When faced with the prospect of having to see my father and his wife last Friday for the first time in some lengthy amount of time I've deemed unworthy to commit to memory, I had an anxiety attack. One long, drawn out fit of anxiety the whole morning, which—if you're not prone to fits of anxiety that last a whole morning—let me tell you, was exhausting. I voiced out loud to my coworker that my father has always made me feel as though he's judging me the minute he sees me—what I'm wearing, what I say, how I’ve been living my life. And she simply said, “It doesn’t matter what he thinks.” (Thanks Bree, I really needed to hear that.) I thought, “That’s totally true, it doesn’t matter because I don’t care what he thinks.” It’s been so long since he’s been an actual part of my life he literally has no right to have an opinion about me or my life.
The thing is that I’ve had a deeply unconscious issue my whole life with feeling comfortable around males, especially when it comes to what I’m wearing (this is also due in part to being raised Mormon), because my father told me at the age of six that the ballet outfit I was wearing was inappropriate to wear in public and he didn’t want me wearing them anymore. It may seem silly, but I was only six and he was the first male in my life that made me feel ashamed about something I was wearing. I have hated him for that since I came to the realization of what a scar this left and how it’s affected my relationships with men ever since.
Keeping this in mind, when I did have to see my father and step mother (whom I have a whole other set of issues with), I realized something else: I really don’t care what my father thinks of me anymore. I was a nervous wreck the whole day until I actually arrived at my destination and was calm the rest of the day. It was such a relief. And so empowering.
My point is this: somewhere along the line I forgave my father. He is just another human being with his own issues, which he did let spill over onto me as a child, but I can either hold onto those things and let them ruin me, or I can move on. So much of forgiveness is simply letting go and moving on. It’s something that is more for you than the person you’re forgiving because that person may never know you forgave them, but you always will.