Did you, like me, grow up reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt or having it read to you? I’ve only recently realised what great life advice the authors offer: you can’t go over, you can’t go under, you can’t go around, you have to go through.
I think we all experience moments in life that we wish we could avoid. But whether you deal with it head on right then and there or dodge it for another 20 years, at some point or another, your only choice will be to feel your way through it.
In the last few years with my now ex-boyfriend, I played a good game of over, under and around. I worked hard at my job so I didn’t have any energy left to ask questions when I got home. I talked myself out of my feelings that something was fundamentally wrong between us, instead telling myself it was stress, boredom, the weather. I focused on an ever-shifting horizon of where I wanted us to end up, rather than right where I was standing.
Then the nicely paved road I was on turned into a field of mud. And I’m still wading through it. These days the mud has mostly dried and become compact, making it easy to navigate across. But sometimes it suddenly gives way to boggy ground. So in I go with my gumboots on. It’s not much fun at the time, feet sucking and slipping against the muck, but what else can I do? Turn back?
Going through is easiest when I surrender to the dark wet sludge and move with it, rather than slinging it around or sinking deeper into it. The funny thing is – the less I fight it, the cleaner my boots are and the lighter I feel when I get to the other side.