I’ve never been very good with forgiveness. I have a bad habit of becoming obsessed with needing a sincere apology before I can bring myself to forgive anyone for anything. I used to think that forgiving someone, meant I was saying that whatever they did, was okay. This has made it very difficult for me to get over or move on from anyone or anything that’s hurt me. In my last relationship, whenever I talked about something that bothered me, my ex would say, “you can never let sh*t go!”. He was a narcissistic a** hole that said a lot of hurtful things but he was kind of right about that. I don’t know how to let things go. I have a slight obsession with needing to talk things out and I think that’s due to my upbringing. My family has never been good at communicating. When a disagreement or argument happened, instead of reaching a resolution, we would just not speak to each other until we absolutely had to. Then everyone would pretend like nothing ever happened and move on. It worked for everyone in my house, but me. I hated how we handled things. It drove me nuts and it’s a huge reason why I started writing. I needed a safe space to let go of everything I had built up inside. A place where I felt heard. A place where I got to say as much as I wanted or needed. It’s been an incredible release for me. I’ve written about things I’ve never said out loud. I’ve been able to tell my story – my side of my story (that part is really important, not everyone gets to do that). Through doing that, I’ve helped both friends and complete strangers heal from past trauma. After one performance, a girl came up to me in tears. She told me that when she heard my poem. she broke down and that it was like I was telling her story, too. She said when she heard it, she also felt herself let go of all that hurt and anger she’s been hoarding. She told me that my poem helped her forgive her family for everything. I couldn’t help but cry with her. It was overwhelming to hear I could do that for her and her family, all while knowing I still haven’t been able to do that for my own. Since that moment, I’ve come to the realization that I was the only person stopping me from letting go of the past. I was still holding on to hurt, waiting for apologies to show up and break my grip but they never did. And after that moment, I realized they never will – and that isn’t my fault. But it is my fault if I choose to remain stagnant. If I continue to willingly be stuck in a pit of disappointment and anger, eventually I won’t be able to climb back out of it. So I made a choice. To start accepting everyone as is. Every flaw and downfall. Every mistake and regret. They are all pieces of puzzles that aren’t necessary for me to complete because they aren’t mine. And it’s okay if I don’t understand why someone is the way that they are. I am no longer going to try and define them or fit them in a box. I will let them be, abstract and all, and they can define themselves. What I will do, is forgive myself, for taking so long to learn how to let go. I will tell myself, it is not your fault when people hurt you, but it is your fault if you stay hurt forever. You do not need anyone’s apology to forgive them, but you do need to learn how to forgive. To let go. To move on. And to grow – without restriction or fear. No one else is going to do any of this for you, so stop wasting time. We don’t need no apologies or permission from anyone to move on.