2012: The Year To Forgive

I’m better at reflecting backward than projecting forward. And while I have intentions for the new year (buy enough tampons each month, learn to cook tofu, wear a real bra once a month), I’d rather reflect on what happened this year.

Turns out, 2012 was the year for forgiveness even though that wasn’t my stated intention a year ago. But I started a new running route along Milwaukee Avenue and started noticing the graffiti. I kept seeing the word “forgive” scribbled in unexpected places. I’ve found it scribbled over 3 dozen different surfaces around Chicago.

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New gang symbol?  Maybe. But every time I found it, I took a picture and then took the seven letters as a personal challenge.

What could I forgive?

Here’s some of the forgivenesses I worked on through the year:

I forgive myself for snapping at the kids and for the bigger stuff too– not being grateful for them exactly as they are and not loving them as unconditionally as they deserve.

I forgive my kids for having little wills of their own and shattering my fantasies that I could dress them how I wanted for as long as I wanted.

I forgive my therapist for his extensive vacations and for having a life and other patients besides me; I forgive him for letting me grow up and away from him.

I forgive the world for scaring the hell out of me; for making it hard to trust and let go.  Ditto for Nature, who can be a really scary prick sometimes.

I forgive my breasts for being almost 40 years old and refusing to defy gravity.

I forgive my stomach for pooching out and being soft and flabby.

I forgive myself for being the kind of person who has to forgive her own damn body parts.

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I forgive myself for coming so late to blogging/writing, especially now that everything I’d ever want to say has been said.

And those people who haven’t liked my Facebook page– I forgive them too.

I forgive my friends for starting their own blogs which forced me to look inside my tiny petty heart and ask tough questions about my character, not like the answers I found therein, and then work to become a better person.  I forgive the people I love for having talent that surpasses mine and passion I cannot match.  I forgive my friends who got “there” before me and I forgive those that make me lead the way.

I forgive everyone who has thinner legs than I do, and everyone who can eat whatever she wants and still be a size 4, and people who just don’t care about the things that make up my personal demons.

I forgive the schools that declined to admit my children, and those that declined to admit me decades ago.

I forgive my parents the outrageous sin of being human. I forgive them for not being more uniquely screwed up (because that would make my future memoir infinitely easier to write).

I forgive my husband for being better than I at so many things except for gift giving, and I forgive him for being only average at that.

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I forgive myself for being shallow and materialistic and unable to sustain a meditation practice or a budget.

I forgive whoever in my family tree is responsible for alcoholism and all its ravages. I forgive the deprivation, the repression, and the poverty (physical, emotional and spiritual).

I forgive the tiny slights I still carry with me.

I forgive the assholes who cut me off when I cross the street and whoever taught my kid about shooting.

I forgive the NRA and politicians and the right-wing and haters on all sides.

I forgive Eva Mendes for dating Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone for dating Andrew Garfield.

I forgive Trader Joe’s for not making tomato basil soup in the summer, and I forgive the frozen yogurt store by my house for closing this winter.

I forgive Patraeus, and Armstrong, and Woods, and Herman Cain.

Sometimes I can forgive myself the unspeakable– for  my dark thoughts and my survivor’s guilt and my self-absorption and my lusty greed for accomplishment.  Sometimes I can forgive others for that too.

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I run, I read the 7 letters, and I forgive. And as I do, I grow lighter and freer for a while. Just as I start to harden again, I see another scribble and forgive all over again.  I am grateful for the gritty urban reminders to open my heart, to let go, and to let new life in.  I’m grateful to forgive.


34 thoughts on “2012: The Year To Forgive

  1. Love this so much.

    I forgive myself for not running this year. Or maybe ever again.
    I forgive my husband for being deeply flawed.
    I forgive myself for making life choices based in fear and anger.
    I forgive the horrible people in high school who are successful even though I promised myself they *couldn’t* be.
    I forgive karma for not existing.
    I forgive people who believe in a hateful God.
    I forgive my children for taking so much. They need it.
    I forgive my mother for being herself.
    I forgive myself for not visiting my grandmother more.
    I forgive my petty, jealous hatred of people with more money, better hair, and thinner bodies.
    I forgive advertisers for doing their jobs.
    And I forgive myself for railroading your blog comment section into my own personal therapy session.

  2. You are like a breath of cleansing air, my friend. After reading this, I couldn’t help but take a deep inhale, breathing in your humility, your flaws, your humor, and then exhaled all my own shit. Onward and upward.

    Ps – I will trade you my discipline with money for yours with writing.

  3. I forgive you for making me think about all the ways i now have to forgive myself and everyone else. damn, it’s hard growing up and trying to be a better person. but you’re doing a good job, by me, and i am extreeeeemmmmeeellly important.
    now, forgive me, i’m going to have my coffee and try to appreciate my children dripping off me, and then sending me off to serve them something. ahh, got to love it.
    happiest happiest for a wonderful glorious healthy new year, filled with all good things, and nothing bad. ever. 🙂 xo

  4. This is a gorgeous post, and a great way to end the year. I love that you see the word Forgive everywhere. And I love the little things we see while running that can jolt us into a thought process. There is nothing like it. Happy New Year, friend.

  5. That part about writing words that have already been said? I forgive myself for feeling that way. We have clear voices that have things to say that are similar, but not the same as another person’s.

    I forgive my mother for being herself.
    I forgive myself for not trying harder to connect with my mother, especially when she is being herself.
    I forgive my husband for being an asshole. A lot of the time.
    I forgive myself for being the reason my husband is sometimes an asshole. Most of the time it’s just him though. I forgive his mama for that.
    I forgive myself for failing to stop drinking liquor. And Pepsi.
    I forgive people who have full, perky breasts while I suffer at 39 with a set of -34AAAAA’s. I fogrive you, but I don’t like you.

  6. Fantastic post.
    I hate to admit that I probably wouldn’t have noticed the word “forgive” in all of those places, so pat yourself on the back for being observant. And I’ll forgive myself for not being observant, and for not running unless I’m being chased.

  7. Pingback: On Looking Back: Forgive, and Embrace the Whimsy « Whisks & Words

  8. This is a wonderful and unusual piece. I love the photos too. Actually, I’d love to see all of them in a photo essay or book. It looks as if the words are by the same person. What was his or her motivation? How do those words affect others? I find it fascinating and even poetic. Thanks for a thought provoking and beautiful post!

  9. What a beautiful post. I can’t wait for the ice and snow to go away so I can chalk “forgive” on my sidewalk.

  10. I’m fascinated by the fact that this word appears in the form of graffiti. How cool is that? And hopeful. Great post. I forgive you for being so prolific. I can’t come close to your excellent verbiage. Only one point on your list I’m not big enough to forgive. I’ll make it a resolution for 2013 – to expand my forgiveness. I commend you for your forgiveness of the politicians, and the NRA. I have a lot of work to do… Happy New Year to You!

  11. Pingback: Dropping Words into the Darkness « Cattāri Brahmavihārā

  12. Pingback: Drinking Bipolar’s new highllight , Just another day | Miss Crabby Ass

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