You Can’t Fly When Someone Else Is Standing On Your Neck

Self-Care Starts With You: You Can't Fly When Someone Else Is Standing On Your Neck

It wasn’t blatant or obvious but over time I realized I simply couldn’t move forward and I knew something was holding me back. I felt like a large turkey being stepped on by Al’s boots down in the barn just before Thanksgiving… Al was our family’s farm hand, general contractor and all around family clown. He also killed the birds. When I realized I was feeling like a feathered friend, I began looking around for mud boots.

Inside I did what every self-aware, seemingly enlightened adult does these days and peered into my belly button: I answered a million and one personal growth questions, played the “self-doubt” “self-hatred” and then the “narcissistic, entitled” card (News flash: all to no avail). Outside, I went to hours of therapy. I put on good luck charms, visited psychics and healers, sat down to confession and peered over my shoulder for hexes and voodoo dolls thinking someone had it out for me. That muddy boot just wouldn’t go away.

What I eventually realized is that when we’re stuck, we look to blame others. But when it comes to relationships, being stuck, held back, stepped on, can truly be caused by those around us. 

I was being stopped. It felt like being stepped on. 

Everything I tried to do fell apart: like working creatively with others and then all of sudden, after mixing my personal and professional life, my relationships on the job fell apart and I had to leave. Or being asked to audition for a role and then introducing my family to the producer and losing the gig.

This happens all the time in marriages and it’s one of the major reasons I feel marriages break down. People change, we grow, our natural boredom with the status quo forces us to mix it up, try something new, take a class, find some inspiration. We were never made to stay the same for the next minute never mind the next decade or two or three.

In marriage, we choose to love for the long term or as I like to say, we choose to ever love.

Championing the growth of our spouses means we are secure enough in our own skin to enjoy the ride. As one of us grows and changes the other gets a piece of the spoils.  

If we’re caught up in control, envy, competition, outright jealousy or even simple, petty and mean-spirited behavior toward the one we say we love, it seeps into the energy field around us. We’re able to disrupt the growth of another. We’re able to step on their chances for a great life. In the meantime, we ruin our chances of having a safe, supportive and enjoyable relationship with the person we claim we ever love.

Instead of being the muddy boot, how about getting the hose? Where could you take a breath of fresh air? When was the last time you sat down with your spouse and championed their success? Celebrated their raise, traded off on evening classes or supported a new physical trainer? Turkeys are really stupid creatures, they follow the rest of the flock. They also have a really short lifespan unless they’re given a Presidential pardon at Thanksgiving. 

So I’m asking, how can you step out of your comfort zone and grant a pardon for the one you sleep with this holiday season? In so doing, your relationship can become stronger, more exciting, and your spouse’s opportunities could grant your marriage a chance to breathe.  


Laura Bonarrigo

New York, NY