The Chewing Gum Zone

I’m in a raw place. It’s painful to let go. Life has been cataclysmic , loss upon loss, the outworn endlessly shed. Am I a willing participant? Probably not. Would it be easier if I was? Probably. Why is it so hard to let go? Why?

Image result for creative commons tug of war


This morning I had the cat put down. I love cats. Not just any cat, my cat, my dad’s cat the one that came home to my place, the day my father died. Tabby was a conduit, he connected me with my dad. He was a live ongoing reminder of the past.

My feelings were complex. It was hard to label them. My health care self followed sound clinical reasoning: the cat was failing and fast. My sensible self stood back and explained  the situation to the family. My emotional self, however … tears, memories, laughter, longing, crazy snippets of denial.

I felt like a murderer. Part of me did anyway. I also felt like a little kid, hurting and teary.

The cat had been a steady and graceful influence in my life. He sat on my chest purring, bum in my face! He shared my bleak and lonely moments, those times when I wondered if I could going. Another species in a totally non-verbal sense shared my dark times.

Tabby didn’t offer solutions or advice but he gave me the ultimate gift: availability. Availability can be a sanity saver! I knew I’d lose him one day, that tenuous link between us would be broken. It made me think of my dad and how far I’ve come since his death. Accept the reality, I told myself.

But acceptance was thwarted by control at every turn. I understood but I also wanted to fix the problem, to extend my cat’s life. I wanted him to live longer to spare me the pain his death would cause me. Nature took its course. I couldn’t make him well.

All chewing gum experiences, those times when we resist letting go, are charged with conflict, emotion and dare I say it? Longing. I was afraid to recognise that I longed for something, but in my heart an empty space longed to be filled. I sought completion, usually through external means; a person, an animal, a purchase or experience. The external balm, the quick fix never lasted.

Writing my memoir on anorexia, I’ve had to examine and let go of any shadows of the experience still alive within me. It’s about letting go. And more than that it’s about looking into that resistance and bringing to light faulty beliefs.  It’s about navigating the chewing gum zone honestly and patiently.

Kindly leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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