The Neverending Battle
Honestly. I can go all the way back to Kindergarten with it.
Because it took me forever (in kid time) to let go of a grudge I held against the little girl that stole my maroon crayon. Seriously. She already had one and she took mine, too. So she had two and I had none and yet she wouldn't return it.
And I'm 30 years old and I can remember it as vividly as when it happened.
Because that's part of this battle I've been fighting for as long as I can remember.
I'm a grudge-holder.
I'm really bad about holding grudges.
But when something is part of your internal wiring, it's a nonstop battle against it.
That's my alpha-sin, probably. Some people struggle with sexuality, pornography, drunkenness, food addictions, superiority complexes..there are limitless alpha sins out there, I'm sure.
But I think that mine is my inability to let go of hard feelings.
Of course, twenty-five years later, I finally harbor no grudge against a little blonde girl in Kindergarten that took my maroon crayon. But I strongly disliked her for a long time after that and I still remember that and I still remember those feelings. I just don't let them control me or cloud my opinion of her any longer.
She was a child. I'm now an adult. It would be absurd to still hold onto it in anger.
Especially when I have other, more-recent grudges to cling to with every ounce of energy I can muster.
That's my subconscious's way of thinking, I believe.
Because there's been instance after instance after instance where it's taken me years to let go of things that I wish could have just rolled off my back like water on a duck.
Like the guy that punched me in the back because I wouldn't give him my phone number and asked him to leave me alone.
Like repeatedly being mooed at and called a cow throughout high school by members of my church youth group. (Didn't make sense to me then and still doesn't.)
Like a series of hateful, hurtful emails from someone that used to be a best friend during a very vulnerable time in my life when the Christian thing to do (on both sides...my choices that caused the situation I was in and their choice in how the responded to my situation) was not what was done. Instead of being Christ-like and being an example of loving forgiveness and support I was all but crucified (or stoned to death if you want to go that route) verbally and on a few occasions, publicly.
Like being verbally attacked on the biggest weekend of my life over a joint decision with someone else that simply wasn't that person's business and place to interfere or try to take control. It also certainly wasn't the time to inform me exactly how they felt about and what they thought about me, either.
Like the many, many times when I've been in a situation where someone should have stepped in and stood up for me. Where they (a friend, a boss, a coworker, a boyfriend...there are countless examples) stood by or even knowingly ran away and let me be attacked or wronged because it wasn't worth it to them to do what was right or honorable. When they could have prevented it but chose not to.
Like every.little.instance where someone made a choice--a deliberate choice--to do something hateful or hurtful simply because they can, they want to, or they just don't care enough to think it through. And when they do...those feelings that bubble up in me adhere to me. They latch on and they begin to burrow into me, like a parasite, and then this bile of words and thoughts and anger emanates out of these feelings.
But I'm not the perpetual victim. I'll admit that. I hold grudges against myself, too, for things I did or didn't do. For times when I stood silent when it should have been a crime to do so. For times when I said something I shouldn't have for the sake of fitting in. For when I decided to do something I had previously railed and rallied against simply because at that time, in that moment, it was easier to cave than to stand tall and strong. I'm no innocent. You'd be hard pressed to find me pretending to be. I recognize my faults better than anyone else around me.
Because I have a strict code that I believe in. Right is right and wrong is wrong and grey areas just infuriate me. But in those instances, I believe it's better to err on the side of what is definitely and obviously right and not wander into that grey area that's subject to interpretation.
Have I or do I always do that?
No. And I have a hard time forgiving myself and letting go of it when I do.
I have things that I did in my late teens and early twenties that turn me bright red in shame at myself. Times when I wandered into that grey area or crossed right over into what was definitively and unarguably wrong.
It's a battle I fight on both sides of the fence no matter who did what.
"Let it go." I tell myself. "You can't change it. You can't fix it. Just let it go."
I wish I knew. But until I solve that life mystery, I do what I can.
I pray about it.
I try not to dwell on it.
I try to do better to them than they did to me.
And be better than I chose to be before.
Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.