Did you see the Grammy’s last night? I thought they helped take our minds off of the death of Whitney, music as balm after a loss to music. Earlier in the show, I was tweeting. Tweeting I loved how LL Cool J led a prayer and how he wasÂ acingÂ it as host, tweeting asking my followers what Coldplay song they loved most, who they thought was best/worst dressed, and did we like RiRi’s hair blonde (no)?
Then Chris Brown performed. I could feel the energy shift upon his appearance. Has there been a celebrity more divisive since OJ Simpson? Guilty, but pretty much got away with it, but then again not really because many of the general public still calls him on what he did. Many are especially sickened by those who don’t feel similar disgust, especially those adoring fans who seemingly, screamingly, love him more because he did what he did.
It’s hard to stomach. When I first heard Rihanna had been beaten and threatened with her life at the hands of Brown, I was as repulsed as I would have been if she were an every-woman, and then more repulsed because she was my RiRi – what kind of monster could hurt a girl who had brought me such pleasure?
So when Brown took to the stage, I took to Twitter:
I know some who are Tweeting phone numbers of abuse shelters throughout Chris Brown’s performance. Does he deserves a break from his past?
The responses came fast and furious (and continued to come well after I’d asked the question):
Last year when Chris Brown freaked out on Good Morning America where he was on to discuss his work and the host brought up what he did to Rihanna, he asked after how long it would be until people forgave him. Fooled by the illusion ofÂ time he failed to understand, I thought, that when you do something to someone like he did to Rihanna, time does nothing to keep the incident from feeling fresh in our collective consciousness. It’s why the likes of Joan Rivers made a Chris-beat-Rihanna joke just the other week on Fashion Police; we’re all still reeling.
I did understand what he was trying to say though. While Brown, with a public career to think of, and still a young man with a lot of living to do, may have asked this for selfish reasons, he neverthelessÂ does challenge us all, the collective class of continually expanding and growing beings that we are, a good set of test questions: How long do we wait to forgive? What is our measure in granting it? Is our forgiveness based on the deed done, and therefore if the deed is that heinous to us, is forgiveness even possible?
Forgiveness must be possible, and never mind for Chris Brown’s personal agenda but for our own. Chris Brown shines a light on all of us about how tightly we hold onto eventsÂ of the past – in this case, with all due respect, an event of the past that is actually none of our business except the fact it happened between famous people – and we use every rightful reason we can think of to stay in our stance, unforgiving.
To what end? If I can’t forgive Chris Brown, who else can’t I forgive? Can I forgive myself for things I’ve done? Can I forgive those around me who will do me wrong later today, later this year? Can I forgive my late father for his horrible treatment towards me as a child, or do I hold tight to that even though he’s now been dead in my experience longer than he was alive?
My last post of 2011 talked of people in my life I had to let go of last year. D. is one of those people. She worked for me for several months last year and you can read the details of how betrayed I felt by her unexpected exit and theft here if you wish.Â I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry and felt so let down by anyone before. In fact, this experience is the basis of the first episode of my new weekly radio show, Shaun & Friends. We’re doing a test show today (‘The Power of Happiness No Matter What’) and I’ll be using D. and the recent law suit filed against me too to discuss the issue of forgiveness and letting go, and the ultimate power we gain over our own past and our future in the doing.
Because you don’t forgive others for their sake, you forgive others for yours. When you forgive someone, you aren’t suddenly granting permission or approval for what they done. Quite the contrary, you say that despite how awful what you did was, how much I despise it, I nevertheless accept that it happened and I let go of the hope it can be changed. You don’t have to invite them to a tea party, but in that moment of accepting that it happened there is release, there is shift, there is a keeping up with yourself that happens.
Of course this means you also have to give up the need to be right. You ARE right. Chris Brown did a despicable thing. Others have done despicable things to you, and will do despicable things to you. You have done despicable things to others. You’re right, you’re right, you’re right, every time.Â But we won’t ever move forward in the direction we want to go, in the direction of healing, in the direction of peace, in the direction of love if we don’t forgive.
In the end, that’s what kills us, or at least gives us an ulcer trying. It’s not what happened, it’s using what happened as justification to hold ourselves focused in the opposite direction of the one we naturally lean towards, which is a state of peace, grace and love.
If we don’t forgive Chris Brown, what Chris Brown did wins. What he did wins because it holds us steady in that place we know so well we don’t want to be in. It fills us with vile hate at the sight of him, as he himself moves forward, tauntingly almost, winning awards, singing songs, while we remain to sit marinating for an undetermined time in the toxicity he left behind.