Holding onto pain can feel like a power move. I haven’t always had a say in when and where it would find me, but I get to choose what to do with it. Sometimes holding onto the pain has made the most sense. It is mine, after all. I earned the rights to it, and it’s something no one can ever take away.

The problem with holding onto that kind of pain is having to make extra room for the rest – the rage, the despair, the hopelessness and unfairness of it all. Those things, like the aftershock of an earthquake, can be far more jarring. 

Finding space to hold those kinds of feelings can be tricky and uncomfortable. The steel trap I made for mine was wrapped tightly in self-destruction and punishment for all that it held. Honoring the contents meant reliving the pain of my past by creating new and interesting ways to experience it. Alcohol helped tremendously.

Life has not been easy, but I am stronger for having lived it. I do not ask for sympathy nor do I apologize for the lengths I’ve taken to overcome the many things. Things that changed everything about me without my permission. Things that I could have been spared if only…

I have settled for the comforts of horrible “knowns,” to avoid the possibility of horrible “what ifs.” I have chosen to free-fall into darkness, because sometimes the darkness isn’t as scary as the light.

I’ve leapt repeatedly down the same rabbit holes, convinced I might find something different.

I have fallen in love with chaos and drama and become obsessed with the promise of distraction. These things have offered escape from harsh realities, low self-esteem, and fear of other people and their judgments. They have intertwined the spaces between my overwhelm and any chance for peaceful existence. They became my baseline – my “normal” – where I have felt most in control.

Unpacking that box has not been easy. Taking a look at who I became to protect it has been even harder. Making the changes necessary for change has been a challenge. Old dogs don’t love new tricks, and the comforts of horrible known do have their temporary perks. 

This year I have more assertive, less apologetic of my needs. I have been more vocally present during uncomfortable moments and conversations, honoring myself first.

This year has been an eye opener. 

I have been forced to take a hard look at the role I play in my personal and professional relationships. Some of the people in my life have me propped up on a “perfect” pedestal, and I’ve had to sit with the discomfort of a few messy dismounts.

This year has been painful.

Building and maintaining healthy relationships isn’t always easy or comfortable. Not everyone is going to high-five me for awareness of my personal boundaries and limits, and many people live to push back. That doesn’t change my right or responsibility to set, enforce, and re-enforce them.

I’m not meant to have certain people in my life, and that’s okay. I’m not meant to be loved by all, and it’s cool. I was born to stand out, and falling in line is no longer an option for me.

If I don’t let go of the things that weigh me down, I will never be free.

No more holding on letting go.

~ letting go ~ 


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