And this is why I gossip.
OK, I don't actual "gossip"--mostly, if I know something, I will retain if for my own, personal use, because I'm sort of evil like that, but, if YOU want to gossip, I will gladly sit and listen to every little bit of information you throw at me. I might not believe everything that you are saying, but, I will most definitely file it in the mental Rolodex for possible future use.
Take last Tuesday, for example. Somebody revealed something, publicly, that made my JAW DROP and sent me into a flurry of OHMYEFFINGGAWD! I DON'T KNOW WHICH PART OF THIS IS MORE UNBELIEVABLE awesomeness! "Awesomeness" because, I LOVE that sh*t. Finally, a little crack in a high stone wall...after YEARS of chipping away at it. Elation! Flood gates opening onto a parched land!
But I want to stress that knowing everything, and having a full arsenal, doesn't mean I will use it against anyone--in fact, the more you know, the more you can help a person.
Which is why I don't understand the whole concept of "lying", and especially "lying by omission". On Wednesday, after hearing (reading) said "awesomeness" I didn't go online and laugh at anyone for their supposed "screw up" (and let me just say right now, this information was not regarding anyone I may have been married to...Oh, and also nothing to do with David Letterman...HA!). What I ended up writing was ultimately a product of feeling really, really bad for that person, and thinking they could probably use a big hug. Like about a six-month hug. With a possible option to extend the offer indefinitely. You see, I can say that because I don't live with this person. And also, because nobody feels more alone and more unsafe than someone who thinks the world would hate them if they only knew what they are really like, or how they really feel. Ask me how I know.
I got a lot of really lovely compliments on what I wrote. Thank you.
The world won't hate you...what will happen instead is that the riff-raff, the weak people, will disappear, and you'll be left with only the good people. That is not to say that the good people will be cheering you on if you continue to "screw up", but, they'll recognize you as a person of value, and they'll have your back if you are sincere, or appear to want to do "better". Call it the old "Let ye who is without sin" trick.
Quotation marks in play here, because "screwing up" and doing "better" are so wildly subjective. The other day, I was thinking about my first husband, who, in his younger days, "screwed up" enough to get thrown in jail--nothing drug or alcohol related, nothing involving weapons or anything, but, he definitely did screw up and, it was stupid. He learned. He doesn't do that anymore--hasn't for a very long time. He's just a normal guy, working a job, being happily married, and watching a football game as a lonely Packer fan out on the prairie. (Hails from Racine...lives in North Dakota.) My leaving him didn't mean that he wasn't a person of value. It meant two things--I didn't want to continue to enable him to "screw up" (which I TOTALLY did), and, I wanted a shot at living the way I wanted to, which I knew was not going to happen as long as I was spending all my time scrambling to protect him while he kept "screwing up".
In truth, though I was not physically there with him, I never really left him--I didn't abandon him. I did abandon the behaviors, and, as it happens, so did he, so, we can talk to each other now, without me feeling like I have to be his friggin' mommy. I mean, literally just a few years ago, I was scolding this man for never visiting his father! And, we hadn't lived together in 10 years! Who does that? As much as society would say, "he grew up" because he stopped "screwing up", I would have to say that there was a lot of growing up required of me, as well, in order for me to be able to shut the hell up and let him live his life the way he wants to--after all, what's it to me? I'm not the one living with him, right?
Yesterday, somebody told me that a lot of people can't handle forgiveness on the level with which I dish it out. I've had some crazy-ass stuff happen in my life (ahem...unsubstantiated rumors!) that would have made a lot of people stay mad forever, that really doesn't faze me all that much. It's just a thing that happened. Can't change it. You can choose not to hang out with the person who did that, based on your judgement of whether or not they would do it again, but, that's about it.
Forgiving is not forgetting. I mean, that's the real reason why I keep the mental Rolodex. My best friend has a terrible habit of blowing certain things off or being late when we have plans. Consequently, I work around that, because, I know she does this--it's a little factoid about her that I keep in my head. What good would it do me to be rigid about it and still try to hang out with her? It would just be stressful for both of us. And so it is with all forgiving. It is more painful and stressful NOT to forgive than it is to let it go. Imagine the hate in my heart if I could never get past the "He went to jail...WHILE we were married" thing. Hell, that first husband was 6 guys ago! There have been a LOT more "screw ups" since then! I'd be nothing but a seething, angry mess! I'd still be mentally living with people that I broke up with years ago!
(Reminds me of a funny....my mother sent me a fridge magnet with two stick figures, a woman and man. In the picture, the woman stick figure is knocking the man stick figure's head off his shoulders. The caption reads, "He wasn't using it anyway!")
And so...this is why I love those crazy "reveals". Those times when you hear or read something that stuns you, leaves you flabbergasted, or momentarily speechless. Those crazy things that people do, that when it is revealed you think, "S/He did WHAT?" It allows you to see the truth and then decide what you want to do with it. Perhaps you'll mourn the loss of your previous truth, and it will be a gut-wrenching, tear-soaked affair involving lots of kleenex and chocolate and bitching to a girlfriend. But after that...life is so much better. After you clean off your computer screen, that is. Now you have a little something for your mental Rolodex--something that will help you define yourself and your relationship with that person. It's all good.