I came across this little gem the other day while cleaning out some boxes. So much came to mind when I saw it. I'm in such a different place than the last time I held it in my hands, literally and figuratively. So I thought I'd share with you a bit of my thought process on my least favorite subject: forgiveness.
I received this book as a gift before going away to film a show for three months (more on that here) where I was completely cut off from the world. I didn't know anything about this book, or the author or her story. All I knew was that she was the daughter of a famous singer whose music I didn't listen to. To be quite frank, I immediately wrote it off. "I mean I read real books for crying out loud, this seems like it's for rookies...". Yep, I totes judged this book by it's cover. Insert eye-covered monkey emoji here. Needless to say, I eventually read the book. I read it when boredom and loneliness struck during what felt like solitary confinement. Between working out three times a day and eating my low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat meals and as my last bit of unread literature came to an end. After all the re-reads, the magazines, and pamphlets had been nearly memorized... I finally broke.
I was immediately shocked by the raw content of this book. The life this woman endured since childhood was one that seemed suitable for a telenovela script. The gentle-yet-unapologetic voice that the author carried throughout was soothing. The story however, was, at the very least, traumatizing. I was shocked by parts and entertained by others. But mainly I remained angry throughout. This woman's rocky relationship with her mother is one I recognized. One I knew all too well. To say that it hit a little close to home is, well, a generous understatement. It's no secret (and therefore not a spoiler!) that her famous mother dies tragically in a plane crash. What I didn't know, however, is that this woman, the author, never got her peace. She never got her closure. She never got to tell her side, or clear the air, or even her name for that matter. I was frustrated. "This is how it ends? She just has to deal with it? What a jip!" She never got her validation, this girl. She was just forced to move on. What kind of ending is that? Most importantly, how can she forgive all of those rumors, all of that bad talk, the slander, all of the lies and betrayal? I may have puked.
And then it hit me. Maybe that's what forgiveness is all about. Perhaps forgiveness is about learning to accept the apology you never got. Maybe forgiveness is the ultimate test of character. When there is no conclusion, no sense to be made and no happy ending. And I wondered: is selfish forgiveness the best kind? The kind that we give to others for our own peace of mind? Is it possible to forgive someone and still not want them in your life? It occurred to me then that perhaps forgiveness is not always about putting all the pieces back together again. Perhaps, sometimes forgiveness is simply about leaving the broken pieces exactly where they are, and moving the f*&% on.