Letting Go

22 Mar

If you’ve been reading, you know that I’ve been struggling to accept my new life, so a longtime friend took me to Newport Beach, and in the midst of cups of tea, dog-watching, and window shopping, she had me lay out all my thoughts.

She’s an amazing social worker and counselor, so she knows all the right questions to ask. We’re talking for hours. We’re making some progress, but not as much progress as I know we should be given the loving friend and expert I have counseling me. And I it suddenly occurs to me why we’re not progressing. But I’m too ashamed to tell her.

A good friend (who has also spent hours counseling me) recently posted on Facebook, “Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.”

What was holding me back from clarity is my unwillingness to let go of something I had been feeling guilty about for years. I hedged around it during our entire conversation. I used to think that I didn’t have to acknowledge my shame to anyone besides myself. That I could move on. How wrong I’ve been.

These events happened in my past, but I’ve dragged them with me to the present. I’ve only been somewhat conscious how they’ve impacted decisions I’ve made. What is Orange County to me but a safe haven where I can hold this ugliness inside me and still be unconditionally loved by my partner, family, longtime friends without having to acknowledge it? Why all my troubles with accepting my new life if not for my own troubles with self-acceptance?

So after a week of mulling it over and realizing that I had to do it, I asked my friend if we could talk again. We met up. I took a deep breath. And I told her.

Now, these events have nothing to do with her; I’ve already apologized to the people involved. But I needed someone else to bear witness. I needed to say, “this is part of me, this is part of who I am.”

It was a little scary and a little embarrassing, but it also felt good. I’m not ready to talk about it with everyone, but I am ready to let go of the idea that hiding is easier. I’m ready to let go of the fear that people who know this about me will hate me. I’m ready to let go of the belief that I’m a broken and bad person.

Okay, Orange County. I’m ready!

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5 Responses to “Letting Go”

  1. vietnamita1 March 22, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    i resonate with this so much.
    yes to letting go of the shame.
    as long as we hold on to it, it holds power over us, affecting our decisions in ways we don’t consciously admit.

    • cil1977 March 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

      a wise friend reminded me how important it is to let go and un-learn. thank you!

  2. Steve l March 23, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Letting go of shame is hard and I think it’s got it’s own special difficulties for us East Asian folks. I can relate a lot, and so appreciative of your sharing this. I hope that with each person you find more spaciousness and power to be your authentic and awesome self!

    • cil1977 March 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      thanks, steve! i like the idea of spaciousness…i want to think about that more…i don’t think i’ve realized how tightly wound i’ve been, even in slow and sunny orange county. 🙂

  3. cil1977 March 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    I’m sharing something here that vietnamita sent me from adrienne marie brown’s blog:

    there is a vast space between being at peace and settling. our lives are a gift! we aren’t here to numb it out and just get by – we must struggle against any systems within or beyond ourselves that suggest we should curl up and accept less than a deeply present, deeply fulfilling life…don’t practice settling, tucking away your dreams in a self-deferral process you think you deserve for some crimes you didn’t commit. practice radical forgiveness and acts of expansive kindness and wholeness – to yourself and to everyone you meet.

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