My life lived didn’t start out so great. I did the usual (in my neighborhood and my time), got pregnant, in a bad relationship, married and divorced. My husband was abusive in every which way that you can imagine abusiveness. We were better off without him.
This guy that fathered my child wasn’t very nice in that he loved the privilege of being a father, but only if he didn’t have to pay for it. During this time in Florida, there was no means to enforce child support orders. Child support orders were worthless paper.
I remarried and my husband adopted my sons. Yes, that’s right, a guy who hates child support so much that he allows his son to be adopted by another man.
My marriage was happy, and we had more children.
In the back of my head, I held onto my resentment towards my ex-husband. I was angry for what he did to his child and how he treated me. My attorney filed a lawsuit that would force him to pay all the back child support. I wanted to enforce it. I wanted him to be sorry for his behavior.
And then, he died. I didn’t get to tell him what an asshole he was, he died first.
I felt empty inside. It was as if my anger and resentment was a bubble that popped and now had no air in it. It was gone, without the revenge, without the gratification of receiving the back child support, without anything! He was gone.
Now, I cannot bring myself to be vengeful. The thought of wasting all that time nursing the resentment in my brain for ten years, makes me feel sorry and wasteful. How is that even possible that I could maintain the anger for that long? I am a loving person, and yet, there it is. I must admit that vengefulness can live in me. I have to admit that I am not as loving as I thought. I am also angry and bitter. That is a hard pill to swallow about me. I never recognized myself in this way.
Every movie I watched and indeed, every show, featured that moment when justice would be done, preferably with recognition from the crowds. I would have my moment with my ex-husband, he would hand over 20K dollars and my fist would raise to the heavens in victory.
TV is wrong, movies are wrong. There are no victories like these in true life. How could American culture have failed me so completely? I was supposed to have my day in court, my victory lap.
There I was, instead, seeing myself as someone who held onto resentment for ten years. This is not the picture I wanted of myself, even if the TV told me that my day would come. I had to learn how to let it go. I had to learn that leaving my resentment behind would give me a better life.
Being a better me is always a challenge. Swimming against the cultural tide makes it even more challenging. I tell myself that I don’t need revenge. I don’t need to know that “that” person has learned his lesson. It’s not for me to teach. It’s for me to live my life fully without anger, resentment and bitterness weighing me down.