March 19, 2009


To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.- Lewis B. Smedes

I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. One dictionary definition I read said that forgiveness is to release someone from the consequences of their actions. I've also heard that true forgiveness is not saying that whatever happened was okay, it’s saying that whatever it was won’t affect you anymore. Certainly the theme that comes up again and again is that forgiveness is ultimately something you do for yourself, not for the other person.

I experienced an act of forgiveness recently. A friend of mine named Mars threw a Blacklight Beatles Bash party for her fabulous fiftieth birthday- a gala affair with a couple of hundred people. Think Burning Man meets the Yellow Submarine in Santa Cruz. Talk about your Octopus’ Garden. Mars & I had not really been in contact since my boifriend and I broke up five years ago, despite having been exceptionally close, both of us having ftm tranny lovers.

As I was getting ready for the eve, I thought about the ways I have felt exiled from this particular tribe, but also about my own self-exile, my own self-punishment for the break up. I have diligently avoided any social event where I thought there might be an iota of a chance of my exs presence, after learning the hard way that I’d throw up every time I saw him. And in a small town with a small community... well, let’s just say this Rapunzel has stayed locked up in her self created tower for some time now.

Pride and competition
Cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us
You know it doesn't keep me warm..

I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think its about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore
-Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter

Since he is a part of my child’s life (he has been her “Uncle” since she was born, from before we dated) I have consciously worked to transform my more bitter feelings to one’s more in alignment with how I feel about my other co-parent, i.e allies. As someone, somewhere, once said regarding the gay community, “An army of ex-lovers cannot fail.” I’d say 90% of hypnosis school was around this wound (the rest being around my mom - you know, if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother...)

Well, after enough visualizations of seeing him would be “like seeing an old friend” all I can say is: hypnosis works. I felt great - no, I felt like a BABE as I entered the party in a dusky gold velvet dress that just clings to my figure. I danced my ass off, drank too much wine, and shmoozed with folks I had not seen in years. In other words, I had a blast.

At some point I went out to give my daughter her cell phone. My ex was sitting at a table and we said hi to each other. His body language was tense, and I wondered what he was thinking. Later I was out gossiping with the local wag who said, “So, I hear you’re dating bio boys now” which goes to prove the fastest way to communicate is not telephone or telegram, but tell-a-queer. I simply responded that I had not dated in almost a year, and left it at that.

I went home earlier rather than later, feeling that "at the heart of the matter" I was finally in that place of being okay, of releasing myself from the past. In the moment I could see how our paths had parted, and I could finally stop beating myself up for not trying harder, for somehow not being "enough". I finally forgave myself.

I cherish several of the other folks that I reconnected with, and I love my friend Mars & look forward to going out dancing with her soon. I was somehow reminded of high school where I realized I was part of no clique but had many individual friends. In this world of a thousand tribes, I recognize that I am still a nomad gypsy marching to my own heartbeat.

Forgiveness does not change the past,
but it does enlarge the future
.-Paul Boese