There are certain things in life that I know I will do differently when I am a parent. Letting go, most of all.
I’ve grown up in a house where I never did anything wrong. To say I was sheltered would be an understatement. I was subject to overbearing parents (which at some points even extended family would have to speak up about), limited freedoms, and extensive interrogation sessions.
College was a breath of fresh air. It was freedom. The taste of finally being able to see friends, go out, and go to sleep when I felt like it. Learning how to manage my own time without a parent constantly breathing down my neck. It was the birth of responsibility.
I came home from school and was immediately sent into culture shock. At school, life was good and demanded constant attention; but I always had trust in myself. When I returned home, the same was true: life was good, and there was always something going on until my parents would decide that freedom wasn’t allowed. That I had to be driven everywhere, always know my whereabouts, and constantly having to “make sure” that I got enough sleep.
Being a working woman, it is both a relief and a huge responsibility to have a full-time job. Every day is like a new miracle when I get to leave the house and go to work, even when it gets tough. Work sucks a lot of the time. The unfortunate truth of it is that people aren’t always nice, and the job gets stressful. But being able to have the freedom of knowing I can buy myself lunch where I want to, when I want to, and see my friends afterwards makes me so incredibly happy. It keeps me sane.
The changes happen when I get back home. The questions happen. Where I went before I got home. Well, I worked twelve hours today, so I went straight home to get food. And then I’m told I smell. Smell like what? Restaurant? This also becomes an indicator that I’ve done something wrong. I begin to long to go back to work so I can get away from all of the questions.
After working a 52-hour workweek, I look forward to having a couple of days off. I make plans with friends, but still spend a hefty amount of time at home. All of a sudden my car keys are taken away. It is decided that I will be driven to all of my events with friends that my parents know and trust. I then spend two hours talking this out with my parents after committing to paying them $100 for gas I didn’t use. There is still discussion to be had.
I’m tired of living in fear. I’m tired of being around people who are constantly afraid, anxious, and upset. Fear is a soul-sucker. It eats at you until you bow down and let it take over. It affects relationships, integrity, and how you view yourself. It makes me want to thrust myself into disease once more.
It takes me so much strength to pull myself away from that longing desire to give up everything and let fear have it. Let it take me over and decide how I will behave: as a slave to being secluded and unaware of my own potential. It’s like grabbing a full-grown person by the armpits and trying to haul them off the side of a cliff. You can’t do it unless you’re trying so hard that you use every ounce of your willpower just not to let go.
Then you pull yourself out. You see the light. You splash your face with some cold water, walk outside, and realize that everything is just as it was before. Just as you left it. (anyone get my Mad Men reference? say ayyyy) Everything is alright again, but you’re still near the edge.
This is my time to start walking away. To say no. To stop allowing others’ fears, negativity, anger, frustration, and lack of love to get to me. It’s my time to give all the love I have, and repel fear. Consciously not let it in. Keep myself in.
It’s time for me to love myself again and stop staring at the mirror, wishing I had more time to go to the gym, or wishing I had eaten less frozen yogurt the night before. It has to stop. I want it to stop. It’s time for me to treat my body like the temple it is, and loving my soul with every inch of goodness I want to have.
It’s time to let go.