Monday, November 8, 2010


Letting go of someone or something isn't always easy. In fact for me it is the antithesis of who I am at my very core. I am a Cancer woman and by nature, I hold onto things and emotionally move into places that I make home. And while that loyalty, commitment and emotional comfort can be a good thing, it also means sometimes it is very difficult to move on even when I know it is time to. I can be like a hermit crab carrying a house full of old hurts on my back. 

Ten years ago I fell in love. For the first time in my life I actually pursued someone and wouldn't take no for an answer. We had a few remarkable years and as things started to change and our life together began to unravel we just couldn't let it go. We couldn't let go of the dream and the hopes we had shared in the past. It took us nine years to finally sever the bond and when we did it was with a guillotine swish. It left my brain whirling across my emotional floor and unnerved me to my core. I felt lost, hopeless and in a great deal of pain and grief.

Forgiveness some say takes a lot of strength. For me, it is natural. I have always said I can forgive others' transgressions because I know some day I will need for them to forgive mine. And for the most part that is the case. That is how I have lived my life. I learned early on that we must forgive others to prevent the anger and bitterness that comes with holding on from eating us from the inside out. I learned how it can color every thing we do, every decision and definitely every relationship. But for me, letting go of the feelings that come from being hurt by someone ... that is a lesson I am still learning. I marvel at those who can so easily do it.

My dear Aunt Stella used to say I care too much about everyone else's feelings. I know what she meant. I am empathetic. I understand. I get it. I recognize the why we got where we ended up. I understand the deeper issues behind the how we got here and I have insight enough to realize my part in the relationship's failure. I forgave us both and moved on toward my healing. I took the time to delve into my codependency issues, took a look at the mistakes I made and came up with solutions to be a better stronger me. I did my work. And still, I hurt. While I understand that breaking up was not only necessary, but ultimately good for us both, the how just never sat right with me. The sense of betrayal, the letdown, the callousness of it all just plain old hurt. That sense of being wronged or tossed aside just plain old hurt. And it is confusing as to why emotionally I couldn't just let it and sometimes her go.

Sometimes I think it is because I watch too much TV that I am this way. It could be. It might be that as a writer my job sometimes is to create the happy endings, lure my readers into a sense of falsehood that nice guys don't always finish last, that they often get the girl and that the nasty n'er-do-well neanderthal will disappear into the shadows never to be heard from again. The lines between reality and fiction aren't always crystal clear. I'm a romantic who believes in the fairy tale ... to some extent. And well, I am not the neanderthal type so, I have to believe that in the end the nice guy will always get the girl. Otherwise, like Peggy Lee I have to ask, "Is that all there is?" And break out the booze and become an alcoholic. Seriously.

So herein lies the dilemma. How do I let go of all of the pain suffered from the guillotine's blade and move on past the hurt toward trust and love? How do I learn to intertwine my easy sense of forgiveness, the actual letting go of the anger with the letting go of the pain? How do I move on? I've prayed. I've meditated. I've read more books than I can count and sat in more silent rooms than anyone ever should. I've sought counseling and talked less, listened more. I've recognized that someone else's words or actions don't define me. And then I remembered that you can't grab hold of something new with claws tightly pinched shut. I exhaled, opened up my Cancerian crab claws, released and said enough is enough.

Crawling out of an emotional shell isn't easy. There is no quick remedy to heal old wounds. There is no quick fix. It just takes time. We triage our hurts, assess how bad they are and tend to them. We cry, yell, scream when we are wounded and apply the balm. We find the medicine that works, take it and watch the healing begin. It isn't easy, it may take some surgery to extricate the pain, rehabilitation to recover from the hurts and a good plastics man to remove the scarring, but we do get through the process. And it is a process.

Eventually we heal. We wake up one day and realize we have indeed moved on away from the hurt and the pain toward a better part of the healing. It may be a moment in time, but we will see or hear something and  know. Sometimes it is as simple as watching and old friend move on with her new love when we realize that healing is possible. Sometimes it is discovering with other friends how hard it is to navigate our way in a decade-old dating world that had moved on without us in it, but we do it anyway. Sometimes it is as simple as listening to God in the trees or in our children's laughter or in ourselves and we recognize again the joy of living.

And sometimes it is in imagining ourselves at the bottom of the ocean scurrying along away from our old hollow shells in search of the new loving and beautiful home in which we will surround us. Personally, that is the journey I am on. If you look behind me, you can see the cloud of hurts I've kicked and scattered in my wake. When all of the dust finally settles, I will be long gone. You see, I am racing across new terrain right now and reaching my Cancer claws out for that new experience and embracing it. Fully.

Robin G. White "Bobbie!" is an award-winning author, playwright and publisher. She lives in Georgia. You can learn more about her at


  1. Perhaps the pain never really goes away, or maybe it's just the regret that never truly dissipates. In my own experience, I regret that a relationship was never given a chance to blossom but was instead clipped and allowed to wither before the bud began to open. I regret falling in love with the potential, the essence. I regret unrequited love.

    The balm, for me, is to remember the essence, the pure potential, and like emotional aromatherapy, infuse the regret with a promise of new healing potential elsewhere. The essence of Love is pure and healing, regardless of where our mental constructs, behaviors, beliefs, etc. take it. Infuse the pain / regret with that purity and it cannot be anything but uplifted, eased and eventually healed.

    Perhaps it isn't about letting go or moving on but more about transmuting, transformation. Before emerging as a butterfly, one must undergo the chrysalis stage, a complete restructuring on a cellular level. Nothing is added, nothing released and yet the entire Being is alchemically changed. When that happens, what once crawled upon the ground is now able to fly.

    Pain and regret have their uses and teach us valuable lessons. Without them we would not grow, we would not reach for the Light, we would not enter our own chrysalis stage to emerge and fly free.

  2. Robin,
    Wow, how timely is this article.It's as if we were sitting with each other at the kithchen table having some tea and pouring out our hearts to each other. Thanks for putting into words what I and countless others feel but dont have the courage to say or admit to themselves.
    I appreciate the courage it took to write this and expose a painful but necessary part of life.
    As Marvin Sapp says you are stronger, wiser and better for the experience. Go forth and recover all

  3. Bobbie
    How very beautiful and moving! How DOES one move past the hurt? I find that letting go of the hurt and all other emotions associated with loss occurs as a rollercoaster and exists on the x/y coordinate. Your overall 'healing' occurs, however there are bumps and dips back into the wounds along the way.
    I think, for me, it has not only been the lost deep intimacy, but the feeling inside my core that my last loss is somehow fated for me and I she. That is the hardest feeling/concept to allow to slip into the past and move on. Sometimes we have knowledge deep at the cellular level that the 'right' things worked in a relationship, but perhaps one thing/factor caused the demise. And we feel that could have been scaled. It does leave a feeling of deep loss and longing and regret that takes every sleepless night, journal entry and conversation with yourself to the point of insanity, to move through.
    But, slowly, we shift. This would be the only way a past relationship would ever have a rennassiance anyway. If we both had grown and could clearly see where we each made mistakes.
    I value what you say here so much, because moving past the 'feeling discarded' part is the worst in the world. We know better, but still it feels that way at times.
    I find this following quote helpful at such times: “Don't Take Anything Personally. Our interpretation is rarely accurate. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz "The Four Agreements"

  4. I hear you my sister and I've lived this beside you as well as before you. My faith keeps me moving in a forward direction. My love for myself keeps me grounded and consistently recovering.

    "As a mother comforts her chld, so I will comfort you." Isaiah 66:13

  5. Thank you for sharing that SiS!
    And Thanks for the comments after, and Terri so concisely.
    They're all words of healing and growth, a balm that I am so grateful to hear at this time.

    love and gratitude

  6. When the time comes that YOU REAllY want to let go and move on, you will.

  7. I understand the pain, the hurt, the emptiness of what was there, but you have to be strong enough in yourself to believe that "this to shall pass". Nothing hurts worst than being decieved and hopes shattered but faith and self love will push you past it. You have to love yourself so much until you can move forward. A lot of time we do not want to take a self assessment of ourselves to see what is truely the origin of the pain. Once we know ourselves I mean really know yourself you will be able to assess the breakup and learn what cause the pain. When you move to the next stage of your life you will know what you want to introduce into your life so that you can move to peace. Happiness comes through peace and you can only see that peace when you see yourself for who you will be happy with. It also helps you to move from self destructive behaviour. Do things that bring you joy, find people that make you feel good about yourself, ask God for discernment from those coming into your life. It is a process. I went through serious heartaches but learning and knowing myself, having faith in my God got me through... Much love my sis... MzVee

  8. Thank you for all of the wisdom and encouragement. I have found that releasing is a process. I have been blessed enough over the years to have wise teachers and role models, counselors and prayer partners and some beautiful ex partners to move past the ends of relationships.

    I have spent over a year in prayer, meditation and counseling assessing, releasing and forgiving. It was a tremendous gift to have. It is a process and I don't know that the vestiges of all of it ever completely go away. I am grateful for finding me after all of these years and loving me fully. It has been quite a journey back to self. I am grateful for all that I have encountered in this past relationship and all that I have learned about me because of it. At the end of the day, I AM Love expressed. I am beautiful strong and loving as I was made to be. Each day brings some new gift and I am grateful to receive it.

    With all of this is the understanding that the relationships we have with others leave lasting imprints. Those imprints do not define us, but they do add a measure of color to our lives. I see the world now through a different lens then I did before she was in my life and that is OK as long as I always remember it is I who does the looking and it is my vision of life which matters.

  9. Wow, as I read this I felt the knots form in my stomach. I stopped and asked myself why. I came to the startling realization that you just expressed what I have spent the last year and few months trying to surpress. Thank you for sharing this,for me you became a much needed reflection and inspiration.