Gotta hold tight baby.

January 22, 2014


In childbirth they tell you to let your jaw release so your pelvic floor can relax and you can open.

I have chronic jaw pain and pelvic floor pain. I am a holder. A stuffer. The physical manifestation is the way I lock all the things that are easier not to talk about inside two really special places of my body.

Gotta hold tight baby.

Don’t tell the truth of how you feel, they will leave you.

It isn’t safe to say how that made you feel, you’ll be told you are wrong. Shamed.

So maybe you aren’t happy now, but who said happy was your thing? Just be safe, lock it up.

Gotta hold tight baby.

No one will ever see it, you’ve hidden it so well.

Make sure thier feelings come first, protect them from yours, yours aren’t safe.

Your sensitivity will drive them away. You are too much for them. You are too needy. Just do for them, do for them, do for them. 

Gotta hold tight baby.

And then I went into physical therapy for my pelvic floor and everything started to flood through my body. Each session after the muscles would be triggered into release I would go home and want to crawl into the fetal position and cry. But I wouldn’t. I held it all together.

Gotta hold tight baby.

My world started to shift with each session. I couldn’t hold the way I used to. My body was being taught that it could release or relax or just be its own beautiful self.

I started to tell my truth. I got uncomfortable. I made others uncomfortable. I challenged the ways I showed up in the world. I didn’t know what I wanted and somehow am still alive in that unknowing.

Opportunities for learning boundary work showed up, over and over. It began to exhaust me and challenge me again, in a deeper way and all I knew to say was…

Gotta hold tight baby.

Telling your truth hurts others.

You can’t be nurturing if you put your needs first.

Run. You aren’t safe.

Gotta hold tight baby.

I remember being in 3rd or 4th grade and being picked on by a group of girls. I was the sensitive one and it impacted me deeply. I internalized being left out from a group, it became unsafe for me to share my feelings. I had to pretend it didn’t matter. I had to hide my tears. My sensitivity left me raw and open and vulnerable to pain.

Gotta hold tight baby.

Every full moon I think about release. It just isn’t my thing. I’ve tried floating things out to sea, burning words, meditating. I’m a holder.

My physical therapist (who I have not been to see in a long time and I so need to go back, little note to self) said to me once about my anxiety, “It isn’t happening to you, it is happening within you.”

Um, hello.

I started practicing more boundary work, shaking each time I had to face it.

The thing about not taking on someone’s feelings as your own. Yep, my new practice. Hard as shit but holy life shifting.

It isn’t happening to you, it is happening within you.

I get to decide who holds my truth. It isn’t all for everyone. Some of it is mine, parts of it can be shared. Safety allows for truth.

My sensitivity is a superpower if I learn to slow down. Stay grounded. Feel my way through.

Sometimes it is going to get tough. Speaking my feelings. Sharing my vulnerability. This is OK. This is a practice. I will screw up and start again.

It isn’t happening to you, it is happening within you.

I don’t have to release the holding. I have to integrate the feelings inside into my body in ways that don’t cause pain. I have to learn that no one makes me this way, that I have the control over it.

That voice that says, gotta hold tight baby may never go. But she is being loved up by the new one reminding me daily, multiple times a day that it is happening within me. That it is mine. I can hold tight or I can open, open, open.

Gotta hold tight to your spirit baby.

Those feelings? They are beautiful. They are within you. They are walking you home.

*** *** ***


This post is part of the Let it Go Project: a collection of stories leading up to a beautiful releasing ritual, hosted by Sas Petherick on the 30th of January. All the details for this free event are here. And you can take part! Be inspired by other posts in this project, and share what you are ready to let of of on the Let it Go Project Community Page!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Sas January 22, 2014 at 2:26 am

beautiful! i love how you softened your body and made room for it all.
you are magic xxx


Hannah January 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Thank you for the invitation. xo


Jessica Schneider January 22, 2014 at 10:17 am

This so resonates with me and my experience of working through my past shit, Hannah!!!
Thank you for being so vulnerable and honest and true!!!


Hannah January 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

oh the past shit, loves to keep churning up until we are ready to move through it!!!


leonie wise January 22, 2014 at 5:29 pm

oh lordy do i hear this.

thanks so much for sharing


Laurie January 24, 2014 at 10:57 am

Hannah, This is so beautiful. I love the part about not having to release the holding. In a coaching group yesterday we were talking about “structure” and that we all create our own structures and have our ways of best working within structures – that structure can be responsive, and we can decide what it looks like.

I felt that when I was reading about The Holding. That the holding can be responsive. Hold tight or open, open, open. Your choice with all of the freedom that comes with choice. Beautiful.


elizabeth January 25, 2014 at 3:16 pm

this is so beautiful and strong (like you!), Hannah!!!! thank you for sharing — xo


Cel January 26, 2014 at 11:21 am

I’m struggling with learning to let go too, and not be responsible for other’s feelings, so I totally know how difficult that can be. The shame I feel for having emotions too, that’s another thing I’m battling. This whole making yourself into a stronger person thing is tough!


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