The Art of Carrying Coffins
I don’t know when I got into the habit of carrying dead things around. You would think the pulling, tugging and the strain on my back would convince me to roll the burdens off my shoulders and unpack them layer by layer, down into the dirt, to be buried alongside bone and ashes. Instead, I hold my grip firmly and I teach myself the art of carrying coffins. Containers full of dead weight that I lug around periodically because I tell myself that if I let go, a piece of me will also chip away. I have trained my legs to be as strong as pillars so that I can have the strength to walk and uphold this box that is full of things that will never serve me, yet I freely give my time and energy to sustain what’s already dead.
Why do I do this?
It is a question I have dived into deeply because I know I am not the only one who’s walking around this earth with a duffle bag that contains contents of things that are inessential to the journey. I have given people free tickets to come along for the ride who don’t deserve to have access to me. I have held onto opinions about who I am and who I should be from people who don’t even know or value me. I have allowed myself to carry the weight of words, the ones that keep me small and tamed, all because of this fear of letting go.
If there is one lesson that life has taught me, it is that growth and grief are synonymous. Whenever I find myself in seasons of transformation, it often always feel like winter in July. It is a time that is cold, dark and outright scary. People will tell you that growth is beautiful, that you are blooming, that you are blossoming, and make you think the experience is like running through a field full of flowers, but it’s the farthest thing from that, growth will be your coldest winter ever.
See, the thing about growth is that it requires loss, and it is our fear of loss that stops us from changing. For a long time I had got comfortable with dysfunction. I laid in bed with it, held hands with it, and even made a home out of it, and once you find home in something, home is a hard place to give up.
The process of detachment is painful. The ripping of souls and the disentanglement of connection is hard on the body and the mind and it’s why a lot of people stay stuck. It’s not because we are lazy, it’s not because we lack self-love, it’s not because we aren’t willing to do “the work,” it is simply because people spend so much time talking about the reward, that they fail to mention the grief, the ache, and the hurting that comes once we put our coffins down and lay to rest the dead things, the dysfunctional things, and the toxic things that we were never meant to carry in the first place.
What I am teaching myself through this process is to have the strength to answer the hard questions.
What am I growing into?
What am I growing out of?
Why am I afraid of letting go?
How does holding on to this/him/her serve me?
What self-care practice(s) do I need to help me with coping from this loss?
Loss is painful, and that is because letting go of what feels close to you is never easy. Right now, I have some coffins in my closet that I need to get rid of. During this process of cleansing and letting go, I will show myself grace and won’t judge myself for the fact that I held on to these things for so long. I will shift through the dirt to find the lesson, even if the lesson was for me to feel the sting of pain despite the many times that I’ve felt it before.