Forgive and forget?

And I bury hatchets, but I keep maps of where I put ‘em...
— Taylor Swift

Yes, I just quoted Taylor Swift. It's time for me to be honest about who I am. I'm currently obsessed with Taylor Swift's latest album - mostly because she's such a great songwriter, so there are some great, thought-provoking one-liners.

As I let TS's latest album play in my earbuds while I enjoy an hour of mommy time at the pool, that line sticks out to me, and immediately reminds me of a time I was encouraged (ordered?) to "forgive and forget" by someone who had wronged me. When I saw those words - sent via text message - I felt every tiny hair on my body stand up and my blood begin to simmer. First, the obvious - who is anyone to tell anyone to forgive? Forgiveness is a personal choice, and usually done when one is ready to forgive. And, I think forgiveness is mostly beneficial to the person who was wronged, NOT the wrongdoer. Wrongdoers can ask for forgiveness, but cannot demand it.

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Secondly, what is this "forget" bullshit? Honestly. And, why should they even try?! So the wrongdoer can have a clean slate to mess up again? No way, I say. If someone is ballsy enough to tell you to 'forgive and forget' something they did - they're ballsy enough to do it (or worse) again. Does that mean you have to walk around angry with them forever? Again, no way, I say. That's the forgiveness part. But, I think what comes next is taking the necessary steps to ensure you're completely satisfied with moving forward in whatever capacity you're comfortable with. But, it does not mean you have to ever truly forget what they're capable of. You also don't have to forgive them if you don't want to, obvs. Up to you.

As I reapply my sunblock, I'm wondering if my thoughts on this topic make me sound guarded, paranoid and cold, holding everything against everyone. I'm not, and don't do, any of those things. But, I do think it's somewhat instinctual to not 100% trust someone again once they've revealed what their bad side looks like. And, that could mean limiting your relationship with them, the time you spend together, the lengths you're willing to go for them, how much you want to accommodate them, etc. How much do they deserve is a good question to ask yourself, in my opinion. It doesn't mean you have to be negative or let it/them continue to affect you. There's power in positivity.

Anyway. I'm talking too much about justifying why you don't need to forget after forgiving, when I should be focusing on the ridiculousness of why that's even a saying in the first place. I've always had the belief that no one has a right to treat anyone poorly, no matter what their relationship to you is - not even if they're family or you’ve known them for 20 years. So, while people make mistakes and words get said and yes - life goes on - if it's something big enough you need to forgive, it doesn't mean you have to try to forget it. You don't have the burden - they do. They just don't want it...

*puts sunglasses back on*

...and ain't that just too damn bad.

A trip down Instagram Lane

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For the past few nights, I've had trouble getting to sleep. So, I either watch a true crime documentary (sweet dreams!) or surf social media until my eyes feel heavy. Yes, I know neither of these methods are recommended/good/smart/healthy, but it's usually the only time in the day I have 100% to myself so dammit I'm gonna do what I want.

Anyway, I used to have a separate Instagram account for VandenVogue, but it was annoying to try and keep two accounts going, so I deleted it and decided to just use my original IG. I figured 11 p.m. was a good time to go through and archive older posts I may not want public, and as a result - I relived my life for the past 5+ years.

What.A.Trip.

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My very first Instagram photo was of our dog, Moxie. In fact, when I joined Instagram, my posts reflect that my life consisted of my dog, boyfriend (now husband), what food we ate, cocktails we drank and places we traveled to. I took note of how, for a while, it seemed my days consisted of working from home for a popular dating site, doing Pilates 2x a day, wearing a bikini, high heels (not together), and making martinis. Then came the photos of our engagement, moving to Chicago, home decor and sightseeing. Then, of course, our wedding back in Upstate NY and peacefully fun honeymoon in the Finger Lakes region - Seneca Lake, to be exact. Shortly thereafter, posts about moving to California showed up. Our drive across the country - Nebraska, Colorado, Utah - and more home decor, as well as the inevitable beach shots and my knees on a lounge chair at the pool. In October.

At this point, I sat up in bed, not even realizing I had tears in my eyes. I had covered just two years of my life in photos and I couldn't believe how much we'd done. And, I wasn't even pregnant, yet.

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Of course, the posts went on from there - announcing my pregnancy, chronicling the growing baby bump, sharing it would be a boy and his very first day in the world. Baby O flooded my IG after that, and I couldn't help but notice Moxie posts were scarce. So, I looked over at her, called her up to the bed and snuggled her for a few minutes until she fell back asleep.

My tears dropped from my eyes as I realized how fast time goes. Owen was 9 months old when we moved back to the east coast. As I kept some photos up and archived others, I watched him grow all over again. I also saw how I had changed - my priorities and life in general. As I scrolled, I sort of relived the isolation I felt after he was born, and then gloriously witnessed my confidence as a mom blossom and my sense of self come back, remembering how I felt when I posted certain photos.

When I was done, about a little more than an hour later, I set the phone down and sighed. I felt a strange clarity wash over me and bigger excitement for the future, as well as an even deeper appreciation for my partner in life - my husband.

Also, fun fact: I had been looking at little baby photos for so long, that when Owen got up this morning, I almost didn't recognize the giant child smiling at me from his crib.

Honestly, I recommend everyone going through their Instagram for a walk down memory lane - to see where you've been and what you've done and how you've evolved and all that good stuff. Just remember to have some tissues nearby, though.

Uh, ok bye?

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"Isn't that the mom and dad from swim class" my husband asked.

I looked, and it was. We were at the farmers market and had left swim class 20 minutes prior. We had also just (sort of) met them a week ago at the first class, and they seemed nice. Granted, we didn't exchange names (except that of our kids) and I only briefly talked to the dad, who was in the pool with their infant son. But, I figured since we were both there at the farmers market at the same time - it might be nice to test the waters on a possible friendship, seeing as how our kiddos were testing the waters together at swim class.

I also had no plans of using that horribly corny line on them.

So, we walked up and I gave a little wave and smiled and said, "swim class, right? I'm Amanda..." and the mom just nodded and said something like, "Oh...yeah."

OK. Sooo, uhhh...

Her husband silently walked away to a table and sat down while she was waiting for their ice cream. I tried to make small talk about how cute their little girl and baby boy was and "how great they are in the water!" and I even said, "this is Owen..." and she literally ignored me except for tight smiles. When her food order came up, she said, to her daughter (I think), “let's go over here" and they just walked away to the table where the husband and baby were.

"Are we...supposed to...follow her, or...?" I said to my husband, who was JUST as bewildered and he said, "...she didn't say 'bye' or anything, so...but, I don't know..."

We looked at their table, and I thought maybe I would be able to gauge what the heck we were supposed to do, and then we walked somewhat closer to their table to see if they would pick their heads up and wave us over but nope. The vibe was clear. Their heads were down and body language colder than the pool water. I realized...she meant to give me an Irish goodbye right to my face.

RUDE AS HELL.

Here's the thing: I don't need to be friends with every mom I meet. I'm well aware that just because we are both women who have children doesn't mean we have a ton of shit in common and will be lifelong friends. I actually went home and stewed about this for way too long. I started laughing so hard at a scenario I cooked up where she goes around annoyed with every mom who tries to talk to her like she's famous or won some Best Mom Friend award and is now so overloaded with women wanting to breathe her air that she can't possibly even stand to engage with another human being lest they get the wrong idea.

Ugh. Because, you know what it all comes down to? I'm just big on manners. Like, please and thank you, chewing with your mouth closed...and simply saying 'hello' and 'goodbye' when appropriate. Basic stuff. Seems simple, right? I thought so, too.

Especially when, um...aren't children supposed to learn this stuff by example? I mean, let's be honest -- she could've even just said "bye!" to my KID and I would've been fine with that.