Forgive…It’s OK to Not Forget!: Lessons from Lent

IMG_2017When I told my gay best friend what I was doing for Lent, his reaction was priceless…”Dia, you’re not even Catholic!” While true, growing up with my VERY God-fearing, Christian, grandmother…it was just a “thing” for us. While we didn’t “give up” something every year, she always took the time to recognize the season and made it clear to me, the importance. So, why do I NOW “do” Lent? Well, no, I’m not Catholic…and I very much so identify with being a Christian. But, my reasoning for Lent has become less about sacrifice…and more about discovering something God has for me…or NEEDS for me. So, what’s up? It’s Good Friday…and these past (roughly) 40 days…have been TORTURING.

Initially, Lent started…I was out of this “situationship”. I was pissed. I was heartbroken. I was scared. I was lonely. I felt stupid. I felt like I wasted time. I felt like I played myself. I was…angry. And amongst all these things, I finally picked up this book that was collecting dust on my desk, The Wait:A Powerful Practice for Finding the Love of Your Life and the Life You Love  by Meagan Good and Devon Franklin. I’ve had this book for months. But, let’s just say…when enough was enough…I guess I finally knew it was time.

I read this book and I was sold out! I said, “Great. For Lent. No sex!” My girl, Meagan, sold me! In order to get my life together, I had to stop a habit that I recently started. My friend brought me clarity when he said, “How dare you give WIFE DUTIES to a friend?”. And my girls? They were there there through every group text message, every SnapChat, every tear, and every time I was on this emotional roller coaster and kept asking, “Do I just block him?”, “How can we stay friends?” or the kicker…”I thought he was the one for me.” So, Lent? Lent was no sex.

And this was all good. It was a long 44 days and 42 sexless nights. I think my mentality was that…as long as I wasn’t having sex…I was going to be okay. I would get over everything. I could FORGET everything…and I could just move on? But, was it that easy? OF COURSE NOT. There were many nights crying..many phone calls with my friends I spent fronting/bashing…many fits of resentment…and most importantly…MANY MANY MANY times, watching Girls Trip. Let me say right here: “Girls Trip” got ya girl through EVERY DAY. Ryan Pierce got me through EVERY day. I started saying affirmations. I started LISTENING to affirmations. I started to see myself in Ryan. I started to learn that…”I am strong. I am powerful. I am beautiful…and if I will it…I CAN HAVE IT ALL.”

This was my life for a two weeks-solitude, “Girls Trip”, working out and crying. I was trying to just forget the past eight months existed and rushed to “get back to being me.” Then, it hit me. And this is where I will go ahead and say…BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR (because I prayed and said “Lent was about forgiveness and healing.”). But, it hit me. And as obvious as it should be…I realized…I had to forgive. I realized in this very moment, I had to forgive him…and I had to forgive everybody. Most importantly, I realized why this “situationship” meant so much to me…why it carried so much for me. It reminded me of my very first boyfriend- “the one” that I loved and the one that broke me. And while quite comical now, like “Dia, how was he the one’? It was HIGH SCHOOL!” But, when it lasted as long as it did…I was so…invested in someone…who was never invested in me.

Forgiveness. The moment I realized what I was harboring….I realized it didn’t just start or stop here. I had to do a LOT of forgiving. My best friend-the one who just left me high and dry…and forgot me. My dad-the very first man who left me. My granddad-the man who gave me everything I wanted and would give everything I’d need…but neglected to remind me that he loved me..and that I was worthy. My mother-the woman who I  (deep down) internalized as the woman who just up and left me. Every boy I ever gave my heart to-for never giving their heart to me. And then…the hearts I broke-because the people who wanted to love me…Well, I didn’t know what the type of “loving me for ME” love was. So, it was unfamiliar to me. I was chasing the “kind” of man I saw in my dreams…I never stopped to think of the hearts I, myself, left behind me. So, I put this right here and right now…Please, forgive me.

Forget. I think before all this…forgiveness to me was all about, “Okay Adia..this happened…you can’t do anything about it. Let’s just forget it.” And that’s easy. Because surrounded by a culture where all we hear is “Fuck your feelings.”, I found myself…constantly just trying to scoot by these things. I found myself adopting a “Play or GET PLAYED” line of thinking. Essentially, and in short, I was always running. I would “spend time with myself” for a while and then jump right back to “talking” to somebody new, opening my vulnerability, and finding things (be it people, groups, money, achievements,;etc.) to validate me. I was just…forgetting. I was forgetting everything..and I was forgetting me.

But are we really supposed to “forget” everything? Are we really supposed to forget the very features of the picture that makes a masterpiece? I started reflecting on each “bad” situation and each person I was playing victim to saying “broke” me…and I started thinking about the GOOD things. Examples? My mom, being the young, selfish 21-year old she was…leaving me was the BEST thing she could have done for me. My grandmother…she needed me. The relationship we have…is more than just “family”. I make her happy. She keeps me happy. She’s been through a lot. The best gift my mother could have ever gave me…was my grandmother…because she needed me. The best thing my mother could have done was KEEP me..not when she at once faced a decision to get rid of me. My father? I wrecked my brain many nights during this season. I remember like two or three years ago, my mom, dropped his name on me. Occasionally, ever since, I’ve been looking him up on Facebook. I learned I have three sisters out there somewhere. I thought…maybe I write a letter..maybe he’ll write me…wanna see me. Maybe we can finally be a family. After days of this, I realized…the more damage than good that could happen with this. Like, what if his wife doesn’t know? His kids don’t know? I could ruin his family. And nah, that wasn’t me. So, I just started praying.

Forgive. It’s OK not to forget. I thought the only way for me to get through Lent…for me to get over that this relationship didn’t work… was through forgetting and resenting. Well, God had something for me. And when this was revealed to me…I literally looked up and was like, “What the hell? God…how am I supposed to be kind to someone who damn sure wasn’t kind to me when he played me?” And before I get to what I learned…I had to stop. And I had to accept my accountability. I think it’s important…in every situation (ESPECIALLY in situationships/relationships) to analyze your role in it. The reality of it all…I played me. The truth was before my eyes all along…but I didn’t want to believe it. I thought I was in control. I thought I could change…everything.

So, I feel like God was like, “Okay Dia…let me holla at you. You have to show your offenders kindness and compassion…if I am to forgive you. You have to forgive them if you want me to heal you. You have to think of my love for them…JUST like my love for you. They are not perfect…and neither are you. stop and think about YOU. What if I didn’t forgive you.” I learned.and even questioned…what if…just what if…God uses US, the light, the inspiring, the awesome people that we are…to help and even heal the very people who hurt us. I unpacked all this. It was hard. It IS hard. But, I realized…I do a pretty damn good job of crying wolf, playing victim, and dwelling on “This is what they did to me.” But, I never take into account, “Dia, girl…let me holla at you…THIS is what YOU did to them. You lied. You manipulated. You used them. You lied to them. Do you want me to keep going?”

Healing. Healing is about looking in the mirror and being able to look at what you’re facing. In order for me to “learn” forgiveness, I also had to ask for healing. I had to look at…where and why I was hurting. And it, by far, has been the BEST thing that has happened to me. Now, this is not a process that is ending. I’ve also learned that forgiveness and healing is ALWAYS, ALWAYS ongoing. These past 40 days have afforded me to learn so many, many, many revelations about me- about how I internalize love and money (ie. gifts), love and lust, self-love, insecurity, and the big one? As I’ve reflected over the years…while I am a woman and I’ll always have “one of them days”, I am FINALLY at a point in my life, where I am COMFORTABLE in my body…right here and right now. I learned that in a previous season of my life…I lost a lot of weight…for the WRONG reasons…and I was never honest with those around me. On the inside, it was never about “loving me” or being “healthy”. I was trying to “level up” and show my first boyfriend what he was missing. And while that may be okay to be ONE of the reasons, it definitely should NOT have been my primary.

I learned that these relationships..these people who I always “think” I’m going to marry. Truth is…they always start from this certain lust for me. A lust I am dealing with. A lust I’ve been surpressing. A lust I’ve been forgetting. A lust…I have to set a part from knowing if someone “loves” me. My reality? There is a large desire within me…a craving. And I’m currently wanting to understand myself, this desire, it’s wants, and it’s needs. But, this I do know for sure. I can’t be tamed..and regardless of if I grow to be this woman who’s 40, single, and successful…or this successful doctor/writer/speaker with this bomb husband and big family…I can’t be boxed in. I’m AFRAID of being boxed. I NEED to be free. If I am to be “married”, I need to be understood.

Healing. Lent opened my wounds again. I had apologize to a few people when I’ve been wrong, and learn…that hey, I’m learning. And this…is what life is about.

Forgive…It’s OK not to Forget! Because believe it or not? You needed that person to leave. You needed her to leave you for your best friend. You needed that friend to betray you. You and your homeboy needed to always argue. You needed to find out she was only using you. You needed you father to leave you. Forgive…but don’t forget. Forgive…but don’t forget. Forgive…and keep on lovin’. Because this is YOU. This is ME….and we’re beautiful.

And we’re still learning. This was Lent for me. And this a process that is still going. I thank those who I’ve opened up to and have shared in these moments with me. I thank those who have said “Dia, what’s going on? You are where you’re supposed to be.” when I’ve called crying that I’m lost and failing. I thank my family…because for the longest I think I’ve felt like I had to put on this facade so I could fit into ya know “being a woman” and “being classy”. But, I unapologetically switch it up sometimes…I love loud music…and I laugh loud most of the time…and you guys love and accept me.

 

They say home is where the heart is…Thank you all…for reading this…for supporting “Dialosophy”…for supporting me…for being my home.

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