30 Days Of Truth: Day Three

18 Oct

Day 3-Something You Have to Forgive Yourself For

To forgive yourself for something means you actually have a regret in the first place. I’m not going to lie to you and be one of those assholes that says “I ain’t got no regrets.” or anything silly like that. Just like you, I’m human. I make mistakes. But the mistakes I’ve made in my life have formed me into the person I am today. In a sense, everything I’m not, makes me everything I am.

The things in my life I really regret are the things that are way beyond my control in the first place. I regret, at the age of 10, that I didn’t protest enough to my mother about not being allowed to go to my grandfather’s funeral. He had a specific rule that none of the grandchildren would be able to attend. Being the oldest grandchild, I wanted to go. I thought, in my mind, that I was old enough to comprehend the level of emotions required of me at such a young age. But I only asked once. After I was told no the first time, I never fought the issue. I just let it go almost immediately without a battle. To this day, I am mad at myself for not pressing the issue. For not fighting for the chance to see him one last time before he was laid to rest. I realize that I would have fought a losing battle. I know that. But I should have at least tried. This was something way beyond my control and I need to just let it go. I need to just allow myself to forgive and forget.

Staying with the theme of things that were way out of my control, I need to forgive myself for not being there the night two of my good friends died in a fiery, alcohol and drug fueled car accident. I turned down the invite to go with them to a huge, raging party that night. I usually would have been the sober driver. At the age of twenty, I very rarely drank alcohol. I never used drugs. I was always at every party though. I was always there for my friends if they needed a ride. But not this night. I was nowhere to be found. My friends Jeremy and Darrell loaded themselves up with the finest drugs and liquor a 21 and 20-year-old could find. They piled into Darrell’s stepfather’s blue Acura Legend with two friends in the backseat. One party had ended and they decided it was time to find another. They never made it. Going 100mph on the freeway and hitting a guard rail severely decreases your chances of partying. I lost two of my best friends that night. When it was all said and done, three people lost their lives that night and another was critically injured. Now, don’t get me wrong. I know their decision to drive that night had nothing to do with me. I get that. But to this day, ten years later, I still have nightmares. I can see them driving ahead of me. I can see the car swerve. I can see it burst into flames. I wasn’t there that night. It wasn’t my responsibility. I know this. I need to just let it go. And after a decade, I think it’s finally time to do just that.

 

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15 Responses to “30 Days Of Truth: Day Three”

  1. badassonpaper October 18, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    I know how much this eats away at you. They were lucky to call you their friend- we ALL are. Wonderful piece.

  2. Amy @ Bitchin' Wives Club October 18, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    That is really intense, TJ. I completely understand your feelings and would feel the same way. Good luck letting it go, I mean that because I know it is easier said than done.

    Also, a clap on the back for attacking this topic. It scares the living shit out of me to contemplate this one. Not as much as the forgiveness of someone else, though. :(

  3. Holmes October 18, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    It’s crazy how knowing something is not your fault doesn’t completely take away the sting. Big hug from me, homey.

  4. Jerrod October 18, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    Powerful stuff man. I’ve never had to experience this kind of thing but I know I would have the toughest time with it. It’s still good to read and know that it’s okay to move from it no matter how painful.

  5. andygirl October 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    I am so very sorry about your friends. I know what it can be to lose someone so suddenly who is so young and the guilt of thinking your could have saved them. I’m not a big believer in fate, but I believe in humans and love and forgiveness. *hugs*

  6. jodifur October 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    I have a hard time letting go of things not in my control too. It is hard.

  7. sweetney October 18, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Yeah umm, hi my name is Tracey, and I have control issues…

    Sigh. Its hard to not accept that we have no control over other people’s lives and choices… because we think, if we did, we’d somehow make everything okay. But we can’t. Everyone has their own crosses to bear, their own issues, and their own blindspots. Even those of us who want to make everything better for everyone. In the end, we’re all screwed up, and we all *screw* up.

    That said, you impetus to help, protect, make things better for others, is a noble one, for sure.

  8. Jurgen Nation October 18, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    “But I only asked once. After I was told no the first time, I never fought the issue.”

    Teej, you were TEN. Your parents’ word was all you knew, it was final. I know this helps naught, but it hurts to know that you’re being hard on the ten year old inside who didn’t think he had the chance to fight for it.

    As to your other, I have a similar story. I still think about it, still obsess over it. A dear, dear friend I grew up with ended up being my suite mate in college. Long story short, she meandered through the bathroom into my room and started a convo. I didn’t even look up; I was consumed with our math class homework.

    I found her hung from her side of the bathroom door the next morning. I was the last person to speak to her. I “what if” the fuck out of that. I could have saved her. But I didn’t even fucking bother to look up from fucking math.

  9. mylittlebecky October 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    wow. this post was exceptional and i hope that you found some healing with it or at least the beginning. it made me realize as well i still haven’t forgiven myself for not singing at my grandmother and aunt’s funerals. even though i could barely talk when all was said and done.

  10. Jules October 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Wow! That’s powerful! Losing a friend, or friends, at such a young age is devastating. I know. I’m not sure one ever recovers from it. I heart you!

  11. flutter October 19, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    you are worthy of forgiveness. you are worthy of happy.

  12. Rachael October 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    I agree that the places we’ve been make us who we are, and I had trouble with Day 3. I have forgiven myself for not knowing that my ex boyfriend was about to kill himself when he re-contacted me after a year of silence when we were 16. But it’s not always easy.

  13. Rebecca October 26, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    I feel so odd replying to one of your blog posts. We went to school together for years, yet weren’t friends. Your writing really touches a nerve and it always reminds me of the biology class we had together in high school; the only class I can vividly remember you in. Such a fun loving class clown. I think we were sophomores in the “old” building. I remember attending Darrell’s funeral like it was yesterday. I wasn’t friends with him, but felt compelled to go. It was a hard day, even for me. I still often think about how such a young life was lost and a profound effect it must have had on his family. You never forget things like that.

    • TJ October 26, 2010 at 11:43 am #

      Oh, thank you so much for commenting, Rebecca. Hearing such kind words from people from my past absolutely makes my day. High school was a shitload of fun. It’s amazing to me who and who you don’t hold on to all these years after the fact. I miss Darrell and Jeremy like crazy. And? I remember that biology class vividly. The only Rebecca I know from that class would have been Ms. Carlton. See? You didn’t think I would remember, huh? :)

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