Day 336 - The Things We Keep...
I know that life is a process of holding on and letting go. It would seem that I have had enough experience with this by now that it would be easier. I feel like I have an over developed letting go muscle and the hanging on is a little harder for me to do.
If I know that this is a continual process, why am I surprised that I am being asked to let go again? What is the big deal? It is just how life works: people come into your life, touch it in sometimes a shallow way and at other times a deep way, then they are gone. Leaving a shadowy outline on your soul in their wake.
Or maybe that is just me. How is it that some people are forever etched onto your interior and others glance off barely leaving any trace at all?
I seem to have this belief that I should have ninja letting go skills now. Like I should be able to let go and not have it hurt. I do not know why I suffer from this delusion. Life hurts, if you are living it at all. It is supposed to, people are supposed to touch you. Leave a mark. I think the worst parts of my life are where I was so steeped in myself and my self destruction that I was incapable of really being affected by much of anything at all. Lots of bad shit went down and while it did hurt, my ability to be changed by it, was stymied.
Today, I feel things. People’s coming and going in and out of my life does leave a mark. Not everyone for sure. Some people I am glad to see them leave and don’t really ever think about them again. I know that seems cold, but it is true. There are people that have played a not so minor role in my life, but their absence makes no real difference to me at all.
But then there are those who come into your life and even if their contact may be brief, their mark permanent. It is like the touching of the souls creates this intermingling that is lasting and a crucible of sorts.
These are the experiences I am after. These people who meet you where you are and change you. Wake you up. Make you see things differently. I can see now though that my forever mistake was believing permanency when there was only a fleeting exchange.
I am there again. Letting go of things that part of me wants to keep but knows that she can’t. I know the process and know that a week from now I will be better than I am today. Changed and better for the experience. Right now, it kind of sucks.
Letting go is painful because it requires that I see that I am not really in charge of anything. What comes into my life and what leaves my life, isn’t up to me. In fact, the people that I tried to keep that were not meant to stay, incredibly painful lessons. I so wish that I could have been better at letting go earlier in my life. I would have saved myself and others so much heartache.
What I have learned in this process of letting go is that the pain comes from believing it should be different. Like all things, my belief that someone should stay who is leaving, my belief that someone that remains I wish would go, these are the thoughts that make it painful. So much easier to just believe that it is all happening for a reason and my only real task is to love everyone, including myself, through it. I mean really get down to where I truly and deeply want what is best for all.
I am struck by what I keep. Who and what I allow to remain in my life. The things you keep are indications of where and who you are. I think the one thing that I have done right over the years is not fought the receding. When someone leaves my life, I allow it to happen and I don’t fight it. They are always replaced by someone else..eventually. But I also wonder if this skill that I have perhaps learned too well has become a default setting where I don’t even realize that there are people and things that I am supposed to fight for anymore.
I told a friend recently who is in love with a man who’s life circumstances are messy that she should stay and fight and give it her all. And I believe that. I said that I would do the same. But now that I am thinking about it...is that even true? What have I fought for? What have I taken a stand for recently? Who have I laid bare my soul for? No one. Not even Lane. I didn’t tell him for the two years after he left that I missed him or still thought of him. I kept my distance and silence as some sort of protective layer that allowed me to love him far longer than I should have. In short, I was a love chicken. He left and I let it happen. I made no grand gestures. I cried no tears that he saw. I communicated nothing except my acceptance of his decision to leave. He had no idea how much I suffered. Pride and ego assured that.
And perhaps that is as it should be. Such a fine line between acceptance and giving up. I gave up first and then years later accepted that he was never coming back. Perhaps that is why I feel like I have perfected just allowing people to go. It is not the leaving that is hard, it is having them remain and risk further intimacy that is excrutiating.
If I look clearly at the things I have kept: silence, pain, love, respect, feelings, an image. I find myself wondering if they were really worth keeping...I mean what if I had done something else...what if I would have not been silent? What if I would have shared the pain? What if I would have shared the love I still felt? What if I would have respected less the boundary set? What if I would have shared my true feelings and let go my need to project the image that I was fine when I was really far less than fine? Would there have been a different outcome? I will never know.
Today, I am ok with how it all shook out. I can’t go back and do it differently so acceptance works to make me feel better and keep me moving in a new direction.
But what if I decided to not keep those things in the future? What if the next time I fall in love with someone that I let them all the way in? What if I tell them how much they mean and how much I do not want them to leave? What if I throw out the image that I couldn’t care less and really tell them that they are what I want to keep?
I told my friend that if I had a man that I loved as much as she loves this one, that I would stay and fight for it. But upon further review, that is a lie. I do not stay and fight for it. I allow it to all fall apart and keep my wounded, beating heart to myself. I do not share it, I do not fight for the love I feel. I cowardly hold myself in private, shielding my pain, holding onto my heart in some sort of desperate attempt to diminish the pain.
I can see that I am not alone. So many of us loving with only half our hearts. The risk too great to love completely. But what are we really getting with this love that is great but stinted? Relationships that are not really fulfilling. We are in them and of them but we are not really risking all that much. We stay because the other person allows us to not risk too much. Because leaving is hard. Or because we are afraid that what we truly want will never come into being. We give people less than all we are because they let us and we are too scared to really show up in our most authentic selves.
I have to own my own bullshit here. I told my friend that I would do anything for the man I loved with all that I am. But that was a lie. I didn’t. I let him leave and I kept my wounded heart to myself. I shared no pain with him. I let him believe the lie that I was fine.
So the things I kept were a facade. A cloak to hide my emotions. I did not dare share the depth of my sadness or hurt. Pride edged all that out and I set about a course to demonstrate that I didn’t care at all. Kind of hurts to see just how much you aren’t who you think you are.
I guess one more time I am getting to see that who I am and who I think I am are not the same. I want to be that person that loves with her whole self but if I review, I am left with a lot of evidence to the contrary. My ability to leave the past where it lies, my current efforts at acceptance. But it does engender in me a new awareness that I do not want to go on as I have before. I do not want to let another day go by where I love but only in the minor keys. Where I reach but only so far. Next time, I will try to stay and hold onto that which touches my soul. Letting go of my need to appear better than I am. Fuck the image management. Reach for that other person who appears just out of reach. Make an effort to bridge the divide that leaves me solo on my own shore. I am pretty sure that what happens next is really immaterial. It is in the reaching that I change who and what I am, not in what ultimately happens.
For today I will own that my own failure to accurately own my truth and truer identity. I can see how full of shit I am and instead of being destroyed or disheartened by that, I can laugh at myself and love even this misguided and broken person. She is, after all, all I truly have. And that has always been enough...even if I didn't think so at the time!