Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

When Your Tank Is Empty

Scott and I have talked a lot lately about how it feels to leave your familiar life behind and careen into something wholly new. In 2004 he left Los Angeles after 18 years in the music business to try something different in Phoenix. He did this alone and felt the emptiness that came with watching all things familiar in the rear-view mirror.

The jarring feeling I'm living with, all day every day, is one of feeling totally lost. As Scott puts it: Your tank is being emptied. And it'll feel like hell until you start to fill it up again (i.e. new friends, new church, new job). He carried the metaphor further and said maybe while the tank is empty, this is a good time to check out its condition, scrub the inside, etc.

I then demanded that he stop stretching the tank metaphor. It was about to snap like a rubber band around a watermelon.

But he's right. And actually I can't help looking at what I have left after life as I knew it has been poured out onto the ground and the campfire is snuffed.

One thing I've been reminded of, one thing I really didn't want to invite back into the light of day: The people I need to forgive. There are a few. I've needed to forgive them for a long-ass time, and still I haven't. Forgiving is hard. There's a church marquee near here that says "Life is an adventure in forgiveness." Yeah. My ass. "Adventure" is going to the mall. It's running from a garden snake. It's meeting Fabio. Forgiveness is more like having your head rammed into a bucket of shit. It's dark and unpleasant and smelly and you just want it overwith. I know: forgiveness is supposed to be so much better for you after you do it. Blah blah. I still haven't.

Here's a poem I wrote a couple years ago when I was making a semi-annual effort to just get over some old stuff. I'll forgive you if you don't read it.

Trying to Forgive

I've been told that it's helpful to look past the rotten things

he did to me. Look all the way beyond who he is

and picture a small version of Jesus living inside him

like a little plastic statue, down near the base of his spine.

Then I should aim my forgiveness there, shoot it out

like a golden thread of light, a divine laser beam

right smack dab onto his hidden Messiah.

Well, what if that Jesus is so small it would take

a forgiveness sharpshooter to hit it? A lousy aim like mine

hasn’t got a cat’s chance in hell of hitting a Jesus the size of a Junior Mint.

No really, I’m talking small. Like the head of the pin where the angels supposedly dance,

even their bunions holy and glowing with blessedness. Small, like a single scale

scraped off a fish the size of a comma.

Oh I know what you’re thinking—

that this story will turn around and I'll say

And then I realized that this sad small speck

I was looking for wasn’t the Jesus at all, but my own heart.

You want a poignant moment, something sweet,

like when the Grinch takes all the toys back to Whoville.

Yeah, I’d go for that story too, eat it up like a finger sandwich,

and wash it down with a nice herbal tea.

But my heart, dear reader, grew too large.

It turned into a steamroller and backed over me.

I am now a long stretch of highway.


  • At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Forgive? Fogetahboutit! I've lived off my grudges since second grade--and if by slim change you're reading this, Elaine Tuttle, you know damn well I mean!
    T from the B.

  • At 4:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You only have to forgive human beings with souls. The other ones? Not so much.

  • At 11:31 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Tony, I despise all those Tuttles. And everyone knows Elaine is the worst of them, foul wench that she is.

  • At 11:32 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Ana. What a relief. I can knock a few people off my list now.

  • At 5:50 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Funny. I was just thinking about this forgiveness thing today, and your description of what it's like is...well, exactly what it's like. It stinks. And I don't know it makes you feel better afterwards, either.

    Hang in, is all I can say.

  • At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I do love that poem.

  • At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Okay, I've had a few glasses of wine.

  • At 9:56 PM, Blogger sparrow said…

    Tag. You're it. Or not.


    sorry! NOT!

  • At 5:21 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    Well, Candy, I can certainly identify with your dilema. I've had the very same struggle for over ten years now and it constantly rears it's ugly head. Yeah there is a lot of guilt, ingrained in me by family dysfunction and religious upbringing. I'm not sure if this person you're speaking of is in your family -- mine is. Sometimes it seems like it would be nice if it weren't. It seems hard to put someone out of your life that others in your family keep reminding you about. You know? Maybe it doesn't matter. I also have often thought that forgiveness really ISN'T what so many would have you believe. Besides sometimes I feel like I can or even have forgiven her and it still doesn't solve my problem -- I still don't want her in my life. My goal? To simply fogive MYSELF for not wanting, to acknowledge my right to continue doing what is good for me -- to be out of her life. I feel for you Candy. Do what's right for you. = ]

  • At 5:35 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    OMG. I love your blog. Originally found you from Steve B's links. I just read the May 3rd "emotional bitchslapping" and it's brilliant. Also from that it's clear who the "forgivee" is in this post. I totally get it. He's such a horrible person. Do what you want to do -- for yourself. = ]

  • At 10:53 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Yeah, that forgiving ourselves stuff is beyond difficult. Sounds like you've been in the trenches too. Being human is a trip, ain't it?


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