Huh. So I wrote this post nearly a month ago now. I kept putting off publishing it for this and that reason. When you start a post so far in advance, sometimes it – after time – begins to feel disingenuine because it no longer feels applicable to your current state. But theeeeeeen last week happened. And things kind of made a full circle. Maybe it was just waiting for the right time…
Does anyone know what I mean when describe the feeling of, “letting go?” (and no, I am not asking for Elsa’s say in this but if you wish to belt as you read, please, belt away girlfriend).
That feeling of…
Fear, mixed with a soft compassion?
Sadness, mixed with a gentle gratutude?
Grief, mixed with an accepting smile?
And sometimes even flat out anger, mixed with surrendering tears?
In its softest form, it can be a feeling of being lightened – like something has been lifted off your chest – yet you feel a tender sadness and fragility at watching it go.
It can be one of the hardest feelings to try and describe.
This past month has taught me some really big lessons in letting go.
As I was beginning to rehearse for my production, I felt as if everything I was used to clinging to – my schedule, my routine, getting in exercise, eating “my” foods – were all slowly melting away from me. I felt as if all these things had grouped together and turned against me – teasing me – and that I was chasing hopelessly after them. Chasing, yet, like I was in one of those tunnels where the things I’m chasing just keep getting farther and farther away. I knew there was no point in continuing to chase them, but I was still clinging on for dear life – in denial that something would actually take them away from me – and getting angry at the thought that I could maybe even lose the battle.
There are days when I really miss these things I cling on to.
I miss feeling safe with my exercise and regimented with my food. Wow…My eyes well up with tears as I write this. I miss that feeling of safety. I miss having that focus and something to turn to so I can distract myself from feeling scared or embarrassed or stupid or alone. I miss having control over my schedule and running off alone when I so desperately want that breathe of release. I often feel claustrophobic and attacked when I feel like things are not in my control and I’m so used to making those awful feelings go away by grasping onto my pieces of “safety.”
But – as this past month has taught me – these pieces of safety are not always available to me. Nor should they be.
In previous years, I cultivated my own little routine of safety with just me, myself and I. But in the real world – a world where you fight for your passions, let others in and engage in the world around you – you simply cannot rely on this safety. I cannot expect my knight and shining armor to always be there the moment I start to feel uncomfortable. I’ve spoiled myself, in a way. I’ve always ran to my comforts every time I am told I’m going to have to be out of my comfort zone. Without even giving the discomfort a chance, I’ve jumped on my horse and said “no way.”
This being said… there must be compassion. I realize it is not really me that clings to and misses my blankets of safety. Its not really me that gets shaken to the core when my control gets threatened. It’s not me that feels claustrophobic and attacked. It’s the thing inside me that is scared.
When that feeling of fear starts to arise, I’ll run and run to hold onto my pieces of safety. But then….there comes a time when I feel so depleted and exhausted… that I have to just stop. Stop, and watch those pieces of safety fade away.
In these last few weeks, instead of taking my anger and fear out on exercise and food restriction – I had to give in.
I put away my packed lunch and took myself out for a meaty breakfast sandwich and a few moments of quiet reading. I took myself out for a falafel when I didn’t want to cook. I ate at new times and when I wasn’t not hungry. I came home and ate meals at 11:00 pm. I slept in with Dan and ate eggs and toast and cheesy scones mere minutes after waking. I sat in quiet at a cafe as I felt a heaviness of emotion cloud over me. I felt the uncomfortable feeling of loneliness. Instead of running, I let the tears fall. I put away the to do list and instead sat in the skin crawling feeling of unknowingness. Instead of isolating, I engaged in human connection. I put up my arms and said a big, “Okay…. You have me.”
I had to give in and accept that I simply could not have my routine. I had to accept that I was giving 110% of my control and schedule over to something else. I’ve worn armor of protection for years now. My fear wants me to angry and tough and fight back and not let anything take away my precious comforts. But its just scared. Its scared of what will happen if I do just give in and take off my armor.
This is where the feeling of softness comes in. Its the stripping off of the armor. The letting in of the fear. The accepting and giving over. Uncovering that fear and letting it be what it is can unveil a lot of sadness. A sense of fragility. You’re saying goodbye to something you’ve held so closely to you for so long, after all. It’s a feeling of change. A sinking into something new.
But its also a feeling of being lightened.
That armor you’ve been carrying is pretty heavy. As scary as it is to let it go, it can feel like the real you – though you may be a little open and raw at the moment – is finally able to come out and breathe.
That, to me, is what it feels like to let go.
How do you describe the feeling of “letting go?”
What are you needing to let go of in your life right now?
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.
My journey with hypothalamic amenorrhea continues. My journey recovering from an eating disorder……