I’ll preface this post with where I work because I think it will put all of this in perspective. I work at a museum, and though I don’t work with objects every day, I feel that’s important to mention.
With that, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I keep things around a little longer than I should; not everything, mostly photos, cards, and other little things. Every once in a while when I’m looking for some document or file, I sit and look through the cards from family members over the years, browse photos, and just be plain old nostalgic about stuff. Nine times out of ten this is a harmless activity and even leads to me throwing some things away that I felt the need to keep for one reason or another who knows how long ago. That other time, though, is rough.
Today, I started thinking about my ex, which I’ve been doing more lately for some reason. I think it’s because we haven’t talked in exactly a year. When she moved out, I did my best to change our apartment around to make it my own, throw some stuff out I didn’t want, and try to rebuild. But, there were some things – cards, photos, yada yada – that I wasn’t ready to let go. I took them all and put them into this kitchen cabinet I never use. Every so often, I’d remember they were there and I’d read through them, get sad, shake my head, and put them back.
This time was different.
I sent my good friend a text and asked him, “what the hell am I supposed to do with these things? Is it bad that I still have them?” He responded with this,
“She doesn’t miss them and they’re not serving you any good purpose.”
That hit hard, but it was what I needed to hear.
There were all sorts of cards from big moments in my life, all from my early 20s. Our 7th-month-aversary, when I moved in with her after undergrad, when I got my first job, my 25th birthday, every Valentines Day – it was all there. As a historian and museum employee, I felt these were important milestones in my life that I wanted to remember. Another person’s perspective on critical moments as I was growing into the
piece of shit man I am today. I’m not even sure she knew I kept them and how important they were to me. (Spoiler alert – that was the problem.)
So, as part of my aforementioned routine of looking through old stuff and being nostalgic, I started a pile of things I was going to throw away. When I was done, I went to that cabinet in the kitchen and threw them on the pile, then put it all in the garbage.
If I’m being honest, it hurts. I read through them one last time, so all those words are fresh in my head, even the ones from years ago. It hurts because I’m the one who made her leave. It hurts because I know she has those feelings for someone else. The only saving grace here is that there’s someone else who feels that way about her and probably does a better job than I did at letting her know.
There’s a song by Seahaven (video below), that puts my feelings together pretty perfectly,
“I don’t even want you back.
No, I would never want to risk something like that.
‘Cause I lost faith in myself,
when I turned away from the one
with the longest stretch of embracing arms to hold, to hold me.”
This past year was tough. I went through another tough “break up” getting let go from my band and work continues to be a drain on me mentally and emotionally. I’ve been trying to make some changes happen lately, and it’s felt good. I keep thinking about what else I can do to feel better. This was definitely one of those things, though I think it may take a while for me to feel the benefits.
Here’s to healing, one way or another.