Daughter complains that I never let past slights or resentments go. I remember things. I even still complain. I still carry anger toward certain people for things they did to me, especially if those people still don't seem to care.
Well, yeah, I guess so. But anyone who claims they don't hang on to stuff like that is in deep denial. Maybe you don't ever think about that stuff, but it's still there at some level, it's always there, and it affects your actions and reactions today. In fact, the more you "let it go" (actually bury it, you can't let it go, it's a part of you), the deeper you bury it and refuse to look at it, the more likely it is to permeate your life, your thinking.
If you acknowledge it, pull it out and look at it occasionally, turn it around in your hands and then put it back away, the less likely it is to spin and mutter and burst out under disguise. So I think my way is healthier.
I came across a phrase this morning in a book I'm reading, "looking like a dog's breakfast", that hit me in a wave of sadness. You know, my mother never once that I can remember ever told me I looked nice. Not once. Not for the proms, not for the wedding, never leaving the house.
-looked like a dog's breakfast
-looked like something the cat dragged in
-looked like a bag tied in the middle
-looked like a rat's nest
-was ok, I guess, with a sigh.
I'll never forget the time I looked up at the dinner table and saw her staring at me speculatively. She said, "Your nose is all over your face." What's a young girl supposed to do with stuff like that?
She never made any effort to fix anything, either. She acted like it was hopeless.
Now, if I had accepted what she said, if I had accepted her judgement and internalized it, I'd have been the mess she seemed to think I was, and still would be. But I didn't. I knew she was wrong, even then, that the problem was hers, not mine, that she was unfair to me. And every time I take out one of those gems of mother love and turn it over in my hands, I know it didn't define me, it defined her.