I kept pulling up this rune: Forgiveness.
And I thought I liked everyone. I made allowances, overlooked faults, and easily forgave. Who else? I wondered.
And then: “Oh. Myself?”
I have recurring dreams of being in a closet, frantic because I cannot find anything to wear. They don’t fit. They are my mother’s, too tight, mismatched, or unbefitting the occasion. I have nothing to wear! Somehow I still judge myself unfit for venturing out and wearing my own clothes. And so I do stay home. And no one sees me.
And now I am exhausted, sorting out clothes, trying on shoes and trying to fit into boxes. Wondering, if I wear it this way, will joy come and greet me?
Why are we so unforgiving of ourselves?
And why can’t we, in the same eye that beholds the other, why can’t we make allowances, overlook faults, and set out wearing the plain clothes in our closet?
Somehow we get so caught up trying to pursue the ideal. And from the onset, cast ourselves so we fit a definite mould. And because we have defined the space, no other shape could take form. And quite often, by a mould that’s been set by what is outside, because somebody takes notice, or even shows up. As though we are less beautiful because we are only ourselves.
I want to be “full of myself.” So confident that good is enough. Good enough. That there is no need for summoning joy with pomp and circumstance. Surely, no one enjoys the revelry wearing ill-fitting clothes. You simply cannot dance wearing someone else’s tight shoes. And certainly, there’s no way you can grow to your full glory when you’re stuck in a narrow space, your mould carved out for you.
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” —John Steinbeck, East of Eden
And so what about for now, I fall into love. See the mystery of my own being and be in awe. Without having to dress up or down. Think myself as God’s gift to the world. Without fear of being rebuked, my gifts returned to sender. Slip out of the mould even when it supposedly the proper cast. Neither sinner nor saint, neither a crooked nor straight path, but trusting in my own separate journey. And without having to be so restless and then exhausted owning up to me. Relaxing as I grow into myself, come into my own, without setting the time or space. For once, behold myself with the same rose-colored glasses I so easily grant the beloved. And then finally grasp how messed up, how grand, how human, how divine, how true, how beautiful, and how so much worthy of forgiveness.
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.”
― Derek Walcott, Collected Poems, 1948-1984