Losing to Find Freedom

freedom

A lot’s been going on since Bro’Ham took over my computer a month ago.

Maybe I should qualify what ‘a lot’ actually means. I’ve been losing. In just about every area of my life, something is being purged to make way for something more expansive.

I lost my desire to palpitate every time The Kid makes a decision. It’s not my life, it’s his life. It’s also not my right or responsibility to judge his choices. At his age, I’d had him and was living at home with my parents, unemployed. His dad and I weren’t on good terms and life sucked. I survived. So will he. And the upside is he didn’t have a kid, so I don’t have to have an awkward conversation with my grandchild when I’m 50 saying s/he can now call me Gram D.

I let go of the notion that The Girl is someone she’s not. I realized that a 16-year-old teenager is not going to always think past her choices. I also realized that if I really want her to understand what owning her choices means, then I have to let her own them. We had that conversation earlier this month. I can only hope that conversation will make her at least think one choice past her immediate impulses. But if not, hey, it’s still her life to live. I can be supportive as she navigates a new set of choices presented to her.

I released the extreme emotional attachment to my mother. That’s a major statement that needs explanation. It happened in two phases. I first realized that I didn’t need to call on her to help me as much as I once did. I’d come into knowing what I know and realized that I already knew the answer and sought her spirit as validation. She stopped showing up for me. At first I was deep in my feelings about that, but I had a moment of clarity: everything I need is inside of me. She knew that and she needed me to know it too. The best lessons are the ones I figure out on my own. It was the first step in the process.

The second phase was releasing the emotional charges of her things that I still possessed. I don’t have a lot. Her wedding rings, a scarf, photo album, cake pans and accessories and some jewelry. Slowly those things weren’t symbols of who she was or remembered, they were just… things. Her spirit was no longer in them. What I came to realize is when she stopped showing up, she also took her energy from those objects. When I saw them with new eyes, I realized a few of them don’t fit who am. I stopped wearing the ring. I packed up the pans with the intention to take them home to my dad along with the photo album. I went through the jewelry and kept what I liked and tossed the rest. The scarf is no longer a staple of my winter gear. It’s actually been demoted to my scarf drawer instead of in its holy place in the front closet. Letting go of the emotional made room to free up my physical space. I will always love and respect my mother for giving me life and the lessons she taught me, but I was finally able to release her and let her go help others.

I purged stuff that didn’t belong in my life anymore. When I say I went through everything, I inspected every sock, earring, lipstick, nail polish, box, colored pencil, book, pair of panties, bras, shirt, skirts, shoes… I think you get it. The upside is it’s going to make packing next week realllll easy. The downside is, um, well, I need to go shopping. All that purging made my closet look like I’ve been struggling for a decade. That’s probably how long it’s been since I did a real clean out though. It’s amazing to see things I once loved now kinda repulsive to me.

I deleted old files in Google Drive and Evernote. Now that was an undertaking. Man…. Not only was I trash at giving documents good names and organizing them in the beginning, I couldn’t even remember why I’d downloaded and saved about 71% of the stuff I deleted. Random pictures of The Hero sleeping. Recipes I’m sure I expected to cook, but now just made me weary reading. DIY sewing projects when all I’ve mastered (and care to master) is making a banging set of curtains and a maxi skirt. Everything else? Gone. Except Triple Chocolate Devil’s Food Cupcakes and Hash Brown and Egg Casserole. They give life.

I stopped participating in friend groups that I didn’t develop. I sat and realized that I’ve been part of other people’s groups of friends, but have never cultivated my own. My Circle of Six was a figment of my imagination. I don’t even have a circle of six. I have a Triangle of Truth. But those three women? I love them and want them to remain my friends for the rest of my days. The frequency with which I talk to all of them is different, but the feeling when I do is the same: they are the sisters I chose. It was a long time coming, but I’m glad it did.

I released this notion that I didn’t deserve to spend on myself. Of all the things in this post, this one may have had the most significant impact on me because it made me look at how I value myself. I go to the spa every other week now to get something done. Last time, I went to get a color consultation on lipstick because I am sick and tired of trial and error and picking some color that, once on me, doesn’t make me feel electric. I allow someone else to cater to me and not feel guilty spending the money to do so.

Along those lines, I let go of this notion to blow all of my disposable income on eating and drinking. As a matter of fact, I try to limit myself to lunch and dinner on Fridays and no more than two hard ciders per day. I’ll be honest though: this really came about as a kind of trial and error. Wine started giving me ridiculous hangovers. Bourbon gave me the mad heart burn. I don’t like beer. So now me and a variety of hard ciders have a nice old time enjoying ourselves. And it frees up money for pampering at my new favorite day spa.

I let go of this idea that there isn’t enough and started making space for truth. Truth is, there are things I just didn’t want to do. I had money. I had time. I didn’t want to do them. Now the reasons I didn’t want to do them were all different, but when I owned that truth, everything else became easy. And I started to see that there was enough money, time, energy to do everything I wanted to do. I had to declare it and work the plan to make it come into fruition.

I let go of my tiny fear box. It started with work. I asked to take on some duties and when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to excel at them with my current knowledge, I freaked out. I got scared. I realized though that every unknown is scary and I can either let the fear cripple me and suck or I can acknowledge it and work on learning. It showed me how to slow down and move one step at a time instead of thinking 274 steps in the future in my head only to find that step 3 changes the whole plan.

I let go of later and focused on what’s happening right now. Because if you’re like me, right now is usually just fine. You’re still breathing and life is still rolling along. When things come up, it’s almost second nature to stop and ask myself ‘Is this affecting me right now though?’ I’m not saying I avoid dealing with things, but like the fear factor above, skipping past right now was causing me a lot of anxiety. The gray was getting real and I was exacerbating small issues into dramatic sagas. Nah.

I gave up my cape. I struggled with this because it’s how I show love. I do things for people. And the one person who gets the lion’s share of my love is The Hero. After 10 years of showing up at platinum level with gold energy though, I burned out. And I started being resentful. It wasn’t his fault. I didn’t ask for help. The thought occurred to me one day that I am not his caretaker, I’m his partner. And partners complement. He can cook and clean better than me (there was some stankness about admitting that to myself). I’m better at organizing our lives though and making sure everything rolls smoothly. I asked for help. He said yes. We’re living life again like it’s golden.

And there’s Honesty’s Protégée. This blog has been everything from mind dump to recipe/DIY repository. I’m not going to make any more statements about what it will be or what I will do. I know that I’ll come here when it feels right. That may be to cook. May be to dump 2,000 words and update you on my life. I don’t know. I hope you stay, but I understand if you don’t.

Until next time.

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