(First off, I want to say even though I’m not writing about Black Lives Matter this week doesn’t mean I no longer care or it’s not on my mind. It is. Being a human being means I care about many things all at the same time. In addition to everything going on in the world, things still happen in my personal world, and that’s what I’m writing about today.)
On Saturday, I stuffed cream, cashmere gloves into my jacket pocket in preparation for my trip to the grocery store. I like to wear gloves when I know I’ll be encountering high-touch surfaces because it saves me from washing my hands. About six minutes in to my walk to the store, I noticed the gloves had escaped my pocket. I stopped in my tracks and did an about face, retracing my steps while scouring the sidewalk and the street for my gloves. I found one and kept looking. I walked all the way back home and didn’t find my other glove.
Because I still needed groceries, I turned around again and kept my eyes trained on the ground looking for my glove. Didn’t find it. After leaving the grocery store, I once more swept my eyes left to right, constantly looking for my other glove. If you’re keeping track, that’s three times I searched for my glove to no avail.
When I came home, I took a picture of my glove and uploaded it to Google for a reverse image search, to see if I could purchase the gloves again. Nope. Then I messaged three different people on Etsy to ask if they could make me a match. If that wasn’t enough, later in the evening, just for kicks, I searched the street two more times and came up empty. If it wasn’t obvious, I have trouble letting go. Not only of objects, but also of people and situations. Goodbyes are hard for me.
I try really hard to fix things so I won’t need to feel sad. In this case, if I found my other glove I wouldn’t feel sad or upset because the problem would be solved. I think it’s safe to say my other glove is gone. Tears are pricking my eyes even typing that. I don’t want it to be true but reality is like that. In real life, not everything can be fixed or solved. Even buying a new pair of gloves won’t truly replace the one I lost. A new pair won’t make up for what’s missing. I’m allowed to feel sad about that.
My therapist tells me frequently emotions are like tools and when they show up, use them. When sadness shows up it’s because of a loss. I’ve lost many things in my life and I don’t think I’ve properly grieved them all. I was too busy metaphorically combing the street trying to solve the problem to cry. But here’s the thing about grief – it doesn’t go anywhere. It stays in the body. It may express itself as lung trouble, or pain in the back, or weight gain, or something else, but grief sticks around until it’s felt.
This isn’t a profound post or fiery one or philosophical one. It’s a human one. I’m a human being and when I lose something, I feel sad whether I let myself cry about it or not. What I’m learning is life is easier when I let myself grieve. How much time and trouble could I have saved on Saturday if I had given in to the emotion I felt instead of fighting it? I don’t regret looking for my glove, but now that I know it’s not coming back, it’s time to grieve. Not only for my glove, but for other things too.
I dream of a world where we let ourselves cry when we lose something or someone. A world where we recognize emotions are not meant to be fixed but rather felt. A world where we let ourselves feel our feelings when they come up. A world where we embrace our humanness.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.