“We are so captivated by our collective myth of the happy ending, that we rarely acknowledge the amount of loss that can be involved in getting there.”—Katherine Woodward Thomas.
Happy 2012. It may strike you as strange that I am greeting the new year with a statement about loss, but in the increasingly adult iterations of my existence, I am coming to learn that being at peace with loss is one of the mightiest swords that can be wielded against feelings of frustration, anguish, helplessness, and anger. Quite simply, anything you choose to do, make, or have involves loss.
“Our lives are constantly in motion. As such, will continually be asked to give up the life we have for the life we are creating” (Katherine Woodward Thomas). This is true of artmaking, of parenting, of growing in partnership, of growing your skills and responsibility of a job.
When I create, I have to give up something I want to be doing, in order to commit the time to the work. I may have to give up the way I see myself or the way I want the world to see me so that I can be honest and authentic in the writing. In parenting, your parentless self must be suppressed and suffocated in favor of a new selfless person who strives to meet the needs of the child. After the child has grown some, you have to learn which parts of that parentless self to save so that you may proceed with your personal growth and which parts must die completely so that you can be the parent your child deserves.
There are so many deaths we must endure: death of the ego, death of thoughtless bliss, death of control, death of certainty, death of dominance, death of hiding, death of fear, death of self-criticism and disrespect of self. These deaths are easier when they are entered into willingly and consciously—a feat that is impossible until you understand that growth is not simply additive: you don’t just acquire more as you grow; it is transformational—you change; you change your addictions, your fables, your fears, and your commitments.
People, habits, attitudes, and customs will fall by the wayside. But it is only to make space for your growing stride, your growing self. I wish you many rich and valuable losses this year, losses that clear the way for you—the real, authentic, powerful you—to come to the forefront and bless us with your brilliance. Whenever and wherever your light shines, it also enhances mine.
Be well. Be love(d).
Kiini Ibura Salaam