Letting Go and Hanging On

Did I tell you my back quit hurting?  (Not to make it all about me.  ; )

I talked about chronic back pain on the other blog, where I also wrote about listening to the body when it screams at us (pain!) in an effort to get our attention.

I distinctly remember when the pain started – three months into the last relationship.  (Hello, RED flag!)  The pain ebbed/flowed/annoyed me through that relationship, the breakup, living at mom’s (sorry, mom, but you know what I mean), and through starting a new job at an office that was not a good fit.

I knew the back pain was about stress.  I thought I could push through with yoga, valerian root, whiskey and walking.  Sometimes those things helped, but the pain was still there, waiting to get my attention when I refused to see the stress for what it was.

I started at a new office the beginning of December.  Two weeks ago, I noticed my back had quit hurting.  I didn’t say anything to the kids because I didn’t want to jinx it.  I kept doing the yoga.  The holidays gave me an excuse to drink whiskey.  (In case you’re wondering, I have never combined whiskey and valerian root, though I’ve been tempted.)

Recently, I lifted a heavy object, as a test.  I anticipated a stab.  I thought for sure my back would scream at me.  And, nothing.  No spasm.  No twinge.  Nothing.  I was able to put away the artificial tree without so much as a wince, except I did feel a little guilty about putting Christmas away so early.

I figured I was safe in telling the kids that my back pain was gone.  I did, and didn’t jinx anything.

 

All of this makes me think about resolutions and, conveniently, it’s the time of year when we might take stock in where we are and if we are happy – or at least not miserable – with where we are.

In 55 years, my success rate is abysmal when it comes to resolutions, partly because I rarely make any.

I’m not perfect.  I haven’t got it all figured out.  But I do a fine job of making myself feel bad without adding failed New Years’ resolutions to the mix.

I prefer to look back over the year and decide which things I will let go of and which things I will hang on to.

 

I will hang on to noticing when something does not feel right.  Whether it’s a conditioner or a brand of coffee, a book that seems too violent in the first 40 pages, an acquaintance that drains more than enriches, or a crappy pair of jeans that I never feel good wearing – I will let go of what isn’t good.

It’s in the noticing that something doesn’t feel right, that I learn to let go.

I will hang on to paying attention to my intuition, and let go of the stuff that does not feel good.

 

For Will:  I plan on letting go of worrying.  The worrying feels bad.  I’m tired of communicating those worries to the Universe, and to Will.  I know he is tired of hearing about it, too. (This one will be difficult, and all you seasoned parents are laughing at me because you’ve told me that, as parents, we are never done worrying.)  But, I will stop voicing my worries to him, and I will hang on to letting him know how much I care.

 

For Jen:  I will most definitely hang on to this connection we have, but I will let go when she strives for more independence.  Is that even possible?  I guess we’ll find out.

 

For me:  I will hang on to trusting myself.  I will trust myself to say, “No, thank you,” when something doesn’t feel right.  I will trust myself to let go of those things that do not make me wholeheartedly say, “YES!”

Oh, and I will let go of guilt (stop laughing!) and hang on to letting it be about me, once in awhile.

 

It’s going to be a good year!

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

If Walls Could Talk

“They’re back!  Did you see that?  They’re unpacking!”

“Do you think they’ll be staying?  Oh! I hope so.  I’ve missed them.”

“How come they’re switching bedrooms?  How come Will gets the bigger room?”

“Haven’t you noticed?  He’s too tall for a twin bed, and there’s no way a queen would fit in his old room.”

“I suppose that makes sense.  He’s too big for the blue bathroom, too.  What’s she been feeding him?”

 

“Look at Jen!  She’s gotten so tall.  Where’d her long hair go?”

“Is she stirring paint?  I hope so.  I’m so tired of this brown.  Some new paint would cheer me up, cheer me up almost as much as seeing those familiar faces again.  They look happy.  Dontcha think?  Are they glad to be back?  Do you think this is a good thing?”

“There you go worrying again.  Just look at them!  Listen to them laughing!  Listen to the way they banter and giggle and tease each other.  They’re glad to be back.  I can feel it, can’t you?”

“I guess you’re right.  I feel the energy shifting in here.  It’s familiar.  I remember this feeling.  This is good.”

“Hey!  I like the colors Jen picked.  This will be fun and new and lighter.  Out with that brown.”

“I thought you liked the brown?”

“I did.  But now it’s time for a change.  Nothing wrong with a change.  You’ll get used to it.  You always do.”

“Where’s Nina?  Is that a new feline?”

“Didn’t you hear?  I heard Jesse say something about missing Nina in this place.  That one’s called Pansy.”

“Does Pansy ever leave Jen’s side?”

“Nope.  I think that’s the point.  I heard Will’s getting a canine.”

“Yay!  A dog!  That’s so good.”

 

“Look!  Will’s mowing the grass.  Can you hear the yard?  Even the yard is glad they’re back.  I’d swear the grass is smiling, even as he cuts it.  Oh!  That’s good.”

“He cuts the grass a lot faster than he used to.”

“No kidding.  He’s a man now.  He’s not a boy anymore.”

 

“Jen still does her art!”

“You mean painting the walls?”

“Not just the walls, silly, she still draws and paints on paper.  I can’t wait to see what she draws next.  I’m so glad they’re back.  Now we get to see what happens to these kids.”

“Do you think they’ll stay?”

“I hope so.  They had it real good here.  They’ll have it good here this time, too.”

“I heard Jesse say she’s never moving again.”

“Oh, no!  Will’s leaving.  Look at him!  He’s walking out of the garage.”

“He’s got a fishing pole!  Don’t worry.  He’s heading to the river.  He’ll be back.”

“Yeah!  He’ll be back in time for dinner.  Just watch!”

 

It turns out you can go home again.

 

On Trust

She thinks back over her various failed attempts and decides they provide evidence that she should never trust again.

“He said that, but once we got close, he changed.”

“He did that, but once I moved in, he stopped.”

“We committed to x, but then he decided he’d rather have y.”

“See?  Men can’t be trusted!”

She reads posts about con men, psychopaths, users, liars and cheats.  She finds more reasons to never trust again.

 

But she has a son.  She can’t go around thinking the worst of men.  She lives with a prime example of all the good that can be male.  She bites her lip when she starts to say something disparaging about the opposite sex.  She doesn’t want her daughter to adopt her attitude about men.

The three of them talk of life, love, relationships, fishing, ice skating and the cat’s shenanigans.  They do not have many secrets.  Most families don’t discuss the things they discuss.  She’s a firm believer in communication.  She fesses up to her messes and never sweeps anything under the rug.

When she wants to talk with them about relationships and trust, though,  she stumbles.  Her track record is a wikiHow entry of what not to do in the romance arena.

What can she tell them about trust?  How can she teach them to give another a chance?  How can she protect them?  Are they doomed to make the same kinds of mistakes that she has made?

 

What is trust, anyway?

Is trust the ability to believe what another says?  Does trust happen only when we show our true self, and have that completely accepted?  How could she ever take that leap again?  Is trust simply having faith in the promises made by another?  When we trust, don’t we have expectations about behavior?  Is that fair?

But when is trust established?  At the six month mark?  On the third date?  Is it a gut feeling?  Is it a vibe?  How can she know, without a doubt, that she can trust another?

When does trust begin?

Where does trust begin?

Could her kids trust her to not make another scary choice in the relationship department?  Is it enough to say, “Never again?”

Is that the kind of example she wants to set for her kids?  Should she show them that it’s better to never try again than to risk trusting, and perhaps failing?

 

Can she trust herself?

 

That is the real question.

 

Can she trust herself to not settle? Can she trust herself not to put up with being treated poorly?  Can she trust herself not to put herself in another situation where she is taken for granted?  Can she trust enough in her own goodness to believe that she deserves better, even if being alone is the better she’s been looking for.

 

She writes out the questions until she finds the answer:

She cannot learn to trust another until she can learn to trust herself.