I watched the waves crash against the side of the ferry as it skirted between the two Thai islands that I had spent most of my summer. This trip must have been my fifth between the two islands. The sky was clear, but there was subtle violence to how the waves smacked the boat pushing it side to side as it jetted on the crystal blue ocean. I was seated on the second tier, alone, which had never happened before. And I stared out the window; I realized that all the pain, suffering, abuse, torment, and healing was me. I understood it, and maybe it was due to the moment of zen, but nonetheless, in this very moment, as tears streamed down my eyes, I felt that I had finally done it. I’d let go.
I spent most of my 32 years of life to that point being angry at the world. And why wouldn’t I be? Anyone who came from where I came from would be too. Not to mention that statistically, I should be dead or in jail. It’s mindboggling that a zip code can determine so much of your path in life. I sought refuge from myself more often than not, drinking and smoking myself numb. I rather enjoyed the nothingness that came from it, anything to not feel the torment. And that worked until it didn’t, and when it stopped, I understood that I would have to deal with some shit.
Fast forward a lot of years, therapy, and money later.
What did it mean to let go? To forgive? I read those words, I heard those words, and I wrote those words, but to what avail. What did they mean? I struggle to this day with the concept of forgiveness. People often say it’s for you, but I would argue that it’s for those that earn it. That, however, is another conversation altogether. What stuck with me the most through all the self-education, personal growth, and trauma healing is that if I was going to live my life on my terms that I was going to have to release the grip that I had on my trauma. As much as I was a part of it, it was a part of me. Which, of course, is understandable with an ACE score of ten. Everything I knew in life was childhood trauma, was abuse, but I understood that eventually, to move forward, I would have to let it go.
To be frank, I don’t know that I will ever forgive some of the people that hurt me; how does one forgive their mother for cutting off their finger or their white grandmother for calling them nigger? I’m not there, and honestly, I likely never will be, and that is my choice. Some say that you must forgive to heal, I don’t entirely agree, but then again, none of this trauma healing we put ourselves through is universal. I do know this; I no longer carry the weight of the experiences of my past. I made a declaration that I don’t have to forgive, but I do have to release what I am holding. I must have repeated those words to myself a thousand times, trying to define what they meant and how to allow them to hold space in my life. What I came to understand is that letting go means letting go, and it’s either all in or all out.
As I sat on the ferry looking out onto the world around me, I finally got it. Letting go is about acknowledging that something terrible has happened to you, accepting that you can’t change the past, choosing to release the grip that you have around it, and making a decision to move forward on your terms. And it’s not that moment don’t come when I have to remind myself that I’ve let go. I carry the scars of abuse on my body and my soul. However, when I feel the anger, frustration, or sadness of my past, I take a look out the window and remind myself that I am living for me, not for them.
Until next time my friend…
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