As I sat in the Zen den last night playing guitar and listening to the invigorating sounds of rain drops pattering my tin roof, a familiar yet unwelcome wave of ambivalence pounded me. They say that there are 7 steps in the grieving process and acceptance being the final but I am either some alien anomaly or this process has no apodictic conclusion. This is to say that while I have come to accept the circumstances and the actions at their origin, I am still emotionally undulatory. I suppose what is really plaguing me is that several months ago, I conjured and delivered quite possibly the most venomous email ever, well for me anyway. I had finally reached my breaking point and I felt that not only were the feelings expressed honest but also necessary. Prior to this, throughout the saga I had remained the heroine. I was understanding, forgiving, loving, compassionate even sympathetic. All those around me found this most disturbing given the circuitous nature of the situation but I maintained that I would not lower myself to the level on which he was operating. Unfortunately, that email was the swift and certain end of that.
It is not that I did not mean every word of it, I did. How could I maintain loving someone who showed me such apathy and disrespect? I could not. I had to make a stand, or so I believed. I had to tell him that I never wanted to speak to him again, didn’t I? To say that my words were rooted in pride would be a fallacy, they were rooted in pain. In those moments of fingers racing irresponsibly across the keyboard, I recall the sensation of a blatant and brusque realization. Every action suddenly and ceremoniously slapped me in the face. All those 7 stages in one volcanic, apocalyptic explosion but unfortunately the only emotions conveyed were anger and hate. At first, I was highly satisfied with myself. I had taken back my power. I was no longer lending my heart to someone’s immature and erratic whims. I was taking a stand.
Then came the waves of shame. And now they are waves of regret. Ambivalence, the mother of all conundrums. And this is precisely the reason that I acted out of love for those first several months because that is who I am. My ex-fiance told me this morning when I confessed that I was having a delayed reaction to all of this that I am just not capable of not caring. He said that I never should have written all those things because I am not that person. that I will always care. I consistently struggle with whether or not that is a negative attribute. When does forgiving become tolerating? And when does tolerating become egregious? And when does that egregiousness become abuse?
Buddhism is founded on compassion and forgiveness but when is enough, enough? Is it ever ok to condemn someone for horrendous and hurtful actions? Or should we constantly forgive and forget? My intellect tells me that the actions of this man were unforgivable but my heart tells me that I will always love him and that I am better than the things that I said. I just wish I knew how to protect myself while also being the big-hearted person that apparently, I am. I used to imagine myself as a statue with cracks, perhaps one of those Greek goddesses missing an appendage or something. Beautiful and flawed. Now I realize that I am still a wobbly ball of clay striving to take form. I suppose there is freedom in that.
Maybe the real forgiving that is necessary is that of myself.