Day 180: Permission/The Starting Gun


To some it may sound like a limiting word. A word tied to some kind of restriction. A word to rebel against.

To me, it’s a word that provides comfort and ease. Permission means, it’s OK. Permission means that I’m allowed.

That’s all well and good when you’re a child. Waiting for permission is expected, it’s good manners, it’ll save you from getting your ass handed to you sometimes. But, in adulthood, waiting for permission can really hold you back. In my life, I’m always waiting for the OK. The go-ahead. And, because of that fear of failure, the fear of jumping without the thumbs-up from the guy with the parachute, I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities.

I’ve done good work that could have been great work, if only I’d just jumped out into uncharted waters without a life vest. I spent so much energy worrying about how I could screw things up that I never really gave them a shot. I wanted that guarantee. The seal of approval that said, without a  doubt, everything is going to go off without a hitch.

The longer I’m sober and the more I learn and grow, I see that taking chances and depending on something other than that permission to go forward, makes life much more exciting. It literally makes the world bigger and the amount of possibility before me, endless. No one ever made history waiting for permission. So, why am I still waiting for it?

In therapy today, my therapist noted my need  for this invisible permission from an invisible someone. And, at the end of our session, she “gave me permission” to cope how I need to cope with my life. She granted it to me, this “permission,” to do this thing that I’m not even sure I need to do. And, in the moment she said it, it seemed ridiculous, almost hokey. But, as I think about it now, I feel like a road block has been lifted. Here is this adult, facing me, another adult, and telling me: Do what you have to do, it’s OK. No one’s going to be ruined if it doesn’t go as planned.

It was like I’d been waiting all this time for a starting gun that would never go off. And, there I stood, at the start line, legs arched in anticipation, waiting for a race that would never begin.

Sobriety has given me my life back. And, talking with my therapist made me see that I don’t need any one’s permission anymore. I’m on my own, with plenty of help, it’s true, but, it’s my race to run. So, there won’t be a starting gun. It will have to be my feet and legs that take me forward. And, it will be those same feet that sprint across the finish line, on their own accord.

I learned today that I don’t need permission from someone else to start a race that I’m going to run. It’s all me. Start to finish. From here on out.


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