When listing skills on my resume of life, one thing I’ve always had is the ability to hold a grudge. Trust me, if you were ever mean to me or even just short with me, I’ve got it filed away. Color-coded, alphabetized, locked in the vault and probably labeled with “fuck that bitch” in big bold letters. Probably in Gotham Black at 24 point size. I’ve held grudges against people, against time periods, against cities and even against myself. I’ve held onto things from when I was ten years old and one thing I know for certain is this: carrying around a grudge can lead to some serious back problems.
When I moved to the city, I moved here for my three best friends. Maybe I was trying too hard to fit us into a little gay Sex And The City mold, but I was devastated when the first of them moved away to teach in Thailand. One night at dinner he just casually dropped it in our laps. Like it was something that commonly happened. “I’m going to the grocery store.” “I’m giving up carbs.” “I’m moving to Thailand.” And then he was gone. Poof. I didn’t talk to him for the first three months he was there. I was angry that he just left without at least mentioning it was something he was thinking of doing. He came back after nine months, went out to California and never came back again. I felt destroyed all over again. He’d left me twice and didn’t look back.
Another friend started dating someone and instantly moved in with him. He stopped being the friend I knew. He had changed and I was determined to believe that it was for the worse. It was like I blinked and he just went on growing into a different person while I was stuck in the same place spinning my wheels because no one told me how to really live life. How dare he leave me without direction?! What good is being Carrie Bradshaw when there’s no Miranda Hobbs by your side? He had ruined my perfect television life and I wasn’t gonna let him get away with it. The problem though, is that I tend less to actually air my grievances than to just sit and wallow in them.
Other people came and went. Girlfriends were especially hard. Fact: there is no other demographic of people who will drop a gay BFF faster than a straight girl who just got married. It’s like, “Bye, Felicia.” Except guess what. You’re the Felicia.
I’ve flown into faux jealous rages over guys who I didn’t even want to date in the first place got caught making out with randoms in the bar. In true dramatic fashion, I’ve ceremoniously burned gifts, manuscripts and memories over a grudge I was convinced was deserved. I’ve stink-eyed my way through every single bar in this god-forsaken town. I’ve deleted more Facebook friends through clenched teeth and squinty eyes than I’d care to admit. I’ve stormed out of enough parties to make storming out of parties “my thing.” And all it’s gotten me is a reputation for being a world-class asshole.
A wise woman once told me that you don’t have to walk around with all that baggage. It’s a lot easier to stick it all in a locker and take the key rather than lug everything around with you. When it comes to the shit from your past, no one’s luggage looks like this season’s Louis Vuitton, so it’s best to just let it go Adele Dazeem style. Splattered all around Chicago, you can find the word “FORGIVE” painted on sidewalks or random curbs. The “FORGIVE YOURSELF” ones are harder to find – maybe because that tends to be the hardest grudge to give up. The one you have with yourself. All that crap you did or didn’t do. All the shit you’ve talked about someone else. The times you’ve let someone else down. The times you’ve let yourself down. Let it go.
The point is, a grudge is really only keeping you from moving forward with your own life. What’s the point of being weighed down because some dickhead shoved past you in a crowded bar or because one of your friends needed to make a change in their life that didn’t include you. Everyone is just trying to get to where they need to be and nine times out of ten they’re not trying to hurt you – even if they’re not being totally careful with your feelings. Move on with your life. Believe me, it’s really fucking difficult, but it tends to get easier the more you do it. Who wants to be laying on their death bed blabbering on and on about all the people that pissed them off?
Throw your shoulders back and let the grudges fall off. You’ll walk a little taller, you’ll look at things a little differently and you’ll be a lot happier.