I have forgiven someone before, I have been forgiven, I use forgiveness as a joke or way to flirt. Somehow, in each of these instances, I’ve felt relief. There was one day that actually I felt what is was like to give forgiveness and see the person feel that relief right in front of me.
This person crossed a line with me. It was months ago, where he violated our friendship and pulled, what he though was a joke, a move that was not appreciated. I felt violated and confused. It wasn’t a physical boundary but certainly an emotional one.
I didn’t speak to him after the incident. I vented to my friends and my mom. I knew that he wasn’t a bad guy and that he wasn’t trying to hurt me but I knew that I couldn’t let him get away with it. I kept my distance and I could see that he felt bad.
Last week, one of my best friends was hanging out with him. My friend later told that they were discussing bridges that they have burned. What I was told is what was heard and then told to me so I’ll be paraphrasing but basically, the guy who crossed a line with me said; “I hate that I ruined that connection with Annie. I know what I did was wrong and I feel so bad. I know that I can’t joke like that. I know that’s not a joke, too. Not for anyone but I can’t treat women like that.” I was thrilled that he acknowledged that it wasn’t cool but also that fact that, as a woman, it was a violation of my trust.
Since I heard that I had been trying to find him and talk to him when we wouldn’t be interrupted. Today, I did. I went up to him and simply said, “We’re good”. The look of absolute shock and happiness was remarkable. I saw a guy who felt so bad and was so ready to know that I’m personally okay and that he hasn’t totally ruined something. He knows that he can’t take advantage of women like that. He also knows how powerful women are.
He is a good man who made a mistake and really learned from it and it was beautiful. It’s what men everywhere have to know too. Men cannot take advantage of women as they do. Even the simplest things like “man-splaning” or taking up two seats on the subway just because you feel like you can.
Forgiveness, however, doesn’t always need to be given. Know this. I will not forgive my mother for one incident. I was 14 years old and an extra in a film (I peaked around this time) and my mother comes to pick me up and being the inexperienced Momager that she was, she calls out, "ANNIE!" like she was Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire. Then she hears, "CUT!". I was getting out of costume and she ruined a scene. Hey Mom, take a note from Kris Jenner and work on it. Other than this my mother is my best friend. But she shall NOT be forgiven. I'm trying to make a name for myself!
Learn how to forgive and who to forgive. It’s a beautiful thing. Learn how to not give someone a second chance because you KNOW they do not deserve it.