Letting go of the past can liberate you.
The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.
“Forgiveness is just another name for freedom.” — Byron Katie
Have you ever met someone who never stops licking their wounds? Who defines themselves solely by past suffering and hard luck? Who can’t get over a wrongdoing someone did years ago?
I hate admitting this, but I was one of those people.
My father was not the nicest person. He imposed his will verbally and physically on my mother and me during my childhood. A career Army man, my father knew of no other way to gain loyalty than to bully us into giving it to him. And he mistakenly believed that forced devotion was love.
We butted heads constantly. By the time I was eleven, I became fluent in rebellion, and I never spoke a word without it on my tongue.
But I am not here to dissect my daddy drama. I have written too many poems and memoirs about that. I want to talk about how not forgiving him hindered my personal growth.
My dad died before I turned twenty years old. I was a sophomore in college, and it was the week before finals. Regrettably, I didn’t get notified in time to visit him before he passed.
I wish we could have had that final talk.
A moment where he could have said sorry for the pain he inflicted. I could have apologized for becoming an over-the-top asshole trying to match his testosterone-driven stubbornness. We could have found common ground to stand on before he took his final breath.
But that conversation never happened, except in my imagination.
This left me sour and irritated. I did not have the tools to forgive my father, and I also never grieved him. And like most traditional American males, I buried that bullshit so deep inside my psyche that no friend, spouse, or therapist could unearth it.
I resented my dad for the nasty things he said to my mother. I hated the physical…