There's a dance party tonight. One that I have been invited to. The band that's playing is one whose music I enjoy and there will be a handful of people I would like to see. But I won't be going. And this is why. The location, the other guests, the atmosphere, even in a sense the music, they are all in the past for me. A past I have let go of and moved on from and have no desire to return to. On the off chance that you haven't guessed what's going on here, this group of people are the core of the social group I was central to when I was married. A year ago I attended a similar gathering, and it was to prove a point. Despite the open hostility some of them still display toward me, despite some anxiety over the flood of unpleasant feelings that might occur, despite the fact that my presence may incur gossip and judgement, and despite the fact that I was walking into a room loaded with baggage from my former life as half of a married couple, I was going to go. Not just show up, mind you, but to dance my ass off with a few friends and stake out a table with them and laugh and enjoy myself. To show them, and me, that they didn't break me. They came close. This is a little town and the judgement came down hard and mercilessly when the news broke that my marriage of twenty years was ending. Lines were drawn and sides were taken and I was banished while my ex was taken into the fold. It took a very long time to heal and to find a new group of people I could reclaim a social life with. I am here, and for the most part, here is a pretty good place to be. I have accepted that there are a few people from the past that I have no desire to make nice with, and they will be in the room tonight as they were a year ago. This isn't about withholding forgiveness and clinging to anger. It's about recognizing that some individuals, that I used to be close to, treated me in a vicious and calculated manner. They have shown me their darkest side and done their worst to me. I have forgiven but will not forget. For my own protection and peace of mind I keep these few at arm's length. After reminding them a year ago that I'm still here, I have no desire to go back. I'm moving forward and have long since let it go. There is an enormous sense of peace in knowing I have nothing left to prove.