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Friday, January 16, 2015

Writer's Workshop: Letting it Go

This week, I am following the prompt: "2. If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be? Why can’t it change?" Actually, there are a lot of things. But lately I am choosing to concentrate on the things I can change, and accept the rest.

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I love the song "Let it Go" from the movie Frozen.  I know, it's one of those songs that everyone's kids have sung a million times, ad nauseam, but I have never gotten tired of it.  The words really speak to me.  In fact, Elsa's personality really hits home for me.  And not just because the cold doesn't bother her (yeah, I'm possibly the only person around enjoying the below-freezing temps right now).

Elsa is different.  She has something about herself that she doesn't want anyone to know, so she stays hidden.  She is also afraid of hurting others, and most likely of being hurt herself.  But the fear makes things worse, and she is caught in a cycle of hiding and berating herself.  She even hides from her dear sister and best friend, and once her parents are gone, she is left alone.

I can relate to this to a degree.  I don't have any secrets or magic powers that I am hiding, but I understand what it's like to be afraid to express myself, to hide from others or not speak because I am afraid others won't like me.  But as I avoid eye contact and social situations, I alienate myself, and the more I do that, the more I feel alone.  The more I feel pity for myself and feel like no one likes me.  In reality, I am just sending out signals that I don't want to socialize or even that I am not friendly.  That isn't who I really am.  I want to break free from that cycle.  I'm actually working on it now, and making some good progress.

There is part of me that feels I need to "be the good girl [I] always have to be."  Manners and proper behavior and saying the right thing and being pleasant and neat are just some of the things drilled into my head.  I find myself extremely self-conscious, judging myself constantly, but really, I am watching through someone else's eyes.  "I should" is really "they would think I should."  As soon as I feel a pang of guilt, I now know the drill.  Where is it coming from?  Is it because you think someone would disapprove?  More than nine times of out ten, that's the issue.

I want to be like Elsa.  I want to let it all go, I want to be free.  I want to slam the door on what no longer serves me well.  I want to stop worrying, stop feeling guilty, stop stressing out.  I don't want to feel awkward and shy anymore.  I want to go out into the world, to explore and be myself.  I want to live this life to the fullest, because, quite frankly, I am not getting any younger and it's about time I did something with my life.  Most importantly, I want to feel like I have good something to offer the world.  I want to find what that is.  I don't want to be afraid to love and be loved -- in whatever form it comes.  Because I know that love heals and overcomes and will always win.

I want to feel more like "I don't care what they're going to say," but to let the storms die down. (Unless a fight needs to be fought. Sometimes, that is necessary.)  Let's be kinder to ourselves, and to others.  Let's celebrate the parts of each other that make us all special so no one ever feels like they have to hide.  Let's live happy and fulfilling lives, and allow others to do so, as well.

And let's get some more snow over here in southern New England.  I haven't even gotten to build a snowman yet this winter! ;)

Mama’s Losin’ It

Side note: After I wrote this the other night, I got an email from Sandy Hook Promise about their "No One Eats Alone" campaign to help end social isolation in middle schools. In theory, it sounds great, although if some kids are just introverts, it may not make them feel very comfortable. At any rate, sometimes just feeling accepted and knowing someone cares is enough to relieve the feeling of loneliness. To find out more about the program, please click here.