I do not believe in forgive and forget.
If you forget what you have forgiven, does that not diminish the forgiveness?
If you forget what you have forgiven, how can you take meaning from what happened? How can you protect yourself in the future?
Forgiveness means scars. It means accepting those scars, that they are there. That there was pain in their acquisition. Pain that changes what was there before.
Sometimes the scars are obvious and ugly. Blistered and twisted like a burn on the soul.
Sometimes the scars are legion, making their wearers unrecognizable. Only a shadow of what could've been hidden behind hash marks of pain.
Sometimes the scars are deep and hidden away. These are mine. Stowed away in the darkest night of my soul.
With the years of childhood I don't remember. With the feelings of helplessness. The sadness. The betrayal. With the mask I wore to hide the real from everyone around me. Because those things doesn't happen in good families.
Sometimes the wind of memory blows the curtain aside and the scars are exposed. I want to look away as disgust crawls over my skin like a swarm of insects scurrying from the disturbance. The ghosts of the past steal my breath. Cloud my mind. Bind my feet. My soul screams for it to stop. As my mouth remains silent. As it always did. Ashamed. Confused.
Then I pull the curtain closed. I take my mind somewhere safe and quiet. There is no need to revisit them more often than necessary. Those scars will live with me forever.
I keep them safely tucked away. Hidden from prying eyes. In the cold. In the dark. In a place where scars should never be. I keep them in the same way they were made.
I acknowledge them. The one who gave them to me. And I know that I am who I am because of those scars. Because of that pain.
The value of that strength? Has outweighed the anger from the pain.
For me, this is forgiveness.