Allow

This Article originally appeared in Gratitude and Trust

Allow; to let do or happen, to permit, to grant, to make provision for.

The word allow historically had negative connotations attached to it for me. A rigidity would happen in my body and mind when I would think of or hear the word allow. Even today, it can conjure up images of patriarchal men oppressing women and children, of mothers controlling their children, of abusive husbands maintaining control over frightened wives.

I don’t think that allow is always negative in its intention, however the end result often is. A child may not be allowed to hang out with certain people because they may be a negative influence and while the intention is to keep one safe, the child hears, internalizes and rebels against the control.

I have many vivid memories of my formative years that involved abuse, some subliminal, some overt and often violent. From as early as I can remember I vowed to “never let a man treat me that way”, to never let religious hypocrisy tell me how I was going to live and to never have children. That unexplored, reactive resistance built barriers.

The foundation for my walls was laid at a very early age and built brick by brick until I hid behind them almost unreachable. I called those bricks fancy things like boundaries, non-negotiables and addiction but really they were nothing more than an attempt to keep the ‘bad’ out, to keep the ‘pain’ away, to control the ‘chaos’.

Those early attempts at controlling me through religion and non-allowance turned into decades of rebellion, aloofness, detachment, coldness, perfectionism and CONTROL. I became my own abuser, my own mother, my own judgemental God and my own emotional jailer by virtue of what I would not allow in my life.

I would not allow you to see me cry, I would not allow you the satisfaction of knowing I needed you and I sure the hell would not allow YOU to see how you hurt me ~ fuck no! I won’t allow you to get me.

While that fist gripping hold on the environment around me served me well at times (kept me safe when I should not have been) it also kept me from living, it pushed people away. It kept me scared, small and really fucking tired. I was always on watch for the next attack, searching for deterioration in my walls that needed fortification to remain strong which of course meant that I allowed very little in and even less out. The pursuant emptiness of living like that left me exceedingly lonely, deeply sensitive and often numb. It stunted my emotional growth as I would temper, push down, push out or hide the emotions that make us human and allow the deep connections we all need. All of that rigid, non- allowing cost me more than I could ever afford. I traded great possibilities for the safe confines of walls. I sometimes wonder how my life may have turned out had I allowed people to get close to me. If I had allowed the great loves in my life to truly know how much I, the cold one, needed them. What IF, I allowed all of me to be bare, open and vulnerable.

They say that what you resist will persist and they, whoever they are damn it, are right.

God, the universe, life or whatever else you wish to call the force that keeps providing us lessons will send bulldozers and Trojan horses to attack and break down our walls. These attacks come disguised as cancer, as death, as loss, as deep longing and as love IF we allow these to touch us, to affect us, to move us.

It was after my greatest loss to date that I began to live the emotions that my addictions, control and my allowance, or lack there of, kept at bay. The more I tried to plug the holes in my walls the more they crumbled and more the emotions leaked in and out.

I began to wonder if my control and allowance tendencies were worth keeping. The more I thought about that the more unsteady and uncomfortable I felt which told me I was on the right track. A wise person once told me that I needed to do the polar opposite of what I have always done to eventually find balance and they were right ~ if I am fearful, I simply need to feel the fear while knowing my allowance of those feelings will not consume me. I am not destined to make the same old decisions; I am not destined to live in a fortress of my making. I can be free.

My evolvement has been slow as I often take one step forward and five steps back. I still make decisions that are not in line with my chronological age yet I make fewer of them from a position of control. Now I make them from a place of a different kind of allowance, a healthy’ life enriching allowance, an allowance that has infinite space and possibility.

Allow; to let do or happen, to permit, to grant, to make provision for.

Today, allow is no longer a dirty negative word. Today it is a word of possibility, of anticipation, of excitement and curiosity. It is a word that means love, peace, health, pain, trust, FREEDOM. It is a word that means there is a softer, gentler way of living.

Today, I allow all my feelings, I may not enjoy them all with the zealousness of a child and ice cream but I no longer deny myself of the pleasure of them, YES, the pleasure of them, ALL of them. I stay open to what my allowance may bring.

Today, I can watch fear sashay up in a new coat and I can offer it a hanger so it can stay for a while. I can feel love, sadness and regret rise from my pelvis and come out my eyes in the form of tears and I don’t try to stop them from expressing themselves. I can see rebellion put on new ‘kick some serious ass’ shoes and just smile knowing it is going to be one of those days and that is ok. Today, I allow it all to come, knowing nothing stays forever but there is always growth if we stay open.

ALLOWANCE makes you KNOW you are alive because it brings immense joy and peace while hurting like a mother fucker but I am not afraid of joy, peace or pain anymore – now I allow it.

What do you allow?