This is for the dead of winter.
For the in-between dimensions.
For the blowing up before the break.
For regressing before rebirth.
may the place between where you are and where you want to be, inspire you.1
There is a journey between clinging to the past and letting go, and that journey is called release.
Too many times have I been told to just let go; clinging is stupid; why haven’t you moved on; why don’t you just get over it; you are too strong to be stuck in this pattern; you know this isn’t good for you; just let go. Stop feeling sad. Stop feeling guilty. Stop feeling scared. Stop feeling ashamed. Stop feeling angry. Just be okay. Just let go.
But there is a journey between clinging to the past and letting go, and that journey is called release.
Without release, letting go turns into the attempt to Rationalize Your Feelings Away. Like a kid sent to to bed without supper.
(And kids and feelings don’t take kindly to rationalization.)
If you need to grieve, just grieve. Loss and abandonment is real. Ugly cry. Write BAD poetry. Whine and brood. Wail and ask your best friend or your cats or the sky all your most embarrassing questions, your most unenlightened questions. Be an effing toddler. Eat your gross comfort food. Ask for someone you trust to hold you and tell you you’ll be okay, no matter how much you don’t believe it. It’s okay. All your grief is, is your greatest capacity to feel joy.
If you are angry, just be angry. Betrayal, harassment, exploitation and injustice is real. Hit a punching bag or your pillow. Throw darts at a wall or pens across a room. Bang on a drum. Draw intense thick scribbles on paper and rip it to shreds. Find a safe place and let out your biggest “UUGGGGGHHHHHH.” Write angry emails or text messages you won’t send, so you don’t have to take care of anyone else’s feelings or calm anyone’s potential backlash. Have sex with someone or yourself. Go wild on a dance floor or in your living room. It’s okay. All your rage is, is your greatest capacity to survive and create.
If you are scared, just be scared. Abuse, neglect, violation and erasure is real. Hide under your covers. Don’t get out of bed. Ask your loved ones to protect you. Whisper your worst nightmare to your best bud or your dream journal. Imagine your best case scenario, your ‘meh’ case scenario, every imaginable scenario and write those down too. Notice the stories you tell yourself about the world and who you are. Read your favourite super(qu)eero tales. Imagine what your own superqueero powers might be and give yourself a superqueero name. Brainstorm your best qualities on sticky notes and put them on your mirror. Remind yourself that you have survived this far, this much. Take a deep breath. It’s okay. All your fear is, is your greatest capacity for courage.
If you are guilty, it’s okay to be guilty. We all participate in a world built on violence – the feelings that erupt from this participation are real. The feelings that erupt from being made aware of how we hurt others, how we harm others – are real. If you feel guilty, forgive yourself. Reflect on why you made a choice you regret, and forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not knowing better, for not doing better, for not being better. Tell yourself that you are enough. If you make a mistake, forgive yourself. Do your best to reconcile the past and imagine what you could do differently in the future. Make an altar and, every day – offer water to all that is not at peace. Every day – do little things to change what you don’t like about yourself. Every day – do your best, however big or little that might be. Know that your best is good enough. Know the pathway to being the best ally to yourself and to others is through self-forgiveness. Know that forgiveness is a life-long practice. It’s okay. All your guilt is, is your greatest capacity to grow into the person you want to be, little by little, every day.
If you feel ashamed, it’s okay to feel ashamed. Racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, fatphobia, classism, casteism, ableism, sanism, colonization, capitalism and all the shit it does to us is real. Just remember that you are needed. You are essential. You mean the world to someone. You have saved somebody’s life just by being you. You have changed somebody’s life just be being you. Someone is thinking of you right now and thanking every star in the sky that you were born.
“You are not accidental. Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it. That’s what gives you dignity, that the whole existence will miss you. The stars and sun and moon, the trees and birds and earth–everything in the universe will feel a small place is vacant which cannot be filled by anybody except you.”
-From “Existence” Osho Zen Tarot.