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Holding On Too Long

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

In mid-December, I saw this pint container of eggnog at the store. I ran over to the shelf and joyously put it in my cart. Just looking at the container reminded me of happy times:

  • making egg nog (yeah, we quit doing that… no eating raw eggs)
  • mixing milk into this kind so I could spread it out
  • mixing in a little rum or brandy
  • sipping it with my kids as we decorated Christmas cookies

I looked at the little container in my cart and imagined myself pouring a small amount into a glass and enjoying the taste. Taste, like music, has the ability to transport me to another time. It’s not that I have a lot of happy memories of the holidays, but eggnog seems to evoke good ones.

I See You Egg Nog!

Once home, I put it on the shelf where I would easily see it. I would open the refrigerator door and there it was. My happy memory ticket. Every time I thought about having some, I would come up with a reason why I shouldn’t. “Maybe later.” “Tomorrow. ” After dinner.”

Now it is nearly mid-January, I still haven’t opened it.

Maybe You Understand

I pulled it out of the frig yesterday and looked at the expiration date. It’s passed. I never had even a sip.

On the one hard, it was a minor indulgence. A couple of dollars for the joy of remembering. I hate to waste food but, yeah, this has got to go. If I weren’t writing this, my guess is that it would stay in my frig for at least another few weeks.

This egg nog made me think of all the things I hold onto for too long. First there are physical things. Clothes, knickknacks, ticket stubs. I don’t fit in those clothes anymore, but still, I hang on. The process is automatic. Unless I make a conscious effort to understand why I’m holding on, I just accumulate more stuff.

Next there are the emotional thing I hang on to, even though they no longer serve me. I play a conversation over and over in my head of something negative someone said about me (or what I perceived as negative). It ‘s almost as if I am looking for the bad to affirm what I was made to feel when I was younger. I’m not good enough.

Maybe you understand why I hold on to all these things. I don’t need to just survive anymore. I don’t need to pretend that I’ll go back to being the person who wore those clothes. I’m changing and it is good.

Letting Go

Cleaning out closets, both physical and emotional, is useful. The tricky part for me is, if I get rid of something, what will I replace it with. I need to have more positive ideas about myself and where I’m going. My goal is to believe that I am worthy of all good and that by getting rid of stuff, I am making room for what is to come. Maybe I’ll toss that egg nog right now.

I seem to be able give others more slack than myself. The fight to be myself and to show myself the same compassion I regularly give to others, is my goal. As Mary Oliver says in The Journey

and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,

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4 Responses
  • Tiffany
    January 23, 2022

    This was amazing.

  • Deborah
    January 24, 2022

    Hi Tiffany, thank you so much for commenting. I appreciate it. We’re in this together! Debbie

  • Mags
    February 14, 2022

    This post reminded me a lot of my CPTSD, particularly the part about not having to survive anymore. It’s a difficult mindset to escape, (or replace with a new and positive voice) especially when you’ve suffered from childhood trauma. The emotional flashbacks, toxic shame, and negative mantras we tell ourselves are all direct causes of it, and it’s mindblowing! Yes, showing more compassiom towards ourselves is a great step.Thank you for the post.

  • Deborah
    February 14, 2022

    Hi,I’m sorry to hear that you have CPSTD. I’m not sure what my original diagnosis was but I know that my healing from childhood trauma is a continuing process. Thank you for writing to me and sharing your experience, strength and hope. Debbie

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