Slightly Bald Teacher
To Forgive or Forget? #DailyWritingChallenge
I hope that there is very little I should be seeking forgiveness for in life? As Bruce Lee once said, "Mistakes are always forgivable if one dares to admit them." I'm not saying I'm a brave soul, who always holds his hands up and says "Yes, I got it wrong." but I hope I haven't done too many unforgivable things in my life. The odd broken heart, mine included, were aberrations, and also my fear of confrontation led to some of the exits from these relationships being a little cowardly. For that, I ask forgiveness. But any Trumpesque mistakes that need me to plead forgiveness? No.
Should I ask forgiveness for being weak? There are times when I should have been stronger and stuck up for myself. My life would be less stressed these days if I had, I think, but I don't think I let anyone, but myself, down. Perhaps my wife needs me to ask this of her, as she had to put up with my mono-syllabic answers and black days. Anyway, I ramble on and perhaps I need to get to the point. Is there anyone I should be forgiving? Has anyone wronged me so badly, that I still have a space in my heart? There was this girl from Giggleswick in North Yorkshire, who treated me like s*** but I'm over that. Honestly!
The answer is yes. I will still convince myself it was my fault and that I needed to be stronger and not put up with the insults and bullying. I remember, describing to my older brother what had been happening. He looked at me and said, "I'd have pinned them up against the wall if they spoke to me like that!" Now he was a fireman and perhaps that may have been the thing to do but mine involved the new Head of School, who was making my life hell and had a reputation for ruining careers.
Now, at this point, I was going to publish a letter that I wrote to this head (not intending to send) on the advice of a counsellor I was talking to. It expressed forgiveness. I thought it would help to let others see and read about what I had been through. But then I realised that legally I was unable to. I may have even contravened my gagging order by writing what I have done already.
So I won't express if I have forgiven them. I can't and some may say that that, in itself. is unforgivable. But there is one small part of my whole Toxic School experience that I can not forgive. I spent nearly twenty years at the school and I was never allowed to say goodbye.
I wrote a letter to the parents and children and it was never sent. A cursory note in a newsletter telling of my departure was allowed but my letter was ignored. I wanted to share this letter but it is very personal and niche, so I have not published it. Reading it for the first time in two years has been enough. That space in my heart that was this school, will never be filled and for that, I cant forgive. I can forget and I can move on, and receive the kindness and love of all those around me but there will always be that tiny space, that once projected warmth, love, and compassion that will now be forever dark and cold. No matter how I can reconfigure things it still sits heavy on me.
Philip Larkin once wrote:
"Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?"
I fear that I don't have the wit or the inclination to force this off me. Instead, I have to learn to live with it, and this is another journey. Perhaps, this links with our next topic, self-care. I do care about myself, but sometimes there are so many people to care for that I have to put my own care on hold. Here I will stop.