I looked it up. This is from the God of All Things, Wikipedia:
Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt'.
Over the week-end, someone who knows me as "Lizzie", whom I have never met, and who knows about me through others, and possibly this blog, met me "in real life" knowing that he was meeting "Lizzie". I learned about it a couple days later. He claims legitimate regret (though not to me personally- we haven't ever communicated directly), in fact everyone involved does.
The details are immaterial- if different circumstances were known, it wouldn't have happened, blah blah blah.
The sensation of violation was dramatic, unsettling, and felt disproportionate to the crime.
I have done nothing I am ashamed of, and would have been happy to meet him, had he expressed an interest. And his curiosity is entirely understandable, and vaguely flattering. But.
Here's the thing- the very existence of this pseudonym implicates me in some way. It indicates that I'm not "all out". I think it makes total sense to have a cloak over this aspect of my life, and I'm not ashamed of the choice to wear the cloak. He wears one too. His reasons are no more or less valid than my own.
Here's the other thing: the roller-coaster of emotion this unleashed, while somewhat uncomfortable, is certainly interesting. I'm trying to examine it through the lens of "interesting experience" while also honoring the emotions.
And the emotions stirred are many- anger, violation, inequality, broken trust, frustration, disappointment, all generally on the spectrum of things I want to avoid a steady diet of feeling.
I really didn't realize how protected by my name, or not-my-name, I have felt.
Once upon a time, and possibly still, there were people who felt that taking a photograph stole a piece of your soul, that we use the verb "taking" here is itself interesting. When I distilled the sensation, and finally got a handle on it, my conclusion was that it felt like the Ultimate Creep Shot (I'd link to a definition here, but since one doesn't come up readily, I'll steal N.'s: "This is when a photographer takes a photo of an unknowing model, usually in public."). That by taking away my secret identity a little piece of me was stolen. I felt exposed in a way I hadn't invited.
Now we come to forgiveness: it's easy to say you forgive someone, and it's easy to apologize, express your sympathy, empathy, understanding. Especially if you are good with words.
But to truly feel it? To wipe the slate clean, when you feel tainted? Disrespected? That your relationship is tainted? When revenge fantasies play through your mind? When you want everyone to go fuck themselves?
That is harder.
And this offense?? Perfectly manageable.
But man, giving up the righteousness of the wronged? That is truly hard.