Telling me to let go

Let go
“Let go” by Shenghung Lin on Flickr

On Monday, I did that thing where I just started typing and I wasn’t sure where I’d end up but I knew I just had to write because something wanted to come out.

And boy did something come out.

Being a parent, single or otherwise, usually requires something that is very demanding, very exhausting, and very necessary—playing pretend.

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about being covered in plastic necklaces, feather boas, and ridiculous hats.

What I am talking about is that when your children are around you, you want to put on that face—I am happy and have everything under control.

Kids take their cues from their parents. We know this. So, we let them know there’s absolutely nothing to worry about because we don’t want them to worry.

I play pretend a lot and in turn I get very frustrated for having to even play pretend—why aren’t I naturally happy and why isn’t everything under control? (Answer: Because you’re human)

There are different ends to the emotional spectrum. Monday’s post was towards the darker side. It’s not that I was dismayed and I want to clarify that.

There’s a difference between dismaying over something because it is done and there’s no fixing it and then there’s doubt.

In a way, doubt is far better than dismay because it’s open-ended. Doubt isn’t conclusive. Dismay is. Where doubt mourns what could be lost, dismay mourns what has been lost.

Since Monday, I’ve gotten a wonderful number of truly amazing comments from truly amazing people. Seriously, it’s incredible. I honestly think that post is by far the best post to have ever appeared on this blog strictly because of the amazing commentary. If any of you who read this are going through separation, divorce, single parenting, etc. read the comments.

Where I was Monday and where I am now are very different places and this is very much thanks to the words of wisdom that poured in from you, my readers (it’s so weird to say that).

I mentioned wishing for a well of confidence that was deep and endless. The second-best thing, perhaps, is a well that is constantly filled by others. You filled my well, and don’t get all gutter-brained on me right now.

I don’t want posts like Monday’s to be the norm because I don’t want to feel that way regularly (or ever again really). But, I do appreciate that I have the rapport with you to feel comfortable voicing those types of things and that you find the time to respond so beautifully.

Sometimes, I write because I need to work through something. This is one of those times and your perspectives really helped me.

I need to find create my happy place and dwell there. I want to relax and most importantly, I want to release.

The single most important thing I must accept is that my children are indeed very fortunate and doing very well. They are incredibly bright and affectionate children. They are sweet and respectful. They are full of energy and vitality. They are overwhelmed with love and support—even from their father in his own unique form.

My children’s needs are completely taken care of and there is no fear in my heart of not being able to provide the basics for them. Their wants are satisfied at reasonable levels. My children are totally just fine.

And more importantly, essentially, so am I.

We are our own worst critics and really in most cases, it’s just unnecessary.

Around this time last year, I was feeling very depressed again and even got myself to a therapist a few times. I don’t know if it’s Mother’s Day that is the trigger or the fact Ex and I separated in the middle of June but apparently my brain starts going to a dark doubtful place around this time of year.

It needs to stop and that’s up to me.

In retrospect, I feel silly.

Seriously, I got so worked up about myself because my Daughter wasn’t taken to a birthday party while she was under someone else’s care?

Clearly I’m not being very sensible with myself, am I?

Their father is their father. He is how he is and will likely always be that way. As much as it’s hard to admit, none of us really change that dramatically over our lives. We all have our purposes and he has one too. I’m pretty sure it goes beyond “seeding me up” as a friend would say. He has a role in their lives that is active and will liklely always have something in some shape with them. However…

He isn’t my concern. His relationship with my children isn’t my concern either because the most fundamental concern is not a concern. In other words, my children are not in danger when they are around him.

He is sensible enough to leave the children with his parents when he wants to partake in childish behavior and that’s good enough for me and my kids.

Enough about him and enough about the kids. The kids are more than fine. I need to accept that, let go of my fears about how they’ll be affected, and pay more attention to myself. A happy mom means a happy family.

I have been thinking about The Happiness Project a lot again. I’m thinking of finally indulging myself and buying it. I’ve actually been thinking I need to indulge myself a bit more often.

The past six months or so have been quite spartan with the income from child support going bonkers. I’ve stripped things down quite considerably and have been working my butt off to make up the difference. It’s worked but it’s also worked a major toll on me.

I’m not just talking about money and spending and such things either.

I’ll be taking a week off from work next month. I plan on using the time to just get my breath back. I want to work on my house thoroughly as it’s taken a major hit. When I stress I shut down and even though I have fits of therapeutic cleaning, they’re not conducive to overall house health.

I don’t even want a super-clean, super-tidy spot. I just want a kitchen that doesn’t smell bad and a floor that doesn’t leave things stuck to your feet and a bathroom that smells nice and for clothes to live in drawers and closets instead of laundry baskets, sofas, tables, chairs, etc. And really, I just want this to be the case most days, not every day.

Maybe I’ll take a day that week and disappear to a beach. I find the beach very restorative but often deprive myself of the experience dismissing it as too much trouble.

Those are the kinds of indulgences I’m talking about that I need to go about correcting. Yeah, some require money and some don’t. But the main indulgence is to indulge in calm and peace.

I have so many worries and doubts. I need to let them go. Life is good right now in this glorious moment. It seriously is. The future isn’t really that horribly scary at all and the past isn’t even that traumatic.

So I’m making an effort to let all of the yuck go. Just going to try and release it from me because what I deserve and what my kids deserve is a content and happy mom who doesn’t disappear in doubt and insecurity. We must model that which we want for them because if not, who will?  

When I was going through the conflict of do I stay or do I go a girl who’d gone through divorce herself sent me a few songs. I related to them in many ways and still do to varying extents. But one song has been resonating thoroughly lately and I figured I’d share it. It’s pretty, for one thing, but it also reinforces what Dancing Divorcee put crystally clear: “It’s time to let go.”

“I swear I don’t know what time it is but I know this means nothing much to me. I hear the voices ringing in my head and they keep on telling, telling me to let go. Let go. Telling me to let go. Let go. It would be better that way. Let it go, let it go. It could be better that way. Let it go, let it go. It’s just better that way. Let it go, let it go. It could be better that way. Let it go, let it go. It’s just better that way.” Gabriel & Dresden, Let Go


11 thoughts on “Telling me to let go

  1. Let go, indeed.

    When I was going through my divorce and life upheaval a few years ago my therapist recommended a book called When Things Fall Apart. It was written by a Buddhist nun and I found that many of the Buddhist concepts were very comforting to me. While I have issues with any sort of dogma — including Buddhist dogma — the basic tenet that we need to give up on this concept of “control” was incredibly freeing to me. I wrote about this and how much I liked the concept of “abandon hope,” which one of my friends took exception too. Really, it’s not meant to be negative, but more about giving up on the concept of control. “If I just did y, then x would happen.” No, not really. One could do y and x *could* happen, but we waste too much effort on trying to *make* it happen. The universe will do what the universe will do. I keep reminding myself of that and I feel better.

    Giving yourself a break — a mental break, and not just a physical one — is a good thing.

  2. Sometimes yes, it’s time to let go. Even so, knowing that letting go is the “right” thing doesn’t make your doubts or your fears or your insecurities go away. You got bent over your daughter not being taken to a birthday party. Ok, but in actuality, what you got bent over was what not being taken to that party represented. In the grand scheme of things if there’s something to not let go, it’s of those things that involve or influence your children. Being human, you’re gonna stress over them.

    Maybe I relate because Tuesday night I had my own style of pity party about how awful my life is (it isn’t really in comparison), yadda, yadda. You posted about it for your therapy. I had a good cry and a hot bath and a dirty martini (not necessarily in that order) and then went to bed at 8 p.m. for mine. The next day always dawns brighter though, and somehow all those things that seemed so overwhelming at the time are just a little better.

    I hope that today is like that for you. And yes, the beach is therapeutic and I think you should spend many days there if you can this summer.

    PS – @Linda – I’ve just added that book to my Kindle list as well. I think, given a few things in my life the last few years, I could use the perspective!

  3. I don’t know if this will work for you, but when I’m actively trying to get out of a funk and I obsess over things I know I shouldn’t, I just tell myself (sometimes outloud) “SHUT UP BRAIN!” And I just keep saying those words every time a bad thought pops in over and over until my brain changes the subject to something more benign.(like putting away my many stacks of laundry.)

    I find if you try to rationalize with your brain to why you’re feeling the way you are, your brain makes up glorious excuses to why it’s justified in acting the way it is acting. It’s better to just tell that brain to shut the hell up until it has something useful to say back to you.

    I’m no therapist, but this has been my way of letting go of some thoughts. If you force yourself not to obsess, eventually you will be able to let go. I just did this again last week and it still works for me.

    Sometimes I do ignore icky things I need to tend to, but only until I have the strength to deal. It’s far worse procrastinating indefinitely.

    I’m so glad you realized that you are in a good place and that your kids are safe and secure, even when they’re not with you. That’s the most important thing.

  4. FWIW, I did NOT like The Happiness Project – and not just cuz Rubin’s married to a kajillionaire and has help out the wazoo. If you want that kind of book, try Ariel Gore’s Bluebird – you might be able to relate more since she is or was a single parent.
    Another good Buddhism lite book is Living as a River.
    Re Sandy’s recommendation – YES. The happiest realization of my life was realizing (and practicing) that happiness is a choice. No matter what happens, I choose reality and I choose to be happy (as possible) about that reality. If I’m going to play with my own head, it’s going to be for positive, not negative reasons.

  5. Letting go is always easier said than done, well done you for making the decision that’s half the battle. Rejoice in what you have, I’m pretty certain you’ll find you’re blessed. And cleaning is the best form if therapy. A yogi said when asked how to meditate,”learn how to cook, clean and garden” (for godsake don’t tell the menfolk!) I love your spirit. The best is yet to come!

    • Yes, cleaning is majorly weird for me. I did a number on my house yesterday. Top to bottom and it still needs work but it smells like happy chemicals now. I like the sentiment. My mom would totally agree with the yogi. All of those things are her calming things.


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