I’ve been very contemplative lately
(Oh really? Just lately T? Cause you are kind of contemplative all of the time)
Yhea that’s true.
I think about a lot of stuff.
A lot of the time.
Whether I’m thinking about Crossfit and how to lift more efficiently (read: Faster) or weight loss (how do I get back down to 165 and is that really a good thing?), or Aspergers (how is it going to manifest itself today) or Gender (did I just swing my hips on purpose…oh for fuck sake do I feel like a girl or a boy today? Quick flex! Okay back to feeling like a boy), I’m always thinking.
We’re moving very soon and I spend a lot of time thinking about whether this is going to work and if we’re going to be moving again this time next year. This is the third time in as many years that Mimi and I have packed our things into (not so small) cardboard boxes and hauled them from one location to another in hopes this…this is the place. The place we love. The place we feel safe. The place that feels like our own. When I moved here from the west coast I came with few belongings. However you’d be surprised what you can stuff into a Honda Element. That being said, most of “our” stuff was still mostly “her” stuff with a little “my” stuff thrown in to the mix. Not having a job the first year and a half means that when you want to buy new “our” stuff it’s very seldom new and comes with a mix of “that used to be someone else’s” stuff.
Our home is a mish mash of stuff. Problem is we’re downsizing in space and that means all that stuff has to be thoughtfully and carefully decided whether it will remain “hers, mine, it used to be their’s but now it’s our” stuff. We’re moving not out of necessity (because we love our neighborhood and more importantly our friends that reside above us) but rather because we both agree that we deserve to live somewhere that we love and we want the people we pay money too to love the space we rent as much as we do. That’s not happening where we are…it wasn’t happening where we were before this place. Both times the owners had their emotional baggage sort of get in the way of keeping their property in a “man this place is LOVED” upkeep. Where we are now is especially upsetting because, as we both come from living with bouts of debilitating depression, we know what it looks like when others are also experiencing that dark cloud. Our living space is a direct correlation to the owner’s mental health and to be totally honest, it’s a pretty dark cloud that’s settled around us.
One of the things we’ve done in preparation for this new move (and to make this new space feels like OURS) is letting go of old furniture/items and replacing them with brand spanking new furniture/items. We have things we’ve purchased months ago sitting in our living room untouched so that when we walk into our new space at the end of the month it will feel like Christmas in July. A new couch. A new dining room set. New (and color coordinating) bathroom set. New (and color coordinating) dishes and kitchen items…
The hard part is letting go of all the old stuff.
And that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. Letting go. Having to look at something and HEARTFULLY decide whether I’m keeping something because it brings me joy or rather keeping it because I’m trying to hold on to something…anything. A memory. A feeling. An emotion that keeps me tied to a particular person or event. What I’m finding is those things that I think I hold dear to my heart are in fact keeping me attached to a memory/feeling I’m afraid to let go of or I keep something for fear that I’ll lose an attachment to a person.
My mother’s china.
My mother’s teacup/saucers.
Children’s books I bought with Mitch.
Magazines that I brought from the West Coast.
Emotional Chains that I’ve refused to break because I think it then detaches me from people/places that I miss. They take up space. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used the china since my mother died 25 years ago. The layer of dust on the teacups thicker than the memory of looking at them as a child wondering why she kept them locked away instead of drinking tea with them. Children’s books unread because when I look at them I’m slammed against a brick wall of guilt wondering if Mitch is still angry with me and hoping he’s taking good care of Penny. Magazines that sat unread with the never ending “One of these days I’m going to actually use a recipe out of the latest issue” promise that 99% of the time was never kept.
It’s really fucking hard to let go. You look at something and think “okay this time is different…this time I’ll use (insert something…anything…here) more. I won’t let it sit. I won’t put it back in the box (lifting lid) and forget about it (placing it back in the box…)”
I think weight loss is the same process of letting go. My relationship with food as a child held fast into my adulthood because I was afraid to let go. I was afraid to shed the fat that was the emotional chain that bound me to memories. Memories that food made me feel safe…while simultaneously making me feel so shitty about myself that the only thing I could do was continue to shove more food into my mouth. Then finding some relief by shoving a spoon down my throat so I could start the vicious cycle again.
Funny thing; every time I decide to let something go, I’m wracked with guilt until it leaves my life at which point I’m so relieved I can’t believe I held on to a particular thing for so long. My fat included. I remember after lugging around a huge antique Victrola and the hundreds of records for the first 10 years after my mother died I decided enough was enough. I cried for weeks leading up to selling it. Maybe I would play it more (I never played it). Maybe I could just keep it for a little longer (and possibly lug it up another 5 floors if I move). Then I found a very sweet woman who was buying it for her husband because he gave his to another family member and in the end missed it so much but didn’t have the heart to ask for it back. As she drove away with my mother’s beloved Victrola she took with it all the memories that left me feeling guilty. My mother would be angry (T, she died 10 years ago), What if I want to play it later (really T? You used to swear at that thing almost daily)…That woman emptied a space that I could fill with something I loved (like a big wooden chair that was such an eye sore but that I LOVED beyond words)…
The same things happened when I finally broke up with my fat. I was letting go of my memories of “not good enough“, “you’ll never do it“, “you’re too lazy“, “you are NOT worth it” and as each pound left, it took those memories with it. Giving me permission to fill that space with “holy shit you are finishing a marathon…a half iron man…did you just fucking double under 50 times in a row….LIFT THAT FUCKING HEAVY WEIGHT LIKE NO ONE’S EFFING BUSINESS!!!!!!!”
In this process of moving I’m being gentle in my process of letting go. Breaking emotional chains that take up space that is now reserved for who I am today and the relationship I choose to have with Mimi. The magazines have gone to a new home and I bet the new reader is perusing each page deciding which recipe to try first. The China is up for sale in hopes that a new family will set a beautiful table and sit together in ways that I longed for as a child because my new family has helped me forged new stronger chains of memories. Those children’s books will probably stay just because I have a feeling there’s a few itty bittys in my life that will sit for hours as I read them (forging the best chains of attachments I can think of)…the tea sets will probably go after the move is over and I can take the proper pictures (I boxed them up in that “wellllllllll….maybe I’ll use them……oh for fuck sake!” mode of thinking)…I know they need to find a new home.
As we unpack at the end of the month, in our new place (which by the way is a brand new building that was just completed this month. Read: no one will have ever touched anything in our apartment except for us) the new things that are replacing the things of old are for making new memories because I’ve allowed myself to free up space…
Both in Heart