Forgiveness and Forgettance

(Yes, I know forgettance isn’t a real word. But it should be. You knew exactly what I meant by it, didn’t you?)

Last night, I ran into an old friend and an old enemy. They were the same person, of course. This wouldn’t be interesting otherwise, would it? We were friends for a long time, there was a falling out (I felt that I had been betrayed), and then we were enemies for not quite so long a time. And then we were… we were nothing much, I suppose. Acquaintance seems too strong a term.

A large reason for this is my attitude to forgiving and forgetting.

A digression: I value honesty, but I cannot help but admire a well told lie. And whoever first formulated the words “forgive and forget” in that order was an absolute fucking genius of dishonesty and manipulation. Because the whole thing is sheer brilliance, if what you really want in life is to never be held accountable.

Because the way most people have come to interpret the phrase – and the way I’m damned sure it was meant to be interpreted – is that the person asking for the forgiveness (and, implicitly, the forgettance) is actually asking for a blank cheque. They want to not be held accountable for this time (the forgiveness) and they want to be free to do it again (the forgettance) – and ideally, they want the same lack of consequences next time.

Yeah, fuck that.

I don’t care for it at all.

I’ll forgive the first time – depending on the scope at least (some things are too large for second chances). I might perhaps forgive a second with sufficiently extentuating circumstances. But a third? I’ll eventually forgive that, at some point, because I don’t think that holding onto grudges is good for me, but by that point, enough time will have passed that it won’t matter to either of us.

But forgetting? That I won’t do. You get my forgiveness, but that’s a second chance. It’s not a blank slate. It’s not a second first chance. Fool me once, shame on me – you know the rest.

And it amazes me that anyone ever does things any differently.

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