When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt
How many of us feel like we’ve been hanging onto a knot, arms extended above our heads, feet swinging in the breeze, for waaayyy longer than we thought possible?
How many of us, as we’ve swung about in that breeze, arms aching, have chanced a glimpse down, peered into the dark nothing beneath our dangling feet, and — in spite of the sharp pangs of fear— felt drawn to release our grip and drop down into the nothingness? Feeling like it would somehow rise up to meet us, to embrace us, to provide some welcome relief from the dull ache that had now spread throughout our entire being?
Tempting. So. Very. Tempting.
Yet the seductive allure of that oblivion would end the moment we hit the rocks, our bodies breaking into a million pieces, along with the final, fading realization that we couldn’t turn back. We couldn’t keep swinging on our knot, for there was no more holding on to be had.
I’ve told myself countless times over the past few years, in too many situations to name here, to keep ahold of that damn knot no matter what. To stay connected to my breath, my wits, my grit, and my determination to not fall prey to the false thoughts that swirled about in my brain. Talk about a mental game.
I had many times where it all got to me, where I wanted to surrender, to “lean in,” to gulp down the false thoughts like a starving person and believe the chatter around how people were responding to how different I was now. I doubted myself mightily in those moments, and saw how much “easier” it would be for all of them for me to remain the same.
Except I couldn’t. Nor did I want to.
That was the most welcome realization of them all: to know that part of my growth was to see and accept the simple but foundation-shaking fact that they didn’t work for me.
Now, I’ve had to take charge of my life in new ways. To be accountable to myself in situations that were highly vulnerable, and to decrease the amount of fucks I gave about the responses of people around me. I also started to believe people’s actions over their words, because let’s be real: anyone can speak a beautiful speak in the moment. And that speak can be so heartfelt and so…