I recently gave myself permission to go to New York.
I’ve always been drawn to the idea of the Big Apple. The history. The architectural glamour. The diversity and the hardcore realness of it all. I’ve had fantasies of seeing a Yankees/Jays game in Yankee Stadium during fall for years. And wouldn’t you know! There it was on the schedule! What are the odds? It was the perfect storm. I had the means, I had the friends, and I had the opportunity. But there I was, 38 years old, still finding reasons why I shouldn’t or couldn’t go. Well actually that’s a load of crap. I was busy finding reasons why I wouldn’t go. It’s important to realize that there’s a difference. When I did an inventory of reasons why I wouldn’t, it became clear to me that nobody was physically holding me back from going. I was holding myself back with excuses that were really just ways to avoid guilt.
So I said to myself, “Black Raven,” (because talking to yourself in third person is totally normal), “Why do you have wings?” And that’s when I granted myself the permission to fly to New York.
Now I know this sounds exciting and like something you want to do too! Why should Black Raven have all the fun? But don’t get all crazy here. You can’t just jump into allowing yourself to do shit! You’ve likely been denying yourself parole from Guilt Prison for many years now and it’s sort of something you have to acclimate yourself to. Don’t attempt to do this at home. The stunts you are about to read about have been performed by a practiced professional.
I’ve been doing a lot of this lately. “Practicing Permission.” At first, I started small. I began talking back to that asshole voice inside my head that would rain on my parade every time I thought about doing something I really wanted to do. At first, I began taking naps whenever I damn well pleased. Then, I spent money on books that inspired me instead of saving for good tires. (Wheeee!!! this is fun!!!) Before I knew it, I was taking long silent walks (alone, without my kids! SHAME!) and leaving the dishes in the sink so I could write. Slowly, I became more comfortable telling that inner asshole to just fuck off.
It’s important to remember that inner asshole is not you. It is every person who ever made you feel as though you couldn’t make decisions for yourself. And let me tell you, we are all surrounded by these people. They are everywhere. Assholes, as far as the eye can see, all bound by their own unmet expectations and impossible ideals. Don’t be an asshole to yourself! There are enough of them out there to contend with.
When we’re kids, we’re not allowed to do much. We need to ask permission. A lot. “Mom, can I ride my bike without a helmet? ” NO. “Mom, can I eat this KitKat bar for lunch?” NO. “Mom, can I have a puppy?” HELL NO. Kids need rules and structure and routine, right? It gives them a baseline for what’s expected, what’s right, and what’s wrong. Because they don’t know yet. They’re kids. It’s our job as parents and adults to teach them what to do and what not to do, because we’ve learned. We’ve lived. We’re brimming with wisdom and life experience.
So why the hell are we still asking permission to do things as adults? Hopefully we’ve learned by now to trust in our own decisions. We should know what’s right and what’s wrong. Why are we still subconsciously looking for permission from our families, our partners, our friends, and every one else in our personal fishbowls to do the things we want or need or choose to do?
That’s where Guilt comes in. It’s the opposite of Permission. As women, caretakers and mothers, we are asking so much of ourselves. We are catering to our family’s every need and ignoring our own. We are not giving ourselves permission to even take a nap or a solitary walk or a trip to the mall alone and if we do, we feel varying degrees of guilt. Guilt which causes us to prioritize our selfish need to be admired and required over our need for time with ourselves. We are sacrificing the freedom of our unique spirits in the pursuit of feeling needed, or adequate, or enough. We are looking to the admiration of others to fill the space inside ourselves meant for fulfillment.
It’s not just mothers, either. I’ve noticed this about most adults I know. We know what we SHOULD do. We know what we are EXPECTED to do. But do we really pay attention to what we WANT to do? A lot of us do, we’re just to afraid to give ourselves PERMISSION to do it. We don’t want to break the rules or fail to meet expectations. We don’t want to rock the boat. We don’t want to feel the guilt.
I’ve been learning to trust myself to know what I want and what I need. I allowed myself the permission to take time for to explore my passions and interests. To prioritize my personal development and take my time identifying my own personal goals and ideals. I took the time to examine my standards and re-evaluate my desires and motivations. I gave myself permission to reprioritize my life, and permission to change my mind. I told the inner assholes to beat it. I found that empty space and looked at it straight on until I figured out how to fill it.
I acknowledged my own personal evolution. And I wanted to go to New York. So I did. And I loved every second of it.
Give yourself permission to use your wings and live your life. Please. If there is one thing you ever need to master, it’s to saying YES to yourself. Allow yourself to breathe, to think, to take a break. Give yourself permission to rise from who you are to who you want to be.
Allow yourself to live.
Allow yourself to fly.
What’s YOUR New York?