“Letting yourself do something is not the same thing as giving yourself permission.” Lesley Boucher-Papp
Do we realize the wonder of our collective wisdom? The impact it can have spoken into the right moment?
Permission? I can’t count how many times I sat poised at keyboard, fingers ready to do the thing I love, to splatter words across the page, colour the moment with light. Instead, mind blank, I’d feel the words skitter left, right, anywhere but down in focused impact. I hate this place. Guilt. Doing what I love should not produce guilt. Or given the reasons, maybe it should. Either way, ‘should’ is not something to beat myself up over anymore. Disorienting and distressing in its own way, the struggle I feel between anxiety and personal strength brings chaos to calm. Healing is letting me see it happen, but not completely prevent it. I’m learning to work past it.
Permission. I need to learn it. I’ve wanted ‘to do something’ with my writing a long time without understanding the need to ‘give myself permission’, and that HURT. Friends, especially the last two or three years, say to do what I love. Take the risk. Be myself. It’s okay to be afraid; do it anyway.
Permission involves risk. It may cost more if I fail, but has potential for greater gains if it goes well. I want to risk my life going well. I held back too long.
When I look at the patterns of my life, the places of struggle, too many illustrate a conversation I had with a counselor who wondered how I did so much working with my older son’s deafness and autism in contrast to things I tried to do for myself. My answer was simple, “I broke the rules”. For my son, i did break them, for myself it was harder. Take writing for example; while I let myself write things, they lived mostly in my journal. I love to write. Writing brought joy, and just enough release to keep me functional, but that wasn’t enough.
In my life, others’ rules were law and limits. The counselor told me she figured I did all that I did for my son on about 10% of what I have to give to life, and said, “Imagine what you could do with 20%.” Her homework that week, “figure out who you are, what you love, play big, break all the stupid rules”. It was challenging, but I loved this homework. I still love it. I’m still learning to ‘break the stupid rules.’
My friend’s words happily take a place alongside this assignment. Too often ‘the stupid rules’ kept me from giving myself permission to do what I love. I wish I’d broken more.
A financial adviser once told me it’s natural to be afraid when things are down. That’s the time to invest; that those who invest when things are down are brave ones. Taking that risk, putting yourself out there, may cost more if you fail, but oh the potential for gains if it goes well. With my son, for my family, I know that place, I understand the danger of risk. I lived it. That was my life a long time, giving greatly waiting for return; a definite risk, and yes sometimes losses.
Some losses were financial; too many were emotional challenges, mental distress, and physical danger. Permission wasn’t asked. It was assumed. For family, I risked. For others I gave. I’m not sure how often or well I invested my personal resources into things that gave back to me, that were for myself alone. Now, I want to learn to invest in myself and my life more consciously, with greater intention. I want to risk my life going well. I held back too long.
Fear of writing, fear of being seen, is still a pattern for me, but I am posting poems and small pieces more regularly now. I will choose to believe it becomes more natural. I can do this. I’ve proven I can do a lot in life that challenges me, frightens me, takes me beyond what I think I have to give. I’m in a new area of believing in myself, of seeing what I have, what others value, believing I’m allowed to share, and learning to release it to something greater.
Taking my friend’s words to heart, allowing myself to give permission to write and hit ‘publish’, oh yes, I appreciate the addition of this wisdom to my toolbox.