Coming up is a true story about how Abbey Lincoln sang only for me. I was in my car, parked just outside the restaurant where I was to have dinner with my x-husband for probably the last time before he officially became the x. It was a cold November night outside … and it was cold inside. I had moved out a few weeks earlier and that dinner was so we see if there was hope for us … it was more along the lines of reassurance for me that I have done the right thing for myself, by walking away.
I was depressed, I had never before nor after cried like I did as I packed my stuff of 2 and a half years of marriage while he was away for a week for a friend’s wedding in the Dominican. I was broken and alone not wanting to admit defeat, after all, I’d had to do to marry a man my family was against from the get-go, so I didn’t tell them all of my intentions and what happened until 6 months later (and still the first thing I heard was, ‘I told you so’).
I was confused and distressed about what lies ahead and it showed on my face with acne worse than you can find on a teenager’s face whose hormones are raging off the charts, I had to keep my turtle neck rolled up to my nose to hide my face.
I sat in my car and asked for a sign. Just anything that could give my heart the peace, the serenity that it was in dire need of at that moment… and that was when the sweet voice of Abbey Lincoln sang to me.
It felt like the whole world froze, time stopped and she was singing only for me. Her words resonated through every single cell in my body and a smile reluctantly formed on my face.
She said …
Throw it away
Throw it away
Give your love, live your life
each and every day
And keep your hands wide open,
Let the sun shine through.
Cause you can never lose a thing
if it belongs to you!
This was before I had an iPhone and knew about Shazam or Soundhound, so I kept repeating it to myself as I opened my hand and really listened to the song…way after it was done. I kept repeating it so I would remember. And I did… now 5 years later I still do.
I wanted a sign… though the signs were coming all along and I didn’t take action. Those who know me, know about my dreams. I dreamt that I saw myself disappearing into a ghost in the same condo I was living in with my x husband and that I was telling myself, if I don’t get out, I will disappear into nothing. I had another dream while still married, that I am visiting my husband after our marriage was over (which did happen). The signs were there, I wasn’t listening, or more accurately, I was afraid to listen, I was afraid to take action. I was afraid to throw it away. I believed my lies disguised as excuses.
Throwing it away (whatever the ‘it’ may be) could be one of the most difficult, scariest, or impossible things to do. Yet if we don’t, what is the cost? What else is ‘being thrown away? I didn’t want to throw 2 and a half years of marriage, but in the darkness of that depressed state I was in, I knew very well, that I didn’t want to throw away the rest of my life.
So today, which is supposed to have been my anniversary, I celebrate courage, I celebrate choice, and I celebrate being true to myself. I celebrate every woman who says Enough is Enough…I celebrate every woman who says NO to what does not serve her heart and soul.
It scares me just how many were and still are in that same boat I was in, and who would never throw it away? To them, I repeat what the song says… You can never lose a thing if it belongs to you.
In just about any uncomfortable or stressful situation there are only 3 options for a solution. No matter how you look at it, it will be variations of the same 3 major options as per Eckart Tolle in The “Power of Now”. It all comes down to what option are you going to act on NOW.
You can change the situation
There are no other options. To elaborate, any situation can be changed. You can change the circumstances or talk to someone to change their opinion or attitude, you can change offices, the house, or your boss. Sometimes…you know that is impossible. There would be absolutely nothing you can change about the situation you are in. Like the Titanic… a sinking ship, you know it’s going down and there is nothing you can do about it! The good news is that you have other options.
You can change yourself
The second option, the easier-said-than-done option, is to change yourself. I’m still learning to do this. But the reality is that the only person you have control over is yourself. You can change your attitude towards someone, you can change your opinion about the circumstances, and you can change just about anything you set your mind to. The first crucial step here is to admit that something in you has to change as opposed to blaming others or the situation, thinking they have to change.
You can remove yourself from the situation
If that is not your option, or you have tried and tried and the situation is still unbearable or stressful, then the last option is to simply remove yourself from the equation. Now, this is the hardest of the options by far. This could mean abandoning a marriage or leaving a great position with benefits or moving to a new city and being far from loved ones.
Very tough to do and most people, women specifically, are hesitant and reluctant to change. Once that change is made….life starts smiling again. You just have to have trust.
It is difficult when you are in the slums or stressed out to the max to remember that you are still in control and that you do have options.
You are in control
Time is your friend, but it is also your enemy. Time and Pain have a pact. Where one goes, the other would follow… in stressful situations where you don’t take action that is. The longer time you take to act… the longer time you have with what you want to end… and the longer time will make you wait for what it is you want to have in your life instead.
So the choice is yours. ACT NOW!