Learning to Let Go
Going to therapy for me is always an adventure. My psychiatrist likes to change things up on me during our sessions. Sometimes she goes easy, and other times we dig deep and I feel ripped open and rubbed raw.
The last few sessions have been the latter. Somehow my psychiatrist always knows how to ask the questions that unlocks things I had forgotten about, or built walls around. Even though these memories and emotions that accompany them are tough to go through; in the end I feel lighter and unburdened.
The topic lately that we’ve been digging through is how protective I am of child me. That little girl who lives inside me, hurt, lonely and scared. I let her live with me everyday, trying to keep the promises I made to us that when I grew up I’d protect us and keep us safe. Many times the need to be safe, and protect myself has made me not the most pleasant person to be around. I wanted to prevent anyone from getting to close; and I used a bad attitude, and verbal warfare to keep people away.
Then, I met my husband. A man whose sharp tongue, dark humour, and intelligence started to chip away at the walls I had built. He was the first person I trusted to hold my heart and keep it safe. As sappy as it may be his love, and belief in me, and my not wanting to lose him is what set me on my journey with therapy and healing.
It was therapy, and the husband that helped me find my strength to look into the past and start to untangle the knots and pain that was housed there. I realized more and more that I do have worth, and I am deserving of nice things and good friends. Slowly, I made the hard choices to weed out friendships that were weeds rather than blooms.
This allowed me to cultivate a garden of friendship that is varied and beautiful. Friends that have helped me grow and blossom as I continued to grow as a person. They are invaluable to me, and I am so grateful for them.
So between the husband, my friends and my in laws (and of course some of my own bio family) I found that you choose your family. They are the people you trust to hold your heart and keep you safe. They are the people who love you unconditionally no matter your quirks and “undesirable” bits. Rather those are the things that make them love you.
While I was going through this journey there was this one part of my garden that was dying, and out of place amongst all the growth and colour I had managed to nurture. It was a relationship with someone that was not healthy, or safe for me to be in. It was a relationship I clung to because for most of my life it was all I had. No matter the pain and hurt this relationship caused, I stuck to it out of loyalty and the desperate hope that things will get better.
A series of events, and actions caused me to make the decision two years ago to let that relationship go. It was incredibly painful, and for the first year part of me wanted to take it all back. That part was the scared little girl that I’ve been trying to keep safe. She was desperately afraid of the repercussions of the severing of this relationship, and scared of making that person angry knowing what it is to be on the receiving end of that anger.
I had to continually reassure that part of myself that I am nowhere near the eye of that storm anymore, and that we are safe. Reminding myself of this did soothe the anxiety, and so did the love and support I received. I stayed true to the choice that I had made.
After that first year passed I took time to really reflect on my choice. I acknowledged the weight I freed myself of. How much less anxiety and self doubt I carried. I realized that it was the best decision I could have made for myself. It was not easy, but it was worth it.
As of this month it has been two years since I severed that relationship. I no longer feel guilty, or doubt my decision. I also do not think about it as much as I did. It is just something that is. There is no anger, hate, or negativity just hope that her and I live our best lives.
Which brings me back to the past few sessions, and that little girl I work so hard to keep safe. With a combination of the therapy, and an album I have been listening to obsessively (Kesha’s album Rainbow) I’ve had an epiphany. I am okay. For the first time in my life I realize that I really am okay.
I can let that little girl go, because I know I have fulfilled my promise. I have kept us safe, I have protected us. Most importantly though, I have healed us. Even though my past still casts shadows; it no longer scares me, and makes me second guess myself. I have let that part of me, and that relationship go.
It was not easy, these things never are. However, I am proud of myself. I have worked really fucking hard to get to this point in my life. I have had bumps and bruises along the way, and made bad decisions. Ultimately though, with the help of my family, therapy, medication, and self care I kept my promise to myself. I brought myself out of the dark loneliness and fear that I lived through most of my life. I realized that colour was everything.
Side note, I’d also recommend Kesha’s new album. It’s brilliant. The songs “Praying”, “Learn to Let Go” and “Rainbow” really spoke to me in terms of therapy and past trauma.