On Forgiveness

photo by Marc Duke

I will soon be starting a series of work based on Forgiveness. I don't know exactly how the pieces will come out, if they will be wearable or not, or even the materials involved yet, but that is part of the process, just as forgiveness is a process. This idea was sparked months ago when it became clear that in order to move on with certain parts of my life, I would need to let a few things go. Enter, forgiveness. I have worked for years on forgiveness...I think the first time I ever truly actively worked on it was around the age of 16. My father had moved me up to my mother's at the age of 14 because I'd been breaking rules a lot, and I told him then that I would never forgive him. A couple years later, I decided it was time to forgive my father. I went to my counselor and we talked about what it meant to forgive someone. I think it was easier then because he was my father and beneath all the teenage angst, I loved him and knew that he'd been right.

For other people, it's not so easy. I think we are taught as children, maybe not intentionally, that when you forgive someone, you are basically saying that what they had done is okay, and you are ready to be friends again. As we get older, things get a bit more complicated. A large aspect of forgiveness is the ability to forgive yourself. Sometimes that has to happen before we can forgive someone else.

Without exposing too many details yet...a few years ago, I went to see a counselor. I had become someone that I had vowed never to become, and I had badly hurt someone that I loved. We talked about my definition of forgiveness and I realised that forgiving myself or someone else doesn't mean that what they/I did was okay, it just means that I am recognizing what happened, acknowledging it and the consequences for what they are, and letting it go to allow myself/them to move forward with life. At the time, I was afraid to forgive myself, because that old ingrained definition still hung on. I didn't want to make the same mistakes and hurt someone else, and thought if I hung onto it, I would remind myself never to do that again.

Today, I know that I am older and wiser and won't be hurting anyone anytime soon. My 19 year old self who was aloof and without consequences has grown up. We turn 26 in a few weeks :)

I have actively started the process...and will be documenting it here as well as in my work. Wish me luck, and if you wish to share your stories of forgiveness, please feel free to leave comments or email me at chandler.catherine@gmail.com.



  1. ah yes, a highly charged topic. so difficult to do. i've been failing in all attempst to forgive certain individuals even though hating them is clearly bad for my health. must try harder. i wish you well with it.

  2. Wow! I can't wait to see this series! Forgiveness is something I've been struggling with lately as well... and yes, the hardest part is the feeling that when we forgive we are saying what happened is alright. It's very difficult to get those good feelings of forgiveness and still know that what happened was wrong and can never happen again... Much easier to forgive when the situation was right (as in your father's case)and it was only our pride getting in the way and making us get to an emotional place that we would eventually need to revisit and purge and forgive...
    I haven't yet, gotten to the place where I can fully forgive certain people in my life who have hurt me badly - but to get myself on that road I have started to consciously practice the fine art of unconditional love. ;)

    I helps me to not take things quite so personally.

    I can't wait to see this new body of work!


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