I hold grudges. Big, nasty, persistent grudges. My grudges last years, not months, if they end at all. My grudges are like herpes.
Now, you’re probably thinking one of two things:
1. This chick needs therapy. (Who holds grudges like that?) or,
2. This chick is crazy. ( Who admits to holding grudges like that?)
Both valid points. But hear me out:
1. I have never held a bigger, nastier, more persistent grudge against anyone than myself. There are things that I did at the age of 12 – 20 years ago – that I continue to beat myself up for now. With that kind of persistence over 30+ years, the grudges I hold against myself easily outnumber those that I hold against others 3 to 1.
I say this in the spirit of disclosure, not as a cry for help. My name isn’t Christina and I don’t need you to save me from myself. I’ve read the memes and emails – “20 Steps to a Better You”, “15 Ways to be Happier” – and I’m not drinking the kool aid. You and Ghandi may be convinced that I’m sabotaging my own life, but I’m certainly not. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m improving it. You see, grudge holding is one of the few mechanisms that I’ve developed to protect myself from cruel people. Typically a people- pleasing doormat, earning a grudge from me is a testament to your unflinching cruelty and my minuscule, yet existent, sense of self-preservation.
2. The hudges I hold also outnumber the grudges. Yes, hudges is a made up word. Yes, it is meant to indicate something better than a grudge. It is a “happy grudge” – a feeling of appreciation that I hold toward a person for something that they likely have no idea they’ve done for me. I hold them just as fiercely and for just as long. I think they impact my life just as much as grudges do, if not more.
(Side note: I checked a dictionary and a thesaurus for a non-made up word to express this sentiment and came up empty handed. Besides, made up words rock. All the cool kids have them.)
We all hold hudges. Sometimes we’re cognizant of them, but often we’re not. And hudges go beyond the obvious influences in our lives like our parents, grandparents and siblings. Hudges are about the things we learn from the people who weren’t trying to teach us, the people we never intended to learn from, and the people that are no longer part of our everyday lives. Yet here we are, with an imprint on our psyche that has, even in a small way, made us a better person.
Never forgetting my dedication to positivity, I’m going to take this opportunity to say thank you to those (identified by first initial only to protect the innocent) for whom I hold a hudge. These are listed in no particular order and I’m sure to forget a few. But each one of them still makes me smile, reminds me that I am blessed and inspires me to be open to each new person and experience I encounter.
R: introduction to and appreciation of anime. Comes in very handy when you have a son who obsesses over Pokemon.
R&B: everything I know about being a great admin.
T: appreciation of Jay-Z. I wanted nothing to do with him until you burned the Grey Album for me.
L: cleaning a house in under an hour while having a really fun conversation.
A: introduction to the Pu Pu platter. I’ll be honest, I was deterred by the name. But no more.
K: couponing, WAY before it was the *in* thing to do.
P: it’s ok to be a tea drinker in a coffee drinker’s world.
M: how to drink and enjoy beer.
S: proper usage of the term touché.
A: telling me that my spaghetti sucked. Seriously hurt my feelings at the time, but now I make an amazing homemade sauce.
S: adding “vexed” and other gems from the queen’s English to my vocabulary.
…and many many more. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You do more than merely outnumber the grudges. You are the reasons I believe that no relationship is a waste of time, no conversation beneath me. Everyday is a classroom, everyone a teacher.
I always was a star student.