Fight…or Flight?

Written by Hollye Dexter

September 15, 2010

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Right? But some say when every door is slamming in your face, life is telling you you’re on the wrong path. Some say when life isn’t working no matter how hard you try, it’s time to surrender – let go and let God. And still some say persistence is the key- Never give up!
So which is it, people? And when do you know?
Because yes, my children are healthy and my marriage is strong, thank you, thank you thank you God. Or Life or Universe or Fate or Glenn Beck or whoever it is that’s controlling the Universe. (Please, dear readers, know that the Glenn Beck reference is sarcasm…my lame attempt to insert a joke into an unfunny circumstance.) But so much of my life right now is a freekin’ mess, and I can’t figure out how I got here. People I love have let me down. We’ve been hit so hard with financial disasters, one after the other, then Troy’s employer died. We’re still dealing with the crazy neighbors with the attacking dogs, court, and all that crap.
My heart is in the right place. That’s all I know for sure. I’m doing my very best to live an authentic life, to be kind, to love my children, my husband, my friends….I want to believe in some protective God looking out for us, but the loony tunes carrying the banner for religions all over this world have ruined it for me.
So wtf? Why is life such a mess sometimes?
When is it time to surrender – or fight – for your dreams?

I know so many of you are fighting battles of your own this year. You’ve shared your stories with me, and for that I feel priviliged. So share with me again, if you would. Share with me how you know…when to surrender, and when to hold on tight?

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  1. Unknown

    Just press on and don't look back. the future is brighter and those that are there for you and love you will continue to be there for you and love you. these circumstances aren't anything you could have controlled, it's all just bad timing and peoples issues that you've been put in the middle of. I can't say if everything will be OK, but you need to press on and continue the journey. its not an option to surrender and there is no need to fight…just LIVE! 🙂 love u.

  2. Anonymous

    I opt for believing in my truths, saying what I want and protecting my family. Move forward with positive thoughts, literally visualize a broom sweeping all other thoughts away. Know you truth of goodness and have a glass of wine with that anti-depressant (joke or not). Breathe and smell and see the joy in your daily life. Fuck the rest.

  3. vintagevampe

    I've been to hell and back more times than I can say these last few..oh hell, this last decade. I've lost too many people, made mistakes, hurt people around me, and have had days where I wanted to never wake up. But I did, and with each day, I found new reasons to want to. There was a time, not so long ago that I was queen of my world…I had it all, then lost it all. But I'm okay, and have become a better person for it. I can't guarantee everything will magically become better, but I can guarantee that you will get through it, and this too shall pass. I know from experience, for every bad thing, there is something better somewhere to balance it out. Never surrender Hollye…just hold on tight and let life amaze you.
    It works.. ; )

  4. Hollye Dexter

    I love you Pam. that was really brave and beautiful.
    I love you Erin. Just LIVE. Why didn't I think of that?
    I love you too Madge. I especially like the F-bomb part.

  5. melody

    Such rich and wonderful comments! I only JUST read this blog…
    and I can tell you this…There was a time when my son was a new born baby..the long awaited joy of our life..and my husband had to move to Ohio for his job..and I stayed behind because I had my little business going …money was horribly tight..and there were no jobs in Houston for him…so we were grateful for his finding a job..but broken hearted that we would be apart. ANyway..we made it thru..but it was beyond rough…and particularly hard on him..he was living in a rat trap car…and saving every dime so he could fly home on occasional weekends to be with us. Cut to now…and he told me once..whenever he feels down or grumpy or something goes wrong..he thinks of the days when he was a 4hour plane ride away..and it makes his attitude turn on a dime..because no matter what..we are together. AND thats what we believed in with all our hearts…just to get past that..and we would be together.
    I dont think life is meant to always be fighting..I think you do surrender.You surrender to the moment…You dont have to fight just surrender and say.."Ok Universe…right now..things suck…money is tight…people are screaming at us..we have this and that to deal with… but we are together…we love each other..and we will get thru this..and someday..THIS..ALL OF THIS will just be a little bit of history between us". Surrender to the moment Hollye…surrender and KNOW that it will all be ok..know it to the depth of your bones..and it will.
    At least this is what I believe..and so far…well… works.

  6. Anonymous

    The time to let go and surrender is right now in the midst of uncertainty, pain, and hard times. Just take a deep breath and trust my friend. Place it all in the palm of your hands right now, reach up like you are giving some entity bigger than us all every bit of the heavy baggage you have been carrying (whether that be God, Buddha, the Universe, Shiva, Tinkerbell, goddess, whoever…) and blow it off your hands towards the heavens. Now sleep well and watch all the miracles begin to come your way…It works for me every time ;-). <3

  7. Barbara

    It's all been said here very beautifully and lovingly, but to add another voice to the chorus, I have to say from my own experience that life is truly of hills and valleys. And I know that while your hills may not yet be as high as you deserve, I promise there is an ever increasing ascent. I know this because of your true voice, your grace under pressure, and your ability to find beauty and light in the darkness (see your last post).

    What is the "sign"? Well, you get them every day in little gifts — a kind word here, a pat on the back there. These are your signs that you should persevere, that you are on the right track.

    Disappointment isn't a sign to stop — it's a reality check. Nothing more…


  8. Pam M

    I guess it all depends on what the dream is, Hollye, and whether giving it up to take another path is really an option. Is it that there's a goal you have that you feel you might have to give up on to achieve other goals? Or is it more like that, when you try to be (and are!) so good, and kind, and loving, and diligent, and mindful, and honest and encouraging, and put so much positive energy out there in the world, then to be rewarded by a storm of shit feels like a flat out rebuke, a rejection even, and maybe you should just–what?

    If it's the first scenario, that's hard. I'll say that I have had occasion to wonder more than once if I gave up too soon when presented with a hard choice. Whether, if I had just had more faith or held on longer, I could have had perfection instead of security or closure or peace or whatever gifts or compensation letting go had to offer. I also have had occasion–fewer, and almost always with respect to relationships–to be affirmatively glad that I finally stopped trying to make something work, and let it go, even if that decision was enormously painful at the time. Except for relationships, though, I don't think I can think of anything about which I think "boy, I wish I hadn't tried so hard for so long on that." Maybe not even the relationships. I think maybe what happens is that we keep going as long as pursuing what we want doesn't keep us from getting what we need. When it does, maybe that's when it's time to think of an alternate, or maybe a parallel path.

    If it's the second scenario, well. All of the advice you've received is so beautiful, and rings so true to me. The disappointment and betrayal, and the crap, and the financial distress –I think everyone else has said it, really: this isn't about fight or flight, it's about knowing that you have the essentials of love and family, and that you WILL come out the other side of it. John and I have been through so much loss in the last eight years–my precious father in law, our beloved dog, jobs, our home above the Pacific, Nathan's dream school, and, above and through it all, an infant son. The last two years, as we pulled up stakes and dismantled everything we had built in LA in order for one of us to stay employed, and started all over again here, I have literally repeated to myself again and again "tuck and roll, tuck and roll"–because every earlier loss has demonstrated to us that, as long as we have each other, and now our son, we can survive anything. It has also demonstrated to us that we don't get to control the rest. We're just starting to come out of that tucked position now, and the three of us are still here together, holding hands, looking at what's next. So, hold on tight to what's really important–you're beautiful, bright spirit not least of all–and then go for the ride together.

    Much love to you.

  9. daniray

    Hollye, I'm hoping that this time my comment will go thru, this is a test

  10. daniray

    Ok so now that i've figured out how to comment I wanted to say that doors are always closing and opening in our lives. 12 years ago I was married and although we had difficulties, I thought we'd get thru but he wasn't strong enough to try and left. Humilation is an understatement. I've not found anyone since who I can trust. You are so lucky to have a partner who will not leave thru the rough times. Take care of you when you're sick or down and not think less of you. Like you said, when it's so dark, you never think you'll see the light again, then there's that pinpoint, that turns into bright sunlight and you move forward. Then an old friend calls, then another and you realize they've all got their own drama too but women friends are like our own personal Angels. Great Listeners, Compassionate, let us be who we are and just ventilate. Every night before bed I say that Angels will protect me, because I believe they're there and watching over us. They will help in many ways you may not notice at first and then you're surprised when something goes your way. All you have to do is ask. This year has been filled with challenges, from losing my job after 8 years to starting a new business that's now fizzling out, to worrying about breast cancer until my insurance would pay for a 3rd mammogram which was clear thank God. So now what, I have skills but need to find the strength to become unstuck. Sometimes I think I'll only move forward if I had one of those moving sidewalks in my apartment to get me out the door and say "hello world" here I am again – how many fastballs can you throw at me – I'm wearing my glove (I really think I should go out and buy a glove just so I can remember this quote). Here's one of my favorite quotes that I learned in yoga "All that I need and desire comes to me. All that I have, I give away. All that I give away, returns to me tenfold. I think if I really did what I wanted, I'd be living on a farm in another state, taking care of a bunch of animals with a sweet old-fashioned guy who loves me for me. Well I can dream…xoxo

  11. Hollye Dexter

    awwww…you are the best ladies, friends…some i've never met- unbelievable. You are all so dear to me, and ….how did I ever live without you? You all carry so much wisdom!
    I am eternally grateful Dani, Pam, Barb, Tracy , Melody, Madge, Erin – what GORGEOUS huge hearts you all have, what courage you display in your lives. What an inspiration you are to me. I'm going to hold tight to all your words…Thank you!


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