“Is she aware of what she is holding on to?” ~Jennifer
I hold on to too much. There are things both real and imagined, visible and invisible, physical and emotional that I have yet to release. Some are fears. Some are memories of specific events, while others are reminders that I’m afraid to let go of. I have piles of drawings and paintings my daughter has made, each special in its own way. I struggle with which ones to keep and which ones to recycle. It’s irrational of me, but somehow throwing away even the smallest of her offerings feels like I’m throwing away a piece of her and a piece of my heart. These early years with my children are fleeting and I don’t want to forget any of it (except the tantrums and the lack of sleep).
There are videos on my phone that I can’t bear to part with: the first time my daughter walked in the grass, my son chuckling wildly from tickles, my husband spontaneously dancing in the living room to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On.” I’ve gotten pretty good at donating gifts that don’t bring me joy, trusting that they will light up someone else’s world somehow. I held on to the Santa Claus nightshirt I gave my mom, though…the one that says “Believe” on it. I couldn’t put that one in the donation bin back when we sorted through her belongings. It reminds me of her youthful sense of wonder. And in a bag on the closet shelf sits the beautiful stuffed unicorn she bought for me when I was in second grade. I named it Uranus. (I giggle now, but I was seven years old at the time, and intent on giving it a name that started with a “u” like unicorn.) It’s only an inanimate object, yet I haven’t liberated it yet. Somehow I still equate that unicorn with my childhood innocence.
My husband always gently reminds me that I can let go; that right now is what matters. Intellectually, I know there’s no need to use up space saving material items. I’m gripping the past so tightly that the present could slip away. I’ve been wasting my energy. I know I don’t want to keep anything that is holding me back or robbing anyone of happiness, so I’m sorting through what is true and what is only fear. I’m working to release ideas I have of myself, like the ones that say my nose is too big and my shoulders are too broad. I’m trying to gently embrace reality rather than hold on to the fantasy of what once was or what might have been. My desire is simple yet challenging: I want to cradle the exquisiteness of today in my hands, and then lovingly set it free.
Are you holding on to too much also? What do you want to let go of? If you’re ready to give voice to it, please leave me a comment below. There is such healing in sharing…