Give Up

Two years ago today, I gave up. I looked down at my swollen toes pinched into my black patent leather shoes—shoes I wore only because they looked and felt better, more grown up, than I did that day—and I stopped promising myself I would never drink again.

I said, only today, girl. Only the next few breaths.

I watched my feet take me to work and I did my thing, at my fancy job that made no sense anymore, if it ever did. I’d been trying for over a year to stop. Days here and weeks there, but it never stuck. I couldn’t, or I wouldn’t; I just didn’t know anymore.

It’s hard to want a thing you don’t actually want.

After work, I picked up my girl from school and went home to do the evening things. I didn’t promise myself anything about who I’d be the next day. I cut the cucumbers, wiped the sticky hair from the bathroom floor, dug some pajamas from the pile of clean clothes that never gets folded, and fought about a bath.

I didn’t try to be grateful or bold. I gave up on stopping my anger. Disappointment and sorrow, too. 

I made no grand proclamations and I didn’t ask for more help. I climbed into bed and didn’t sleep, but still woke before dawn and wrote from the empty place.

I kept writing.

I kept going.

I kept answering a call I didn’t understand.

Today the mess is still there. Hairs all over the floor and the laundry is never, ever done. But there’s a diamond in my heart full of grace and peace. I found it when I stopped looking everywhere else. I found it in the empty place.

Give up.

Give up the thing you cannot give up. Unclench your hands; you don’t have control anyway. Let life live you. Let yourself be breathed. The conditions will never be perfect.

Only everything is on the other side.