do you push people away
when what you really want is to pull them close?

this was my favorite childhood board game

(I was never any good at it – I have a shaky hand)

but it was still thrilling to try to reach those little tweezers in
and grab the plastic bones just right so that you could remove them all
and win the game

but if you were off
even by the teensiest bit
and touched the sides
that buzzer would sound

there was a time when I was exactly like that
(as much as I hate to admit it)

it wasn’t about removing tiny plastic bones
it was about rigidity and control
where I was right and you were wrong
there was no room for error or even humanity

looking back
I was harsh
quick to judge
quick to react
my red nose lit up
and that buzzer…

it didn’t FEEL like it was about ME
it was everyone else
(can you relate?)

it was about self protection
not allowing others in
having the upper hand
being in control
or trying to

but it wasn’t control that I got

it was isolation

when at the core what I craved was
connection, relationship, love

so I let that go, gave it up

I didn’t want people
to have to watch themselves around me
to have to do it exactly right

I wanted them to have freedom
to be self expressed
to be who THEY were
to know they were enough

even, and especially, those who were closest to me

what it took was for me to soften my listening
for how they showed up
for what they were saying
regardless of proper word choice
or grammar
or any number of barriers I had erected
between me and them

what it took was
releasing how I thought it should be
and embracing how it was

it took me owning my enormous part
(I call that radical responsibility)

and what became possible was
magic, freedom, peace, JOY

I remembered who I was
who I had always known myself to be
and I allowed others in

freedom from control is a wonderful, powerful, liberating place to be

if this is you
and if you want to help
(this isn’t easy)

you can find me here:

if you’ve been holding your breath
you can exhale now

I’ve got you
I see you
I believe in you