Leaving Grudges in 2016
As soon as it reached Christmas Eve, I decided to take a few days off. I didn't write any blog posts, shoot any content (aside from a few fleeting close ups of gifts) and I didn't promote on Twitter. I needed a social media detox, and after taking one, I still feel like my head is in a bit of a jumble. I'm finding it hard to concentrate, sleeping a lot (shout out to the Christmas food for that one) and just generally feeling a bit down in the dumps.
Without covering the same ground as so many bloggers before me, when your job is essentially yourself, there is no down-time, and even when you give yourself "time-off", you spend the whole time thinking about how you can improve your content and what you're going to write next and how you're going to tackle that fucking Instagram algorithm. I was actually reaching peak stress before I decided to have a break, so much so that I'd developed a beautiful bald spot on the side of my head and I cried in the middle of a bar when my best friend said "I know that you're stressed" whilst handing me a voucher for a spa day.
Jumper - H&M
Bag - Gucci
Belt - YSL (similar)
Nonetheless, I can appreciate the detox still did me good. I spent all of my time with friends and family, drinking gin, scoffing cheese and getting out of the house. One of the most meaningful things I did, however, was let go of some grudges that I had been holding on to for a long, long time. Ironically, whilst searching for real buddha quotes (it was for work, please don't judge me), I came across a fake one that really resonated with me. It said:
"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of harming another; you end up getting burned."
Without being the whitest person ever by pulling out a fake buddha quote and feeling all *inspired* and shit, I actually found quite a lot of truth in it. Over the past year (and longer), I'd been holding onto a variety of grudges - two of which were very important - feeling like I had been unjustly hurt and that I was right in not forgiving and moving on. I went on living my life, but every now and then these grudges would come around and bite me in the arse when I couldn't go to certain parties or social events or I was pushing away somebody that was trying to make amends for what had gone wrong in the past.
And it's difficult to let go of grudges. It's not easy to accept that you've been hurt or humiliated and that the situation cannot be fixed. In a way, your grudge is the only punishment you feel that you can give out: "I'm cutting you out of my life, and you're going to know about it." It's even harder to let go of a grudge when the other person moves on and is happy, because it feels like admitting defeat. You feel like this person has hurt you but they've been able to move on and up, and there's been no recompense for what's happened to you. In a way, holding a grudge is like your only defence against the realisation that's what's done cannot be erased.
But here's the thing - and, as always, it's a disgustingly cliché truth that you'll likely find emblazoned across a canvas in TK Maxx - by harbouring these grudges whilst everybody else moves on with their lives, you're only hurting yourself. There's only so long that somebody can feel bad each time you push them away or each time they apologise before they have to accept that you're not going to reconcile. There's only so many times that you can try and punish somebody for the same thing. And whilst they move through this phase of letting go and moving on, you're stuck in the same place, cultivating that dangerous duo of bitterness and stubbornness.
One of the grudges I've been holding on to is with my Dad. It's difficult to go in-depth about our relationship and why I'd cut him out of my life because I don't want to relay information that's personal to him, but to cut a long story short, I haven't seen my Dad for about 6 years. Even before that, our contact was very hit and miss and I'd sometimes hear from him, and then sometimes not for as much as a year. We've always lived in the same town - probably about a 15 minute drive from each other - but for a long time he's had his own personal issues which meant that he was just never around.
And I resented him for that. And I'm still angry now. My Dad missed my 16th birthday, my 18th birthday, my 21st birthday, missed my prom, me going to university, my graduation, both of my boyfriends, my first job, my first holiday - I can't deny that I'm not holding on to hurt for every missed landmark. But I've come to realise - now that he has a new family and is working a lot and always trying to reach out to me - that I'm only spiting myself by not giving him the chance he's been asking for. He's only going to miss more big moments if I don't say:
"Do you know what, let's try again."
Letting go of a grudge isn't weakness. Letting go of a grudge isn't admitting defeat. Letting go of a grudge isn't forgetting what's happened and saying that it's okay. Letting go of a grudge is allowing ourselves the freedom to move on. Whether this means rekindling old relationships as I have done, or just saying, "that's it, I'm okay with it" is entirely up to you, but if there's anything that the very end of 2016 has taught me, it's that letting go of grudges leaves you with a much lighter heart.