I was clearing out some boxes this past weekend and found vintage sweaters made by my grandparents’ clothing manufacturing company back in the 60s & 70s. My grandmother had brought some over when she made her big move from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in ’97. Pulling out these sweaters and trying them on made me reminisce about her and my eyes started to well up as feelings of wishing she was still here came over me.
In the past, I would’ve wiped the tears away and continued on with my agenda, but instead, I stopped what I was doing and allowed myself to feel the sadness and grief that still lingers since her recent passing. Grief to me, feels the heaviest out of the spectrum of unpleasant feelings and I have felt it most when I’m grieving the loss of a loved one or the death of a relationship. When my first husband and I were separating, I allowed myself the emotional freedom to feel and do what I needed. I instinctively knew that it wouldn’t be good for me to stuff it down and “keep myself busy”. So I cried and cried for 7 days straight. I amazed myself with the abundance of tears that kept flowing out of me…necessarily. I couldn’t pretend any longer that “things were okay” and I didn’t want to. I could no longer hide or deny what was going on…crashing head on with the truth and having it shatter the facade of my happy marriage was at best surreal, traumatic, and yet freeing. My life as Mrs. Samuel (yes, I did change my last name!) was gone.
The death of my old life began my new one. One that’s more authentic. From that experience, I’ve learned that one way of living more authentically is being able to acknowledge how and what I’m feeling in the moment and trying my best to express and articulate what that is. It can be liberating at times and scary at others. It takes courage. Who wants to fall apart and risk looking weak or vulnerable? We pride ourselves on “keeping it together”. But it’s when we can allow ourselves to fall apart that we can build ourselves back up again…the way we need to. I don’t wish “falling apart” on anyone, but I know at some point it will be and it is necessary. So if and when the time comes, I hope you’ll give yourself permission and do it…and hopefully it won’t involve changing your name. (…but if it does, I promise you’ll be okay!)