Monday night I was reminded just how hard it can be.
I was watching Atlanta Exes, intrigued by this cast of women who were willing to do a reality television show about their efforts to let go of their celebrity ex-husbands. I was taken aback by the many scenes portraying women who, years after the dissolution of their marriages, did not appear to have made much progress.
Within minutes of watching Torrei Hart break down in tears describing her divorce from comedian Kevin Hart, my Twitter timeline lit up with news that he had just popped the question to his new girlfriend. I’m sure the show’s producers chose to lay the drama on pretty thick in the premiere episode and that Torrei doesn’t talk about him night and day (word on the Internet is she has a new boo), but it still presented one of those strange ironies of life: a woman crying over love lost, a man already moving forward with a new love.
While some questioned Kevin’s timing, I’m not sure I believe he was trying to ruin Torrei’s television debut. In fact, I think it may have been far worse than that: perhaps he was not thinking of her at all. Maybe he was not out for revenge, not attempting to ruin her life, but instead considered her a non-factor in this decision regarding his future. Nothing says “I’ve moved on” like indifference.
The episode stuck with me primarily because I was embarrassed by it. Sometimes we are embarrassed for people, judging their situation from afar. Other times, unfortunately, we are embarrassed by the pieces of ourselves we see in them.
As someone who has had a hard time letting go once or twice in my life, I looked at these women and was reminded of the times I held on longer than I should have. I was embarrassed by these ladies because I had to confront the weak part of me that has refused to let go of things that were no more.
Yet we all have weak parts. Some people do a better job of disguising them than others, but no one is immune to such basic human emotions as heartache and regret. Some people move forward in deed first, willing their emotions catch up. Some tackle their feelings first and then proceed from there. And finally there are others who do some combination of the two. Regardless, there is no need for shame; we are all figuring things out as we go, trying to determine the formula and timeframe that fit us best.
I realized the need to let go of the embarrassment while lying on my sickbed/couch, where I have spent the past few days down and out with a cold. I have been miserable, sweating one minute and shivering the next. Yesterday I was wondering why I was not recovering as quickly as I felt I should. It is, after all, just a cold.
Then I remembered a conversation I had with my mother as a child. One day my sister stayed home sick from school. I was shocked and appalled that my mother took her bowling the very same afternoon. I wanted to know why I was never treated to fun activities on my sick days.
“Because when you get sick, you get sick,” she reminded me. She had a point. I don’t know what it is about my body, but if a virus or infection reaches a certain point, it lays me out. I’m not better by afternoon, I need a few days. Doesn’t matter what I take or do, I have to let it run its course.
For the most part, I try not to beat myself up over my pitiful immune system. I do what I can and wait for my body to heal. However, when it comes to my heart, I am not always as understanding as I should be about its slow healing process. I forget that it takes time, even if it is just a broken heart. It has to run its course.
Sometimes we are so pressed to prove to ourselves that we’re doing just fine, getting along very well without him/her in our life. Anything to the contrary, any hard days, any setbacks, we view as failure. We wonder why we are not yet completely over it. We beat ourselves up, sure that it is taking much longer than it should.
While we have to be careful of becoming stuck in the past, I think sometimes we need to cut ourselves some slack. Some things you can’t rush. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy way to quickly be ‘over it.’
Letting go is a lengthy process that differs for everyone. It’s just one of those things where you keep putting one foot in front of the other for days on end until one day you realize you hurt less and the person consumes a little less of your thoughts. And luckily (as long as you don’t go filming any television shows), even as you struggle through the journey, no one will know.
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.