By Sica Schmitz
Founder of Bead & Reel, frequent speaker, writer, and sustainable stylist.
It would probably be an understatement to say that I’m obsessed with Florence + The Machine. (like, if there was a Florence cult I would 100% join it, but sadly I’m just way too busy with Bead & Reel and the Fair Trade Fashion Show to start one myself right now. Maybe next year). Her music has been the soundtrack, the solace to my life, with basically every important experience since 2009 having its own Florence song tied to it (“Drumming Song” will always be a specific on-set romance, “Dog Days Are Over” was always the first song I would play when I’d hit the road in my RV during those nomadic roaming years, and “Never Let Me Go” is what got me through 2012. And don’t even get me started on this summer with “The End Of Love”….).
I got to see her in concert again earlier this week and it was beyond magical. She’s always amazing but this tour, in the midst of her own journey into heartbreak and spirituality and sobriety, is was absolutely her most vulnerable, most powerful show yet, and since then I’ve spent several days basically just floating around in a dreamy trance, listening to her on repeat, and wondering if I should start wearing exclusively ethereal gowns, and also get bangs (yes?).
(I’m also scheduling my entire life around getting to see her again this month)
Now, I’ve been playing her albums (obsessively) for years and yet the other day, on shuffle, a song came on that I hadn’t really ever paid much attention to, and I – apparently for the first real time – listened to it and it just knocked the wind out of me.
(I don’t recommend listening to this song more than…. 60 times per day, otherwise you’ll end up doing a lot of sad baking resulting in a freezer full of vegan desserts, and also possibly dehydration).
It’s like she wrote this song sometime in 2015 knowing that one day in 2018 I would need it (because she’s a wonderful, thoughtful person like that). And there are so many lines in this breakup ballad that just got me, but especially:
But you had to have him, and so you did
Some things you let go in order to live
(insert ugly crying)
The idea of letting go has been heavy on my mind lately (despite Florence’s previous 2011 advice of “Never Let Me Go” … we’re all grown and changed since then). Letting go has been the focus of my prayers, the mantra of my meditations, the theme of my daily yoga practice. And I totally hate it.
But this year especially I’ve had to – had the opportunity to? – let go, a lot. I’ve had to let go of things I loved, things I liked, things I really really wanted to keep. Things I knew weren’t right for me, but I clung to desperately anyway (I’m not just talking about these darling vegan oxford shoes that were just like, ½ size too small for me and I tried everything to make them work or to make my toes shorter but we just couldn’t fit together, no matter how hard we tried). But I also let go of things that I was quite ready to release (like, Los Angeles, and most of my closet), yet, even if you’re ready, even if it’s right, letting go can still be bittersweet. Change is still a process.
So, whether or not you’re ready to let go, maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s time to make space in your life for something new. Especially if holding on is literally hurting your feet, or heart, or keeping your forehead way too exposed (did I mention I’m thinking of getting bangs?)
“Let go or be dragged”
– Possibly a Zen proverb depending on who you ask and how far you dig into the internet –
OKAY BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU SHOULD LET GO?
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Is having this (object, person, extra hair) in my life making my life better, or worse?
- What is having this in my life costing me (money for storage, space in your closet, time spent organizing… your sanity)?
- What would I need to do to feel ready to let go (get help from a friend, find a good hair stylist, read Women Who Run With The Wolves, createthe ultimate Florence + The Machine breakup mix)?
WHAT TO KEEP
Just because you can let go, doesn’t mean you should. When to hold on:
- Things you need at least once a week (this should include your dignity)
- Your favorites (this should not include your ex-lovers)
- Sentimental items: I know a lot of advice says to get rid of things that you haven’t used in a long time, and I think in general that’s a good idea, but not always. If something is very meaningful, very special, or makes you feel very joyful, by all means, please keep it (this also should not include your ex-lovers).
WHAT TO LET GO
- Anything you don’t actually like: don’t settle
- Anything that doesn’t fit: our bodies change. our lifestyles change. maybe he’s not vegan…
- Any unnecessary duplicates: there are only so many pairs of dark wash skinny jeans, or white t-shirts, or emotionally unavailable men that a women needs. one is usually enough
HOW TO LET GO MINDFULLY
Our culture of waste is a huge issue (environmentally and emotionally), so when it’s time to let go, don’t just toss something. Instead:
- Swap: here’s my easy guide
- Sell: try Ebay, PoshMark, ThredUp, or TheRealReal
- Donate to a women’s shelter or individual in need: here’s one of the places I love
- Gift it to a friend (probably not an ideal solution for letting go of you ex-suitors)
- Hold an extravagant full moon release ceremony with fire, music (obviously I recommend Florence…maybe start with “Shake It Out”), and say a heartfelt “thank you” for your time together – the good and the lessons. And then… let go.
I wish you, your closet, your heart, and your hair much space, and lightness, and freedom.