Wednesday, April 6, 2011
E is for Emancipation
emancipation: -noun, the act of freeing or state of being freed; liberation
Stuck sucks. More often than not, the only thing keeping us stuck is ourselves.
I will use my former marriage as an example. For years, I felt that he was holding me back. I felt that I couldn't do things, accomplish things, because he was in the way. Then I began to grow despite him... but it was really in spite of myself and my self-imposed, self-perceived restrictions. It wasn't until I began to bloom that I realized that he barely entered into the equation, but that in truth, we really just didn't belong together.
So, I left the marriage. We didn't have assets or children, so it was a pretty simple process of signing papers and filing them with the court system. Even so, real freedom was a long time coming. It took a while for me to realize that a failed marriage didn't mean that I was a failure; losing love didn't make me unlovable; and, just because the damage was done, didn't mean I was damaged goods. I had to emancipate myself from my own mindset.
That was years ago. Way back in the 90's.
It's a lesson that stayed with me though. I have learned that, when I feel stuck, I need to ask myself, "Just what is holding you back?" I'm not any different from anyone else. My answers are standard... time, money, resources, blah blah blah, yadda yadda, etc. I'm an over-achiever and I can come up with more excuses than Carter's got little liver pills. However, once the excuses run dry, I can easily recognize the face in the mirror. There she is, Stuck Girl.
I used to have to drag her along, kicking and screaming and all kinds of obstreperous and reticent. Now I'm much more intuitive and adept. Now I only have to look her in the eye and say, "You know... you're allowed to be you. That is your greatest freedom. I hereby emancipate you from the stuck suck."
Last I checked, we all have the right and the ability to free ourselves. It begins within. After all, as the wise man (Confucius) once said, "Wherever you go, there you are." I ran all the way across the country only to discover that what I'd left behind was material things, all of my emotional baggage was still hanging around my neck like the proverbial albatross. Emancipation from that stuff took a couple of things, (1) recognition - hard to free yourself if you can't see what binds you, and (2) forgiveness - hard to free yourself if you're pissed off at yourself for getting stuck in the first place.
Y'know? You can't change a flat if you're busy kicking the tire... you'll never go anywhere.
Ahh, I'm a wealth of metaphors.
I had a friend who desperately wanted to start rubber stamping, but was reluctant. I asked what was stopping her. With a sigh she said, "My kids. I just have no time." I suggested starting a family craft hour a couple of times a week. Give the kids some rubber stamps to mess with too - kids usually love them, or give the kids some water colors or clay or whatever they want to get creative with. Kids need creative time, it's so lacking in their lives these days. She loved the idea and ended up emancipating her whole family. She got to make cards and her kids got to spend time with mom doing something fun. Everyone wins.
Emancipate yourself from whatever inside you is keeping you stuck. Everything else is just stuff and excuses. Free it up, shake it out, walk on.