If you read any blogs besides this one, you’ve probably noticed the Reverb10 trend. Basically, it’s a daily prompt to help us “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” Quite frankly, the prompts have not inspired me much: I don’t really have or care to have one word that describes this or next year; I don’t want to narrow “feeling alive” down to one moment. But this morning I have a lot to do, like finally put plastic over the windows and finish making an ornament I’ve been working on for a week, and, being who I am, this means I am doing pretty much everything other than those things. Like checking out reverb10.
Today’s prompt struck me, because I really do have an answer to it, and it’s an answer I’ve been putting a lot of energy into.
Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trying to make things better for other people. It’s my goal at work: improve their experience (“Sorry for the wait, help yourself to coffee and tea! Oh, your cat is SO CUTE, cutest cat ever!”), validate their feelings (“Only you know what’s best for your cat, you’re making the best decision…”); I did similar work at the rape crisis center, and that’s the important part of the work I do now. But it extends beyond that, and it got bigger in the context of planning our wedding. It became “Our wedding is important for everyone, not just us, and it has to be perfect!” Always in the back of my mind was “we have to make this look like a *real* wedding so that my family who may not be supportive of my Gay Wedding will still see that it’s a Real Wedding.”
Over the course of all of it, I realized that the wedding is about other people in a lot of ways, but it is also more about us. It is about us becoming our own family, and it is about planning something really big together for the first time. In the end, it did look like a Real Wedding (and it was a real wedding!), but each element had been picked out because it was meaningful for us, not because we thought it would look good to other people.
What I’ve started to let go of this year is trying to live my life for other people. I am realizing that I can love and support other people, but that I have to be more honest with myself and in my relationship. This is not a Veruca Salt declaration; it is not all about me. But my life is also not about everyone else, and that is what I am letting go of.
My family has been going through some tough stuff recently, and I have been trying my best to be there for everyone all the time, to be strong and supportive and assure everyone that everything is fine. And then yesterday I was walking with Turtle, and something just sort of clicked. I said, “You know, as much as I want to fix everything for everyone, I can’t fix it, and it’s not my job to fix it. It’s my job to be here and let them know that I love them, and let them know that I am here for them.” And she agreed that I am doing that job pretty damn well. It doesn’t stop my desire to fix the world, but it makes it a little easier to accept when I can’t.
Forget whether or not you’re doing this reverb10 thing: is there something that you’re letting go of or trying to change in yourself? And if you hate that question, here’s another for you: how do you find the boundaries between being supportive and taking care of your self?