This recharge-your-battery-Friday is special to me. It’s all about me, yet it’s actually about you. Let me explain…
You see, a year ago, I walked away from myself.
Nothing particularly interesting occurred that day. Screaming match with mini guru #1 over sock seams, metro delays, a schedule-killing fire drill, crying staff, broken printer, weird rash…typical day. It was just another day of more of the same. Only, it wasn’t. Maybe the moon was full. Or, perhaps I had a food truck hangover. Who knows. All I remember is a strange sensation overcame me as I sprinted from my office to catch the train home. Two large hands reached from the universe and pulled at my seams, tearing me in half. Pop. Pop. Pop. Then, I was there, stripped to my core. She was there, too: layers upon layers of all the “stuff” molded into a human form that looked like me but wasn’t me. (I know, right?! I am never eating at the Asian fusion taco truck again.)
I was there, and she was there. Split in half. I took a deep breath. I walked away.
I left her on a cold, dirty subway platform where she scrolled through emails and compulsively checked her watch ― eyes tearing because one more mechanical delay meant a walk of shame to face her child who would be waiting alone well after the pickup deadline. A few hundred figurative yards out, I turned to stare at her. In part, I stared in fear, my inner voice shouting for me to run back and beg for forgiveness. However, I also stared with a love that emanated from my soul’s deepest chambers.
She looked so tired and pale, wrapped in a black sheath dress like a suffocating burrito. Her face was distorted with defeat ― the defeat of knowing she would return home and yell at the people she loved because she was a ball of fury, anxiety, and fatigue. She would lean on the kitchen counter and cry over countless overdue forms, messages, and school event notices she hadn’t seen or remembered. She would ask the wine to make the to-do lists disappear so she could sleep…only to wake at 3:00 am, jumping from bed muttering sh**, sh**, sh** because the lists were back, and check boxes had been forgotten in the chaos.
You know this defeat. A punch in the throat and gut. The wind knocked out of you. Yes…I think you know.
She was done, and the only person with the power to let her go was me. So, I did. My God, it was hard. But, leaving her was the greatest gift of love I had ever given her. And she so desperately needed and deserved that love.
Oh, I hear your questions. “Weren’t you afraid? Afraid of not knowing what was next? Afraid “they” would think you had failed? Afraid doors would close? Afraid of running out of money? Afraid you were wasting everything you had worked for? Afraid you had gone completely bonkers?”
Absolutely. Yes. A million times over. I was terrified. Hide-in-the-bathroom-and-hyperventilate-undetected terrified. But when I stared at her standing on that platform, all I could think was, “What. The. F***.” This was not living. It was not feeding and nurturing that which was most important to her…to me. Not my family. Not my mind, body, and soul. Not my community, values, or gifts. And, that woman…that frail, shell of a human. A shell worn ragged from the constant shape shifting. Broken from allowing herself to be pushed, pulled, overlooked, judged, and bled dry. No. Not OK. Done.
A special warrior power emerges when you hit the level of done I’d reached. It’s like rage, hope, and excitement had a baby wrapped in a WTF blanket. I don’t have a word for it, but if I close my eyes, it looks like a searing flame made of bright white light. Maybe it’s what they call Spirit or God’s light. Or, perhaps it’s an optic glitch caused by years of stress-induced broken vessels in my eye. I don’t know. But, I know this: it is stronger than fear. A million times over.
With this warrior power and a booming drumbeat kept by my husband, family, friends, and coach, I let go. I let go of that woman. I let go of beliefs and expectations that didn’t serve me. I let go of definitions created by the world and not my heart — definitions of fulfillment, success, “work,” and even myself. I let go of unresolved issues and a whole lotta crap. I said goodbye, stepped away, and became Evalia.
“Evalia” is a marriage of my daughters’ names. I don’t care the slightest bit that it doesn’t pass the business consultant tests for naming your business. Because Evalia isn’t a job or even a business; it is me. It is how I choose to contribute to the world through my strengths and gifts in a manner that honors what is most important in my life: my family, community, and self. Evalia is my compass when I feel lost or face tough decisions. Above all else, it is an eternal flame reminding me of why I let go of myself to become myself.
To commemorate my year of letting go, I have a special ask of you as you head into your weekend.
We all need to let go of something so we can experience the life we want. Something that isn’t working. Something that hasn’t worked in a long time (if ever). It could be a mindset, mental habit, or cloak we wear to protect ourselves or make people happy. It may be a job, a relationship, or a pile of junk in the basement. Maybe we need to let go of how we define fulfillment or success. Maybe we need to kick to the curb others’ expectations and define our own. It could be shame or guilt or fear. I don’t know what it is, but I’m guessing you do.
So, I ask you to think about giving a loving gift to yourself like I did a year ago.
- What or who do you need to leave on the platform?
- How do you let go? What in your inventory can help you?
- Who can beat the drum for you when fear or doubt creep in?
- What does your Evalia look like?
My ask is meaty. Letting go is hard and takes time. In fact, I’m still letting go of things after a year of hard work. For this reason, I won’t leave you with extra food for thought. Instead, I close with a quote that stuck in my mind as I wrote this post. It’s from Kathy Hull, who founded the George Mark Children’s House, the first freestanding pediatric palliative care facility in the United States:
“In the end, we can’t control how long any of us lives. What we can control is how we spend our days, the spaces we create, the meaning and joy that we make.”
She is gone, but I am here with warrior power. When you are ready to let go, know I’m beating a drum for you with every ounce of this power. Boom.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments; we’d love to hear from you.