In preparation for the third Hobbit movie, my family has been watching the previous two installments. Tonight, we saw movie #2. As Bilbo went up against the dragon, I remembered where I was last year as I watched this in the theater:
I was just beginning to revise and re-post the story of Richard and Tracy. I saw my depression, Richard’s betrayal, my loss of a best/close friend (Richard) because of this, discovering that my spiritual mentor (Richard) was never actually my friend, loneliness, doubts about God, and Tracy’s bullying and abuse, as the Dragon.
I was Bilbo fighting it, wondering how I would ever get out of it. I was Bilbo telling my story now, so others can know what happened and glean their own lessons from it, for fighting their own dragon.
Tonight, as I watched the dragon again, and little Bilbo finding his courage to fight goblins, Gollum and the dragon, I realized that those feelings were no longer in my head.
(I also noted that I could understand people’s expressions much better now. As a child/teenager, I often said I preferred books so I could find out what people were thinking. Now I can see it better.)
Sure my story is still about the dragon I had to face with courage and fortitude. But it is now a story that is done, just as Bilbo could relate his story years later without the fear he once felt as the events took place.
The dragon has been slain. The depression is gone, nothing now but a distant memory, not even a recent one anymore.
The loneliness still comes up now and again, but is diminished because I am building various friendships and acquaintances at various levels now.
Somebody in the writer’s group called me his friend, and he and his dad cry out welcomes when I come in. The president said he likes my quiet and respectful demeanor, and there is no reason to change that because some people don’t understand it.
Richard’s betrayal only stings a little bit now. It still leaves me with sadness at times, but more and more over the years since, I have realized the magnitude not only of his betrayal, but of his deceptions. I see only too clearly the Pharisee behind the false piety.
I just plain don’t care anymore.
Just as I used to feel so hurt after severed relationships that I wanted to die, but eventually, I forgot all about that person, and moved on. I might e-mail an ex occasionally or friend him on Facebook, but all the pain, hurt and even desire for his company, is gone.
Just as I was sad when my former boss left the company in a spectacularly bad fashion, and I missed him, but now I barely ever think of him. Especially after I found out his wife divorced him for being abusive, and he went to jail for threatening and violent behavior.
I still have many doubts about God, and often about Orthodoxy as well, but I have stayed put in my church.
In it are people, services and events connecting me to this church, as they have begun to depend on my husband and me for many things: Bible readings, making candles, running the website, washing dishes at Greekfest, etc.
I feel that if I left, many people would be not only disappointed, but in the lurch.
I was once scared of Tracy. This is why I never spoke up to her face about her abuses of others or her treatment of me. This is why I did not stand up when she smacked her toddler upside the head, or started yanking/spanking/slapping/screaming at two little girls who had done absolutely nothing wrong.
I feared what she would do to me if I did speak up. This is why I went into a tailspin of fear after she found my blog, threatened and began stalking me.
Now I no longer fear her.
Heck, now she’s become more of a symbol to me than a real person: a symbol of a pathetically self-deceived abuser who tries to force everyone to see her as what she wishes she were. But instead of fear and loathing, now I feel something else:
Sometimes, it’s a laugh at how pitiful her antics were, at her pathetic attempts to be superior and keep others under her control, at how obvious she was.
Sometimes, it’s fascination at how someone can act the way she does, as I study the Cluster B disorders which obviously drive her behavior, no longer as an abuse victim but like a curious scientist.
But it’s a feeling which is oddly divorced from the fact that her abuses happened to me. It’s not forgiveness exactly, but more like when you’ve watched a movie: You feel pain, anger, joy, etc., while watching the movie, as if you were the characters.
But when the movie is over, these emotions are now detached from you because it was only a movie, and the characters live only in one’s imagination.
In my case, the events and things I described really happened, and they happened to me, but when I revise old posts or remember something, I feel as if it were only a movie I watched once long ago.
Basically, the same way I feel when revising or writing memoirs about abuse or other things.
If these people ever repent of what they did, my Orthodox faith compels me to forgive. So I have one little window perpetually open for that, never closing it because that could condemn me to Hell.
I know they will read this, and just want to be clear on that in case–maybe twenty or thirty years from now–they reflect on their actions and feel remorse out of fear of Hell.
But forgiveness does NOT necessarily mean restoring friendship. I no longer have that pull toward Richard which would make me desire friendship in the least.
But the healing has finally come, without forgiveness. The moving on. The dismissal of all former feelings of fear and sadness, with no trace left over. Like when every last bit of snow is finally gone mid-spring, even from the mall parking lot.
The dragon is gone and nothing is left but the gold.