I am a hypocrite.
Nearly everyone is a hypocrite, if you look close enough, or pay enough attention, but I have one issue on which I am a planet-sized hypocrite of the worst kind.
I preach forgiveness.
I literally proselytize the virtues of forgiveness. I attempt to convert the unwashed masses to my own personal religion of sorts. I tell anyone who will listen that the path to happiness can be found by forgiving others and letting go of your own expectations. I tell people that you can walk the path to happiness by doing your best and then allowing whatever happens to happen without prejudice or expectation. And as an example of this, I tend to point to myself.
I have all sorts of stresses in my life. I’m a single parent, I have constant physical pain, I have a career that can be demanding at times, I live in one of the most expensive places to live in the world, and I have relationships with other people, so I am constantly affected by the things that affect them. Compounded, it would be rather easy to allow these stresses to overwhelm me. Each individual thing is something easy enough to cope with, but all together, the weight of this burden could crush me. No one would fault me for wanting to wallow in it, and from time to time I have.
But that is not my hypocrisy.
I point at myself and I say, “I am happier now than I have been at any other time in my life, because I stay in the now and I don’t worry too much about tomorrow. I plan, I am prepared to deal with eventualities, foreseeable and unforeseen, not because I worry about them, but because I have the basics covered and I believe in my own ability to deal with things as they occur.”
I give myself as an example to others, saying things like, “let go of your expectations and be present in the now and you will be happier for it.”
And yet… forgiveness…
I’ve mostly forgiven or forgotten things that affect me in life. I’ve forgiven Simone for tossing me out. I’ve forgiven my ex-wife for leaving me for another man. Although I won’t ever forget it, I have forgiven the people that molested me as a teenager. I have even forgiven my ex-wife’s boyfriend, the guy that she left me for and is still dating, though I did want to ask him for a very long time, “did you know that she was married when you fucked her?” So… I guess there is a kernel of bitterness there still, but I’ve had a conversation with the man and I didn’t jump down his throat for it, so I think I can safely say that I’m mostly past all of that now.
But my father… him I have not forgiven. I have not forgotten that he took advantage of me when I was most vulnerable, that he stole from me when I could least afford it, or that he has simply never been there for me except when it served his own narcissistic purposes. That is my hypocrisy and that is the burden that I can never seem to unload. And I would really like to…
Most of the time he won’t even admit that he has done anything wrong. I don’t mean just as it pertains to my life, but in other aspects of his life as well. He has done criminal things to his friends, he has manufactured issues in order to avoid other problems. He lies, he cheats, and he steals. And yet, he lives in total denial of it all, and perhaps that is the most galling thing. If he would apologize to me, I would forgive him, but I should be able to forgive him without the apology, because I know it will never come.
I know, without a doubt, that the times that I get struck down, the times that I lose sight of my goals and get stuck in problems that I can’t let go, most of those things would disappear or at least be drastically diminished if I could let go of this one last thing… I know that I would be happier and I would be more capable of dealing with the setbacks and holding to my non-attachment practices, if I could just let go of this one. last. thing.
And yet, I haven’t been able to do that yet.
I deal with my father when it is required of me. I am civil to him, if a bit cold. I make sure that my daughters know him and are involved in his life. His birthday was this month, and I had them call him to wish him a Happy Birthday, nevermind the fact that he doesn’t do the same. Without me reminding him about their birthdays, he would forget them completely, and he has, more often than not. I got used to him forgetting mine, but the way he drifts into and out of my children’s lives bothers me. It shouldn’t. I should accept that is how he is, and I should just be grateful for the things that he does remember, but this bitterness will not budge.
And so, I am a hypocrite.
Perhaps someday I shall not be, but for now, I still can’t completely let go.
I am Rant, and maybe someday I will be everything I want to be, but for now, I do the best I can.