Learning to let go in a little space in Cincinnati
June 30, 2017
I fell in love.
The farmhouse sinks and clawfoot tub were like something out of a dream, and with soft white walls and bold wood molding, the space wooed me into a young 20-something-year-old daydream. So in we went, making plans and building the space, “our” space. Trinkets and tokens started to findd their way onto the mantel of the fireplace and art began creeping onto the walls. I felt at home and, more than that, I felt proud. At 23-years-old, I had furnished and styled an entire two bedroom apartment with very little help from anyone else on a very meager budget — and it felt like home.
Fast forward two months and it was no longer “our” home. It was just my home. It was just me now, and I loved it more. The space and I danced together in elegant, intricate passing as I slid out the door at 5 a.m., sometimes not returning until darkness has fallen across the living room. The soft, white walls were a projector for the flickering candle light of my evening meditations, guiding me deeper into my new found journey of “self.”
Friends, new memories, and new love started making their way inside, filling the spaces that I was incapable of taking up on my own. Wine bottles came and went, bringing with them a sort of calming proof that some friendships are bound by forces stronger than even love.
The space nourished me. It brought me into one comfort zone while providing stability as I stepped out of another. This apartment showed me that everything can change and still be okay. It forced me to be out of control, to exist in the unknown, and to be okay all the while. From falling out of love to falling in love, from learning to hurt responsibility while healing openly, this apartment housed and guarded my heart as it was being smeared across my sleeve and then some.
It healed me by giving me space to heal myself.
And yet, thanks to the very lessons I’ve learned within these walls, I will not miss this place. It taught me to let go when the time comes to let go. This apartment was home to the staycation sabbatical that was the last year of my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the power of a space to allow so much of growth. But the time to let go is coming. Soon, what is inside the space I once loved will change. It’s already changing.
On July 27, the matrix will shift. A door I have shut and reopened a thousand times will shut for the last time. When it does, that door I once knew will be impossible to open because it will no longer exist. My door will be gone and a new door will stand in its place. I will be looking at a passage way to someone else’s home, someone else’s classroom, and some else’s expectations.
and because of what once lay beyond that door, I am ready to shut it.
It’s our nature to fear letting go. Think about the most basic result of letting something go… usually, it falls. Gravity takes over and, as humans, we should have a healthy respect for gravity. Gravity makes us fall, bump our heads, trip down the stairs (okay well that’s not ALL gravity, some of that is the wine.) Gravity shatters our iPhone when it falls out of our jean pockets. Gravity, and letting things go, can be destructive.
On the other hand, not everything breaks when you let it go. Some things float, some bounce, some even fly. Not to mention, holding onto everything get exhausting. Our hands and the packs we carry in our hearts can only take so much before they give way.
I have always had a tendency to hold things rather tightly. Not necessarily “things” like clothes, toys, and physical items, but traditions, memories, friends, and spaces. I’ve never been good at leaving those types of things behind. Part of it stems from my need for control over situations, part if it stems from my love of deep connections and sentimental nature, and other parts of it don’t really have or need an explanation for. The point it is: letting go hasn’t always been easy for me. The last year of my life has been an excercise is letting go, both in moments of choosing and moments of necessity. At times it made me deeply uncomfortable. I’d fight back against the pressing need to let a person, habit, or extra “to-do” go. I’d do everything in my power to keep my grip firm until, finally, I realized my hands hurt, and my plate was too full, and my heart was too tired of holding things I did not need.
Other times it was easy. So easy, in fact, I wondered if it was normal. There were moments I floated so effortlessly through the process of letting go or saying goodbye that I’d stop a few moments later and wonder “Am I okay? Am I really aware of what’s happening right now?” The answer: yes. I was, I always was and I still am.
This year and this space, this little apartment on a little hill in Cincinnati, Ohio, taught me that sometimes (no, not always) letting go is exactly what you need.
Now I am ready to let it go and grab hold of something else.