This is the season of letting go. The thought comes a few weeks ago. I walk around with it uncertain. Letting go is not just about loss. It can feel good to lay down heavy things.That is what I tell myself. I try many times to write before I can find words. I promise myself I can throw it away unseen.
If this were the season of letting go, I would. . .
Let go of all the measurements and calculations to prove that I’m okay.
Let go of attempts to be good enough to merit love
Let go of all the people I have tried to get to fill the holes. Really. Let them all go. Wander out into traffic to forget me or not.
Let go of protecting myself from failure (who defines that anyway?)
Let go of needing to prove something, protect something, and stand out as something.
Let go of the worry about where I fit or what people think
I keep picturing Boy two and the bird. We were on our way down the driveway when I saw the cat. She had a bird in her mouth. I stopped the car. Boy two tore open the sliding door and leapt out. He pried open her jaws with his fingers and against her wishes, the cat let go. The bird flew up from her mouth into the air, across the lawn and into the sky.
I am the cat right now, but maybe I will also be the bird.
That’s how far I get. After that weeks go by and I can’t look at what I’d written or think another single thought about letting go. So much for the cat and the bird.
Over the weekend, I take Boy one to the airport to fly alone across three provinces. Upon arrival he is to find a taxi, buy a bus ticket, and use up five hours (all composed of sixty minutes) before boarding a bus. At the other end of the bus ride is two weeks of summer camp a very long way from home. It is my idea. (A fact which I hate myself for all the way to the airport.) Boy one is a tiny bit nervous (not nearly enough) but also intoxicated with the joy of so much trust, independence and adventure. I hug him goodbye at the airport. He walks away smiling.
Back in the car, I remember the season of letting go. My boy, in the air, above me, beyond me is tearing my heart out. I see a picture of us. Me privately grieving while I smile and gently push him away. He is too happy to see my tears. He cannot stop grinning. This is great comfort indeed. My heart hurts, but I’m doing my job if in only a whisper I can croak out the word, “Fly!” to my son.
A question knocks at the door of me. Might a season of letting go become also a season of flight? Not just for him, but for me?
I’ve tried to write what comes for the Forgiveness Project. I considered something on liars. I wondered about failed friends. I am both these things, but neither piece seemed like it needed that much attention. The most compelling reason for writing them was so that I didn’t have to write today’s post.
With admonishments to myself to suck it up and be a real man, I proceed.
What I would really like for Christmas is to be perfect. In thought, word, and deed. (Not to mention appearances, impressions, and memory.) I am far from these things. For this reason, I am running madly through the house tearing apart the cushions, looking under couches, beds, and in the closets, trying to find any last pieces of bravery I can muster to forgive myself. I do not want the harsh emptiness that comes with refusing to accept forgiveness. This isn’t about not saying sorry. All of me is sorry. This is about accepting freely offered forgiveness. I don’t want to smile, then quietly spit the gift back out, insisting it is ill advised and undeserved. The burden of my failings is heavy. It’s time to let go.
For not being the person I dream of becoming, I forgive myself. For not loving as gently as I picture myself doing someday, I forgive myself. For being a nasty, finger pointing, flaw finding person, I forgive myself.
Sometimes I take other people so personally that it short circuits my insides and I can hardly function. It doesn’t matter if the slight came from someone insignificant, if it hits just right, it can shake me for days. I dream big, talk big, then let the little stick girl living inside the inflatable body of me, go hide in the corner because she’s just so tiny and she’ll be lucky if she can figure out how to brush her teeth properly, much less be a truly decent mother, or make it as a writer.
I don’t like to write about my husband. In my head, I picture us as two oxen hooked to a plow, pulling side by side. Not the usual description of love. I know. The other ox doesn’t feel like something outside of me. He’s at work, he’s at home. It doesn’t matter, he’s pulling with me, loving me and cheering me on. The days I do that for him too, feel good. The days I change from dearest friend to behaviour modification specialist with charts for subpar oxen performance . . . well I hate that self. When I’m not being her, I want to take those damn charts and shove them down her throat. Anything to convince her to be human again.
I am not who I wish I was, but I am forgiven and I am trying.
I accept the beautiful gift of forgiveness offered to me. And I forgive myself.
A thousand pounds gone.
Music. Dancing. It’s almost Christmas.