Terry McMillan’s Message on Forgiveness

If you’re a SIS who has gone through a bad breakup or two, then you’ve likely had a “Waiting to Exhale” Bernadine moment and at least contemplated torching a car, shredding some clothes or even pulling back a shower curtain while wielding a knife. (OK, that last one wasn’t from the aforementioned star-studded flick, but I think it still applies.)

While we’re on the topic of “Exhale,” I recently attended a book signing featuring author Terry McMillan, a woman scorned who ended up in a court battle with her ex-husband whose questionable affinity toward lip gloss served as an obvious indicator to many that something was amiss.

By her own admission, McMillan’s very public romance (“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) and subsequent dramatic breakup left her just a bit angry and bitter. However, she has also been vocal about her ability to finally forgive her ex for what she endured once he finally admitted his homosexuality.

How has she been able to move past that anger and pain? McMillan told her fans at the book signing that she started to focus on the good times she had with her ex and stopped dwelling on the bad.

I definitely know a SIS or two who are still focusing on the negatives of their past relationships. Of course, you don’t want to completely forget what went wrong because (1) you don’t want to relive past mistakes and (2) you want to remember why he wasn’t good for you. However, I agree with McMillan that it’s a lot healthier to reminisce about the summer BBQs, weekend trips and family game nights than it is to keep mentally replaying that day you found a random pair of red undies in his sofa cushions and had to quickly determine whether you knew enough about forensic science to get away with premeditated homicide.

Ideally, we’d probably prefer not to think of past, failed relationships at all, but if we must walk down memory lane, why not walk on the sunlit side instead of in the shade?

Everyone’s situation is different, but if this “look on the bright side” mentality worked for someone who endured the betrayal and public spectacle that resulted from McMillan’s breakup, then maybe it’ll work for those of us who experienced less harsh ends to our relationships.

Besides, the whole murderous shower scene thing has been done to death.


2 Responses to “Terry McMillan’s Message on Forgiveness”

  1. 1 Ianessa
    November 17, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Nice read. Funny about forensic science. A spin on this is that women who have children with the man they had a painful separation from are never truly separated. They bear a greater responsibility to “walk on the sunlit side”.

  2. 2 SistahEsq
    November 17, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    This sounds great, in theory. Forgiveness has always been my cross to bear, in all types of relationships… I’m always hearing how/why I should forgive. And I do realize it’s the healthy thing to do. But, with respect to relationships, my argument is usually, “you can’t tell me to forgive until you’ve dated a DL brother!” Terri McMillan married one…so maybe that argument doesn’t work here…? But I think for me the issue is the deception factor. It’s hard to forgive a liar or someone who is continuing to deceive. If they haven’t ceased the lie or admitted to the deception, than they are technically still disrespecting you, even if you all haven’t talked in years. Once they’ve come clean and they apologize…then maybe forgiving can begin. But until they do they are still disrespecting you…. Terri’s hubby came clean, on Oprah if I remember correctly! Lol. That may be worthy of forgiveness!

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