Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Getting to Forgiveness
It’s not that I’m obsessed with AKMA, but he never fails to blog good stuff, and other articulate bloggers invariably pick up and run with his themes way before they start to gel in my own head. But I catch up, eventually.

“Forgiveness” is the current theme du jour.

Now, I don’t take issue with any of the thoughtful thoughts on this issue presented, for example, by David Weinberger or Halley Suitt or Marek.

But they all left out one step on the road that I need to take to get to Forgiveness so that I don’t simply suppress or repress my hurt and anger and then unwittingly find myself at the mercy of what happens when those feelings erupt and displace at some time in my (and probably some other innocent person's) future. I need catharsis. I need to purge the bad feelings. I need to vent. Let me give you an example. And this is the goddesses'-honest truth:

Several years ago, as I was ending a relationship with a man I had been living with for only a year, I realized that he had already begun seeing (and probably sleeping with) another woman before I even moved out. He didn’t even wait until, as they say, “the body was cold.” Even though I knew it was over between us, I was still devastated. Hell, I was mad. Furious. I mean, how would you feel?

But I knew that I needed to move on, forgive, put it all behind me – not repress it or harbor seething rage. I had put an awful lot of myself into trying to make the relationship work; I even spent a great deal of my own creative energies editing and re-writing the first mystery novel that he had ever tried to write. His total disregard of my feelings after all of that truly hit a nerve. I was hurt. I was mad. I felt betrayed. How was I going to get to Forgiveness? Hee hee, as the Crone says.

This is what I did after I moved out: I made a clay figure that looked pretty much like him. (This stuff called Fimo is great for this purpose because you use your toaster oven to harden it.) I took a tin box and decorated it so that it looked like a miniature sarcophagus and painted it with female power symbols. I invited my women friends over on the night of a full moon (they were used to my doing weird stuff like this, so they came) and had them help me tear up various photos of us, cards, notes he had written me etc. and put them in the box, along with the figure. I wrote a chant, which basically said that I take back all that I had given him, all the creative energies I brought into his life, and I leave him as he was before I met him – non-existent in my awareness. We lit some candles, burned some incense, I did my chant and then I put the piece of paper with the chant on it into the box and sealed it up. And then we all sat down and had some decaf coffee and tea and Pepperidge Farm cookies and spent some time venting a whole lot of other stuff that bothered us.

After they left, at midnight I drove over to his house and left the box on his porch. Yes, I could have gotten arrested for trespassing, I suppose. But I didn’t.

With the delivery of that box, not only was my anger gone, but I no longer felt victimized, and that alone was worth the risk of getting caught trespassing. After that, it was easy to forget and forgive.

Maybe that’s not the accepted way to find Forgiveness as far as traditional religions and spiritualities are concerned, but boy, did it feel good. And the strange thing is, he called me some time after, and we talked about the incident and the experience. He knew he did something wrong, and my little ritual somehow expunged his guilt as well as my anger. And now, when we run into each other, there’s no anger, no guilt, a little nostalgia, a few laughs, and all in a zone of comfort that we never would have had without the shared catharsis.

So, for me, Forgiveness is not a place I can get to from here without taking a little detour. Does the end justify the means? Works for me.
La Rouge et La Blonde
No, this is not a mis-remembering the titleof Stendhal’s classic.

Unlike AKMA*, who watched Moulin Rouge because others in his family wanted to and then didn’t like it although they did, I loved it. And so did my kids. Of course, we also loved Buffy: The Musical. Probably for the same reasons. It has something to do with moving beyond the accepted and expected, playing with anachronisms and somehow making them “play.” It has something to do with shuffling together assumedly dissimilar approaches to performance and coming up with a new genre. Moulin Rouge is also gaudy and baudy. I guess that’s another reason why I like it.

Legally Blonde is another movie I just rented and liked a lot – and not because I’ve opted for blondeness. Our society has a tendency to force women into narrow categories: beautiful and dumb or smart and plain, mother or mistress, good girl or slut, attractive woman or old lady. Any female can be any or all of these things at various times. It’s good to be reminded that sometimes she can be beautiful, smart, sexy, ethical, moral, assertive, free-spirited – in the parlance of the ‘40s and '50s movies (as Tom Shurgart reminds me), a real “stand-up broad.” And that’s a fine and fabulous thing to be as far as I’m concerned.

*I couldn't find the exact citation for AKMA' blog about Moulin Rouge, so if anyone knows what it is, would you please leave it in the Comments? Thanks.
So, Am I Brave or Just Plain Stupid?
I had such fun answering Frank Paynter's interview questions about how I got be be "Resident Crone of Blogdom" that I just kept on e-mailing him the stories of my life, including things some of my closest friends don't know. Well, now they know. Now everyone knows.