Into (And Out Of) The Pit
My daughter is a Netflix junkie. While I’m sure, in her quick and more than likely loud defense, she’d point out that I’m just as bad as she is. My only retort is that, one, we’re talking about her, and two, Netflix junkies probably outnumber the population of Belgium. Seriously. Someone should just make a flag and draft a constitution already. Although we’d more than likely be wholly dependent on other nations for our military defense — that first season of Luke Cage isn’t going to watch itself and even small arms combat is enough to drown out the dialogue.
Anyway, my daughter’s latest Netflix binge has been How I Met Your Mother, a show I’ve only watched in bits and pieces. But it’s very watchable. Who doesn’t love Neil Patrick Harris? But like most sitcoms, it can be entirely unrealistic. Family crises cannot be solved in 30 minutes or even the occasional two-part episode. But it’s fun to watch anyway, the plots mostly consisting of situations with about as much depth as a kiddie pool and plenty of cute moments that could no doubt have Generation X watching with a certain sense of nostalgia through their respective rose-colored memories.
Every so often, though, a show’s writers will stumble on something that hits a bit closer to home. I had one of those moments the other night. In one episode, the gang talk about “Pit Persons”. Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, before you start thinking that this is some kind of Stephen King horror story, let me explain. Pit Persons, loosely defined, are people that you perceive to have irrevocably wronged you in the past at some point. Let that person’s crimes against you boil down enough, and you put that person into a pit; much like Wild Bill in Silence of the Lambs, but in your imagination. You use that cartoon-villain-like hatred of their image to even motivate you, as if to prove how wrong they are about you, how strong you are, how much better you are than them, etc.
It really stopped and made me think for bit. I can be an amazingly tolerant and patient person, but once someone has reached a certain milestone with me, I can be as unforgiving as a mob boss. I have said goodbye to a lot of relationships based on, what in a cosmic sense, nothings. And those people, using the HIMYM analogy above, could very well make a human ladder in my pit. That’s just not healthy. I know it, but it’s my pride that keeps digging that pit deeper. But here’s the lesson in all of this:
In the spirit of olive branches, a phrase a good friend of mine recently pummeled me with, I made one small step with someone I tossed into the pit a few years ago. The fact of the matter is that their slight against me is simply not worth making myself angry for. Part of forgiving others is having the strength to forgive yourself for allowing anger to put you into knots that only get tighter when you try to free yourself. While that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to reach out to that other person all the time, it does mean reaching inside yourself to pull you up.
Moving ahead, I’m doing my best to allow the past to be the past. As good ol’ TR once said, “Black care rarely sits behind the rider whose pace is fast enough.” If by some chance someone from my past is reading this, and they’re pretty certain I chucked them into the pit, know that I’m doing my best to outpace my demons and would much rather have you in my life than out. If I said or did something assholish, I apologize. If you said or did something assholish and are afraid that I’ll shun you, know that I’m doing my best to follow the example set by the good Doctor:
Besides…I really miss some of you.