When faced with pain two roads stretch out before you, each begging you to hurtle yourself down it in an attempt to let go of, to escape, the emotions that threaten to consume your very being. The first is a negative, sorrowful road full of heartbreak and dulled tears, whilst the second is a wistfully nostalgic road littered with maybes and perhaps’s that never fully bloomed. Those are the classic types of “letting go”, understood by most, revered by few. In order to elevate this concept to an art however, the event had to have once been a true part of you, you had to have almost breathed a future, a life, where this significant thing had happened to you. There’s the kind of longing after a loss that makes you angry, that seeks vengeance against whatever was taken away from you, but that’s merely wounded pride. Soon it will fade, like a bruise, leaving behind no permanent mark or scar. It’s the anguished longing that cuts the deepest, leaving you staring up at the blank ceiling at night, with nothing but a twisting heart. It’s a kind of pain that never fades, instead you learn to live with it, to bury it in apathy and turn your head away from couples on the subway because overall, more than anything, it’s a feeling of “I can’t”. I can’t do this, I can’t love, I can’t feel, because each movement is painful and every time I am reminded of what I no longer have my heart freezes a little bit more. It gnaws away at you, piece by piece until your hands begin to shake and the shadows of your face begin to take on a life of their own. You waste away beneath a thundercloud, a torrential downpour you can’t begin to understand the ebb and flow of because if you did it wouldn’t feel so much like drowning. You feel an oddly pressing sense of claustrophobia even standing in the empty parking lot of a big box store at 3 AM, trying to remember why you’re there. But then, one day, as crazy as it seems, as dark and endless and hopeless as it all seemed, the pain begins to leave your body the way snow melts in March. First it trickles away slowly, but soon all at once, pouring away from you like a waterfall, leaving you baptized in the strength of freedom. In living it you let it go, and in letting go you finally break through to the other side, stronger and wiser than you were before. For in the end, the art of letting go is indeed an art; in that the final goal cannot be seen until it has been completed. Art is flexible, it can become anything, take nearly any amount of time, and will always maintain an innate value because it contains a bit of the artist’s soul. The only thing that an art form asks of us is patience, an ability to keep going and understand that the process makes the piece as well as the artist. That’s really letting go, in that when you have gained something from something there’s a kind of power that comes from understanding your worth and pain.