Snakes are fascinating. They are one of the most reviled animals on the planet. They have no orifices on their body with the exception of a mouth and somewhere a small hole to release poop. They have been cursed with the “mark of the beast” since practically the dawn of time thanks to the whole Adam and Eve thing and yet they proudly slither around on their stomachs. Many eat whatever they can catch in their grip and live in the darkest, most dank places….but when they are tired of the skin their in…they simply shed it and move on.

Imagine.

The ability to go through life and move as you please around people, chase them away or squeeze the life out of them – being able to make mistakes publicly or create havoc unintentionally and then simply shed that skin – of that person – who did those things – and start anew. You, but fresher.

I don’t want to be a snake – but there have been so many times when I wanted to start again – still me, only fresher.

Life is so full of surprises. People always say that as if it’s a great thing…like: “you never know what will happen!” But, I am actually not fond of surprises. Well parties and gifts yes, but like missed periods and pink slips – not so much. The fact is they happen – good and bad, large and small – convenient or inconvenient. They happen. My goal in life is to find a way to handle life’s surprises like a snake. As it so happens the snakes that do shed – HAVE to. It is a necessity of life for them. Imagine for a minute if they didn’t. I’m no snakeologist, but I think we would have fat, scaly, smelly snakes lying dead all over the place. The weight of all that old, dead skin would eventually kill them. Like it’s killing me.

Well that’s dramatic, but it is certainly weighing me down. I know it’s cliché to talk about starting anew for the New Year…but cliché’s exist to be utilized so, why not? I don’t have resolutions; I stopped making those a few years back around the same time that I realized that this journey to be the “me” that I envision in my mind was going to take some time and that that was fine. Instead, I take on a new “thing” each year; a new goal, something off the dream board in my head. In 2009 it was all about understanding “who I am”. You know like, finding a very comfortable space for myself in the world and respecting, honoring, and protecting that lovely little space at all costs. It was also other really boring stuff like setting both boundaries and standards for the people already in my life and those coming into my life. Can’t say that it’s a total mastery, but I’m very pleased with the progress thank you. However, I can say that the reason it’s not a one hundred percent win for me is because of this aforementioned weight.

My name is Tarana and I am an emotional hoarder.

I can recall practically every emotion I have ever felt since I was six. No lie. I don’t act on them, I don’t think of them often, but when prompted – here they come flooding to the front of my mind. It would be great if they were all like “the wave of joy that came over my heart when I realized the big surprise was that we were going to the circus!” type feelings, but they are not. I won’t rehash, but I will say it’s a hard knock life for real for some of us. And, just for kicks, I don’t just hold my own emotions – I manage to stuff some other folks’ stuff in too.

When I take a closer look at this practice it seems the emotions I tend to hold tightest too are worry and fear. The one two punch of emotions.

These two will seep deep into your pores and live on your body like a thin, almost invisible coating. They burrow into your psyche and take up residence in your heart and will rewire your whole system if you let them. They are dangerous and it turns out that holding onto the memory of old worries and fears – create new worries and fears. So, when life’s little surprises throw you a curve ball there is no hope of catching it and tossing it back. I don’t want them – the old or the new.

This is the year that I release worry and eradicate fear. I want a clean house. I’m ready to shed.

My goal is to lay old worries down in a final resting place. If my faith can’t carry me through it, it was not in God’s plan. I believe in a God whose grace and mercy is sufficient. I read it, recite it, sing it, pray it – but I don’t quite live it. Fear has no place in faith. I know that intellectually and spiritually, but on the real – I’m a little shaken even as I write these words. Sitting here thinking about my life without worry and fear – actually scares me! (I have probably revealed a bit too much there, but I’m all in now.) It’s the truth, and it’s why I am still writing.

What I know about myself – that 2009 taught me – is that I (we) can get too comfortable with “okay”. I was doing okay: the job, kid, apartment, a little cash, friends, church…kind of okay. I had learned to live with my “stuff” and function and be just “okay” enough not to be crazy. Which is crazy.

If I didn’t start breaking free from the “okayness” of my life this year, I would not have been able to recognize or accept the blessings – in all of their uncommon packaging – that came to me. But I have also become too “okay” with these crazy emotions – worry and fear. I have accepted them and made space for them in the space that I am supposed to be respecting, honoring and protecting (‘member that?). That can’t happen. They don’t really fit and they don’t belong and I don’t want them. And I will remove them. I’ve already started. This writing helps, and I’ll find more ways in 2010. Even if it’s not all the way licked 365 days from now – those emotions and other negative ones – will no longer be comfortable in my space. It’s my goal to shed that excess weight, that self-inflicted pressure, the old, stale, dead feelings.

To be me, only fresher.

Happy New Year!

(Or happy mid-year….depending on when you read this)

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