the one where i let go of my guilt on valentine’s day.

I think I’ve started this post about a hundred times and in many different way. I don’t know how to start. I have guilt. BUT I realized that I don’t. I thought I did.

There’s a difference between guilt (which is how you view yourself as a whole person) and regret/remorse (which is how you view your actions). I think some of my actions in the past – and let’s face it, even in the future – I completely have regret about. I wanted to be guilty but I realized that with all that guilt comes blaming myself unecessarily. Beating myself and labeling myself a ‘bad’ person.

I’ve worked through that whole concept of not being a ‘bad’ or ‘good’ person, but a whole one – I don’t think of myself as bad or good. I just think of myself as someone that’s capable of anything, who isn’t perfect, but who is evolving and growing and changing. I can be everything – from the most wretched person to the most angelic. The ability to be it all resides in all of us.

The last 24 hours have been r.o.u.g.h.

I don’t think I’ve felt anything hurt as bad as this has. As visceral as it is. As present in the room with me as it is. Instead of running from it, I use this opportunity to sit down with it and learn something about myself.

I’m a good person. I have a big, big, big heart that is thinly veiled by paper-thin skin. My front of acting tough is just that – because I think if I didn’t, I’d cry a lot – and not necessarily out of sadness. I’m just very tapped in to my feelings. But I also think getting to a place of equanimity with a lot of things/people/concepts in life has helped me not waste my feelings or energy. And when I allow myself to be mushy, I’m disgustingly so.

I’ve cried a lot this week. Much of it has just been letting go. What’s the magic word? That’s right – SURRENDERING. I’ve been learning to surrender to the fact that sometimes you learn lessons in life not at the times that you think you should. That you don’t always get what you want – even when you’re open and honest. That nothing is set in stone and that life will always surprise you. Good things and good people are not necessarily exclusive.

Part of the crying is also mourning the loss of who I was. And who we were. And what that time was…more on that later.

I came across this quote today by Helen Keller, which was spot on:

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.”

It’s times when you cry without sound in the shower. For when you lay in bed and tears stream your face. When you start making dinner and begin to sob uncontrollably, making the neighbors think that you could be dying. All those moments come with a morsel and nugget of self-awareness and strength. You’re earning your badges.

In addition, I recognized the difference in whether my actions actually hurt someone or whether I just feel that it marks me as some immoral, evil human being. Most of the time, if not all, I’m sure that I’m placing more blame on myself for something that someone else may have just had their own emotional reaction to. I’m saying that I’ve done things that were hurtful but I did a lot of things out of love. Some of them obvious and some self-destructive.

BUT I finally took responsibility for my actions. I wanted to face the music and dance, as the song goes. And this new thing where you actually tell people what you feel instead of just bottling it up and rerouting it into erratic and sometimes destructive behavior seems to be like a great tool.

It only took me 27 years to learn. Sheesh.

Also, I could sit here and say “I wish I knew then what I know now,” but where does that mentality get anybody? The point is to stay in the present and be cognizant of what you do, be empathetic to people instead of worrying whether you’re an asshole after the fact. Or being aware of their feelings before doing things that you know will make you an asshole.

I also know that I had to go through what I went through in order to get to this enlightened moment.

The last week I have beaten myself up ad nauseum and I don’t need to. I made peace with everything last night and I can’t thank Nic enough for being willing to come to the table to have that conversation and hear what I had to say. It was probably the first time ever we’d done something like that without distraction (whether external or internal creations). I won’t say that there was resolution and I won’t say that I know where each of us really stands. I finally got to tell him how happy he made me and how much I missed him. I finally got to say all the things that for so long I wouldn’t say because I was too afraid to.

Unfinished. maybe always? Maybe it’s okay that way? Who knows. I told him it felt like a goodbye. But if I’ve learned one thing in life, you can’t predict the future and you should never say ‘never.’

Today – of all days, kismet I tell ya – I realized that I need to take care of myself. I need to nurture myself. I need to stop abusing myself with incessant worrying and guilt and blame and self-hatred for things that I can’t change/take back/do anything about. It’s time to stop. Breathe. And look in the mirror and see myself as the amazing, caring, warm, charming, funny, smart, vibrant, tender, handsome, creative, inspiring person that I am.

And it’s also good to look in that mirror and allow myself to let go of the past. And that process is really, REALLY painful. Forgiveness is hard. Forgiving yourself and forgiving someone else. And I’m on that path.

However, nothing can take away all the moments that took my breathe away then and still do today.

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