According to Miss. Webster, the 4th definition of “forgive” is “to cease to feel resentment against.” Whoa, I can move mountains but that seems like a stretch. Just kidding. I’m Irish-American (that’s right, I added the American) so I can forgive but not forget. And what does that mean? I’ll try and explain so I can understand.
Yesterday I had something like a 24-hour stomach virus which kept me in bed all day. Being sick makes me think about gratitude for being well most of the time. I thought a few times about people who live with chronic pain mixed with the haze of meds and no guarantee of freedom from all sides of the spectrum of biological imperfection known as the human body. Sickness and health, bad and good, rich and poor: opposite ends of the see-saw of nature. I won’t go too much further into how ethereal life is; moment to moment vulnerability to elements, but I have lived through the devastating effects that Cancer has on life, and it makes me much more open to forgive others their bad behavior. Life experience, all it takes is life and experience
Slowly I get to where I’m going…
A sick day in bed means binge-watching but there’s nothing I really wanted to see now that I finished the first season of Billions and actually enjoyed it as much as my skyrocket standards eye can enjoy anything anymore. Already caught up on Hulu’s Difficult People and HBO’s The Night Of, so I ended up watching The Last Days of Disco which helped me understand Chloe Sevigny’s deliberate subtlety all the more, and after a few stand-up NC-17 Showtime comedy specials, the 1964 Bette Davis career twilight movie Dead Ringer. I’ve seen this movie before and always thought it was cheesy and should have been made in color rather than its drab grey, at least to see the full effects of the mansion used as a badly needed background prop. Effortlessly drunk Peter Lawford shows up as a too-old-to-be-a-gigolo golf pro and steals the movie in the three or four scenes he’s in; slapping olde Bette to the country club lawn with the kind of method force that only Joan Crawford could have fully appreciated. Bette plays a dual role as twin sisters, one of which (the broke and desperate and angry one) kills the other (the rich and carelessly giving zero-fucks one) and assumes her identity in the backdrop mansion. One of the few good things about this movie is the symbolism of a huge Great Dane with a diamond collar named Duke, who never peacefully coexisted with the rich sister but immediately cozies up to the impostor sister with the kind of basic instinct known only to dogs and geniuses. Yeah, I know who you are and what you did and why you did it and I don’t care, you were justified, just rub my belly and it’ll be our secret. Acceptance! Impostor sister gets busted in the end and heads off the studio lot to the electric chair with a world-weary “everyone gets what they deserve if they aren’t smart enough to cover their tracks properly” look of “so what, I tried.” The reason for it all was over a man, one sister stole the other sister’s man and twenty years later everyone ends up a loser, including Duke. Forgiveness could have saved them all. But forgiveness is like a hidden light switch in a dark and round room, not so easily turned off or on, just gotta get to it in one’s own time.
After walking out on Misters Jack Daniels and Jim Beam years ago I begrudgingly began a magic carpet ride of what I can describe with a straight face as spiritual enlightenment. Like on a high school acid trip, untapped discoveries manifest whether they’re welcomed or thwarted. That only translates to freeing the mind of the roadblocks of resentment and drinking in the endless possibilities of self-actualization through the simple act of letting go. To those who have already heard this little gem, go ahead and roll your eyes, and for those to whom this is news, just be aware that I didn’t come up with it, I’ve just learned to decipher its meaning in daily life, here goes… “Resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other sister to die.” This is really the basis of forgiveness. It can be dressed up by wisenheimers such as me as self-preservation. Don’t take the poison, make sure the sister takes it and you have a solid alibi. It’s in my best interest. It’s all about me. In essence, accept what can’t be changed because it can’t be changed no matter how much you want to change it. Yeah, but…
Unfortunately a high percentage of humanity will continue to marinate in their safe place of resentment against those they feel have wronged them personally or by enjoying a zero-fucks life on Instagram with backdrop colors known only to a select few. It’s a like a drug in itself, a feeling of false power and virtual (unreal) superiority. Forgiveness only lets me off the hook, though. I’ve let go of my end of the tug-o-war rope. What happens to the asshole wrongdoer on the other side is now, literally, out of my hands. Like, totally. The ultimate freedom.
Feeling better today, thanks for asking.