This post is part of a ridiculous series I’m writing called 41 Years in 30 Days to celebrate my 42nd birthday. I use good skincare. If you’re interested in reading the whole series, you can do that here.
“Perhaps the source of your discontent lies in your attachment to how things should be instead of accepting how things are.”
These are the words that stared back at me as I sat on Karen’s couch. I’d just left my second wasband — and in front of his dad and stepmom, no less — because he refused to tell them we had separated prior to their coming for a visit. Which put me in a situation of lying to family. Which he was ready and willing to do. And I was not.
I’d left because he kept pushing my buttons and I couldn’t keep up the facade — sleeping in the same room, acting all lovey-dovey.
And it was sad that I was the one to deliver the message to his dad and stepmom — that yes, we were separated. And I’m sorry he didn’t tell you. But I can’t do this. Please — spend time together and I’ll leave.
I called my friend Karen and she opened her door and sofa to me. When I arrive, she handed me a deck of cards. They all seemed to have sayings on them. She told me to pick one.
The quote above was on the one I picked.
Fuck you, Universe. Fuck you for always being right and I will still eat these bacon-wrapped dates because they are delicious and make my ass look GREAT.
I know that was slight off-topic, but sometimes you have to tell the Universe what’s what.
Today’s hard truth is about clinging. Holding on to something so tight that you choke the living shit out of it and all that’s left in your hands is some once alive, now dead shit.
And how I’ve had to learn — and am still learning — to give it the fuck up already.
You cannot change who someone is.
You can love all you want, but often it will be unrequited.
You can bust ass and have great ideas out the wazoo, but dearest — many of those ideas will fail.
You can wish in one hand and shit in the other (and one will always fill up first).
The majority of the discontent I’ve experienced in this lifetime has been directly on account of the disconnect between my shoulds and is-es.
I’ve come to discover that there’s incredible nobility in giving up. Letting go. Ceasing the incessant Jello wrestling match in the shitty little resort town that is my ego and telling everyone to get dressed, last call is over, and that you don’t care where they go but they can’t stay here.
The tighter I hold on, the less movement I have.
And if I can’t move, I can’t go forward.
Holding on tight enough will only guarantee that I go tumbling backwards because I’m so busy holding on that I don’t see the giant boulder I’m about to trip over and BAM and can you say $6,000 deductible on my medical insurance?
And while there are plenty of things worth fighting for in my lifetime (and I’m sure there will be plenty more), I’ve come to realize that there’s a way to fight the good fight while letting go.
Because words — oh lord. I spent so much of this lifetime caught between what someone’s said and what he’s/she’s done (and the lack of matchy-matchy between the two). I used to think words were just as vaulable as action.
But they’re not.
When you’re fighting for something worth fighting for, actions and silence are the two greatest measures of how worth it the fight truly is.
For example: recent dating experience (I always have one, don’t I?). Five months of back and forth with man in question. When I had the conversation (and a loving one at that) about what I was feeling and needed, he said all the right things. Yet in five months, his actions rarely matched the words.
Being willing to have the tough conversation — that’s action.
His lack of action — also action.
And the silence when he didn’t want to have the tough conversation — well, there ya go.
Giving up isn’t about quitting. It’s about giving up your attachment to the outcome you’ve conjured up in your head. Did I want this guy to be the guy he was at those beautiful, surprising (yet fleeting) moments? YES. For all that’s holy, I would have told Clive Owen to come back next year had this guy just been able to SHOW UP.
But he didn’t. And maybe he can’t. Or doesn’t want to.
The day, however, that I decided to stop holding onto the vision of what COULD be and accepted how things are, my burden eased by 180 pounds.
I can’t carry anyone or anything into its Next. I have to give them space to breathe else they’ll suffocate (dreams included).
And by giving up on what I wanted and accepting how things are, I’m not only lighter.
I have room in my life now for someone who WILL show up.
So today — ask yourself what you’re holding onto and quite possibly choking the living shit out of. End sentences with prepositions because you are a grown ass human being and YOU CAN DO THIS WITHOUT A BAD GRADE.
And should you find something (or someone) that you’re holding onto so tight, think about how it would feel to ease that grip. Set down your burden. Give it some space to become more of what it is instead of this vision of what you think it should be.
Because then, you can see everything for what it is. Giving up — quitting the fight — tells you everything you need to know.
Bottom line: If you’re fighting for something or someone that isn’t fighting for you back, then you’re better off getting a taco than putting one more ounce of energy into the myth that what IS might be something different.
Give it the fuck up, already. Your life’s waiting.
And the best part? It’s going to turn out way different than you expected.