Reverb 10.5: Saying Goodbye

Yesterday’s Reverb 10 prompt made me cringe when I read it. My first instinct was to yell (inside my head, of course…writers do everything in their heads), “What’s that got to do with writing??!”. And then I stopped and realized it touched a raw nerve. Of course, that’s always a good thing for a writer, isn’t it? Hold a pen to a nerve and write, after all. So here goes…

December 5 – Let Go.

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

(Author: Alice Bradley)

I have always had trouble with this. Goodbyes, seeing the finish line, letting go. Why oh why do people ever say Hello, if only to say goodbye later, I cried in anguish. That part of me has since been wiped and powdered and prettied up and mostly hidden away. But it has never vanished. This prompt was like stumbling upon it behind my old clothes, during spring-cleaning. Howdy stranger, how are you? Oh no, not again.

I’ve already written about how the first half of this year wrenched away many things I held dear. I think by May, I had settled into despair. It wasn’t acceptance but resignation. I gave up on joy, on happiness, of ever reaching my dreams of writing and finding love. And of course, life, that crazy bitch handed it all back on a platter to me, exactly one minute after that realisation.

I gave up sarcasm, for one. This was an insight courtesy my often condescending, sometimes wise and always delightful E Vestigio. “Sarcasm”, she said, “is a habit of the weak. It’s negative and cynical and not good for anyone.” She hit a sore nerve especially since she threw in one of my hate-favorite words (“weak”). I handed in my icicle-sharpened tongue right there and then. I’m not saying I don’t let my temper run away with me. I don’t claim to watch my words. If anything, I do it much less. Several people, including the boy have been subjected to my wrath recently. But it is the sort of undignified, red-hot, burning, unvarnished emotion that I believe is the root of all that is human and creative. And it blows by leaving nothing in its wake. Quite unlike sarcasm that leaves resentment, bitterness and insecurity behind like poisonous weeds to continue the destruction. I’m equally grateful and self-satisfied for letting this one go.

I’m letting go of control. This is still in progress and I can’t say I’ve got it all under control (ha, indeed!). The control-freak in me manifests itself in minute scheduling, meticulous organisation and fastidiousness. It also shows up as in compulsively rearranging everyone and everything else and being a crank in general. It makes me grumpy, sour, unhappy. I feel unable to write, laugh or see joy in anything. And it makes me feel empty in a way I’d never, ever want to feel. The only thing that shows any real result in this battle against fastidiousness is that simple but true adage – BREATHE.

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