We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I often think about the word “forgiveness”, and what it actually means. I always thought that if you forgave someone who did something wrong towards you that it meant you were validating what they did to you as being “okay”. But I have discovered that forgiving those who did you wrong frees you in a way I never thought possible.
I’m going to go back to 2010. I had an idea for an event, and finally that year I did something about it and created it. An event that didn’t exist where I live, and one that I would have gone to if it did exist. The interest in it was phenomenal, and it ran for the first time in 2011 over ten days. I was over the moon, it was something I had been thinking about for years but I never had the time to do anything about it. Finally I did it, I created it, and with the help of an amazing team and lovely people, my dream became a reality.
I ran it again in 2012, and the month before the event took place in 2013 I found out I was pregnant with Frankie. After the event I wanted to take it in a bit of a different direction, but had a lot of resistance from the team that I had put in place to run it. By which time I was 5 months pregnant, and looking back I made some mistakes – I didn’t make it clear enough to those who were helping me exactly what level of involvement they had. So when I did want to change things, rebrand the event to make it more modern and contemporary, and bring in different people, I was apparently “taking away” THEIR event! I was close friends with at least 3 of those involved, and yet they turned on me with such vitriol and hatred when they thought I was taking “their” event away from them, when it was actually my event in the first place!
For 2 days I fought and stood up for myself against these bullies, and so did my husband – I stood my ground vehemently and fiercely. But then something happened, something that changed the course of my life forever.
I was given the devastating diagnosis that Frankie had a severe cleft lip and palate.
That day was one I will never forget as long as I live. Little did I know at the time that there would be many other days to come that I will never forget, but that day was the first one in a long line of them. In the midst of being told that my unborn son had an “abnormality” and that it was a “cleft”, and it was a very severe cleft at that, I couldn’t fight those who had turned against me anymore. My plan was to still run the event after Frankie was born but take a little bit more of a back seat, but faced with years of operations for him, visits and stays at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and the very strong possibility that Frankie would have had to have been tube fed for the first few months of his life, that plan went completely out of the window – and rightly so. I would be a mother first and foremost. I would no longer be a wife, a daughter, a friend, a family member, a businesswoman, an employee or an event founder/manager.
I would be a mother, and only a mother.
So I told them that they won, that they could have the event they were fighting so hard to get from me. I let it go, I let my dream go, and I let a part of myself go. But I had an even bigger part of me that needed me more.
That part was Frankie.
I don’t think there is a woman on this earth who wouldn’t have done the same thing as me in the same situation. Not only was I dealing with my unborn son’s devastating diagnosis, I was also dealing with betrayal from those who I thought were my friends. They stole something from me, and THEY – drama queens that they were and still are – played the sympathy card to everyone else by saying that I was the one who was the bad person and who had wronged them, when it was completely and utterly the other way round! I realised that they were arrogant, evil and full of their own inflated self importance, and worse, I had associated myself with these people. To this day I will never know how I let that happen – a massive mistake on my part!
Still, despite what happened, and despite the betrayal – I forgave them all.
Yes, I realise how that sounds. Why would I forgive them when they had caused me so much pain and hurt? Why would I turn the other cheek, shrug my shoulders and say “I forgive you”? Simple – I was the bigger person. I knew that one day Karma would do its work and if I was very, very lucky, God (if there is such a thing) would let me watch. Recently, I got to watch.
Lots of other things have happened to me since all this happened. Frankie of course didn’t make it. I recapped in my last entry about all the death, loss and events that I’ve been through that have made me much stronger in the two and a half years that have passed since Frankie was born sleeping. Ironically, when the news of Frankie’s passing reached these people, emails of sympathy flooded into my inbox from them. To me it was so fake after what they all did to me, and I just filed them without reading them. Eventually I just deleted them.
They haven’t done a huge amount with the event in that time, it is a far cry from my original dream and vision, but I’m sure it must make them happy. They are the ones who have what they did on their conscious – the personal attacks against me, the personal attacks against my husband and the personal attacks against others who stood by me because they knew I was right and they couldn’t stand by and see my character be assassinated with things that they said that were not true. I had to fight and stand up for myself while also protecting my unborn son. Letting go of that event at the time was the ONLY thing I could do to protect Frankie when I was given his devastating diagnosis.
I attended one of the events within the event last week. It was 3 hours that I will never get back again. I went to support one of my close friends who was taking part but to be honest I was bored stupid and wished I had stayed at home to watch Italy play in their latest Euro football tournament match. It would have been much more entertaining.
The reason I was bored stupid was that it was EXACTLY the same faces and people taking part. People I had seen many times before, and they were basically entertaining themselves. There was no audience to speak of apart from one or two new faces, but that was it. The essence of the event has now become one where they take part to entertain themselves, and the event is put on to entertain themselves. It isn’t for the public, as it no longer comes across as accessible – which was something I was very big on when I did it. It is so sad to see what it has become now. As the Emperor Nero said in the film Quo Vadis, “Same faces, same noses.”
So it amused me greatly recently to discover that while I have moved on massively (okay, so I am writing this entry about it, but writing is therapeutic for me, and I have never written about what happened before) they have not moved on at all and are stuck in time back in 2013. They are old enough to be my parents, and should know better, but instead their actions were and still are akin to a five year old. The distress and upset they all caused me was incredible, at a time when I was 5 months pregnant and dealing with Frankie’s life changing and devastating diagnosis, but I still forgave them.
And I still forgive them to this day.
And that makes me the bigger person.
I have plans for another event for next year, in fact plans are already coming together for this event really nicely. It will be bigger and better than anything I have ever done before. I have learnt a lot and I have a great team of people alongside me who I trust implicitly, and unlike those who I surrounded myself with previously I don’t have a bad gut feeling about any of them. At the time I did have an uneasy feeling about some of those people who I said yes to helping with my event, but I ignored it. Never again will I do that.
So if there is one big lesson I can take from the whole experience, it is to trust my gut feeling and to never, ever go against it. And I also wish all those who did me wrong all the best with the event that is now in their hands and all the best with their lives.
I forgive them all.
I wrote this poem to encapsulate how I feel now, so I will end this entry with it, and it is on to bigger and better things for me moving forward:
Follow Your Intuition
Follow your intuition
It is usually always right
Always follow your gut feelings
And trust them with all your might
Don’t let negative people drag you down
And paralyse your confidence and self-esteem
And beware of the ones who talk badly of others
They’ll talk badly about you too, they are so mean
These people are fly by night
They go from pillar to post
Looking for power, fame and glory
They love themselves the most
So my advice to everyone
Is to surround yourself with those who care
Not with ones who are narcissistic and selfish
Who pull you into their poisoned lair
I’ve had my fill of drama queens, bullies and pompous twits
From now on I say no more!
I will trust my intuition implicitly
I don’t care if that makes me a bore
If it doesn’t feel right I will walk away
Right at the very start
I don’t care what anyone thinks
I will completely trust my heart