chronic illness · mental health · writings

a lesson in learning to let go

There is nothing certain about life, nothing concrete, nothing set in stone that we can wholeheartedly depend on, and know that it will happen as we expect or anticipate. As desperately hard as we can will something to happen as we want or need it to, often it never works out as we expect. And this, in some ways, can be exciting, raw, vibrant, making us feel real and alive as human beings.

But it can also be terrifying.

It means letting go and accepting change. It means taking our hands off the wheel and hoping to the skies and back that we won’t crash. It is putting our hopes and fears in the hands of life itself and learning to bend with the wind, learning to dance with the ebb and flow of the tide around our feet, and choosing to dance in the waves rather than run away for fear of getting wet.

This is so undeniably difficult for me, learning to let go of the wheel of my own life, having to come to terms with how desperately out of control I am with my own body, often feeling trapped in my own skin, surrounded by my own painful thoughts and aching muscles. But also, because I am such a perfectionist, with such intensely high expectations of myself, that this comes crashing down in failure and this innate sense that I am not good enough, not pushing myself enough, never going to be enough for other people. And this, in itself, is devastating to the soul, and has resulted in several dangerously harmful and unhealthy self punishment mechanisms in the past, constantly berating myself for not being ‘good enough’, pushing myself way too far beyond capacity as a way of proving just how rubbish I felt. When in actuality, my expectations of myself were probably just far too high and unrealistic to begin with.

Why do we set ourselves up to fail on such a regular basis? Why do we perpetually berate ourselves when we feel so frequently inadequate compared to others? Why do we even BOTHER comparing ourselves to others when we will never be the same (and why would we want to be when we are all beautifully and delicately unique?).

As an artist, I find that I am constantly striving to be better, that each piece of work will never be good enough, and in some respects this drive will ensure I will always be progressing, always learning, deepening, growing, developing my craft and expanding knowledge of my subjects.

And this in itself, is magical. But it doesn’t half come with some cost.

Namely, the cost of an intensely buzzy brain, insomniac-ridden sleep and an intrinsically aching physical body, from never letting myself rest, never letting myself stop and just think, to actually pay attention to my own needs and let myself simply, well, be. 

Why is this so difficult? How hard can it be to just learn to let go and just RELAX? I feel this constant sense of a need to control, need to try to keep everything just so, in order to cope with the intensity of my own emotions spiralling around my brain, to keep myself safe, to keep my head precariously balanced, just above water so that I don’t drown. This explains so much truth into the reality of what I face every single day it feels at the moment, and I tell you what it is exhausting.

I just cannot wait to wake up to the day where I feel strong enough to be able to finally let go, to try to relinquish control of my life, and just to let things be as they will be.

May it comes soon please.

For now, let’s go gently.

Mell x


One thought on “a lesson in learning to let go

  1. I deal with generalized anxiety and find it really hard to let go. I think it’s a harder task especially when you have no control over an aspect of your life, you begin to search for a place you can dominate. It does get exhausting and finding peace within letting go is beautiful but takes time and work. Love your writing 🙂


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