The following was written in 2010; nothing has been changed. Like what you’ve read? Enjoy my #tb (throwback) blog series as I count down the days until my second book, How to Make Lemonade, is released on December 2nd!
DAY 7: TRASH THE EVIDENCE
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Today, I was handed my most challenging task yet—getting rid of everything relationship-related. I was instructed to box up pictures, ticket stubs, clothing items, cards, notes, etc.
So I did. But it was not easy.
I got a box and packed it with ticket stubs, books he bought me, notes, recipes I cooked for him, a photo album, sidewalk chalk I used to ask him on a date, the napkin I put my number on…I even gave away a box of his cigars to the guys at work.
But the most difficult thing to get rid of was the bottle of wine he brought me for our first date. I kept it and moved it with me and now I had to pack it away for good.
Now would be a good time to explain my fear of baggage. Not only do I hate getting rid of the physical leftovers of a relationship, I hate creating it, too. Sounds crazy, right? Ever since my first breakup at 16, I’ve had a difficult time with the act of throwing out The Stuff. It’s such a sad, but necessary, ritual.
Sometimes, I only have a few things to throw out, other times more. But I notice the more and more relationships that end, the less stuff I have leftover. I have a fear of ending up with too many photos, too many ticket stubs, dried flowers, notes…too many wine bottles if you will.
In a nutshell, I’m terrified of having too many memories. Yes, I know, I sound like a crazy person. It’s impossible to have a meaningful relationship without creating memories—the good and the bad; it’s just part of a learning process. Maybe when the right man comes into my life, I won’t be afraid to share lots of memories; because I’ll know they won’t haunt me later.
If I could box up my bitterness; I might be getting somewhere. But I can’t—I just have to face it like a big girl.
So I filled up the designated box with everything I could find in my apartment that reminded me of him. And although The Frisky said I didn’t have to throw the box away, I did. I needed to.
It’s something I’ve always done; a cleansing ritual. However, this meant another trip to the dumpster—a multilayered fear (especially after yesterday). So I slowly made the walk to the dumpster; you would have thought I was walking to the electric chair.
Upon arrival, I found my friends again—the raccoons. But they let left me alone today. After a few deep breaths, I threw away three years of the physical baggage.
Telling people was one thing, but this, this was not a fun task. My walk home was hard; I held back tears and hoped the good feelings would come soon.
I haven’t cried much during this process. It’s not that I’m not sad, and I’m definitely not happy, I just feel cold. At least once or twice a day, my mind floods with memories that make me sad, but then they twist into anger. No wonder they call it a roller coaster.
I did keep two things from the relationship that I couldn’t part with—but I’m keeping them a secret. For now, I put them away, because I can’t bring myself to see them. However, one day I may not associate them with my loss. And if I do, I can get rid of them then.
My apartment may be without a boyfriend, but it’s filled with things that are mine; memories that are mine; pictures of my friends and family who will never leave me—and I’m forever thankful for that. Today may have been difficult, but I’m taking it one day at a time (baby steps), and I know tomorrow is a new day.