I can’t believe that I’m about to admit this, but I recently entered the last year of my twenties. (Gulp.) I have been a mom for almost a year and a half, and sometimes I can’t even remember what the other twenty seven and a half years of my life previously entailed. The last year and a half has been a crazy whirlwind, and I’ve learned more than I thought possible along the way.
If you’ve read my past posts, all of which were written within the first six months of my daughter’s life, you are familiar with some of the struggles that I faced with a dangerous delivery and a stubborn and colicky daughter. It took me some time to catch on and find a good rhythm, and the horror of some of those early days with my newborn is now becoming sort of a distant blur as I absorb the beauty of my sweet-hearted toddler and her ever-expanding mind. Yet still, in the midst of all of the tears and fog of the newborn days, I was experiencing what I now believe was likely a bit of postpartum anxiety, I suffered the deaths of close family members, and my husband and I lost our mutual best friends. It was an extremely painful time in our lives.
Through all the seasons of my life, my parents (my voices of reason) have always reminded me that people will come and go from your life for a lot of different reasons. While I do believe in the cliche, “everything happens for a reason,” I still reflect back on the last year and a half of my life and I have a hard time wrapping my head around the purpose of all of the heartaches. I’ve watched my loved ones endure too much pain over this time, and I’ve tried not to let my heart harden over the situation that my husband and I went through with friends that we considered family.
I would consider myself a pretty strong and independent person, and if you are part of my “tribe,” I will always protect you and have your best interests at heart, I will fight your fights along side you, and I will do anything in my power to help you better your life. I will always be honest with you, even if you don’t like what I have to say, and I will always hold you accountable. My personality and passion can be very overbearing, I overstep my bounds at times, and I am constantly struggling to find the balance between the “black and white,” “right and wrong” world that I live in. I have a hard time seeing the “gray areas” of the world and I internalize everything. I am an “all or nothing,” “fair is fair” person, and I am very aware of how all of these characteristics can be real flaws at times.
In the past, my practice has always been to get angry, shut down, and completely shut out people who hurt me. When I’ve been hurt by people that I trusted, all I’ve ever known is how to internalize the pain and block those people out as an attempt to avoid the chance that they may hurt me again in the future. As I’m sure you can imagine, being angry and slamming the door on certain parts of your life isn’t exactly the healthiest way to heal from a situation, but in the same respect, allowing people to use and disrespect you isn’t either.
The falling out between my husband and me with our best friends was due to some events that occurred with them that directly affected and impacted us in many ways, but the cherry on top was that they owed us a fairly significant sum of money. I have clung to the debt for too long, for too many emotional reasons. It has been difficult to see them make no attempt to repay us, even after many promises to do so and excuses for why it couldn’t happen. It has felt as though everything that my husband and I (especially my husband) have done for them over the years means nothing, and every reminder is a little twist of the knife deeper into my back.
As much as I want it to just be about the money and the desire to regain the money that rightfully belongs to my family, deep down, it has really never been about the money. Rather, it has been about the money representing their respect for us and our friendship. Maybe I had even convinced myself that a repayment, or even an attempt at one, would be the first step toward a reconciliation or even just a civility between us. Maybe I irrationally clung to a hope that somehow, some way my best friend and I could find a way to salvage the sisterly bond that we shared for so long if she just made a good faith effort to show that she cared. The truth is that these feelings that have been buried so far down internally under anger and pain are real and need to be dealt with in order to truly let go and fully heal.
As I sit here now, spilling my thoughts and tears out onto a keyboard, I have an ease and a clarity knowing that this post is about my choice to let go of all of the pain that I’ve buried over the last year and a half. I am choosing to refocus positive energy into the loved ones who are still here with us. I am choosing to let go of the negativity and the last bit of poison that I was clinging to from the experience with our friends. I am choosing to let go of the money that may never be repaid, because the financial cost is nothing compared to the emotional cost. I am choosing to let go of all of the “whys” and the “what ifs.” I am choosing to not let an ugly experience impact my happiness or my ability to trust others and let them in fully, because the amazing friends that I have gotten close to over this past year and a half are worth it. I am choosing to continue to remain passionate, honest, and loyal, but I am also choosing to teach myself to respect differences and to know when to step back and potentially walk away without harboring anger if the situation isn’t healthy.
Becoming a parent changes you, and I am constantly trying to see myself through my daughter’s eyes and reflecting on the way that I do things because I want to try to teach her to grow to be better than I am. As a mom, I consider the decisions that I make and the actions that I take more than I ever did before my daughter came into this world. I think about how the choices that I make may affect her, as well as what she may learn from watching me. I hope to teach her to be strong, independent, passionate, loyal, kind, and to respect herself and be able to have healthy boundaries in her life. I am a work in progress, but I will never stop trying to be better. In this last year of my twenties (sigh) and onward, I will stay true to who I am, but I will not let anger and pain reside internally and I will work to teach my daughter to do the same.