2013: Letting Go

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

In 2010, it was a person. In 2011, it was an idea. In 2012, it was a symbol represented by a person.

In 2013, I let go of fear. And most importantly, I learned how to embrace it.

Like many, when faced in fear, I turn away in cowardice. I am a wimp by nature. I care too much about what people think of me. And when I sense that something is threatening me, I run away. I flee. I return to what I think is safe. That is, without progress.

In 2013, I read that popular book, Lean In. Despite my disagreement with some of the philosophy, I do like the question she asks, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Now, this is beyond crossing the street at a dangerous intersection and running down stairs at breakneck speed (the fear of falling will always stay with me with good reason).

I would say what I want to say. And most of all, I would need to understand why I was having the fear in order to say what I want to say.

At the end of 2012, I was troubled by a lack of invitation to a wedding (of all things! it seems so trivial now). What I kept saying to myself was that I wasn’t hurt that I was not invited. Rather, I wanted to know why I was invited to the bacheleorette party and not the wedding. And for months, that troubled me. Did she accidentally invite the wrong Jenn? Did she have very weird etiquette? Why was she dodging the question when we saw each other (frequently)? But it took me so long almost until 2013 until I realized that the fear was simply saying, “I really love you as a friend, and I am sad that I wasn’t invited.”

For the longest time, I couldn’t even admit my own fears, my own sorrow. I couldn’t even tell people when they crossed my boundaries. Instead, I wallowed in anxiety.

In 2013, with that incident in mind, I learned how to express my own emotions and state my own boundaries. Not in the way of “I am angry that you…”. Rather in simple words of “I am sad right now” or “I feel like a bad person.” And just letting that be. The relief in true expression was enormous.

I even got my roommate to remove the hardened sticky glue in the bathroom.

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