Journey of Self-discovery: The burden of grudges

My husband and one of my dearest friends are conspiring against me and planting unwelcome seeds of doubt in my brain.  I don’t think I necessarily appreciate it.

I was venting to this friend the other day regarding a personal family issue that has weighed heavily on me for some time.  I won’t go into the specifics, it’s a complicated and involved issue.  Publicly blogging about it certainly won’t fix it or endear me to anyone involved.  So, let’s just be satisfied with saying it is a difficult situation that I have dug my heels in on and don’t plan on relenting until the necessary adjustments have been properly made.  My friend listened, sorta chuckled, and commented on my uncanny ability to hold a grudge – for a very long time.

It was the exact thing my husband had said to me the night before.

Freaky.

Of course, this made the wheels of my mind begin to turn.  Am I a chronic grudge holder?

Surely not.  Couldn’t be.  I am just passionate about my convictions.

What the hell did they know anyway?

Turns out a lot.

In the dark recesses of my mind I have little folders – each concisely labeled.  They contain my grievances against people who have trespassed against me.  It seems my husband and my friend are right, after all.  I am indeed a chronic grudge holder and for all the personal growth I have experienced over the last few years, this is one aspect of my personality that has not seen any improvement.  Does it need to change?  I don’t know, but that conversation left me feeling reflective.  I took out some of these old dusty files. It was a lot like thumbing through the pages of an old yearbook.  A little funny, a tad ridiculous, and slightly painful.

When I was ten, there was a girl my age who lived around the corner from me.  Her name was Melissa.  She was a bitch.  For my birthday that year, my father had given me a monogrammed Mickey Mouse license plate for my bike.  I treasured that custom plate and displayed it with pride.  One particularly steamy afternoon, I was tooling along on my bike.  It was sparkling blue with white wall tires and shiny streamers that flowed in fluid waves from the handle bars.  Life was good.  Melissa the Bitch was standing in her front yard.  She beckoned to me.  I didn’t really like her much, but I went over to see what she wanted.  It was the polite thing to do.  I was a polite kid back then.  We chit chatted for a few minutes, nothing earth shattering.  Just pre-tween bullshit.  Then out of blue and quite unprovoked, Melissa the Bitch reached over and shoved my bike to the ground.  My prized monogrammed license plate shattered into a million pieces.  I don’t remember much of what happened after that, I was a little angry.  I think there were some words exchanged, maybe a shove or two.  My grandmother, sage woman that she was, talked me down from the ledge.  She told me that beating the crap out of Melissa the Bitch would not fix my license plate.  I should take solace in the fact that mean people like her eventually get a big old dose of their own medicine.  She was right, of course.  My grandmother was always right, but that experience has stayed with me.  I never spoke to her again or even acknowledged her miserable existence after that.  To this day, I loathe Melissa the Bitch and I feel pretty sure that if I had the misfortune of meeting her again, I would take great pleasure in running her over with my car.  I might even back up and do it a second time – just for good measure.  I see it all play out in my head.  I like to call it my Ally McBeal moment.

I have a cousin who I’ve despised since I was a child.  Why you ask?  Because she selfishly and maliciously took something from me that I held dear.  I didn’t grow up around my extended family.  I am a military brat and, as such, we moved from time to time, even spending a few years in Europe.  So when we did get the opportunity to visit with our family, it was quite the treat.  Except this one year.  I don’t remember how old I was, but I do remember that another family member gave me something that was beautiful.  I was a sentimental child and I treasured it with all my heart.  We were staying at my aunt’s house.  There were a lot of us, so we each had our little sleeping space staked out.  It was where we stored our stuff.  I kept my treasure tucked away beneath my pillow for fear the younger kids would break it.  One day, I noticed that it was missing.  Vanished.  Into thin air.  I looked everywhere for it, but it was nowhere to be found.  I went to my mother in tears.  After an extensive search, we finally found it.  My cousin had taken and hidden it.  Whether she meant the theft as a prank or if she really intended to keep it, I don’t know.  I don’t care.  She is an evil bitch who stands alongside Melissa the Bitch in my Ally McBeal hit and run fantasy.

I hate Ben Affleck for knocking up Jennifer Garner – repeatedly.  Jeez – those two are as fertile as rabbits. Everything in my Alias world was perfectly in sync until Ben dumped J.Lo and swooped in to steal Jen away from the best show ever made for television.  I am heartbroken and scarred by her betrayal, which is continually thrown in my face every time she takes a role in some crappy, sappy Rom-Com.  I don’t think I will ever be able to let this one go.  It’s just too much to bear.

I have scores of other grudges, too.  Like the one I have against the girl who did that thing with the guy I dated; and the one with that girl and the cake; and the one that I have against that guy who said that thing about me when Nolan and I were just dating; and that one I have against my campus cafe and its horribly incompetent staff; and the one I have against the pharmacy tech at my local Wal-Mart – I hope she rots in hell; and the one I have against that girl from high school who was really holier than thou for no good reason; or the neighbor kid across the street – I’d love to stick his booming stereo up his ass; and the one…

I could go on forever.  I’m sure you’re bored by now, though.  It is true I hold on to things, but I do it for a reason. Every one of these grudges, big or small, is an invaluable life lesson.  Lessons that shouldn’t be forgotten, lest they be repeated.  I don’t tend to make the same mistakes twice, or at least I try not to, and it is largely due to these grudges.  Perhaps someday I will feel confident enough to let them go, but for right now, I am going to let them be.  Besides, nothing gives me more joy than replaying the take down of Melissa the Bitch in my mind.  The very thought of it fills my cold heart with warm satisfaction and leaves a smile etched on my face.

Who would want to let go of that?

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