Letting Go

Yesterday I made a mistake. I flinched when there was no need, frightened by shadows. It brought a few things into focus – not least that there had been no need to flinch. I have allowed the past to own me. Time to let go, to say ‘these are things that happened, but they are not happening now.’ I will not be limited by them anymore.

It so often comes down to trust, to being sure the other person means well. When you don’t have that, when the slightest sign of discontent rings alarm bells, then you live walking always on eggshells, fearful of what the next step will bring. I don’t cope well with other people’s anger. I scare easily. But in moments of grumpiness, I see the potential for anger, and that scares me as well. Which in some contexts made sense, but does not belong at all in others. Where there is trust, I should be able to get beyond the fear.

It is so easy to continue old stories without noticing that I’m blithely writing them into the present. To carry forward old wounds and sources of pain, and find evidence of them in new places, because I was looking for them. I do not want to do this. It is destructive, painful, and it wrongs people who mean no harm at all. Everyone has grumpy moments – and I most certainly to. They are not always a prelude to anger or a warm up to there being a big problem. They can just as easily be small expressions of irritation, acknowledged and relinquished.

So today, I am going to give over some time to remembering moments of fear and discomfort. I shall get them out and air them, so that I can see they belong to the past and not the present. Being told off – usually for small, trivial things, made me afraid of what would happen if I made bigger mistakes. More subtle, more difficult were the buttons pushed that made me feel so guilty over things I had not done sufficiently well, or enough of, or with enough enthusiasm. I was always on the back foot, never feeling good enough. Often it’s been about things I have no control over, but which somehow get laid at my door anyway. Things that happen inside other people’s heads.

I’ve been through a process, these last few months, of pulling away and stepping back. I have claimed time and space of myself, and recently have learned to resist the criticism. The final straw was being held responsible for some small mistakes my son made, and having that treated as though it stemmed from deliberate malice on my part. It was too obvious, and that allowed me to see it for what it is, and not be caught by it. Some of what belongs to the past, is still in my present, but I do not have to own it. This is not who I am, it is stuff that happened to me.

The more I let go, the able I am to see what of this is me. I am a person to whom things have happened. I am not the things that happened. I do not have to be defined by anyone else’s perceptions of me. I do not have to let the present be shaped by that which went before. Today is a new day, the sun is bright, and the birds are greeting it as a joyful miracle. Each day the world is born anew, and I can leave anything I wish to in the past. I do not have to carry it with me. I feel like I have been covered in old cobwebs, full of dead flies. I can scrape off the stickiness, the ick. If I choose to be, I can have clean-soul skin again, because this is my life, and my story. I am choosing. I am not going to be afraid anymore.