I’m sitting on the flagstone floor of the hallway of what will one day be the compassion wing of my Library. I am tired. Slowly building anew is hard. I can see the beauty in the changing colours of the leaves, but at the same time the wind that swirls around my snow glove bites at my fingers and the hours of darkness stretch and sap my energy. The flagstones have been laid. I feel on the verge of another new beginning. One day I will realise on a level deeper than the intellectual that every moment of every day has the potential to be a new beginning if I just give it the opportunity.
I’m not good at letting go. As much as I don’t particularly hoard possessions, I hoard feelings. I hoard memories. I hoard beliefs about myself. The flagstones mark another new beginning. Another minor adjustment of my course. Even as I sit though, I can feel the wind on my back, the shadows at the edges of the forest whispering to me, reminding me of the words and actions of yesterday. I am allowed to let go. I may be protected in my snow globe still, safe from the outside world, but that doesn’t mean I have to let that snow globe shrink around me, boxing me into this image I have of myself. This image I assume other people have of me. Much of the reason for my snow globe is that I don’t fit neatly into a box. Part of the battle as I have dealt with mental health issues has been the assumptions people have made based on the boxes I supposedly tick. I am X, therefore Y. I am autistic therefore conventional psychotherapy isn’t appropriate. I have mental health issues therefore autism services can’t help. Being treated as one label to the exclusion of all others made everything harder, it couldn’t help because it didn’t encompass all of me.
So why do I do the same thing to myself? I am X, therefore Y. I limit myself in the same way. I keep myself from doing or thinking things because it doesn’t fit with the beliefs I have about myself. Beliefs that have no real basis. I’m scared. I’m anxious. I’m not a nice person. I don’t like people. People don’t like me. I’m not good enough. I’m a quitter. I’m not strong enough. I don’t try hard enough. I can’t trust people. I’m not a good friend. I don’t have social skills. I don’t belong. I’m boring. I’m too childish.
Says I. Does it even matter if other people say so too? If I believe those things about myself, I hold onto them, I make them a part of my identity without even trying. It doesn’t matter what other people think. I can let those beliefs go. I can let myself grow. I don’t have to hoard all of those thoughts and all of those feelings and mix them with the cement and rubble as I build my Library. After all, wasn’t the point of starting afresh to let all of this go?