I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all done things in our lives that we wish we hadn’t. Am I right? As far back as I can remember, there are things that I regret. My first memory of doing something I shouldn’t have, was when I was in daycare and about three years old. One day I decided to do something that was really mean. I was in the sandbox and thought it would be a good idea to put sand in my own hair. After I did this, I went up to one of the teachers and told her that a little boy named Mark had put sand in my hair. I then supplied my sandy scalp as the evidence. Mark was immediately called over and punished. I have no idea why I did that. Mark hadn’t done anything to me. And I immediately regretted that decision. I wanted to fess up, but lacked the courage to admit to my lie. So I let Mark take the blame, and have lived with it ever since. I know it seems like a really stupid memory, but it frequently crosses my mind, and I’ve always felt sincere remorse over it. I don’t know what ever happened to Mark, or how he’s doing, and I’m fairly certain he probably doesn’t give a shit about me blaming him for the sand in my hair, but it still haunts me.
I’m a good person. The kind of person that enjoys helping others. The person that will happily bend over backwards. The person that will continuously give without expecting anything in return. Even so, I’ve had many moments like that time with Mark, where I’ve done things I shouldn’t have.
I’ve lied. I’ve cheated. I’ve stolen. I’ve betrayed others. I’ve been selfish. Hurtful. Thankless. Spiteful. Mean. Hateful. Ruthless…
I’m only human. But I still carry remorse for a lot of my actions.
Another time, my sophomore year in college, I lashed out at my dad. He was terminally ill, and I was in complete denial. Father’s Day was approaching, and I was sitting in our sun room working on a scrap book for him. Intellectually, I understood that it would be his last Father’s Day. Emotionally, I had not accepted that he was dying. I was cutting construction paper when my dad walked in the room. I quickly covered my project and looked up at him. He sat down on the radiator and asked if we could talk. I said sure and waited to see what he had to say. Tears welled up in his eyes as he started talking. “I’m really sad about all the things I’m going to miss.”
That was enough. Nope. This is not happening. “Get the FUCK out!” That was literally my response. I stopped him short in his tracks. He quietly got up and walked out. I denied him the opportunity to express his sadness about dying. And he never tried again. Three months later he was gone, and I never had that conversation with him that he so needed. Of all my mistakes, that has been my biggest. After he died, I tried reading his journal. He had started writing daily when he got sick. I didn’t get past the first page. When he mentioned me, he simply stated, “My baby girl can’t look me in the eyes anymore.” In his darkest days, I totally failed him. And I have to live with that.
But there comes a time when you just have to forgive yourself. I’m pretty sure my dad isn’t looking down on me thinking, “Wow, what a bitch. She really should’ve let me speak my piece.” Right? We all fuck up. We all do and say things we shouldn’t. I really hope that Mark can forgive me for putting sand in my hair and blaming it on him. And I hope that all those I love can forgive me for anything I may have said or done that might have hurt them, whether purposeful or not.
And just as I have lied, cheated, and betrayed others, I have also experienced those types of hurts. My heart has endured its fair share of pain. Others have mistreated me. Betrayed me. Cheated me. Rejected me. Abandoned me. And broken my heart. I don’t believe any of them had ill intent. None are bad people. As in any other situation, we’re all just doing our best. Right? So just as I have chosen to forgive myself, I am also choosing to forgive all others. I deserve forgiveness, so do you.
Say~ John Mayer