You know that line in the Taylor Swift song… Why you gotta be so mean?
That’s me. I can be mean.
Most people would think I’m delusional for saying that. I’m the nicest person they know, they say. I don’t have a mean bone in my body, they say. But I do. Rarely anyone sees this side of me, because I’ve learned to tame that baby dragon (with my Scorpio stinger), where she stays fed and watered in the basement of my heart.
But every once in a while, she comes out to play. It’s no longer a fire breathing death disaster as in days of the past. It’s now subtle. Like little backhanded comments, that jab at another right in their soft parts, leaving them wounded without even realizing they’ve been hurt. I’m that good. Don’t cross the Kirsten.
For a long time, I lived by the mantra of the ever cool Hugh Grant in About a Boy “I’m a bloody island, I’m bloody Ibitha,” proud of my strength and independence as a woman. It made me powerful, I thought. It made me courageous, I thought.
Most times we’re taught that being strong is powerful. And in order to be powerful, we must sacrifice our warmth; our heart. Movies and TV now show female heroines as tough as nails, rather than in touch with their emotions. It’s way cooler to be the wise-cracking sarcastic like Veronica Mars. It’s not safe to be vulnerable and real.
But herein lies the contradiction.
I’ve never been good at letting go. When I was young and someone called out for me, I would respond, “Hold On.” I never knew it would mean literally.
I still have memory boxes from childhood that my mom is convinced are filled with gum wrappers. Okay, in my defense they were really funny bubble gum wrappers (you remember the ones with the joke?) that were a gift and are now like retro…. Nuff said.
Recently at the Salvation Army, while dropping off some awesome things that had been in my trunk far longer than necessary, I stood there, pondering if it was really best to let them go… I mean, of course I need 3 pairs of Uggs. As if needing a healthy shove from an angel in overalls, a guy called out, “When you left your house it felt like a good idea. Don’t turn back. Now just go out and get more stuff.” Tail between my legs, I hugged my Uggs goodbye. #HugsforUggs
I’ve mastered the art of the long goodbye, watching my family until they disappear around the corner, soaking in every last essence of their aura, knowing that someday it will be the last time. Pretty morbid sure but it’s a coping mechanism I’ve adopted, and call me superstitious, I ain’t changing now.
I’ve lost family before, tragically and suddenly. It’s excruciating. Not just in losing the ones we’ve lost, but how it changes those left behind.
That kind of letting go is forced upon us, and can lead to patterns of abandonment, thereby shaping how we see the world whether we are aware of it or not.