Clenched Fists

I’ve written this post a million times. A million times. I think I keep writing it because I tell myself that if I just articulate what I’m thinking a little better, things will click and I’ll be able to change this part of myself and everything will be better. But when it comes to this one part of me, I’m stuck in a vicious cycle out of which I can’t emerge, and it makes my life infinitely more difficult.

What I’m talking about is my inability to let go of things, to brush them off of my shoulders with my head held high and keep pressing forward. My tendency to hold on, with clenched fists, to toxic memories, feelings, and beliefs, letting them paralyze me and cause me to react impulsively and with the kind of reckless emotion that often gets one into trouble.

I’ve had some pretty serious conflicts with people this past year, conflicts that have ruined friendships and burned bridges. Conflicts that have left my stomach in knots and contributed to that deep depression I wrote about in my last post. And while people like to say that time heals all wounds, right now I’m not quite sure that I believe that sentiment. Admittedly, many of the wounds to which I’m currently referring are pretty fresh–they’ve happened in the past several months, the past year. And some of that is just going to hurt for a while, without any available cure except for time and reflection and wisdom.

But what concerns me is that I tend to hold onto things, the big things and the small things, a little a lot longer than is probably healthy. I let them eat me alive and I torture myself with thoughts of all of the different ways things could have turned out if I had done something differently, or if someone else had done something differently. I let myself keep hurting and suffering, while knowing at the same time that the other parties involved are not giving the situation, or me, a second thought. And so, at the end of the day, it’s just me sitting here with my fists clenched tightly around this shit, this baggage, while everyone around me goes on like it never happened. I’d be lying if I said that knowing this fact doesn’t drive me absolutely insane. I want these people who hurt me to sit right here with me with their fists clenched around this shit, too, until everything is fixed and better and we ALL can move on.

But that’s not how these kinds of things work. Sometimes we get left behind in others’ dust, and we can either clean ourselves off and keep going, or we can stand idle and look around in bewilderment at the fact that the world is continuing to turn, even if we’re frozen in our despair.

It’s funny, in that last paragraph when I started to type the line “Sometimes we get left behind in others’ dust, and we can either clean ourselves off and keep going…” I originally had typed something like “…and we can either clean ourselves off and catch up to and surpass those people…” I caught myself when I typed that because there I go again, making all of this about other people and comparing myself to them, rather than focusing on myself and what I need and what I must do. Sometimes people shit on you and there’s nothing you can do to make the force and effect of that action any more bearable. You just have to move forward.

But that’s my problem — I have the hardest time moving forward, really moving forward, when something bad happens to me. Even the little things…I just can’t push them out of my mind, or at least a little more towards the back of it. I suspect that some of this has to do with my anxiety, and I often have to remember to forgive myself for all of this to some extent because trying to overcome difficulties is hard enough, but even harder when you have a disorder that tends to make every little bump in the road seem like the end of the world.

I just wish that I had the ability to let some of this baggage go and ease the burden that’s on my shoulders right now. I wish that I had the ability to forget the people that have hurt me so badly in this past year, the same way that they seemingly have forgotten me. I always think of that movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and wish that I could completely erase certain memories from my mind. I suppose that would take care of the letting go problem, wouldn’t it? But I also suppose that would mean losing all of the valuable life lessons I’ve gained as a result of these things that have happened. So, in short, there’s really no good answer to any of this. And here I am, over 800 words into this post, with no better solution or insight than what I had in the million other posts I’ve written on the same subject.

I wish I had an answer, though — I’d love to know what it’s like to face the world with open arms.



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