First posted December 2020
On my way to work one cold November morning, as I waited at a junction to turn right, another driver drove into the back of my car. I remember being confused and shocked however I did not remember much of my journey up to that point – apart from the music I was listening to when the accident occurred. I always listen to music on my commute to work and this day was no different – however, during my journey that morning, the lyrics of one song had my attention as I approached the village of Murseley. My best friend has always laughed at the fact that I would not retain any information from a movie or situation but I would always remember a tune and some lyrics – even I cannot explain why my brain is wired this way, I guess this may be because of my love for music, who knows. The song that had my attention that Wednesday morning was ‘The strength to let go’ by Switchfoot.
For months, I had been listening to this song but I had never stopped to pay attention to the lyrics – it had simply been background noise as I went through life. I had been dealing with certain issues that I had been trying to resolve for years and some of these issues were causing a lot of stress and unhappiness in my life – I could not see a way forward. The chorus of the song was what got my attention that morning, I realised that there were situations in my life I needed to let go – I had tried my best and there was nothing more I could do. I was looking for answers in the lyrics to justify why I needed to let go – however, a few minutes into my journey, the song lost it’s relevance as I dealt with the accident that morning. A couple of weeks after the accident, I revisited the subject of letting go as Christmas and the anniversary of two major losses in my life were fast approaching together with all the issues I needed to deal with including the accident – it was all too much and I needed to let some things go.
So I went back to listen to Switchfoot and when I got to the second verse, it seemed like the singer was reading my life back to me. My fear of failure was so great that it had transcended common sense – I was holding on to issues I should have let go years ago and yet, here I was still trying to figure it all out. One of such issues was the many things I was to different people in different social settings and how for years, I knew I was being used but for the fear of feeling rejected, I continued with these relationships. I was holding on like my life depended on it while I disrespected myself every time I said yes to these people and situations. There were social gatherings I was part of – that I volunteered my time, talents and money to; but when I carefully looked at my involvement in these places, it was very clear I was tolerated because of what I brought but beyond that, I was of no consequence to them. So I finally started to scrutinise things in my life that were no longer bringing joy to my life – and I identified a few that I needed to look at critically.
One such issue came up when a couple of weeks after my accident, I had a flat tyre on my way home from work – yes, I could not catch a break that season – a “friend” had been calling me all day and I had not had a chance to speak to them due to how busy my day had been. I left work a bit late only to stop on the outskirts of town due to a flat tyre and the rescue service were going to take 2 to 4 hours to get to me – I was not happy but decided to sit tight and wait. This ‘friend’ called again and I finally answered to let them know that I am not able to talk due to the situation I was in; so I promised to call them back when I got home. I was finally rescued by my manager and her husband who helped inflate my tyre and made sure I got home safe. After dinner and a shower, I decided to find out what the urgency was with said ‘friend’ – she wanted to call me and let me know that she was on holiday! When I called, she did not ask how I got home or how things were with me – I was fuming at her insensitivity and inward looking behaviour. I think she did not get the reaction she wanted and proceeded to end the call. At that point, I realised that she had always been that way and if I was honest, she was a part of the drain on me – she and I were not compatible at all to begin with and she had to go! She was the first casualty of my letting go!
But my biggest challenge was a relationship I had nurtured for years and invested so much in – I had given so much of myself to make things work and nothing seemed to be enough. I had replayed scenarios and conversations in my mind, made peace when I should have fought and sacrificed new connections for what was familiar – but nothing seemed enough. Being a religious person, I had prayed and gone on several religious disciplines to save this relationship – and the thought of letting go was heartbreaking. I did not want to let go – I justified every wrong I had done and had been done to me just to hold on to the idea of this relationship. I saved screenshots of quotes that said if you wanted something strong enough, it would be yours – so I wished, prayed, hoped and justified as much as I could and with every fibre of my being – and the more I held on, the sadder I became. So in the midst of my chaos last winter, I started to let go! Unlike my ‘friend’ whom I let go very quickly and efficiently, this was hard and I am still battling through.
Someone once told me to let go of what I could not control – if it was meant to be mine, it would find it’s way back to me. I did not believe it and I could not explain then why I did not believe this statement. When I went through therapy earlier this year, I finally understood why I did not want to believe the statement – fear! I was afraid of letting go because it would mean I worked hard at something and I failed! So I held on tighter – I was not going to fail at this, I was going to win and then I could choose to destroy it if I wanted – and that was when I found the second culprit, control! Every action I took to hold on broke my heart further and yet I was not willing to let it go. While going through therapy, I started reading on self respect and that was when I realised that my behaviour was showing others that I had no respect for myself and that it was okay for them to treat me the same – that was my turning point. I remember reading a quote that said “it’s ok to be sad after making the right decision” and boy was I sad. I mourned, was angry, in denial and finally accepted it all for what it was – it was something I had no control over and it was time to let it go and this was when the second verse in switchfoot’s song strength to let go really hit home;
Yeah, I’m stubborn and bold, but sometimes it gets old, fighting voices inside of my brain. I was trying to pretend I was fine when inside it was war With the stumbling beat of my heart and my feet, and the faults of my failure and pain. To think all of this time, I had wings that were ready to soar
Strength to let go by Switchfoot
As well as looking at relations and social groups I was a part of, I also started looking at dreams I had held on to – one of such dreams was my interest in singing and working to write and record an album. I made the decision to let that dream go, I had had enough and I felt I had satisfied myself in that I had done all I could and should the opportunity come up again, I would be ready to always pick it back up. When I let that go, my interest in writing was kindled again and this blog was born. I can always sing and pick up gigs here and there when the chance presents itself – but I was done actively pursuing it and giving it all my attention. People I had recorded for in the past contacted me this year to work on new albums and I turned it all down – I thought I would be sad, but I was at peace and that was good enough for me. For the relationships I did not want to let go, I started taking steps back from things I used to do to sustain these connections and things started dying off naturally. Eventually, I severed communications for my own sanity – and was it easy? No! Even as I write now, I feel sad about it – however, I am not so sad I could cry – like I did when I started this journey. But I can talk about it without feeling like my oxygen had been cut off.
Healing comes in several forms and sometimes what is good for our souls and well being is shrouded in uncertainty, sadness and difficulty – however, they lead to finding strength we never knew existed within us and to beautiful beginnings. I had many issues, including my insecurities and relationships I needed to let go and I am still letting things go – growth is hard and sometimes letting go of what we have always known or wanted can be very hard – but I truly hope you find the strength and courage to break your own heart to heal completely. I would love to hear from you if you are or have had to let go of something/someone in your life you were not willing or was not easy to. Lets effect the change we need by sharing our experiences.
“Sometimes, you have to break your own heart to experience total healing” – Koya Nkrumah