I have learned this lesson in life over and over again. The one about how when things get difficult trying harder only makes things worse. A running injury derails my half marathon plan – trying harder to get well and heal seems to actually slow my recovery.
Or worse, I run on, injured, and inevitably get worse, and take even longer to recover. A toxic job situation with a difficult colleague – I try harder to get along, to perform, to assure her she’s competent and has nothing to prove. Over time, it gets worse to the point that I get sick from all the stress and quit, for the only time ever, without a job. A failing relationship, friendship or lover, where it feels like I’m the only one trying – I try harder to be vulnerable, to connect once again, to communicate how I value our relationship. In the end, the relationship ends anyway, and I’m overinvested, exhausted, resentful, and humiliated. And most recently, the 3-year long battle to return my body to normal after surgery – doing cleanses, giving up caffeine, reduce drinking, increasing exercise in order to lose weight. All the while my weight and fit of my clothes has remained almost exactly the same. I have lost all interest in food or cooking as it seems I can eat nothing at all. Finally, my doctor instructs me to literally stop trying so hard. That, despite all common sense regarding calories in/calories out, it must be more than physical. There must be something I’m hanging onto emotionally, she tells me.
I love the idea of letting go more. Of digging in less. And as a goal oriented person, this is a very gray area to me. As a type A, bit of an overachiever, I have no idea what the difference is. So in this moment, the one when I’m trying to recover from a running injury that sidelined my training for several weeks before the Rock and Roll half marathon, while trying to take good care of my body and let go more and try hard to lose weight less, I have come to this conclusion: letting go and not trying harder, at least for now, means having more fun. Being open to new experiences, more spontaneous lunches with a friend instead of running errands fun. More piling 8 lesbians in a car and singing at the top of your lungs fun. More creative expression, less practical. I won’t lie – I can’t help but wonder how all the errands will get done amidst my wild abandonment of practical. But I’m chalking that up to being part of the process.
As part of my try less, feel more, let go more plan, I’ll be playing in Provincetown for Girlsplash, an all girls’ weekend of connection, entertainment, and fun. On Wednesday, July 19 I’ll be joining fellow authors Renee MacKenzie and Lucy J. Madison at Love American Style, an exclusive book event at 3:00 PM at Harbor Lounge 359 Commercial Street in Provincetown. If you’re in the area be sure to join us for this free event of readings, giveaways, and maybe a surprise guest or two, as we talk about our books and the topic that we all connect with – love.