Because that old shit matters!
I hate when people bring up something that I did in the past which they may not have liked. I probably apologized for it and expressed my will to never do it again. What is done is done and I cannot change the past. I would love the idea of being forgiven as well as having the done deed forgotten, but that is never fully the case. I may be forgiven, but what I have done will not be forgotten. The act of before and its affect are what I must now live with and deal unto accordingly, even appropriately if I desire to maintain my own peace.
No one wants to constantly be reminded of their own transgressions against others. We would all like to be seen by others as the perfect model of a human being. If it were up to all of us, our wrongs would simply be rights. That is everyone’s ideal solution to their deviated and delinquent behavior. Why else would a misdoer argue to justify his or her wrongdoing? It is only to appeal to someone else’s empathetic nature and to coerce their agreement to righten themselves being done wrong. We all do it! It is the civilized thing to do. Tell me I am a fool to my face so that you and I can continue the cooperative effort of allowing you to mistreat me. That is the name of the game. Rarely does the argument ever end so peacefully. Usually someone has to form a compromise to assuage an ensued and heated debate over the misdeed. If not, that is where violence comes in handy. “Oh, you don’t like me treating you bad? Take this ass whooping! That will show you what is good for you.” There, the fence of civility has been cleared and we have entered into savagery. It should never go there, but unfortunately it does and always will sometimes.
What if we forgot when someone mistreated us? Aha! Some of you never gave that a thought I bet. I do not mean forgot in the philosophical or theoretical sense like, “oh don’t worry. I forgot that even happen.” I am talking about in the literal and physical sense like “hold up, what happened? When? For real? You lyin’! Nah that shit ain’t happen… but for real though?” The fact we can recall traumatic experiences in life is a defense mechanism and it serves a very valuable purpose. Our cognitive recollection can remind us of what we do not enjoy and if working properly will help us position ourselves to never let or allow what causes grief to negatively affect us again. Without memory and the ability to rewind and playback our experiences, bad as well as good, we would be suffering from amnesia (a brain disorder).
White folks, the rest of this is for you:
Ironically, we all have the innate ability to forgive. The catch is we have to find it in ourselves to choose to forgive being mistreated. Forgiveness is very similar to forgetting, although the two concepts are not the same. Forgiveness allows us to say to ourselves, “you know what, I have to stop thinking about what happened in the past all the time. I’ll never let it happen again though!”
To be forgiven for mistreating someone means that we have to allow ourselves to be accountable for what we have done to that other person. When we allow ourselves to be forgiven we have to also accept that who we mistreated will probably never forget what we did to them, and from time to time will remind us that they have not forgotten for safe measure. This must be done in order for them to further remind us that they intend to never let it happen again, but will forget about it until the next time they feel the need to remind us again.
Memory lasts in time and matures. It grows and becomes a new life. It takes on different names and languages. It has homes and styles itself in the latest and modern fashions. It has children and parents. It is a living, breathing, reproducing organism. Memory is essential to a society and its order. Memory passes on to generations and raises them. It feeds them their favorite foods, sings them their favorite songs, buys them their first car, helps them raise their own children. Memory reminds us of all the good things that have happened throughout human history, as well as the bad. We are the memory of us all from before, in the present, and into the future. We are accountable for our history, whether we were physically here to witness it, or it was passed down to us through memories. We can forgive ourselves and allow ourselves to be forgiven, but we will never truly forget. That old shit matters to us all.