I choose to love this time for once with all of my intelligence. ~ Adrienne Rich
I created the art cards and musings that I release week after week in The Wilderhood and on Patreon a few years ago, but I swear, some part of me was preparing me for this moment in time, because every one of them has been whispering to where I’m at *right now*.
Especially this one.
We’re moving into Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the earth is taking a long, slow exhale after inhaling all spring and summer long. Everything the earth and her creatures takes in must be released at some point, and that is what I’m focusing on this week as I ready myself for the last quarter of the year.
I’m pretty good at letting go of things. I de-clutter twice yearly (in spring, and in fall). I do the whole ‘toss, donate, keep’ thing with my art supplies and clothing. If something breaks, I don’t hold on to it ‘in case I can fix it’. I keep my ‘stuff’ pared down to a dull roar so that I’m not overwhelmed by too many choices.
I’m pretty good at letting go of ideas, too. As I take in new data, my beliefs shift and morph, and some no longer work for me at all. I don’t resist this process, because this is how wisdom grows. We know, and then we know better.
Releasing people, though…that’s my kryptonite. I suck at it, even when I know in my heart of hearts that it is what must be done. I will resist that kind of release long after it seems sane. I will fight it tooth and nail, go out kicking and screaming. This has resulted in some unnecessary, protracted grief over the years. It has consequences of the ‘single too long’ variety, too. To me, releasing people feels like abandoning them, even though I know that releasing them releases me, too. I think releasing people also feels like releasing dreams I’ve had about those people, and that, too, is difficult.
One of the things I’ve been working on in therapy is the understanding that it doesn’t have to be malicious to be harmful. In other words, if I’m being harmed, I’m being harmed. Impact over intention. Especially if I am saying “This is harming me” and it continues. Saying “I don’t mean to harm you” and then continuing to do the things that harm me is – well. What the fuck? How is that okay?
I’m also working on understanding that love isn’t enough of a reason to hang in there. In fact, sometimes love is a rusty hook that keeps me bonded in a connection that is making me really unwell. Some might say ‘crazy’, but that’s ableist and untrue – what I really am is traumatized & reactive as fuck, which I simply would not be if the harm were not being done.
We’re all some version of fucked up as a soup sandwich and I feel so much compassion for all of us as we grapple with the consequences of our actions (or lack of action, as the case may be), but I’m learning to stop with the longsuffering, already. It isn’t a virtue. I’m learning to step out of the way of harm even when that means breaking my own goddamned heart.
It’s so hard. So hard. Because it doesn’t mean I don’t love you, and I live for that. I really do. But for once, finally, after all these years of grappling, it means I am choosing to love myself more.