April 14, 2019

the really bad thing

Once, I did a Really Bad Thing.

I can't say out loud what it was.  It was that bad.  Some might disagree, but I think it was worse than attempting suicide, and it was worse than some things I haven't done, like setting fire to someone's shed and watching the ember sparks spread the flames to their house, or fleeing the scene of a wreck, or driving my family into bankruptcy and destitution.  Ruining lives that are not my own.

There are things I cannot even contemplate someone doing, like intentionally running over a dog.  It wasn't as bad as that.  But it was a Really Bad Thing.

When I think about the Really Bad Thing, which isn't often, a door bangs shut in my mind.  The Really Bad Thing lives in a closet of trauma behind the door.  When I open the door to look, I find a skeleton and dead flies at the bottom.  I am not afraid of skeletons, but I slam the door and run anyway, because I remember when it was alive and had flesh.

The Really Bad Thing was not the kind of bad thing one does as a child.  Children pit primitive human nature against the fear of punishment.  The equation is simple and the bad things are simple.  I stole chewing gum inside a store when I was four and tried to hide from Grandma under a clothes rack while I chewed, because I knew on some level that I was doing something wrong.  I climbed a tree with a neighbor friend and the stolen soft porn magazine from her brother's room, and we spent the afternoon looking at forbidden things, just because they were forbidden.  Later, there were the nights when I would sneak out and put shaving cream in ceramic bears' mouths.

This time, I was not a child.  The Really Bad Thing was chosen in the fullness of adulthood, knowingly, guiltily, and intentionally, by me.  I hurt people I love on purpose.  I put them in danger of disaster.

Afterward, excuses were made for why I did the Really Bad Thing.  I did not make them.  The people that made them brought armfuls of excuses and wheelbarrows full of Good Things to fill the other side of the scales, to make it heavier than the Really Bad Thing and tip the scales in my favor.  I have been urged to forgive myself, as I have been forgiven.  I have agreed to do this, but only because it will help the people I hurt, and I know that it will take the rest of my life.


  1. Unconscious cruelties are forgivable. It's the conscious cruelties, when we go against our conscience, that mentally hound us. I hope you can forgive yourself and let go of this thing <3

  2. Being human has its pros and cons. Part of that is figuring out your limitations as well as what you're capable of doing. Even as adults, we are still growing and learning aka fucking up. Is it bad to know we are capable of doing really bad things or does it serve a purpose? Guilt serves a purpose, I think. It also means you have a conscience. Go forward, having learned from this and know that we are all human and have all probably done or will do really bad things. At least you feel bad about it. There are some who do not regret the bad they do. I hope you're not holding yourself to some unrealistic, superhuman standard. If you are, then maybe realize that for what it is and perhaps then you can forgive yourself, which is not the same as forgetting and knowing that you are capable of both good and bad. Okay, I'll stop now. Mona

  3. Giant, sloppy hugs to you both.You bring wheelbarrows, see?