This morning, some may be cooking, waxing their legs, out in hunt of the most amazing little black dress or buying what’s left of the champagne at the liquor store. The countdown for a new year is here.
My countdown is different this year. My wretched day yesterday was a storm of emotions; another year almost gone and another year goals unmet.
Then late last night, I happened across a dusty bookmarked online article about how our emotions can affect our physical health. I currently am dealing with a mysterious bout – granted a seven year bout – of joint pain. In a continual frenzy, both via conventional opinions and holistic possibilities, my eyes and ears perked up at reading this article once again.
What struck me was what the possible root of the pain – why it has decided to shack up in my bones: Resentment, bitterness and a desperate grip onto past hurts.
I have an ocean of painful memories from my past – as early as seven to the present. So for nearly thirty years, I have hung onto nearly every shred of hurt people have bestowed upon me. I didn’t realize it was a choice I made. It has been my coping mechanism, my self-defense weapon, my shield, my savior.
A major ‘light bulb’ moment occurred last night, when I realized the damage this coping ‘skill’ has done to my body; that this sword I’ve been wielding since childhood, had two sides. Could it be, that my joints are riddled not with Lyme Disease, nor Rheumatoid Arthritis, nor any other official label of disease, but rather a slow but vicious physical emergence of old ‘junk’ I fanatically hold onto? As if every tear, every threat, every hurt has taken up residence in this skeletal system of mine and had a destructive party without my permission.
I slept remarkably deeply and serenely and awoke with minimal joint pain. Perhaps just the awareness of emotional cause and physical effect was a start to repairing the damage that has raged through my 5’ frame.
As part of my New Year’s close, I have to at least try to let go of these thorns I have allowed to callous my life. The lack of my father’s love, the schoolmates who teased me, the abusive ex-husband and the religious leaders who pretended to not see the bruises, the malicious girlfriends, the hateful first ‘wife’.
A victim is one who has been mistreated. There’s an implication of time. Meaning, once you’ve survived, you’re then a survivor, a prevailer, a hero, a strong badass who conquered the damage. There’s no room in my bags to carry this shit around anymore. It doesn’t serve me. It is literally hurting me – body and soul.
I may not have time to ‘write’ letters of acknowledgement and forgiveness to each of those people or things that have pained me so. But I can at least envision, feel the past hurts as if I’m tensing every muscle in my body, and then with one last ‘breath’ of the year, forcefully exhale it out – expunge the carry-ons, the backpacks, the suitcases of decay.
On a lighter, grander scale, that’s what New Year’s Eve is about – leaving the past where it belongs and starting anew.
So today I set my past free, like a paper sailboat placed down this river of life. The past cannot be undone. But I don’t have to imprison myself; I don’t have to define myself an eternal victim like a skipping record. Everything is a choice. Be bitter or move on.
No one can hurt me. I’m safe. I’m loved. For a few more hours, I give myself permission to feel and explore – then when the clock strikes midnight – Enough.
Love to all,