~ing and forgive

Day 5: Compassion

I think about being back in the stairwell, trying to explain what I had been feeling the past few weeks. It ends with him saying: “I don’t care.”

How do I tell him that every time I picked up the phone to try and console his anxieties it turned into sand? How I tried to write to him a million times but felt so nauseous that I had to lay down and cry for hours? How do I tell him that every night I dream about being attacked and cry out his name in hopes that he can save me? How if I ever saw him before this moment, I would beg him to hold me and how that would make this so much worse?

But I don’t say any of this. Instead I just tell him I was scared, and I hope that he understands.

“I don’t care.”

Would it have made a difference if I said any of that? I don’t actually think so, maybe not until it happens to him.

One morning I meditate for three hours trying to hear my inner voice to give me clarity. I receive it three hours later in a crowd full of people. She tells me that the easiest way to forgive someone is to think about a time when you desperately needed compassion.

I then consciously decide to give him the compassion he could not find for me that afternoon in the stairwell. I imagine him feeling the way I did and suddenly all I want to do is hold him and tell him that no matter what happens he always has a friend in me. Because no one in such darkness should ever feel alone.

Life is a game, but I don’t think it is meant to be about control or righteousness. I’m still figuring it out, with an open mind and an open heart.

~ing and forgive

Day 4: Signs

The day he tells me he never wants to be friends, a judge signs my father’s appeal forms. 12:17pm, my father becomes a green-card holder and doesn’t even know it yet.

I pray for forgiveness and convince myself mid-prayer that what I’m asking for may be a bit unrealistic. But I tell God, the universe, my inner being that if it’s achievable, if there’s a chance at the redemption I am seeking to give me a sign. I end my prayer and return to my books when a flood of texts arrive.

The first message is a photo of my father’s greencard.

I weep.

My father writes: “It is a new beginning.”

~ing and forgive

Day 3: Prayer

Every other day we go to a new graveyard to visit another dead relative I never met. On this day, my grandmother brings us to our late grandfather. He left my grandmother when my mother was two years old and died ten days before my mother’s wedding. Mama only knew him from the rumors around town and one time he showed up at her school when he was drunk, begging to meet her. On this day, we look upon his grave and my grandmother tells us to pray for him like we have prayed for all the others.

I am nine years old and I look upon his headstone. I begin to pray when my grandmother snaps at me in Polish, “Natalia! You must never pray while sitting down! God does not hear lazy children. You must either kneel or stand up!” I become incredibly self conscious when I realize that I have been sitting on a bench. I immediately kneel down beside my little sister and recite the chant.

Since that day, I have never once prayed sitting down. It is not because I believe God, the universe, my inner being, etc. will not hear me, but because I have concocted in my mind that my prayers will be more effective, that God, the universe, my inner being, will guide me to the right path if I take the time to stand or kneel (there have been some nights that I prayed while lying down, but I think that’s okay sometimes).

I have not been a fervent pray-er, but I do turn to it often in times I feel pain and struggle. My prayers begin with the sign of the cross in Polish: Wimie Ojca, I Syna, I Ducha, Swietego, Amen. I then begin with hello often to God (it’s always good to be polite I think). I then ask how they’re doing and say what it is I am feeling. Sometimes I ask for what I want, sometimes I barter (when I was little, I used to say I would be nicer to my siblings if God gave me what I wanted). As of late though, I will tell them the problem and I just ask for their guidance, I affirm my trust in them, and usually I’ll ask for a sign to know they have heard me. I then thank them (because I know they heard me and I would like to still be polite) and tell them how much I love them. I then close with the sign of the cross Wimie Ojca, I Syna, I Ducha, Swietego, Amen.

Everyday now I pray for forgiveness. Some days I only pray once, in the morning or at night. Other days I pray multiple times. I believe that every time I choose to open my heart and ask for strength, I am not alone and that all the universe wants to conspire in my favor.

I pray that I forgive myself for the things I have done out of fear and a need to control outside forces. I pray that I forgive him for the disappointment and hurt I have felt from his ego and defense mechanisms. I pray to forgive everyone else my ego perceives as “wrong” because of their actions. I pray to forgive and to let go because I am finally ready. I want transcend this and to only project love and compassion for everyone around me, rather than a select few.

God, the universe, my inner being hears this and helps me move forward. Maybe it all seems contrived, but it has never failed me and I don’t think it ever will.

~ing and forgive

Day 2: Fear

I have been afraid for as long as I can remember. As a fun game, my father would swing my siblings upside down on the stairwell, while I would hide behind my mother and scream. I never climbed trees because I thought I would fall and die. I never rode roller coasters. I always walked on the sidewalk. I held my little sister’s hand wherever we went, because I was afraid I would lose her. I was afraid my father was dead whenever he was late from work. I was afraid that our house would get robbed if I were ever home alone.

In time, my fears developed into something more damaging. I was afraid that I was not good enough. I was afraid I wasn’t smart enough, artistic enough, beautiful enough, social enough. I was afraid of sex and intimacy. I was afraid of being my authentic self. When he told me our personalities were incompatible, I couldn’t help but wonder: How would he even know what my personality is? All he sees is my fear. 

My fear is not me. It is a product of everything I absorbed as a child, through my parents, in all my past lives. It is not the essence of who I am. I will admit that it has ruled my mind for as long as I remember. It has led to self sabotage, it has drawn me to the people that would make all these fears come to life. But it still not me. And so forgiving these actions, these thoughts, is easy. Choosing to change this mindset is easy, though the change will take time. It is nice to know that I have all the time in the world, it is nice to know that I am on my side, it nice to know that I am not afraid of this.

There is no pressure, just love and patience. I have not given this gift to myself for so long.

~ing and forgive

Day 1

I wake up and have the most terrifying thought. Every morning I wake up arguing with him, my body continues to fight with him relentlessly. He is not there, but I still feel his presence. My counselor tells me this is my way of standing up for myself since I could never manage to do so in our relationship. But this morning was different. I woke up without the need to fight. Instead the voice inside my head goes: I think it’s time to kill myself.

I walk downstairs and stare at the knives on the counter, look at the pills on the counter. I cry But god, I do not want to. And that’s when I realized how bad this problem has become. How I have swallowed this anger, this poison, and it now wants me dead. It is too much, it’s way way too much. 

The months since the break up have been difficult: the boy who knew everything about me leaves, my father’s deportation, my sister’s sickness, losing friends, losing hope, painful decisions. My final semester in college turns into a nightmare I thought I would never have to face. But I did and I do, and still I am alive.

And my mind goes back to the boy. The boy who resented me for nearly two years, the boy who nearly killed himself trying to make it work, the boy I nearly died for trying to appease and change for. A match that was never quite right, but my inner child clung onto anyway until it all fell apart.

And now months of anger have passed by. A fateful encounter turned into something more. But then it no longer became fate, rather it was “Are you up?” texts. I felt cheap and dirty and I snap and he runs because it all becomes too familiar. We return to this vicious resentful cycle and he cannot take it. He blames it on differing personalities, though I know now that neither one of us in essence are the labels we wear in public. Our inner beings only want to connect, only want to love, but neither of us are enlightened enough. We are both children in this world, and we are both trying.

But today I wanted to kill myself and today he finally told me we could never be friends.  And I thought for the longest time that that was what I wanted, but then I hear the light inside saying “Let him go, what is meant to be will be. You know this is only his ego speaking, just like what you’re saying is only your own ego.” He says that people only want power and control, he says I cannot see that that is what I am doing. And I would have agreed with him before this morning. But if I tell him that, then he will only think I am saying it to make him stay.

And that’s when I decide I want to let him go. That’s when I decide I want to forgive him. That’s when I decide I want to forgive me. That’s when I decide I am tired of reading all these books, I need to finally implement the lessons. That’s when I decide not to kill myself.