Letting things go is hard. Until, you do. I had a good childhood. I was never left without, and I was always surrounded by people who loved me. I had a childhood that doesn’t stand out, so much so that until recently I even haven’t had a lot of stand out memories. I used to always joke that I’ve repressed them. I had little things.. collecting caterpillars in pink rubber boots, pretty dresses I got to wear to church on Sundays, the stale, dusty smell of the old living room couch in the sun, snail shells in the river mud, frogs singing me to sleep in the spring and summer, leaves and straw bales in the fall, the red swing set.
The last year or so, I’ve begun to get more. No coincidence this comes with the house my parents built being sold. I haven’t lived there in years, with frequent visits after my parents divorced becoming less as I grew up and had my own schedule to maintain. Me and that house have always been close, but at a distance. The oppressive energy that surrounds the place was both a familiar comfort, and a luminous being. Yet, it was still the house my parents built. It is still the house parts of me grew up in, and parts of me stayed in. The house has a personality of it’s own, and I both relished being with it and held apprehension about the ghosts I danced with there.
A big part of me always envisioned living there as an adult one day, taking back the house and filling in the blanks I thought I missed from my childhood. My inner child still lives in those walls. Deep down I’ve known that that house isn’t for me, it’s a memory but not a future. The ghosts within it aren’t meant to haunt me anymore. But we hold on to what we’re familiar with, right?
I heard the frogs tonight. They were deafening. As I drove away for likely one of the last times. All of a sudden all those years came flooding in. The good, the bad, the unresolved. I felt the childish innocence of running through the trees by the river finding glass bottles washed ashore, snails, caterpillars, crunching leaves, old horse shoes from the old farm yard. I remembered the childish fear I had of the basement, the spiders, and the curiosity of the space underneath the raised deck. The terror of the bees that hung out in the gardens along the walkways. The confusion I felt when my parents told me we’d be separating as a family, confusion mostly at the sadness I was feeling- I wasn’t exactly clear on the situation but I remember knowing that it was appropriate to cry, maybe more because I was picking up on the adult’s feelings. I remembered when I tried to scream louder then my parents, and I remembered summer nights spent snuggled between them both on the deck watching thunder storms roll past.
In a span of 10minutes, with those frogs, I let all those different memories and emotions run through my body. And as a good friend told me once, I let it go. I took a recording of the frogs and took some pictures in my minds eye, and let go. I drove to my home, my new apartment that I picked for myself and have found my next story in. It was a piece of the processing I hadn’t yet done. It started after the initial shock and anger that the house was being sold, and was put on hold while I accepted that initial fact. Now, my inner child had to move out. My resentment to the hold the property had on me needed to turn into something more productive. It’s a part of me wherever I go, and fighting yourself isn’t progressive..is it?
The last three months on almost every level have been about letting go of everything except the present. Reacting only to the forecast of the day- not to the forecasts of yesterday or tomorrow. What good does it do to dress for the weather that’s already passed, or that isn’t here yet? Dressing for warmer weather ahead does us no good if it’s still cool outside. A quote by TS Eliot has stuck in my head many days lately: “We must remember that at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.”..I think that applies to ourselves just as much as it does with others, and another by Osho: “An alive person has to be unpredictable. What is going to happen in the next moment cannot be forecast.”, along side the words love and gratitude. I’ve found myself sending love and gratitude towards any negative thought, or worry, or desire my monkey mind comes up with. Whether it’s a person, a memory, a fear, or a straight up thankfulness for an experience. A funny thing has happened with this practice. I get what I wish returned. Love, and gratitude. People and experiences step in where I didn’t even know I was needing a filler or a boost- and this only perpetuates the love and gratitude.
Because of this- the flood of memories and grieving like process seem like a natural step forwards. Just a fascinating storm passing on a humid summer night sitting cozy between love, and gratitude.