I’ve spent the day at my worktable making greeting cards and pondering what I’m poised to let go. My weight loss surgery has become symbolic of all I wish to release. I release this burdensome layer of flesh because I no longer need to feel protected by it. I release all the bad habits that perpetuate my weight – all of them – even those I enjoy, because they no longer serve me well. I release fear and whatever damage has been done to my confidence. I do all this out of self-respect and love, and a desire to reach my potential in all things. In this, I am supported and nurtured by the people who love me.
A year ago this month my grandmother died, and just as I predicted, her passing ended the only thing that kept my extended maternal family together. When she died, all connected to her were cast to the wind like so many leaves. We tumble outward into the universe with no reason to speak to one another, so I find it ever so important to speak these words that need speaking before the opportunity is completely gone. I had a frenemy who lost that chance when her parents died and, in her anguish, projected all her pain on me. So, I know the urgency, and I know the danger of waiting, particularly if, like my Leslie, you're the type of person who must get things off her chest.
These words are long overdue.
To my mother ~ Unless there is something I don’t know, there is no excuse for your selfishness. I believe that growing up neglected, abused, or abandoned takes away the ability to be compassionate. Recognition of that and consciously reclaiming compassion often opens the door to healing because we realize we may inflict the same pain on those we love the most. Yet this didn’t happen to you, did it? You weren’t abused, neglected or abandoned. You simply got married too young and had babies. Then, you decided you didn’t want them any longer and over the next10 years focused your energies on dumping your responsibilities on everyone else. It is a mother’s responsibility to take care of her children. I turned my back on you over four years ago because your behavior whittled away at our daughter’s self-esteem. Now, I pity your concrete heart. But what’s more … Shame on you! Shame on you for moving in with Curtis, driving off his family, the only one he’s ever had, and exploiting his perceptions to your own advantage. You tried it with me once, years ago, but Leslie got in your way. Now, Curtis is too confused and needful of you to know how he was used, but you! You should know better!
To my father ~ I feel your loss and know how much you yearn to connect. However, your adult life and the decisions you’ve made revolve around the support of your ego and consequently your selfishness. Just before last Christmas, I opened my heart to you and shared my worries, and you reciprocated by withdrawing for seven months, acting the role of absentee father once again. You’ve done this my entire life. You turned your back on your children to focus on your second wife and her family, and when you did, you surrendered the ability to make demands, to reclaim any connection because you need it in your latter years. You come and you go, and you are always focused on what you want, completely unaware of what you put us through as you stomp all over my feelings to gain access to your only blood granddaughter. I don’t want this kind of negative interaction. I have self-respect and need and want more from my relationships.
I’m a bit more than two years away from 50 years old, and as I release my weight, my bad habits, and my fear, I release the last attachments I have to relationships that are painful and damaging. It is a sad thing, true, and some of you reading this may not understand it, but I stopped being upset and confused about it a very long time ago. Now, I am simply closing the door for good so I can move on with the wonderful changes that are ahead of me.
It’s ironic that in this, I’m exercising the one ability my parents gave to me. Although I do so out of self-respect instead of selfishness, I exercise the right to walk away . I walk away from bad health, bad habits, and bad relationships.
And I will not look back.