The ocean breeze at 10pm felt so distinctively warm for July. The tropical rains had been quite generous, characteristic of that time of the year. Thankfully, the shores were dry that night. We found a perfect spot and settled down on the gritty sharp sand without much fuss. It would be my first time on a beach at that time of the night with him. This sort of scenario, obviously in a more romantic setting, I had imagined and longed for since my days of exposure to Mills & Boon. Though I would have preferred it being on the beaches of the Caribbean or somewhere in the Maldives, but alas, it was the notorious Bar beach along the Lagos shores. I struggled reconciling my cherished imagination with my apparent reality and tried to make the most of my last moments with him. Romance was the furthest thing on my mind.
A wild and adventurous soul he was. He struck my conservative chords, producing harmonies I never thought resided in me. Our talk that night was intense as unforeseen revelations loomed for him. The tides before us busied themselves with the production of an orchestrated symphony of the night. He was my sweet temptation, a distraction from all my unventilated frustrations. My work at that time in my life had been a nightmare but the renumeration was my only consolation and sole motivation. We were work colleagues and he wasn’t oblivious of the every detail of my daily horror. Madam “Boss-zilla” had made real her earlier threats and true to her sworn words, the anticipated promotion eluded me for the second time in a row.
A moment of silence passed as my thoughts drifted. For more than 2 years, I broke sweats daily to constantly save her “behind” from the scrutinizing eyes of management yet her best repayment plan for me was the less than average appraisal she gave me bi-annually. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, something wasn’t adding up. At every available chance, she uninhibitedly displayed unadulterated hatred towards my person. Being an anti-social by default, the lunch room where all the juicy, and mostly, unpalatable office gossips took place was never my favourite destination. However, as fate would have it, I walked in on them talking about the “three-some saga” brewing that particular afternoon.
Deeply engrossed in their “brain-storming session”, my presence was seldom noticed. This afforded me the opportunity to hear my own story being told. It was only at this point did the reason for the animosity made perfect sense. It took every ounce of self-control I could muster to keep my cool and the strength of focus of a ready hunter to stay awake. I almost fainted! My blood boiled as beads of sweat formed indiscriminately on my forehead and upper-lip, my armpit and the crease behind my knees weren’t spared. The split unit air-conditioner coupled with the oscillating fan above me was of non-effect! What my ears heard that noon was too much for my fragile heart to handle.
How is this possible? Adrian and Madam “Boss-zilla” engaged??? They rarely spoke. Adrian and I had been dating for almost 2 years, a common knowledge around the office. We spent a lot of time together after work and at the weekends. We talked about her a lot and he never hid his displeasure. So, What was I missing? I even gathered from the grapevine they had been dating for almost 2 years as well. The sudden wrap of his arms around me startled my thought process and with uncontrollable reflexes, sizzling hot and spicy slaps repeatedly landed on both his cheeks simultaneously…double whammies! He managed to grip my volatile arms as I crumbled like dominoes to the floor.
I desperately wanted to be held by him yet the thought of his arms around me drove me insane. I long for comfort at the very source of my pain, a paradox to say the least. In my crouched state, I could feel the overwhelming pangs of resentment welling within me, the shame of having been the office joke for so long wasn’t far behind. My soul wrestled in me as it struggled with the effect of 2 years of over-dose on lies and deceit, a measure too deadly for any human soul to sustain health. The phrase, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” meant nothing more than the barking of a toothless bull dog for I was too weak to launch any fury attacks, too dazed to think straight. The one thing I knew as I stood from my crumbled state was the long walk I was about to take from it all.
It’s been three years and four months since that fateful day when I walked away from Adrian, Madam “Boss-zilla”, my vulturous work colleagues and my nightmare of a job. Nothing has changed much. Here I am, struggling with the feeling of unforgiveness which has now graduated into bitterness and mistrust, affecting my relationships on different levels. Knowing that Adrian and Madam “Boss-zilla” eventually solemnized their union hasn’t made it any easier. Oh! how deep and unsearchable is the desperate wickedness resident in the heart of man!
The thoughts of forgiving them for the emotional and psychological torments I ignorantly endured in their hands was one I never entertained. How could I? I am yet to forgive myself for being so vulnerable and undiscerning. Forgiving is the way to heal, this I have heard many times over but isn’t it easier said than done? Could the lack of a deserving closure be responsible for my inability to move on? How does one forge ahead having experienced such level of deception? It’s been three years, four months and counting… deep in the abyss of despair I remain.
Logical reasoning would justify our determination not to forgive some specific wrongs done against us. However, in my sojourn in life so far, I have come to the realization that forgiveness is a willful act that can only be fostered by a deep understanding of it as a gesture of benevolence to an undeserving soul, so to say.
Choosing to forgive truly liberates. It facilitates the healing process and makes you the better person. To forgive self is the first step on the road to recovery. You need to be in a healthy frame of mind and being to extend a hand of healing to another.
Even with the knowledge of this, I have had to deal with some stubborn stumps of unforgiveness in specific situations at some point in my life too. One thing that helps me through it is an illustration I heard many years back. It is impossible to hold something down and at the same time move away from it. Same is the case when we hold others down in unforgiveness. Liberation becomes evasive. Progress is impeded.
Unforgiveness is cancerous to the human soul. It eats you up and literally sucks life out of you. It is pointless holding anyone down in unforgiveness. I have come to realise that the unforgiving person hurts more than the unforgiven on the long run. The ripple effect it generates in one’s life can’t even be compared with the devastating effect of a vicious hurricane storm.
Asides the deposits of hate, bitterness and resentment it leaves on the soul, unforgiveness can sometimes turn us into the very character we despise in our offenders. Long after the departure of the offender, we may be left with a prolonged battle within that could span over many years of preventable misery.
I leave you with these thoughts;
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” -Katherine Ponder
“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” -Anonymous
“Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time-just like it does for you and me.” – Sara Paddison
“The key to forgiveness is to forgive from the heart, not from the mind.” -Sheri Rosenthal