This and That and Alan Rickman, Too

I’ve been hearing mixed reviews of AIW–terribly mixed.  I am going to see it, but I’m wondering if I should wait until it’s on Netflix.  Then again, Alan Rickman, enough said.  On with the blog entry.

As I was cleaning the bathroom a few days ago as part of my plan to set a schedule with ScriptFrenzy as the carrot, I realized something:  I don’t want to do ScriptFrenzy.  I stopped cleaning for a second, stunned.  Perhaps I had mistaken my anticipation of the fun I would be having and the hard work I would be doing for–no.  I didn’t want to do it.  I am not a movie person (understatement, big time), and while I enjoyed my previous two ScriptFrenzy endeavors, scriptwriting is really not my thing.  Don’t get me wrong–I got one really good script out of the first year and a workable beginning of a script for my trilogy out of the second year, but it’s just not my bailiwick.  Furthermore, I realized that my therapist was right–I was doing it mostly to be doing something, but also to prove I could do it.

You know what?  I don’t need to prove that because I’ve done it twice.  With ease.  I’ve never had to prove that I can write a certain amount in a certain time–that’s not my problem.   NaNoWriMo is good for me because I can actually get a novel done–which is my bailiwick.

So, I scrapped the idea of doing ScriptFrenzy, which means my whole plan got tossed out as well.  However, I realized I could keep the schedule part of it and just substitute regular writing or submitting for the ScriptFrenzy part.  The problem is, would it be enough to make me actually do what I need to do?  I did it the first day when I had planned on doing ScriptFrenzy–except the exercise.  I had already decided not to tie in exercise with my ScriptFrenzy as carrot plan because I am having enough problems with my ED issues flaring up, and I’ve been slacking on the exercise thing, much to my shame and dismay.

Next.  I’m in a somber mood right now.  I don’t know why.  Maybe the temps in the high seventies and the incipient return of my spring bronchitis are to blame.  I think they are just the tip of the iceberg, though.  I am just in a melancholy mood.  Oh wait, my birthday is coming up.  That’s probably part of it.  And, I’ve been PMS’ing for about a month (three months since my last period), so that doesn’t help.

For some reason, I’m just not very high on life right now.  I don’t see the point of life, and honestly, I just want to curl up in a ball, fall asleep, and never wake up (as long as the sleep is dreamless).  Oh well.

Anyway.  On to the forgiveness part.  Over at BJ, there have been threads on the Catholic Church sex abuse cover up.  Debate has gotten heated (about religion, not about the abuse).  Last night, one of the longtime commenters posted a comment about his own sexual abuse (not sure if it was in the Church or not, but I don’t think so), and one of the front-pagers got permission to make it into a front-page post.  It’s a beautiful, thoughtful post.  However, one thing makes me uncomfortable from the responses:  Many people talked about the commenter forgiving his abuser and lauded it.

Now, don’t misunderstand.  I think it’s wonderful that TZ (the commenter) could forgive his abuser.  However, some of the commenters in that thread as well as the earlier one seemed to be extolling forgiveness as the ultimate goal for the abused.

I was raised Christian, so my idea of forgiveness is very skewed.

People said they didn’t mean let the abuser off the hook or say that it was ok or cover it up, but but but…forgive!  It’s for the forgiver.

I will confess:  I don’t get it.  As I have stated in past entries, once I realized my father could no longer physically hurt me, I let go of the fear I had of him.  For the most part, I have let go of the anger I’ve nurtured towards him over the years.  (Indeed, as y’all know, I have more anger at my mom at this point).  But forgive him?  No.  I don’t forgive him.  What’s more, I don’t see a need to forgive him, especially when he has no capacity for feeling anything for anyone other than himself.

Hm.  OK.  I just looked up ‘forgive’, and one definition is to stop being angry at/resenting the person for what he’s done.  By that definition, I guess I’ve forgiving my father.

To be honest, I don’t care.  Thinking about whether or not I’ve forgiving my father focuses too much attention on him.  Here’s my issue with the exaltation of forgiveness:  It puts a lot of burden on the abused person.  It says, “Hey, what’s wrong with you that you can’t forgive this person?”  I know that’s not the intent, and I know the idea is that the forgiveness is for the forgiver, but there seems to be an implicit judgment of the abused person.  “Why are you so angry?  You’re really not doing yourself any good with that anger.”

The thing is, a person who has been abused has every right to be angry.  In fact,  I would even hazard to say it’s necessary for an abused person to get angry about the abuse in order to deal with it.

I guess that’s my problem with the whole forgiveness thing.  Many people commented on how moving TZ’s post was (and it was) and then added the bit about how great it was that he could forgive his abuser.  Does that mean if I were to write a post about how I didn’t care if I had forgiven my abuser or not, it wouldn’t be as moving?  Again, I am sure I’m putting my own spin on things, but it’s how it read to me.

Someone commented at BJ in an early thread that the heavy emphasis on forgiveness can make it easy for an abused person to turn the shame and blame on him/herself.  I would have to agree with that.  As you all know, I can blame myself for anything at a drop of the hat.  If I truly believed I needed to forgive my father to heal or to be a better person, well, let’s say I would probably be abusing myself far more than I already do.    In addition, I have enough shit to do.  If I had to worry about/concentrate on forgiving my father, that would be an added burden.  In further addition, I think it’s only because I’ve been working on other things that I’ve been able to let go of most of the anger I have towards my father.  In other words, it’s a byproduct of other work and not the main work itself.

In addition, the less time spent thinking about my father, the better.  In my goal to heal from the abuse, quite simply, he isn’t important.  His feelings or lack thereof aren’t important.  Whether I forgive him or not isn’t important.  What is important is the realization that he cannot hurt me any more.  And, if I’m going to be really honest, what is important is that I forgive myself for whatever I perceived I did wrong at the time.

I know I’m not saying this well.  I apologize for that.  It just struck a nerve because I’ve always had a problem with the forgiveness thing.  While intellectually, I know it is supposed to be a good thing to forgive someone else (huh.  I initially typed god thing.  Freudian slip?), I have never clicked with that line of thought.  It strikes me as hollow for many of the aforementioned reasons.

P.S.  Shout out to NedR. for turning me onto Mike Gira, Jarboe, and the Swans.

5 Responses to This and That and Alan Rickman, Too

  1. I agree. So many people say to ‘forgive.’ But not how, not why, and they always seem to be implying it’s something you can just do. Real forgiveness comes at its own time, in its own way.

    I also agree that the less you have to think about your father, the better. Your forgiveness toward yourself is a better goal. But again, how and when is your choice.

    Lastly, I’m glad that NedR turned you on to Swans also.

  2. Choolie, I know it’s a knee-jerk reaction to my Christian upbringing. It seemed to me that forgiveness was demanded, but behavior never changed. It’s kinda like the Church now. “Yeah, we did it.” Tons of excuses, fingerpointing, etc., but no actual responsibility taken, and then everyone is just supposed to forgive and forget. Eh. Yeah. Too much brainpower spent thinking about that.

    Swans rock. That is all.

  3. The Christians have taken the concept of forgiveness and twisted it to their own fucked-up ends. They don’t even understand what it means – they equate it with pardoning! I also have bad associations with the word forgiveness.

  4. Choolie, yeah. I think that’s my problem with it. I was trying to explain why it feels like a burden. Someone on BJ said it was lifting a burden, but not if others are telling you you have to forgive (not her, the Christians). When I read the actual definition of forgive, I realized that I had let go of most of my anger towards my father. I just don’t want to slap the word forgive on it.