Monday, 3 January 2011

Putting On the Brakes

I read something this morning and thought about the brake pedals in my life.

Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain.

The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?

(Mary Manin Morrissey Minister, Author and Speaker)

I lived with someone for seven years ... a good man ... independent ... healthy ... athletic ... but he had two hang-ups that determined how we lived together and ultimately why I left.

The first was about weight gain and activity levels. 

His wife had been a cute little thing when he met her in high school but after their marriage she became inactive, grossly obese, and slovenly.

Any time I was sick or had an accident that prevented me from keeping up, I could I feel an invisible whip coming down on my shoulders.  Once, biking in Eleuthera, I fell on loose gravel on a steep coral road and got a horrible gash in my knee.  Because it was a coral cut it took forever to heal, but I was not allowed to stop biking even for a moment.

If I gained a pound I was subjected to ridicule.

I realized that I could not grow older with him because I was not allowed to age normally.

The second was his fear of allowing a woman into his life, of allowing her to truly become his partner.
He was determined to keep himself free of any real entanglements so he put up barriers to prevent anyone from getting too close.  He made all the decisions.  We lived in his HIS house under HIS rules. 

I resented this and began to withdraw into myself.  I became as fiercely independent as he was.  And just as armoured.

And when I was finally strong and independent enough to leave him, I did

Funny ... I was drawn to the things that ultimately drove me away ... his independence and his active lifestyle.

Unfortunately I am still encased in that armour and I still worry that I cannot keep up or stay young so I am fearful that I will not be good enough when I meet someone who is independent and athletic.   

I wish I could erase the memories that make me put on the brakes when I meet someone at all like him.

Is there anything that causes you to put on the brakes before you become vulnerable?


Barbara Carlson said...

There was, past tense.

I'd been with John for a few years and one morning, over breakfast in a diner, he said, "It's time you wrote a book."
I burst into tears.
He didn't pay any attention and said I could do it, just to go into my studio and start. I knew it was a moment that would make or break (pun intended) me. So I did, one word at a time, my feeling of panic soon turned to
a feeling of accomplishment and then joy.

By my choice, with very little help from John (who had already written two books and could have advised me), 8 months later I presented him with a hard-bound copy of my first book, The Pattern of Pattern. He loved it. I gave it away to everyone who came to our next show and/or bought a wall quilt from me. It was so popular it was actually chained to a living room coffee table or so I was told. (A small edition of 700, all given away on opening night.)

My second book two years later (Modus Operandi) was my choice, eagerly begun. My third was a two year obsession -- The Pocket LInt Chronicles (448 pg !)

That "horrible" morning at breakfast also inspired my 30-year journal, now over 3,700 pages. In 2009, I took five months and read it from cover to cover and condensed it into 85 pages -- A Journal's Story.

Releasing that "I can't do it" brake was the hardest and best thing I ever did. But you know all about this, Barbara. Just think of all the things you've done in your life against great odds and relax. You are 70 now and other people's expectations change. So can yours.

Oma said...

Your comments are always warm and wise and thoughtful, Barbara. Thank you. You add something special to this blog.