by Jane Moneypenny

I’ve never been great at staying mad for long. I may have a spectacular memory for events, incidents and fights, but I more often than not forgive the offending party and move on (indicated by how friendly I remain with exes, ex-flings, ex-crushes).

One thing I never have accomplished, however, is forgiving myself. More than enough times, friends have commented, “You’re too hard on yourself” and then shake their head and wish I would ease up. Even my parents have relayed their worries that I put too much unnecessary pressure on myself.

In regards to my career and successes, that may never change and I’m okay with that. With relationships and my personal life, it needs to change. As I’ve mentioned before, I was in an emotionally abusive on-and-off again relationship/friendship with an ex-boyfriend that spanned 6-something years. Although I’ve moved on from him and have started a new phase in my life, I’ve realized lately I haven’t gotten over the effects. 

A year ago exactly this week is when I finally decided to move out of the emotional turmoil that had been St. Louis. And since then, I’ve been on an exhausting and enthralling adventure to really live my life. If I got a chance to travel, I took it. If there was a guy I felt a connection with, I put myself out there. If there was anything new worth trying (or even not worth trying), I signed up. If you asked me if I could be living life any differently, I would be confident in my answer that I’m living life just the way I should be. 

But the anxiety doesn’t leave. I still haven’t forgiven myself for all the time wasted on him. And even though I fought back, I always ended up back in the vicious cycle that is abuse and feeling weak. Of course he’s at fault, but I feel like I knew better. I was never blind to the crap or the hurt or the abuse (although it took me years to finally put a name to it). So in some twisted way, all this carpe diem mentality is an attempt to make up for all the lost time because I just can’t seem to let it go that I put myself through that for so long.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been exciting and fun and scary and memorable, but also incredibly exhausting. When I have a span of time that I’m not “grabbing life by the horns,” I feel guilt that I’m wasting time again, especially because I’m so young. So many people have told me that the fact I’m no longer around or with him is all the success I need, but each time I stumble a little and find myself hurting over a jerk, I return to being mad at myself for falling back. Not that all men will be abusive, of course, but apparently going through one horrible one doesn’t make it easier to run from the other jerks.

I’m not sure how to ease up on myself or this self-imposed pressure. More importantly, I clueless at how to forgive myself the way I forgive the ones that have hurt me.