What do Ferraris, cake, and a Liam Neesen reference have in common you might ask? Nothing, actually. Except me. I happen to bind these unalike things to each other in one strange shaped forgiveness metaphor. Because that’s what it takes to forgive a horrible person sometimes- a certain set of skills, a fast car, and a whole lot of cosmic justice.
So, here’s the thing: I can get angry. When I say angry I mean smoldering rage angry. My emotional scale is basically the speedometer on a Ferrari. Zero to 12,000 and crashed into a tree in under 2 seconds. I’m usually at a low boil… all of the time. It’s my default setting. So, I’m that rich jerk next door that revs his Ferrari’s engine at every stop light. In a suburban neighborhood. Every day. Because I can. Ferrari.
For the record, I don’t actually like being angry. I’m just really good at it. Blessed and cursed with a high sense of justice, it has always infuriated me when someone lies, misleads, or does wrong for their own gain.
Once, in 2nd grade, a girl stole a slice of cake out of my backpack. My mom and I had baked it, the day before, from a recipe we found at the back of a library book we read together. I was so infuriated that this girl blatantly stole from me that I brought 2nd grade in Mrs. Nachbar’s class to a stand still. I remember my teacher’s tenuous grasp on patience. Couldn’t I just let this go? This one time? This isn’t a fight I have to fight is it?
But it was. It is. I’m a sink my teeth into the neck, shake it until it’s dead justice seeker. And I’ve got a lot of rage for a lady who’s grown up in a loving, middle class suburban home (I think it comes from the chemical mix of my heritage: Irish- fly off the handle passion and Hispanic – cool, bide your time rage).
So the answer was no, Mrs. Nachbar, I won’t let this go. I didn’t relent until that poor little 2nd grader admitted she lied. I ate my cake smugly over lunch.
Not much has changed about that little cake eating vengeance swearer. I didn’t get much taller and I’m still undeniably angered by things that aren’t fair. I no longer bring immediate situations to a standstill though, even when I want to. Thanks, maturity and adulthood!
In the past several months I’ve experienced a new to me phenomenon: Grown adults who make horrible, terrible, no good choices and then blame the fallout of their actions on other people. I went through high school and teach middle school so I am well equipped for immaturity. This is next level, though, even for me. Sometimes people just aren’t who you think they are. They make choices and become someone different. Or rather, they show you who they really were all along. They reinvent themselves and tell a different narrative because they can’t accept responsibility for themselves. I’m finding these types of people can’t hide from who they are for very long, which is why, eventually life catches up with and then implodes on them. I’ve been weirdly zen about this pattern even though it infuriates me that these bad choice making adults hurt the people in my life.
I’ve realized something though, as a few lives around me have caved in. As mad as I can get about injustice and as much as I might want to have a personal hand in seeing someone get their comeuppance, the universe just seems to have a way of taking care of things itself. I’ve come to believe that what you send out into the universe you will get back tenfold. I like to convince myself that this is more Buddhist than ‘Liam Neesen in Taken Seeking Revenge’ but, no, let’s be honest- it’s exactly that. Most of the time, people get what’s coming to them (that sounds a little Buddhist, doesn’t it? Maybe? Angry Buddhist?) because if you’re the kind of person who has to lie, rewrite the narrative of your life, pin the blame of your decisions on someone else– Well, you’ve already got your recompense, don’t you?
You have to wake up every day and be you. The kind of person who lies, is the perpetual victim of their own making, hurts others. That is how you spend your life.
What a miserable existence.
That understanding -that this is the way some people live their lives (their entire lives!) – helped me figure out the thing/person I was most angry at and squash them, their words and speeches down into something amusing and ridiculous and just plain sad.
So. Now that I (finally) have your attention, I’m going to leave my very last thought on you right here. Maybe someday you’ll read it. Maybe not. In any case, I wrote this for you:
I am truly sorry for you. Some people do not possess the strength or integrity to accept their worst decisions and parts of themselves. I’ve learned a lot about those kinds of people this year and I think I finally understand why you continue to make the choices you do. I know now that you can’t accept yourself and be happy and so, I feel you should know, I’m not angry any more. In fact, I forgive you for the insinuations, for bending the truth, misrepresenting, lying.
I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you.
I have already forgiven you. Because really, at the end of the day? The only person you’re lying to is you, and if that’s what you need to do to live with yourself, well, you can have my cake and eat it too.
From the bottom of my little prone to rage heart: I forgive you. And I wish you luck. You’re going to need it.