I‘ve been having a lot of trouble letting go lately. No matter that I know I need to do it, I can’t seem to let go: of my anger towards people whom I believe are acting in ways to harm my family or who are acting so selfishly that harm to others is inevitable; of the unattainable perfectionism that often grabs me by the throat and threatens to shut down my breathing when I fight her; of myself. I know it‘s unhealthy to focus and obsess, but I can’t seem to get my head wrapped around letting go and relinquishing control.
I know I need to let go, I know I can’t control others, and I know that ultimately, when the time comes for me to cross my own Rainbow Bridge, all that matters is that I can look at myself in the mirror and be okay with who and what I see. That‘s all logic and intellect speaking, though. The emotional control freak, the one who I kept at bay for a long time, is coming out to play, and she‘s playing rough.
It‘s taken me a lot of years to wrest control from my inner emotional demon. 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, however, has given her plenty of ammunition, and SHE’S BAAAAAAACK! She‘s not showing herself the ways she did when I was in college and graduate school, but she‘s making her presence known, nevertheless. If I have a moment of self-doubt, if I‘m uncertain as to the direction in which I‘m supposed to move, she wiggles her finger in my face and tsk-tsks me, letting me know that the reason for whatever bad thing is in my life is that I‘m not enough. I‘m not enough anything: smart, funny, thin, pretty, sexy, caring, selfless, selfish. I‘m just not enough in her eyes, and sadly, on occasion I believe her. And so when I‘m feeling weak, she takes over. I stop caring, I stop being motivated, I simply stop and turn inward. I stop fighting for what I know is right, for anything.
Ernie Hemingway and I have been in the midst of a difficult situation for the past several months, something inevitable, the fallout of which will either be fantastic or devastating for our family. There is no middle ground, and neither Ernie nor I have any control over which side of the coin will land facing upwards. The utter lack of control is eating me up inside, giving that demon all she needs to make me feel less than sufficient every time I look in the mirror. I alternately experience either abject terror over my lack of control or unmitigated rage towards the person that put us in this situation.
At the end of the day, I have my husband, the love of my life, my partner on the road of life. I have my child, my family and my friends. My demon tells me that the end result and concomitant fallout wouldn’t matter if I were a better person than I think myself, a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend. I reason with her that it‘s my marriage, my family, my life, and, therefore, the fallout is everything, it will decide everything. It will determine how the next several years of our lives will be lived, even if they will be lived or merely survived. She says none of the things about which we are concerned would matter if I were better, more.
I‘ve been mostly silent here for the last few weeks as Ernie and I gather our strength and resources to fight this war, but I’ve been writing up a storm in my journal, raging in my head against the seamier side of human nature, raging aloud to myself in the car as I go about my daily life and try to forget the coming storm. I tell myself I‘ve been publicly silent because I‘m protecting my family, but the truth us, the demon inside makes me wonder if I’ve been silent because I‘m afraid, afraid that I‘m just not strong enough or skilled enough to weather the storm and emerge unscathed once the howling and swirling winds calm, when the dust settles and the sunshine returns.
But I just might be lucky enough to win, and graceful enough in victory.