Letting Go — MISSION: SELF CARE (Day One)
Thursday, April 26 =>
It felt good to sleep in today, my first day of a one-month medical leave, but it was strange as well. I didn’t have to call in sick, since all the arrangements were made. No one was expecting me. Today, I don’t have to answer to or be there for anyone. I can set the course of my day. I can do all the things I need to do for myself but haven’t had the energy or time to do. Actually—I can’t say I didn’t have the time to do those things. That’s simply not true. I have just as much time as anyone else—I just don’t carve it out in the way that will fill my heart and refresh my soul. I allow time to control me. I allow circumstances and people to set my day’s agenda instead of choosing my own path. I give up my control and then languish in the consequences of my own choices, often blaming others for my discontent. On this 28-day journey, I’m on my own. There is no one to dump the blame on, no one to point to as the reason that I can’t live the life I crave. I feel the weight of that responsibility for the first time. I am fully in charge of me. When I walk in that responsibility and feel it full-force for the first time, I believe I’ll finally sense the compelling need for change and find the courage to make it.
Today I actually feel unsettled. My children and husband got ready on their own and left for school. It seemed as natural to them as breathing. Why have I clung so long to the idea that their every need had to be met by me—that somehow their day would fall apart if I wasn’t directly overseeing their morning routines? Why does it feel so good and yet so foreign to not be needed in that way anymore? Who am I if I’m not in charge of every detail? Where do I fit as just Sharlene, not delegator, crisis manager, and family CEO?
There was a time in my family’s journey where I needed to play those roles—to hold our family together, to keep a roof over our heads, to fight for my husband’s health—those were life or death moments that required me to take charge. But those crises have faded, yet I can’t let go of the reins. It’s partly because of fear—invisible wounds of war still impact my family greatly. I don’t ever want to return to the horror of my husband’s early struggles, and a small slip backwards is easily magnified in my eyes. But it’s also due to conditioning—I’ve held the reins so long, I feel empty-handed and lost when I try to let them go or hand them over to someone else.
I don’t know my role outside of caretaker. Though I grow miserable and resentful in that role, at least it’s familiar and sadly, comfortable. I don’t like this new discomfort of not knowing my role at all. I have no past to fall back on—no previously healthy path to return to—only a new and foreign path to forge ahead of me if I hope to find some peace and balance in my life.
I believe I’m ready. I wonder if my family is ready. I know that as one person in the family changes, the whole family will have to re-balance. I’ve done things for my family for years that I should have allowed them to do on their own. I’ve stifled their freedom to make their own choices and learn from their own mistakes. I feared for them—not because THEY were incapable, but because I felt incapable. So I locked them down and clipped their wings—my way of trying to control what has always been uncontrollable. Today, as I take a step toward freedom, I also set them free from my tyranny of control and fear-based living. I wonder if they’ll feel as unsettled as I do. I hope so. It means, they too, will experience new growth and reach new heights. Today I choose to live and let live. It feels good. Unsettling…. but so, so good.