There was a discussion on one of the forums about getting revenge on a partner who has wronged them. Some people came up with wicked ideas, some people with gross ones, a lot said "no way, why waste the energy". I didn't respond, rather I was inspired to write this post because it caused me to be reflective on my own behaviour of the past few months.
When my ex told me that we were finished, I was destroyed. I cannot describe the hurt. I honestly cannot remember how I got through it, other than by leaning seriously on friends and family and taking autopilot to new lengths.
Anyhow, back to revenge. When news got out, people were shocked with me. People were egging me on for crazy revenge plots and doing pretty angry things to personal property. I have memories from my childhood of my mother slicing through my fathers clothes and throwing them down the garbage chute, with every other female on the 11th floor. My father was a womanizer to the nth degree so it happened a few times. I remember being confused, because while all the woman and girls on the floor took glory in doing this, I felt embarassed. Yeah, she was getting revenge, but it just seemed like such a waste of energy, energy that should be spent crying over a cup of tea with a few good friends. I do admit I did little things in the early days, like hiding toothpaste, or removing one sock from each pair of socks. I felt so powerless and these little things gave me a momentary sense of power, but it wasn't sustained, the hurt returned even worse, because I had to confront the reality, that this has been done and I had no power, those little revenge items just delayed me realizing that. I had every opportunity to do a gabillion things for some serious revenge, but I didn't and people from my friends and family to his business colleagues wondered why. They remarked that they would not have been so gracious and sometimes i wondered, "am I being a doormat?"
Looking back six months later, I'm glad I took the high road. Honestly! I still feel hurt and I still analyze everything to death, but I feel healthy...or healthier. I spent that time crying to friends and family. I reached out for support and made sure I was doing work that would sustain me for a long time. Was it hard? Much harder than getting revenge, but it's left me in such a better place, which in the end is much more important to me and my children. The fact that I can break bread and not want to beat my ex over the head with a baguette marvels me and I take it as an accomplishment. Does it mean I have forgiven him? No, not yet, but I can see it happening...in the future. There is a lot of profound African wisdom around the topic of forgiveness, now mind you, many folks on the continent need that wisdom, but we have brilliant examples in South Africa or Rwanada about taking the higher road. It's not an easy path and it will take years, decades, who knows maybe even centuries to fully heal, but the alternative was to throw these nations and communities into further hatred and bloodshed and in the end, even centuries of painful growth seems a far better alternative. I remember reading a story about a Rwandan genocide survivor who had forgiven his neighbour who killed his family before him, after unsuccessfully trying to kill him. I always think back to his wisdom and I'm paraphrasing, but he said something to the degree that if you are sick, you need to take medicine to make you better, sometimes that medicine is not pleasant, but in the end, you will heal. Sometimes the medicine to hurt, is just riding it out, and having faith that it will end if you take care of yourself properly.
This event in my life, it was a loss, a deep and profound loss, but the fact that I have survived it and done a very good job in surviving it gracefully is an accomplishment I will always look back to with pride. And no amount of revenge I could have taken will ever come close to that very good and whole feeling of not only surviving, but surviving well. And that, my friends, that is power.