I’m not really sure how to write this post. But I know it’s one I want to write.
I began my process of packing – for my recent move – well over two months ago. I knew I wanted to start early because I wanted to do a thorough round of organizing and purging before the boxes actually came out. I wanted to take a really serious look at what I was holding onto and get rid of the things I no longer needed. I really wanted this move to be a fresh start.
Just as I was beginning this task of organizing, I was also beginning to read, “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo – a gift from Dan in anticipation of what he knew I would be getting into.
Kondo’s book helped significantly through this phase of going through old papers, books, schoolwork etc. Her words “does this spark joy?” echoed in my head each time I contemplated whether or not to keep an item. It really does help! By dictating whether that thing you’ve been holding onto actually gives you that little niggly warm feeling in your gut, it becomes remarkably clear as to whether you need something in your life or not.
“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”
A lot of items I pulled out came as no surprise, as I had already put them into my pre-planned discard pile. Some items however, did surprise me. Items… which saturated my previous seven years.
Recipe after recipe taken from “health” magazines…
Seven day meal plans…
Low calorie this… low calorie that…
Basically any article that boasted a sense of regiment or new discipline for how to be… “better.”
All ripped out of the various subscriptions I belonged to and saved. Page after page after page.
Years worth of notebooks I carried with me everywhere I went. Like my own personal bibles. There for me to write down anything that was on my mind. A good idea, in theory….
But page after page after page of
Weight lifting splits
“Things to make” lists
Restart after restart of “Time to reset! No more….” followed by lists of foods I was allowed to eat and things that were… now… in oblivion
All my beautiful journals. Filled with so many pages of dark, dark moments of desperation and hopelessness, anger and abuse.
Each and every single one.
And, most sentimental..
My box of cards, which began as a place to put the mail I received during my time in the hospital, and then continued on to be the place of keeping all cards with sentimental value.
Marie Kondo writes:
“By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past.”
I had kept all of these books, these magazine clippings, these journals all through the past seven years. I had taken them with me through each and every move I made. They got their own moving boxes, amidst an already abundant pile. They took up their own shelves amidst already overcrowded living quarters. They were always just non-negotiables. They were a part of me and there was no element within myself that even considered getting rid of them.
“It’s like resetting your life and settling your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.”
But this time, something was different.
I threw out the food logs.
I threw out all the magazine recipes and clippings.
I threw out the anxiety books.
Something in me knew that this time, I no longer needed these things in my life. Looking through all those pages, I didn’t want to be reminded of that dark place my brain once was.
But that’s not to say I said goodbye with spite.
I thanked them. I thanked them for all that they did for me.
Because in their time, they served a very important purpose. They were giving me what I thought I needed. They provided me with a sense of safety. The only kind of safety I knew. And for that, I need to thank them for being there for me, and helping me the only way I knew how to be helped.
“You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.
Let them go, with gratitude.”
I kept the journals.
And I kept the cards.
As I began to rummage through my box of cards, I came across the letters my uncle began writing me, each week, once I’d entered the hospital. Then I began slowly opening the cards I received in the mail from friends and family, telling me they were thinking of me; praying for me; wishing I would find even a moment of happiness in my day. And then I had to stop.
I can’t go through these cards.
I tried to go through them, like everything else, to discard the ones I wanted to keep and purge what I did not.
But I couldn’t. The tears quickly became too much.
The feelings that come up – of this time, and who I was – are just too hard. And this may always be the case.
These cards, and these letters, mean more to me than I could ever know how to express. Even if they bring up the deepest pains. It may forever be too hard to go back and read them, but I simply cannot discard them.
Recovery has been on my mind a bit more recently. Where I’m at is a topic to think though on another day. But I know I am in a new place. I am not that same person from 3… 5… 7 years ago who held onto these items as if they were a part of her. Because they aren’t a part of me anymore. They are a part of who I was, and what I needed during that very difficult time of my life. So this time as I was packing…I left them behind me. I thanked them, and I let them go.Packing up more than just boxes. Saying goodbye to things that were part of my past. #eatingdisorder #recovery #letgo #moveon #edrecovery Click To Tweet
Have you ever held onto things that were a part of your past?
Have you ever had difficulty letting things go?
Do you keep cards?
I am 200% not a relationship expert. Let’s get that out right now…