Letting Go

I’d call myself a control freak but that sounds so harsh. But I do have issues with control, and have had issues with control since I had to give up my blankie at three because I was a thumb sucker. I only sucked my thumb when I held my blanket so the blankie went on my 3rd birthday, a donation to the nice garbage man. I’m not scarred by the horror of handing over a prized possession, but the concept of letting go has never been quite the same. I learned young that if you let go, you lose. If you let go, you won’t get it back.

If you let go of your blanket you won’t see it again.

If you let go of your mother’s hand another child will take it.

If you let go of your heart it might break.

And so we controllers find ways to keep controlling life and destiny, going so far as to make up stories and write them down, ensuring that we always get the happy ending, if not in real life, then at least on paper.

I’m, ahem, now 32 (okay, add a bunch of years) and I still struggle with letting go–hard to see the kids go to their dad’s for a week, hard to release a worrisome manuscript to an editor, hard to accept that we won’t always get the contract, the reward, or the outcome we hope for.

Letting go is the hardest thing I know how to do. I’m so strong. I don’t give up easily. I just push and push determined to make it all work, determined to get the right–the happy–result. But we can’t always control our health, our relationships, or even our children. And I know I’m not a kid anymore, but I still struggle with accepting what is. Because what is, is often not enough.

And so some of us write. And some of us read. And some of us hope and dream.

I’m 32 (and some) but I still miss my blankie, and I miss my mother’s hand, and I miss my father’s voice and I miss the idea that by being good, or trying hard, we can change fate, or influence our destiny.

My writing is just where I want it to be. My children are healthy. My future is before me. But to reach for tomorrow I have to let go of today. And for someone like me that’s damn scary.

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