I am the queen of holding a grudge. Just ask the girl who I fell out with in primary school and haven’t spoken to since, the ex-boyfriends who broke my heart or the friends I’ve discarded over the years for their actions. I have 28 blocked numbers on my phone – once you’re on my Shit List that’s it. I’m a nightmare – I have a near photographic memory, am quick to judge and loathe to forgive or forget. Last week I told my niece and nephew about the time their dad locked me in a cupboard and described the event in such detail it could have happened that day (it was 26 years ago…)Whilst I’m shit at forgiving I’m great at apologising. If you clatter into me on the street or tread on my foot I will say sorry, it’s one of the many charming traits I inherited from my mother – another fan of teeth gritting rage. She gave up her grievances in the final weeks of her life in a series of letters, some which were posted and others written to people not even alive to read them. I never read any of them personally but I know they brought peace to their recipients and sender. I didn’t get a letter, instead we spent a series of harrowing Sundays shouting, crying and eventually hugging each other. As painful as those days were most people don’t have the opportunity to air everything out in such a way. I just wish we hadn’t been compelled to do it because one of us was dying. We could have saved years of simmering anger with just a few hours of honest talking.
Recently I wondered what benefit there was to holding on to all that wrath. I was a Very Angry Person and losing a parent just made me worse. My anger is a constant companion and sometimes is so palpable I am certain the ball of rage I carry will burst out Alien style. I walk around in a foul mood convinced the whole world is against me which is draining. I lie awake at night reliving events that have enraged me. If I put as much effort into my professional life as I did my grudges I would be a CEO by now.
So I made a list. A list of people who’s actions keep me awake at night. A list of everyone and everything that I need to let go. Some of them were so trivial I scored them off immediately, some were so big I don’t know where to start. A co-worker once told me, “the things you don’t like about other people are the things you don’t like about yourself,” which I thought was utter bullshit but I’m recognising some truth in that. Which leads me to the Big Bad: Me. When I am lying awake at night a lot of what fries my brain is things I have done, things I’ve said that can’t be taken back. I think before I go handing out pardons like I’m a world leader I need to take a good hard look forgiving myself… (which will require a blog post all of it’s own).