What do you call a reptilian detective that wears a sleeveless shirt that just can’t let something go? An InVESTed GatorSlim pickings this week *nervous laugh*
So, I have this t-shirt. It’s my favourite t-shirt. I don’t even remember buying it, but it’s stood by me through thick and thin. I wore it when I was happy and healthy, training hard, madly in love, thriving in my job. I wore it when I had piled on weight and was heart-broken. I wore it in Egypt when I discovered just how big this little planet of ours is. I still wear it now, living abroad, figuring out who I am, what I want to do and where I want to go.
But here’s the thing, it’s not what it used to be. It’s slowly fading in colour, the sweat of my hundreds of gym sessions in it are starting to stain (I know, gross right? Sweat, ew). But I’ll wear it until I pull it out of the dryer and it disintegrates into dust in my hands I tell ya (would be a cool party trick for the ladies on a Saturday night, am I right?).
But here’s the thing pt. 2, there’s going to come a time when I can’t wear it anymore. Eventually it’s not going to pass Mum’s “suitability for public wearing” test, one of these days I’m going to have to retire it. Which comes to something I’ve been thinking about a lot this past week, and that’s knowing when to let go.
I don’t need to let go of my shirt just yet, he’s still got some life left in him. But I will have to eventually, because there will come a time when that old shirt doesn’t serve its purpose anymore, when it’s best for both parties to make that tough call. And I’m sure by now that you’ve realised, this can be applied to more than just a shirt.
This past week marked two years since the end of my last relationship. Looking back now, the separation completely altered the trajectory of my life, it started the chain reaction of events that lead me to Egypt, that lead me to Malta, that has me sitting in this very spot. It came to benefit me, improve the quality of my life, moving here. I am constantly working on bettering my relationship with myself, I shrugged off most of the baggage that weighed me down back home. It gave me the opportunity to grow, to reshape my sense of self and to build a better identity for myself, into something I could be proud of. Yes, in a great many ways everything that happened to me to get me here was the best possible thing that could have happened, but it doesn’t mean it was easy.
I’m sure you know by now, my beloved little Doguin, that I’m a pretty open book. And in the interest of remaining that open book, the truth is I still feel the sting from 2 years ago. Not the way I used to, but it’s still there. For a long time I’ve been frustrated with myself for not being able to shake it, but my therapist (still a normal thing to do, boys should still talk about their feelings, it ain’t weak to speak fam) is great at shedding light on this. Regardless of how I feel about it, it’s my actions that demonstrate my intentions. I definitively put an end to any possible contact with her, I packed my things and I moved forward. I didn’t stay where I was, in false hope that it could be fixed, I saw an opportunity for myself and I took it.
Yes, it still stings. But when you’re prepared to spend the rest of your life with someone, if you’ve panned out your next 50+ years of your life with someone, it can be difficult to acknowledge that the reality you built in your mind is gone. But, the important thing was, I let her go. I did myself a favour and was selfish, in the best way possible. While she hoped to one day remain friends, watching her in a new relationship with someone else wasn’t healthy for me, so I did what was best for me. I mustered up the courage to let her go.
What does it even mean though, to let someone go? For me, the practice of “letting go” is 0% about the other person and 100% about you. It’s about recognising, “hey, it’s not in my best interests to maintain this relationship. I need to have the courage to acknowledge that and make the change for me”. It isn’t a reflection of whether you love that person any less, it’s all about showing yourself the respect you deserve. At the end of the day, if you put your hand on a stove while it’s still hot, you’re the only one that will feel the pain of keeping it there.
Letting go of my ex wasn’t a reflection on how I felt about her, it was me acknowledging that what I felt was not healthy for me, and if I was serious about a future where I could be at peace with this, a future where I moved on, then this was the first and most significant step I needed to take for me. It was about being honest with myself. I could lie to you, I could lie to my parents, to my best friend, to my siblings, but I knew deep down I couldn’t lie to myself. And the truth was that until I made this one significant step forward, I wasn’t serious about moving on. I wasn’t serious enough to show myself the respect I deserved. It didn’t happen right away, I had to put my ego aside, I had to stop being stubborn for 5 minutes, and eventually I did it.
If there is anything I hope you take out of this week, it’s to show yourself the respect you deserve. If no one else on the planet shows it to you, you should be the first to show it to yourself. If you’ve got an old shirt, or stuffed animal with ¾ of its limbs missing, or an unhealthy relationship sapping the life out of you, do yourself a favour and let go. The hardest thing and the right thing can sometimes go hand-in-hand, but we all know the Timmunity never backs down from a challenge.
Happy Mental Health Monday!
A positive disposition yields much more in life than the opposedA wise customer we had at work this week