I saw this post that was saying that people need to stop holding on to what has hurt them, that true forgiveness means you are done being angry, and that anger somehow poisons your own soul. But I don’t believe that forgiveness is the only path to letting go. Indeed, plenty of people do not deserve the blessing of my forgiveness, and did not deserve it the first hundred times I bestowed it upon them.
I believe that people have a right to be angry as long as it takes them to work through something. Forgiveness is not the only way to healing, for I have walked a different path, one that is paved in ink. I work through my own shit by bleeding ink in a hundred poems, a hundred relationship articles, short stories, and soon, novels, among other things (paintings, piano playing, and several good nights of drinking with girlfriends.)
I think that when people encourage others to take the road of forgiveness, they are trying to be helpful, while also ignoring the pain that their friend or loved one is suffering through. You can’t get through everything by building a bridge over it. Sometimes, you have to drown yourself in it over and over again, and it may feel like waterboarding, and it might be torture. But I think, that one day, those who have gone through their pain instead of around it, will stop drowning and wake up and be mermaids.
Surviving is another kind of magic, so we should respect that superpower. For how many times have we seen super heroes and villains rise from smoke, flame, and ashes as someone totally new and sometimes even, more talented (though of course, there are those who are destroyed by their traumas, which I touch on in other places.) But we should not discount those who survive. Those are our warriors, our fighters, and our leaders. These are people who cannot “just get over it” or “pretend like it didn’t happen”. We all have our own paths to healing though we may be scarred along the way. Healing is a process that cannot be rushed, but anyone who gets through it has been stronger than most of us can appreciate.
Strength does not always look like calm or togetherness. Strength is pulling yourself out of a black funk every day and attempting to pretend that you feel okay. Strength is pretending that you are okay, even when you feel like something less than shit. Strength is going to bed every night knowing that the nightmares are waiting for you.
There is a special person who is forged from this kind of every day stress and suffering, and those are people who can be depended on, because they keep going, keep trying, keep pretending even when they don’t want to or don’t feel like it. Whether it be depression, anxiety, a bad breakup, financial troubles or anything the world can throw in your face, if you keep getting up, you are a superhero. And anyone who does not understand that might not be your sidekick.