Not long ago in a dream I was visited by a beautiful girl who was my girlfriend for two months during my junior year of high school. At the time, I was a “too-religious” loner and she was a popular senior who, for some strange reason, saw something special in me, sought me out and told me about it. She talked to me like an equal. Though we never kissed (it was against academy rules) we became an item. When we broke up, it was because of poor communication on my part.

I’ve always deeply regretted that.

I’m not a Christian fundamentalist anymore, but I’ve always blamed myself for turning her away from the religion we held in common at the time. I was the most religious boy she’d ever met, and I broke up with her for no apparent reason. That probably convinced her that the religion was bogus.

When she left our strict faith she ventured too far in the opposite direction. I’ve heard that fundamentalists tend to do that if they leave.

Years later when I was doing my final year of pathology residency, she came in on a slab at the coroner’s office on the last day of my forensics elective. There was no visible cause of death. She was still young and beautiful.

I try not to blame myself, but it’s no use.

She and I never talked things over. I never even intended to break up with her. She misunderstood what I was saying and said, “You should go before I cry.” And like a fool I turned and walked out the door of the chemistry building and never had a real conversation with her again.

In my dream I said to her, “Thank you so much for coming to see me.” I told her how much I still appreciate the kindness and the loving attention she’d given me all those years ago when I was young, away from home, self-isolated and alone. How she looked beyond the sincere but plastic wall of religion I’d built around myself, and she’d managed to find something attractive in me.

I tried to tell her that I never meant to break up with her, but she didn’t seem to hear those words.

Of course, at about this point in the dream I realized she wasn’t real. She would vanish in a few seconds, as people always do when I notice that I’m dreaming.

So I just looked at her face and tried to keep her there. I told her that she looked so beautiful and so young. She hadn’t aged. I confided that she seemed so completely real, and she vanished.

I woke up in a dark room. Why didn’t I talk things over with her back in high school when she was alive? When she still held that strict belief system that would have kept her out of trouble!

My son, the psychologist in training, has told me since his high school years, “If you don’t talk, Dad, people will assume the worst.”

I know that now.

To be understood you’ve got to open your mouth and talk. Especially when there’s a misunderstanding.

Be careful of silence… saying nothing until it’s too late.

But I wonder, is it ever too late?

Maybe time is not linear. Maybe the Universe never loses information – as the physicists say.

Maybe she heard me in that dream.

Maybe she understood and forgave me.

M. Talmage Moorehead

By the way, this story is literally true.

If you’re interested in intelligent design, weird artifacts, genetics and psychology from the perspective of a nineteen-year-old “Hapa Girl,” my in-progress novel may be a fun read. The protagonist, Johanna, is a genius geneticist with a younger brother who struggles with depression, though you wouldn’t know it to meet him. Her evolving story starts here.

It’s an experiment called, Hapa Girl DNA, and is a hybrid itself – a tightrope crossing of fiction and non-fiction. “Hapa” is the Hawaiian term for “half.” Johanna is half Japanese and half Jewish. In writing her novel, she and I ignore some important fiction-writing rules, partly because we like to test dogmas and partly because it’s fun to try new things.

But the “rules” are essential knowledge to anyone crazy enough to either break them or follow them mindlessly.

So you could download my e-book on fiction writing, the second to last chapter of which gives my current opinions on many of the dogmatic rules of fiction writing. Downloading that 10,000 word file will place you on my short list of people who will be politely notified when my traditional novel is done – possibly before the next ice age. (No spam or sharing of your info. I haven’t sent an email to my list yet. It’s been over a year.)

Next time you’re writing emails, if you think of it, please tell your best and hopefully weirdest friend about my blog ( Thanks! I appreciate your thoughtfulness.


59 thoughts on “Forgiveness

  1. Gorgeously moving blog! We never know when the last day comes and everything you’ve ever done is all you’ll ever do. But when we’re young, there’s all the time in the world in front of us–or so we believe. Thank you! And thank you for following my blog!

    • Thank you for your kind, supportive comment. It’s so true that we never know when this life is over. I just spent two months with a string of medical problems that came on one after another. I think I’m out of the woods now. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Forgiveness – Wag 'n Bietjie

  3. When I read the title of this post I was compelled to read it. Forgiveness has always been difficult for me. For too many years I had a “no second chances” attitude. Although I’ve been striving to be more forgiving I know there are still issues. Your story has truly touched me and, in spite of the fact that it may sound silly, it has changed my thinking. Thank you.

    • Thank you for letting me know your thoughts and feelings about it. I’ve always struggled with forgiving certain people, myself included (which this true story is about at some level). For me, the big problem lies in accepting the idea that you can forgive an abusive person without allowing him or her to remain in your life. Abusers tend to deny they have a problem with anger and manipulation. Without a problem, there’s nothing to fix, so they tend to be chronic abusers throughout life. Learning how to forgive these people in your heart, abandoning the hatred or resentment you hold for them, while at the same time keeping them completely out of your life (so they don’t continue to abuse you) was a difficult thing from me to view as morally right. It felt like the right thing was always to continue accepting them into my life as part of the forgiveness I was constantly struggling to renew to them. Rookie mistake. I finally learned that I can forgive someone and at the same time completely exclude them from my life… and most importantly, this combo of forgiveness and protecting yourself is just as morally acceptable to God as steering clear of a drunken driver on the freeway. At least that’s how I see it. I’ve still got a lot to learn about everything.

  4. First, thank you for your following of my blog. To be followed by one that I consider a healer, which you are so greatly qualifed as a doctor of training. I was deeply touched by your writing. I found parts of me, in you. I read your “Forgiveness” piece to my beloved wife this evening, constantly holding back the tears as I read. I have been blessed in my own life in having been loved by several wonderful woman in my lifetime, with no exception in that catergory including my wife now of twenty-five years. Many times, she does not understand this emotional being she shares her life with. I, like you, grieve of stupid things I have done in my own past, especially when it was matters of the heart. I know there are those out there, that I have hurt deeply in my own past, by my own rejection of their love for me. I constantly search for one in partiular to seek her forgiveness for breaking her heart, more than thirty years ago. I have never found her. I know she is alive. I know she is aware of me and what I have done with my life. I have no doubt, she still carries the hurt today. I can only hope, that by being keenly aware of my shortcomings, will forgiveness be granted to me by my Lord and Savior upon my death..

  5. Talmage, that was a very moving post. I do believe in visitation dreams. I’m not some psychic fanatic or any kind of gullible person at all but I do have my beliefs in visitation dreams…though I never had one before Kaitlyn died.

    When Kaitlyn died, I had head that some people have visitation dreams from their loved ones after their death sometimes and I was desperate for one to come to me from Kaitlyn. But after months, it never happened. But what did happen is that my niece who was near Kaitlyn’s age DID have 3 dreams of Kaitlyn starting a week after she died. She did not tell me of them until the 3rd one because she thought I would think she was crazy. These 2 girls shared nothing in common except their youth, their blonde hair and their artistic abilities (both artists) and I wondered so much why she chose her to go to and not me. The first dream she had was that we were all in a small room (me, my husband, Kaitlyn and my niece) and Kaitlyn looked so very happy. My niece could see her but we couldn’t. Kaitlyn told her to tell us that it was not our fault she did what she did and that she was now where she was supposed to me. Then she asked that we hug her and we did even though we could not see her. The 2nd dream she only saw Kaitlyn looking at her. The third dream Kaitlyn asked her “Why have you not told my mom???” At that point upon getting out of bed she messaged me immediately due to the intensity of Kaitlyn’s question.

    After that, a month or so, I started having my own visitation dreams about Kaitlyn. I know they are not regular dreams because unlike regular dreams, in these dreams I saw her, felt her, could smell her scent, and heard her so clearly. It was just like she was there. Over some months I had 5 dreams of her, all at different ages of her life, all giving different messages. On the last dream, she was leaving on a tram with other young people at the last of the dream. That was in Feb and I never dreamed of her again. I believe that was a farewell to me and that she had to move on now.

    What I’m trying to say is that I believe your dream was a visitation dream and had much meaning to it. I think you were able to forgive yourself and for her to forgive you. That was such a powerful dream and post. Thank you for posting it. Your writing is so beautiful and you are gifted at this.

    • Thank you. Once again I’ve got tears in my eyes.

      I’m so glad you had that closure with Kaitlyn. I’m like you, not a psychic type person but able sometimes to believe in things that are not concrete, like visitations in dreams. I once had a dream about my father, coming to see me in the hospital where he had died years before, reminding me of how well I’d done on a “quiz” of difficult cases that my new employer had popped on me at the time of my first job when I was frightened and discouraged. It seemed so much like my dad. It always meant a lot to me, even though I wasn’t “allowed” to believe it was real because I belonged to a religious group who “knew” from their interpretation of the Bible that “the dead know not anything.” Yeah, dogma based upon logical interpretation of an “infallible” book seems to take everyone in different directions, toward different sets of beliefs. Incidentally, I had to leave fundamentalism shortly after 9/11/01, but I still think they might be right and I might be wrong about infallible books and things.

      This dream where you could even smell her scent… that sure sounds like more than a regular dream to me. I’m glad you treasure it. It probably has healing power for you, if you’re able to drink it in and really believe that she is happy and with friends who were heading somewhere fun and meaningful with her. Even if you can’t fully believe it in some scientific part of your mind, it may help if you tell your subconscious mind that you’ve decided it is true, and you’d like to feel its truth now. Really feel it.

      This may not be accurate, I’m no expert, but the subconscious mind is like a Labrador Retriever in certain ways. It reads body language expertly and your tone of voice, but only comprehends simple language. It is responsible for how you feel. Like any dog, it is unprepared to be the leader of a human being, but if you don’t lead, it will feel that it has no choice but to lead you. It will become anxious and eventually depressed if it has to lead a human for too long. It’s just too much responsibility for a dog. So… in my ignorant view of things 😉 it’s helpful to try to get simple messages across to the inner Lab… “That girl in our dream was really Kaitlyn. She’s very happy. See, I’m smiling and standing up straight. You’ll be fine.”

      Sounds nuts, but I think there is this dichotomy within us. A human leader and a subconscious follower who is in charge of emotion.

      I believe you – that my dream was a visitation and that she forgave me and I can forgive myself. Even though it’s outside the realm of science and the dogma of the religion I once belonged to, I believe you because you know the truth from personal experience.

      I’ll go to your blog now and read the comment you left for me there. Thank you for your kind words about my writing. I really need guidance on what type of stuff I should be trying to write.

  6. rhiannon228

    Wow. My heart jumped when I read that she was on a slab. I felt this at the core of me. You evoke deep emotion with beautifully written words. It’s awful that this is a true story and ‘m so sorry that this happened to you.

    • Thank you, Rhiannon. I just read your “about” page and can tell that you’re a person with strong empathy in your heart. I appreciate what you’re doing, helping lonely people find love and joy in their lives. What a wonderful mission! “Lonely To Loved .com”

      Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging words.

      • rhiannon228

        They were true. I looked on your site for a book you’ve written, but couldn’t find any. Have you written a book?
        Thank you, I’m compelled to share a message about love. I think most people, in our culture especially, have a backwards view of love.
        Best of all things to you.

        • I’m an “infallible hack” when it comes to writing. Lots of opinions, but nothing published. Mostly I post my epiphanies about fiction writing here. I’m also trying to figure out the indie publishing ropes. I keep revising my novel, but my wife thinks I should write a nonfiction book first and figure out how to sell it pretty soon. She thinks we need to keep eating. 😉 You know your way around. Do you have any suggestions or advice?

          By the way, your message of love certainly resonates around here. 🙂

          • rhiannon228

            Truth be told – I don’t know my way around (shhhh – it’s a secret). I live by this philosophy: ready, fire, aim. Gather the information I need to just do it, then do it, then make adjustments, learn more and do it again.
            You have the artist’s disease: perfection. It’s the creator’s curse.
            I agree with your wife, get it out there. Even your responses to me are beautifully written. You’ll do so much better than you think because you’re expecting much more from yourself than anyone else does.
            I just write. I love it. So, I write what I call a “vomit draft”, just to get my thoughts out. Then I revise. After that I need some objectivity, so I send it out to a few volunteer readers for suggestions.
            Then I revise again. Before I send if off to an editor, I give it one last read through. I found a great “team” online that do the things that I don’t know how to do, editing, cover design and formatting.
            I can give you their names if you’re interested. Anything you need help with 🙂
            You already have a solid foundation to build on. Your writing is intriguing and emotional, very entertaining to read. Your blog gets a lot of traffic.
            Don’t let your fear stand in your way my friend.
            Thank you – that is my mission in life, to spread the love 😀

            • Thank you for all your encouraging thoughts. I like your style, “Ready, Fire, Aim.” That’s probably the difference between people who get things done and people who let doubt and fear kill their dreams.

              It would be great if you could give me the contact info of your team. I hope I can afford them.

              I’m going to follow your example and just go for it. I’m going to write a free ebook and try to give it away in exchange for email addresses. Maybe I’ll call it, “An infallible hack’s guide to storytelling for beginners, indiscriminate readers and their troubled pets.” That should be fun to write. And if it’s free and a little bit funny, who knows? Maybe the fact that I’m a total non-authority on this subject won’t be the end of the world. Chapter one will be: “Why you should put this thing down and go read a novel.”

              Yeah, I’m actually excited about this project now. I’ve enjoyed self-demeaning humor all my life, and though it’s unhealthy, it’s probably not as bad as genuine self-loathing or a vitamin D deficiency.

              You really are inspirational. Thank you for being you! 🙂

              • rhiannon228

                Thank you 🙂
                I think that sounds great – love how you added troubled pets.
                I could afford very little when I hired them, I spend about $300 on everything, editing, formatting for kindle, createspace and smashwords and the cover.
                I think you should be very excited. You only live once and it’s your reality to create the way you see fit.
                I love self-demeaning humor too! Honestly, I like demeaning humor in general. It’sall in good, humiliating fun.
                Put your best self into it, Let it get out of you and into the world like it wants to do. Feel the fear and do it anyway!
                I really hope that I can give you my email in exchange for a book soon 🙂 Keep me updated if you have time. I know you’ll be busy though.

                • I’m finishing up chapter 5 already on that free ebook. Thanks to your inspiration. 🙂 I upgraded to the business package on Now I need to figure out the technical part of their email software and how to use it to give away an ebook in exchange for emails. I hope their software does all that. It’s hard to know for sure at this point.

                  Your team did all those things for 300 dollars! Wow. Are they still taking new clients? If so, I’d sure like to have their contact info, their website or whatever.

                  I was over at your blog just now looking for your book. I couldn’t find it. Is it on Amazon? Do you have a website in addition to your blog? If so, what’s the address?

                  Take care. Thanks for your help! 🙂

  7. MTM, I believe, and not in a “woo woo” fashion, that the dead reach out to us in dreams, for reasons that we may only understand later. Perhaps it is in fact only our own brains teaching us lessons we need to understand, but I belileve that the dead do have things they need to tell us before they truly leave this existence. A new friend of mine recently lost his brilliant chemist father, and two days later dreamed of him. He looked at him, so seemingly alive, and asked him, What are you? His dad answered, “Energy, of course!” Which accounts for the liveliness in him, because we never really die if you take E=MC2 to heart, we just change from matter to other forms of energy and matter. And that was what his visit from his father was so clearly telling him: “Yeah, Dave, I’m still here, just as I told you. E=MC2, I just became pure energy when I transitioned, and it’s great!” I’ll tell you, I have had such dream visitations that changed my life, and “woo woo” or not, I trust their messages as I would not trust someone living just telling or informing me the same thing. So I believe that this dream or yours was a visitation for a reason, which you should trust and cherish and learn from, as I think you are indeed doing. My best to you,

    Pam Wagner

    • Pam, thank you for saying this. When I was a brand new pathologist, scared out of my mind, I had a dream in which my dead father came back to point out my strengths as a diagnostician. I cherished it and tried to drink in the message, even though my rigid belief system at the time didn’t allow me to imagine that the dead could actually do that sort of thing. In my current state of spiritual ignorance, I’m much more open to what you’re saying. Thank you.

      I’m reading your new poem: “On Not Speaking” and felt one of those messages that you’d never get in a deterministic world without transcendence:

      “But one can fall into

      speechlessness for reasons

      beyond pathology”

      You might imagine how those words resonate for me in the context of my recent departure from pathology practice and the blog post I wrote the other day called “Forgiveness.”

      By the way, I loved that poem. Thank you for writing it.

  8. I have had dreams of this nature recently and I have found them tremendously comforting and reassuring. I believe things are going to work out. A dream like this can be a real gift. Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed reading it.

      • I often write about dreams. Much of my poetry is for my own healing. And I just like writing but I think the place the dreams come from is the same as the place where writing comes from. The bits of it that seem to work I think usually come from the dream place. 🙂 Thanks. How about you. I read your comparisons with writing inspiration and music. It made a lot of sense to me. I have read so much on the rules and so forth about writing. I pay no attention in poetry but if I tried to write a short story or even maybe a novel I wanted to be prepared. My personality. It has a killing effect certainly. But to just write and write and write and then use the rules afterwards or perhaps in the hands of a good editor. Maybe that is the way. I am grateful for all the gems of knowledge about writing on your site. I think one needs to know them and understand them and then – perhaps wisdom on using them. Finding my way and this is a wonderful site on which to do that.

  9. I don’t believe time is linear. There is so much to this life we don’t see. So much we can’t prove that can be deeper and more meaningful than the things we feel with our senses. I enjoy the open and explorative energy of your blog. Thank you for your honest sharing.

    • Astronomers tell of dark matter that interacts with the stuff of our world only through gravity. And now there’s dark energy, we’re told.

      Nonlinearity of time seems reasonable to me.

      In the time dilation equation of Einstein it seems that if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, we would separate ourselves from stationary observers by a number divided by zero…

      Anything divided by zero is infinity.

      So moving on a beam of light would put us outside of time, if my limited understanding of general physics is OK.

      You must be right about time being nonlinear. It certainly doesn’t seem linear to me when I’m writing fiction. It just zooms by.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I thought your post on anxiety was exciting. Here it is:

      Here’s a quote from you:

      “For the first time in my life I don’t want things to magically change and me to suddenly feel better, I am excited about the process. I am excited to feel all the vomit and fear this anxiety wants to throw at me.”

      Wow! Thanks for sharing that on your blog.

  10. spiritteacher

    Dear M., I think you will be very successful as a writer. You definitely have the skill for story telling. Best wishes with that. Thank you for joining me at Sending Joy. It is wonderful when we all join together to help in the healing of this world and each other. Incidentally if your story about the beautiful girl is true, I would tell you that your dream was real. You did have a visitor and she heard your gratitude and is at peace with you. The boundaries are in bodies, not in spirit. Love and Peace to you. Sharie

  11. That’s really sad 😦 I think part of being human is that we have regrets. Things we wish we could have done differently. Although in our minds we always seem to think that if we change something things would work out better, but it could’ve also worked out worse. Who knows what would have happened. I hope you are able to find peace. I used to think that maybe if I had never done ballet I wouldn’t have had so many health issues, but it’s hard to say. Maybe my hips would’ve been fine, but my whole spine degenerating in my 20s would’ve been much harder to cope with. And I may not have gotten the EDS diagnosis. It was a hip friend who suggested it, which ultimately lead me to a geneticist. It’s hard, but I try not to run through the “what if” cycle of thought, especially since I have obsessive thoughts.

    • Thank you for understanding. There was a happy young guy in my med school class with Ehlers-Danlos. He stood in front of the class one day, took off his shirt and demonstrated how flexible he was. It was the first part of my first year and I had no idea what it meant to his future health.

      It sounds like you are dealing with real physical pain. My heart is with you.

      Speaking of obsessive thoughts, my brain has a natural tendency to go from one painful memory to another. When I was a fundamentalist Christian I used to go to sleep every night trying to dredge up anything I might have done wrong that day, so I could ask for forgiveness. It helped me develop neural pathways that seek out negatives. And part of asking for forgiveness in my twisted version of Christianity, was to feel bad for what I’d done wrong. So that developed another mental skill that is with me to this day: feeling bad for being imperfect and human. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dogging on fundamentalist Christianity, just the twisted, mentally unhealthy version of it that I sort of created for myself.

      I feel like writing a post about that. Man, I wish there were more hours in a day!

      Thank you for your kindness to me. 🙂

      • Ah okay. Yeah, those with mild EDS may not have health issues till later in life. Yep, many of us have the flexibility of contortionists. I was okayish until 24 and then multiple joints started deteriorating. I’m mentally okay with it now, but I’ll never have another day without chronic pain, and that was a tough pill to swallow. Joining health forum helped me a lot. Meeting others that were dealing with the same thing, sometimes even worse.

        It’s hard to undo neural pathways, maybe even impossible. My sister and I were both anorexic. My first bout was at 10. My most severe at 17. My sister became anorexic with me as well at 16. And she developed this self-hatred with it whereas I have struggled with self-hatred as long as I can remember. And she wasn’t like that growing up. Something changed when she became anorexic, and she struggles with self-hatred many years later. I don’t think that aberrant neural pathway can be undone. She certainly tries her best to overcome it, but I know how difficult it is.

        I’m Christian too, but ambivalent about organized religion. I don’t know how to deal with the fact that there are so many bad people identifying as Christians. One of my best friends is an atheist, and she’s an amazing person. I left fanfiction because I was cyberbullied (and she is still sending me hateful messages and reviews even after I left) by a 40 year old woman who identified as a Christian. I don’t know what to do with that. I love God, but I dislike false sincerity. The other issue is that I couldn’t sit for the past three years due to debilitating hip pain and didn’t want to lay in the aisles :$ I don’t like being judged. My mom told me that bad people need God more than good people, but most bad people I have known make no effort to change. I don’t know :/ It’s not my place to judge the world, and I try not to, but I don’t know what to do about these feelings. *sigh* I was in a Christian club in highschool and one of the leaders was this guy who bullied me. And he was telling me to be kind to others when he was making no effort to change himself. I couldn’t take it so I left. . . I am continually trying to be a better person as I know I am as sinful as the rest of the world. But like I said, I don’t know what to do about these feelings.

        • In the animal world, when there is an individual with weakness, the stronger ones attack. I think it’s genetic, probably. It seems that humans have this type of behavior in their genes, too, some more than others. Rather than thinking it’s a negative, some want to tell themselves it’s a positive. It’s winning. Winning is everything in some circles. The courtroom, for instance. And sports.

          I think the major battle humans face for survival is overcoming this genetic tendency. I think that Darwinism tends to support it and some interpretations of ancient scripture also support it.

          I don’t see any group pointing it out clearly for what it is: the end of our species.

          To deal with it, I tend to isolate myself. I think that’s a bad strategy. The opposite would make sense, assuming you could find a group of safe people who see the issue and are not afraid of affection, honesty and love. Ironically, some of the war stories I hear seem to indicate that these conditions exist among soldiers in the field. Truth is stranger than fiction, I guess.

          I have dealt with guilt, remorse, regret, embarrassment, public humiliation and free-floating fear of my job, to name a few, but I can’t say I know what self-hatred feels like yet. I haven’t been there. But I haven’t lived in chronic pain or suffered anorexia as you have, either.

          I would imagine that dealing with self-hatred through reaching out to help other might be the key. Exactly what you’re doing with me – and I appreciate it! 🙂

          Parts of the subconscious mind are literally a lot like a labrador retriever. The part that deals with self worth is probably most like a lab. It understands body language and a few words spoken clearly. But not like a mindless mantra. The body language it understands is not merely your own, but also the language of the people you deal with. That is why helping others will probably teach the subconscious mind how valuable and worthy of love you are. It’s in their body language. Their actions and expressions speak louder than anyone’s words.

          I’d like to call myself a Christian because I think Jesus’ admonition to “love your enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you” is at its core the only hope for our species. In that sense, I believe he is the savior of the world. I’m not a person who thinks the Bible is infallible, however, and for that reason I probably don’t qualify to call myself a Christian. At least not in the traditional sense.

          Fun chatting with you! Wow.

    • Thank you.

      I guess people say, “you’re welcome,” in these situations, but I never feel comfortable with that because I never feel like I’ve actually given anybody anything. I should ask my son, the psychologist, about that. 😉

      • woundstofeel

        Oh but you have given something. I’m a quasi psychologist, got my undergrad in it at least, so that makes me a mega expert! Just kidding, but really own that you’ve affected others with your writing, it’s a good thing! I also understand you’re thanking me for thanking you, I get it. 😉

Leave a Reply to M. Talmage Moorehead Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.