quoting Herman Hesse. “If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” I had that quote on my bulletin board at my last job to try and understand the anger and unhappiness I was feeling towards the people there. Then I realized it wasn’t me. I hate this job. I hate being a lawyer. Lawyers are assholes. I can’t name a dozen lawyers who aren’t assholes. Basically, Herman, it’s not me, it’s THEM. (As you said.)

    Old Hermie isn’t so bad though, he also said this: Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object.

    It appears I have no talent for happiness.

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