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Letting Go

June 10, 2011

I was out watering my plants this morning, when it hit me like a ton a bricks: I have a problem letting go.

Perhaps you need some background to understand why watering my plants made me realize that I have a problem letting go. Well, images speak louder than words, so, I present to you my porch garden…

I know. Clearly, they are all dead. This is not a surprise to me. They’ve been dead for a long time. But I continue to water them, in hopes that by some miracle a leaf or even a bloom will appear on any of these plants.

The tall plant is named Lola. I bought her last summer from Whole Foods, on a particularly sad day after we cancelled the wedding. I remember walking through Whole Foods, feeling lost, when I came to the floral department. “I need something to love,” I told the florist. Yeah, I’m that girl. She assured me that this gardenia plant would be easy to take care of, and would produce beautiful fragrant blooms all summer. When I bought Lola, she had a dozen blooms and was stunning. “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl,” I sang the whole way home from the store, Lola bouncing happily on my back seat.

By August she died. She’s looked like this ever since.

The small plant on the left is a tulip plant that Chef bought me a few months ago. The yellow tulips bloomed once, and proceeded to die as well. I didn’t even have time to name him (although I did decide it was a him). The center little plant is Lexie, a mini rose plant which my friend gave me at a pool/housewarming party I had last summer. I think that Lexie survived two weeks under my cruel, plant killing hands.

The plant on the right that never even made it from the bulb stage was given to me by my friend Becky. She gave me this kit where you plant the bulbs and they miraculously turn into beautiful flowers. She told me it was super easy, the kit came with everything I needed and the flowers grew really fast. I was super intimidated, having never planted anything in my life (outside of middle school science class!). So, I did the natural thing, and put it off for like a month. And then when I went to plant the bulbs, I realized I didn’t have any soil. “Jesus, Becky!” I thought. “You told me this kit had everything I needed! Now I have to buy soil?!” Good thing I finally realized that this little disk that was included in the kit, about the size of a thick coaster, was the soil. You just had to add water and the compacted soil would expand into enough soil with which to plant. It’s a crazy cool concept … here’s a video of a similar product:

Needless to say, the bulbs never grew. It was sad times in the Gryp household.

Every week, I find myself watering these clearly dead plants, not wanting to let go of the hope that they may someday come back to life.

It got me thinking of some other things of which I can’t seem to let go:

  • Just a sampling of all the jeans that no longer fit me

    Old pairs of jeans – I seem to think that someday I may actually be a size 3-4 again. When in reality, I probably couldn’t fit one thigh into those jeans. But these are from the lean times. Not lean, like I didn’t have money, but lean, like I didn’t eat. It was the end of high school, and after years of being picked on about my weight and going through a sad breakup, I mostly stopped eating. I ate fruit and yogurt, and that was about it. I distinctly remember being 17 years old and buying a size 3-4 at Express. This was after years of buying jeans in the double digits, and at least a year where I had to shop at a specialty store for plus sizes. The day I bought the 3-4s was the best day ever. You’d think I’d won the lottery, I was so happy. The only thing that dampened my joy was that I was hungry as crap. Needless to stay, when I started eating like a normal person again, my jean size slowly creeped up, and now I’m the happy owner of several pairs of jeans that chronicle my journey through pants sizes.

  • Old pairs of shoes I have a ton of shoes, that while still really nice and cute (or so I think), I’ve walked in them so much that the metal in the heel is exposed, making that really annoying clicking noise when I walk on anything but carpet. Which wouldn’t be so bad, if I wasn’t a disproportionate walker, with the right shoe having exposed metal and left shoe in perfect condition. Which creates a “weird click … normal step … weird click … normal step” sound when I walk on hardwoods. No shoes are cute enough to justify that. Why do I keep these shoes? Because I am convinced that someday, I will take them to be repaired, and I will be the proud owner of a whole new shoe collection.
  • Everything in this closet – Do not ask me what’s in this closet. It’s scary. Remember how Monica on Friends was a clean freak but had one crazy closet? This is mine. I keep my house very clean, but it’s misleading, because all my crap and clutter (and I’m sure a few treasures) somehow end up in this closet. Note the exercise ball, which I probably haven’t used since I fit into my old jeans.
  • The box – This Victoria’s Secret box holds all the memorabilia from my relationship with my ex fiancé. It’s stuffed with cards, wine corks, even the toilet paper roll I stole from the hotel at which we stayed for our first anniversary. The worst part of this box is this balloon he gave me for Valentine’s Day a few years ago. The balloon has a recorder in it, where he taped a song for me. Well, if I accidentally even kick the box, I can hear my ex fiancé singing me a silly song saying he loves me and Happy Valentine’s Day. Why do I keep this box? Because I simply can’t force myself to get rid of it. And perhaps it’s representative, in a way, of the difficulty I’m having letting go of the relationship itself.

Gosh, this list could go on forever. From my gym membership that I use like once a month to the fact that I still have all my wedding folders and files (as though my ex and I might pick up right where we left off and decide to get married), to old friendships that no longer feel relevant, there are so many things in my life that I hold on to because I’m not ready to let go.

What are you holding onto?

69 Comments leave one →
  1. Zak permalink
    June 10, 2011 2:37 pm

    Like you I have a lot of things I can’t just let go of. I have old phones – that I keep meaning to wipe so I can give to the battered women’s shelter – to old computers – that I think would be great to donate to the local school – to… you get the point.

    I have a specific comment though: the box. I had a box. Well, first, I had to consolidate to a box. Then I had to slowly throw stuff out from the box. I finally got rid of the box and have a book. A single, solitary book of poems my ex wife wrote me before we were married. I don’t have the heart to let it go. It means a lot to me, even though I never want to be in a relationship with her again.

    Okay, so my box: I got smart and once I decided what I couldn’t bear to throw out – as if gestering that our relationship was meaningless I suppose – I packed a few things into a box, labeled it without a return address, and sent it to my ex. I put a simple note inside that said if she wanted to throw it away, that was her choice. I don’t want the reminder. And I asked her not to contact me.

    I still have no idea what happened to those things I sent, but at least I know I didn’t throw them out, and that makes me feel okay.

    • June 10, 2011 7:07 pm

      Wow, Zak, I think it takes strength to get rid of that box. I can’t imagine just getting rid of it like that. Selfishly, I don’t really want him to have it, either. I put the work into the box, always grabbing momentos of our trips and such. I’m also afraid because throwing away that box is like throwing away those 7 years. I mean, those were the years of 18-25. That box includes momentos from ever trip I took for those years, not just every trip WE took, if you know what I mean. It almost doesn’t seem fair to throw or give all them away… it’s like saying those things didn’t happen. Or maybe I’m just making excuses for why I’m not ready yet :)

      Regarding the phones and the computers — I totally feel you! I don’t have a bunch of those, but I did in the past. They are hard to get rid of because there is so much work involved with clearing them! So don’t beat yourself up too much. BUT – on a rainy day when there is nothing left to do – get rid of em!

  2. June 10, 2011 3:13 pm

    I’m totally with you on the jeans. I have a pair of 5/6 express jeans that are super-low rise that i can’t throw out. And even if i did get that small again, why would I ever wear super-low rise jeans? I even have a couple pairs of old, torn up levis that i can’t throw out, because it seems like that durable cotton could be made into something else. I don’t know what else, but it seems wasteful to throw them out somehow. Weird, I know. I also have a drawer full of VHS tapes for some inexplicable reason.

    • June 10, 2011 7:01 pm

      LOL – what is with us and the Express jeans? I too, would probably never wear this cut again. But I don’t wanna throw them out!
      Now, as far as “durable cotton could be made into something else…” I don’t have a creative bone in my body. There’s no way I could make anything out of jeans :)

  3. Random Cook permalink
    June 10, 2011 3:42 pm

    That’s a wonderful question Catherine. It has many layers to it. We hold on to material items, we hold on to hopes and dreams and sometimes we hold on to life itself. Examples:

    I have 61 pairs of socks ranging from ankle socks to mid-calf to all the way up to the knee. Colors for suit wearing occasions are included. Hell, I have argyle socks(sp?). I have about 30 pairs of boxer shorts. Men do not throw these items out. Somehow, the cotton will disintegrate over time and “poof”, one day you’re holding your socks and they vanish into thin air. This is how men get rid of socks and boxers. I do, however, enjoy throwing stuff out. Every time I move, it’s a consolidation adventure. I call it “pruning.” I end up with less unused stuff than before, so I feel like I have accomplished something. Thus, I don’t have a lot of material items that I don’t use.

    Sometimes we hold on to phone numbers and emails. I have 324 contacts in my phone right now. Just looked. I call 5 people regularly and maybe another 5 call me regularly. But, dammit, if I erase that guy’s number I know he will call me and I know I won’t want to talk to him and I lost the chance to dodge the call in the first place. Gotta keep em all. Forever.

    The other thing that I, and likely we, hang on to is hope. Hope is simultaneously the source of our greatest strengths and our greatest weaknesses. I am the owner of a fledgling business but there is nothing that could tear me away from it…not even common sense. I know this. The people surrounding me know this, but can’t identify with it. I hope that YOU, Catherine, can one day get over your ex-fiancee. I hope that my Grandparent live longer than me so that I never have to lose one of them, and that goes for my parents too. I hope I don’t turn into my father. I hope the Redskins win the Super Bowl. The list can go on and on. Holding on to hope, like I alluded to, will either kill you or make you. Look at the last post from the struggling bartender turned successful author. If she had given up holding on…well, we wouldn’t know her. Why do you think people have risky surgery or months of cancer treatment that nearly kills them itself? Because we hold on to hope.

    Great post Catherine. Such a good question to ask. I hope you get a lot of comments…

    • June 10, 2011 6:57 pm

      Random Cook,
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. And I have to admit that I had no idea you had that many pairs of socks and boxers…. my goodness! Seems to me that you’d hardly ever have to do the laundry. Ok, so maybe you are onto something…

      I do the same thing when I move. I love getting rid of crap when I move. The problem is forcing myself to get rid of crap when I don’t move. All my junk just ends up in that closet!

      Hope is an incredibly strong emotion. The real problem is when you hope with no evidence or reason to have hope. When you just hope for no good reason. Because you will always be disappointed in that situation.

      Thanks again :)

  4. June 10, 2011 5:06 pm

    It’s exhausting to go through our stuff … especially anything we’re remotely emotionally attached to!!

    I actually identify an area and set a timer (30 min) and for that time I rifle through and make a decision – keep, toss or give away (goodwill).

    It’s amazing how much you can accomplish like this and how FREEING it is to do so. Put your fave tunes on and let ‘er rip!

    Cheers! MJ

    …to answer your question .. I have every letter any parent, grandparent or my hubbs’ ever mailed me. Can’t .. let.. go.

    • June 10, 2011 6:48 pm

      emjayandthem,
      Thanks for your comment! I like your timer idea. It definitely sounds like it would be less intimidating to take on these types of projects 30 minutes at a time… that way it’s not like this terrible, all day project, where you’ll be depressed for an entire afternoon. Thanks for the tip!

      • June 12, 2011 11:09 am

        you’re most welcome. Try it – and you will find that once you are successful at that -you will be more inclined to do it.

        As I get older and look at my grand babies, I think .. “who will want my drawer full of recipe books, jewelry, old photos and shoes?” It makes me mindful of not accumulating too much. But .. it is hard to police ourselves and do just that

        Good luck!! MJ

  5. Mysterious Neighbor Upstairs permalink
    June 10, 2011 9:25 pm

    I have the same problem with plants as well. I name all of them, I talk to them but can not make them grow. At the office we have Lily the Orchid and Willow the Peace Lilly. They are alive and well and I believe I have everything to do with that because I gave them their names and vowed not to touch them :)!

    • June 21, 2011 7:34 pm

      Mysterious neighbor,
      That’s so funny about Lily the Orchid and Willow the Peace Lilly. Makes me want to buy you a plant so I can see what name you will come up with! Maybe you should take care of my plants for me…

  6. June 11, 2011 12:59 am

    Oh my god! I’m totally terrible at getting rid of stuff! and I always let my plants die and then keep them around in hopes i’ll bring them back to life because then it’ll ease the guilt I feel about having let them die! ughhhh! Same goes for the emotional stuff, to no surprise. That’s why I need rituals, books, meditation exercises, yoga, and blogs… It’s just not natural for me to let go of things I no longer need, it takes much longer than it should. I hope you feel better after getting rid of some stuff! xx I might go look at my closet now and see if there’s something there that can go…

    • June 21, 2011 7:35 pm

      Larissa,
      Glad to hear I’m not alone on this. Now, note that I never actualy said I was gonna get rid of anything…
      haha jk. I have big plans of clearing all this crap out in one fell swoop. Maybe not the box though. Not quite ready to give that one up.

  7. June 11, 2011 1:45 am

    Oh, god. Is somebody going to open your freezer one day and find your grandmother stuffed in there?

  8. June 11, 2011 1:48 am

    OK, that was…a bit much. LOL. I hope you take it in jest, as it was intended. :)

    I have a box, too. A box full of love letters from me ex-wife, dating back to high school and the first year or two of college, when we were still young and romantic enough to be able to get away with that stuff. Despite everything she put me through, I will never be able to part with that box. Believe me, I’ve tried once or twice over the years, and I always end up putting it back up on the closet shelf, where it’ll sit for all eternity.

    • June 21, 2011 7:38 pm

      LOL, Mark… I took it as intended. It was funny. Another thing about your first comment is my ex was a big hunter and one time was attacked (from what he says) by some bobcats, so he killed them. Well, he put them in the freezer in the garage and never took them out! They are still there! GROSS!!
      Mark, while I’m sad to hear all you’ve been through, and that you have a similar box, it’s sort of comforting to know that you can’t give up your box either. I don’t put myself through the emotional turmoil of looking through the box or anything, but I’m just not sure I can give it up. A few years ago, I was cleaning out my old childhood room at my parents’ house, and found this box of notes from middle and high school. Notes on college-rule lined paper that we’d pass in class and in the halls. I threw this box out, thinking I’d never need these notes again, and now I really miss them. I wish I kept them. They chronicle friendships and my high school experience. I don’t want to risk feeling that regret over this box, that’s for sure.

  9. Stacia permalink
    June 11, 2011 9:20 am

    I “purged” all momentos at the end of my last relationship. Trip stuff, pictures, momentos, tickets, cards…everything. I actually mailed it all back to him. I never asked if he received it, or what he may have done with it, but I knew I would hold on to it forever, and probably mourn the loss of something as long as it was in my possession. What I didn’t realize is all that stuff is still in my head. I can see it all. Took me a few months to realize that out of sight definately was not out of mind!! It will be with me forever…

    • June 21, 2011 7:39 pm

      Stacia,
      That’s pretty strong, mailing it all back to him. But I know what you mean – even if I threw it all out, I’d still know exactly what was in that box. Ever last trinket is etched into my memory. Sometimes I wish there were a way to erase it all..

  10. June 11, 2011 11:09 am

    Oh, lady. You are not alone. First off, I refuse to give up on my black & lifeless plants, too. I am shocked and disappointed every morning to find them still black and lifeless. The relationship aspect to this is totally normal. That box is something tangible, a physical thing and reminder of the good before the bad. It’s natural to want to keep it.

    • June 21, 2011 7:41 pm

      Thanks Tori,
      Glad I’m not the only one who just won’t let go of the hope my plants may come back to life :) Eventually, I’ll have to throw those suckers out. Honestly, I’m not sure I’l be able to do that with the box. What you’ve said here is very true.

  11. Ally permalink
    June 11, 2011 11:07 pm

    Oh boy, the box. I have a box. I also have a whole folder on my computer labeled “OLD STUFF” with all the photos of my ex-fiance and his family. The pictures from the night he proposed and our engagement photos are in there too, and I know I probably won’t ever get rid of them. I won’t look at them, but I won’t get rid of them either. Incidentally, I also have a photo of him and his family on the wall in my living room… It was in a photo collage frame that I moved from our house together when I got my new place and just put up on the wall without thinking about what was in it. I keep telling myself I’ll replace it as soon as I find another picture I like better, which is probably the least healthy approach to getting over a break-up ever.

    I also have the box of wedding stuff, and every stupid Brides magazine (that somehow STILL finds its way to me), gets set (unread) into the wedding stuff box. Crazy, I know.

    I’m sentimental and a pack-rat, so I’m not surprised that I’ve kept these things, but I made a deal with myself a long time ago to prune every time I move. If it doesn’t seem worth the effort to move, it’s time to throw it out! Hopefully one day the wedding stuff, at least, will be included in the pruning!

    • June 21, 2011 7:45 pm

      Ally,
      I totally feel you on all of this. I think you’ve got to get rid of that picture of him – I can’t imagine staring a picture of my ex in my place day in and day out. It’s hard enough to ocassionally see him on Facebook. I like how you named your files “Old Stuff.” Mine are still named “Wedding.” I basically put everything from that timeframe including the proposal, all my inspiration boards, etc, in the “wedding folder.” But seeing the word wedding upsets me. I may have to change the name to something closer to yours.

      As far as the Brides magazine, I had that very same problem! In fact, I wrote a blog post about it! http://simplysolo.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/never-checking-my-mail-again/

      Girl, you have to unsubscribe from that magazine. It’s just a painful reminder that you aren’t getting married after all, and who needs that?! Mine was also a reminder of my ex, since he subscription was a Christmas gift.

      Sending positive vibes your way…eventually we’ll both be able to let go.

  12. annie permalink
    June 12, 2011 1:00 am

    Catherine,

    I have responded in the past, we have much in common. Like you, I called off my wedding. Unlike you, I didn’t call off the relationship. I’ve held onto the relationship and the hope that we could make things work despite the betrayal that occurred. In doing so, I unwittingly subjected both he and I to a long year of heartbreak. Today, ironically the one year anniversary of what would have been our wedding day, I finally decided I had to let it go. I finally admitted I could never love him or believe in him as I did before. I think what I was holding onto was the promise of what our relationship could have been, not the reality of what it had become.

    I guess the point I want to make is, you have let go of the most important things – him and the relationship. It is hardest to finally let go of the dreams that you had for the relationship, even though you know that the reality is the relationship is over. Be grateful that you recognized you couldn’t overcome what happened and did not drag the breakup out over a long period of time. The box of things and the memories will gradually fade and become less prominent. The fact that you are working through these questions and emotions is part of letting go, and eventually you will get there.

    As for the box of things, I have a few shoe boxes in my closet with memorabilia from boyfriends past, and unfortunately there will soon be another added to the pile. Each of the boxes represents someone that was at one time very special to me and I could never get rid of them. However, as time passes, they have moved to a less prominent place in my apartment!

    best of luck to you,
    Annie

    • June 13, 2011 11:27 am

      Annie – my heart breaks with yours. So much of what you wrote, and what Catherine has written has resonated with me. Thanks for sharing.

      • annie permalink
        June 14, 2011 10:46 pm

        thanks so much, I appreciate the reply! It’s nice to be reminded that we are not alone in our experiences :)

    • June 21, 2011 7:53 pm

      Annie,
      What you wrote here is so beautiful and heart really goes out to you. I’m so sorry that you had to go through all of this and that it took you so long to realize it wasn’t right. That’s, of course, to no fault of your own. Who can blame you for trying? When we sign up to marry someone, we are fully prepared to stand by them in sickness and in health, good times and bad. It’s really hard to let go of all that – even if we didn’t say our vows. I very easily could have dragged my relationship on for years, but something told me it wasn’t right. Something told me I had to get out. That’s the same thing that’s speaking to you now. It’s a tough road ahead, but you will make it through it. Think of the strength it took to cancel the wedding – you are so strong and you WILL make it through this.
      Thanks also for your kind words. I’m working on letting everything go myself – it just takes time. And sometimes I feel impatient. But I look at old blog posts and how I felt months ago, and I can tell I’m healing.

      I LOVED what you said: It is hardest to finally let go of the dreams that you had for the relationship, even though you know that the reality is the relationship is over.

      I couldn’t have said this better myself – it is so true. Thanks for your comment and for reading.

  13. June 12, 2011 5:53 am

    Tulips are bulbs. They don’t ever die and they return every year, right around April…so I wouldn’t give hope on those just yet.
    As for the jeans, maybe its time to pass those on to someone more “lean” and less fortunate than you.
    But as far as the box goes…Well I can’t imagine ever letting that go. There’s a place in the bottom of the closet way deep in the back that just has “the box” marked on it, cause those memories belong there.

    • June 21, 2011 7:55 pm

      bye2mrwrong,
      Thanks for the tip on the tulips. And you are right… someone more “lean” could definitely use my jeans. I’m taking some time off of work next month, and I think I’m going to go through and do a little spring cleaning…well, summer cleaning, that is.
      Thanks for your thoughts on the box. I think I agree – I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to give it up. But I also don’t need to look at it every day. Back of the closet sounds just about right :)

  14. June 13, 2011 8:51 am

    Ugh, the clacky shoes. I have those shoes. Lots of them.

    And here’s the kicker: Sometimes I take them to my little shoe guy and get them fixed. But sometimes, if the shoes are really cheap or it’s just not worth the money to get the heels fixed but I still, for some inexplicable reason, can’t bring myself to throw them away, I stick one (or two) of those little velvety furniture slider things on the heel to keep clacking to a minimum. It only lasts about a day, but works like a charm. ;)

    • June 21, 2011 7:56 pm

      LOL Katie! I never thought about using those furniture things. What a good idea!
      I need to find my very own “little shoe guy.” Any idea how much it costs to repair a good pair of shoes? I have no idea, yet I’m collecting shoes like they are priceless stamps! :)

  15. Zephyr permalink
    June 13, 2011 9:31 am

    Cell phone numbers—that’s what I can’t get rid of. Even if I know I’m never going to call that person again, and that they are never going to call me again, I keep them. Luckily, my phone finally took one too many hits and fell straight down the entire staircase in my dorm and I lost most of those old, emotion-packing numbers that I could never bring myself to get rid of. And it felt strangely good, to know that I was starting over in a weird sort of way.

    • June 21, 2011 7:57 pm

      Zephyr,
      Ahh, cell phone numbers. I do the exact same thing! They do come in handy for a drunk New Year’s Eve, however… Happy New Year Person I Haven’t Spoken To Since 2005! :)

  16. June 13, 2011 11:09 am

    The first pic is exactly why I don’t have any plants. You’ll get rid of the box when the time is right, and you’ll feel good about it. I kept one stuffed animal from my ex for awhile.

    When I moved in with my brother, I kept saying, “I know I should get rid of this because it’s from my ex, but I like it.” My brother took the bear and regifted it to me, so I could say it was from my brother, but I still ended up getting rid of it.

    • June 21, 2011 7:58 pm

      I don’t like plants myself, but after I killed Lola, everyone kept giving me plants! Why would you give me more plants to kill??
      Good work on the stuffed animal. Nice try on the regifting tho – no way would that work! What if I tried that with my engagement ring…what an idea… haha :)
      Thanks for your comment!

  17. June 13, 2011 11:37 am

    I have a hard time letting go of…. duh, duh, duh…. FACEBOOK friends. ‘I know I haven’t talked to you in 8 years’, ‘I know you’re my ex who I want the Karma Bus to hit’, ‘who are you again?’ All those, I just need to get rid of. But, I can’t.

    I also think I am a person who has been blessed with lots of Catholic guilt, hence, I hang on to things for fear or regret of what might happen if I fully let them go. I also am stubborn, so I can hold on to old resentments, or new resentments.

    I have a hard time just letting go… I dwell on things. I am a dweller. I make a mistake and can’t get over it. I think that’s even worse than when someone does me wrong and I forgive them. I hold on to my own moments of imperfection.

    • June 21, 2011 8:00 pm

      “I know you’re my ex who I want the Karma Bus to hit”
      LOL!! You know I TOTALLY get this (especially now, thinking of the email I sent you yesterday!). Facebook friends are hard to get rid of. I think – what if I write a book someday and I need those people for a potential fan base? What if I need to see my competition, er, friends, when I go to my high school reunion? I just FINALLY unfriended my ex. Damn near lost it. All this to say – I hear you. Loud and clear :)

  18. mom permalink
    June 13, 2011 6:13 pm

    To all that commented on Catherine’s post. She also has a closet here at
    home that is similar to the picture. And let’s not forget the stuffed animal collection. I also have a Collection of memories from when I dated your dad that Iam sure will be added to you and your sisters closets one day. Great post love ya
    Mom

    • June 21, 2011 8:01 pm

      LOL, Mom. Sorry.. it is quite an impressive stuffed animal collection tho, isn’t it??
      I didn’t know you had stuff left from Dad. Would love to see it all. Love you!

  19. Farrah permalink
    June 14, 2011 11:19 am

    Oh, I so understand this. I found out my boyfriend of 6 years was cheating on me about 4 months ago. I immediatley got rid of the big obvious things that reminded me of him, but I have a box full of silly little scraps of paper and tickets and matchbooks that I just can’t toss. That has been so frustrating to me. When someone breaks your heart, you should be allowed to totally discard them from your life. But I can’t. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’m a big fan of inspirational quotes. No matter what thought you’re having, it seems someone else has already articulated it in beautiful, succinct words. The quote that has become my mantra during these past months is “Let go or be dragged” . Amen!!! It’s my screensaver on my computer, and I’ve threatened to have it tattooed on my ass. And it applies to so many things. Actual baggage and figurative baggage. Sadness, anger, shoes, old magazines. Let things go or they drag you down. I’ve gotten so much better about letting go of actual things, but the emotional things I’ve only begun to loosen my grip on.

    • June 14, 2011 2:16 pm

      I’m stealing that quote :)

      • Farrah permalink
        June 14, 2011 6:10 pm

        Isn’t it great? I think I first saw it on the The Happiness Project website. I’m always finding great quotes on the inspiration board section of it. I kind of looked around on the web to find out who said it, but I only found it listed as an American proverb. I just love when you find a perfect quote for however you’re feeling, and the comfort of knowing someone has been thru the same things as you.

        • June 14, 2011 8:01 pm

          That is a brilliant quote that perfectly fit the timeframe. I hope things are better now. :) One that I love about baggage is, “We all have baggage; let’s resolve to only have carry on!”

          Cheers! MJ

      • annie permalink
        June 16, 2011 12:29 am

        uh, yeah, I’m gonna have to steal the quote too, if that’s okay. Hopefully you don’t have a copyright on it :) I may be needing to repeat it several times a day for a while until things get easier! thanks!

    • June 21, 2011 8:03 pm

      Farrah,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I’m sorry to hear all you’ve been going through. I, too, love the hell out of that quote. It says so much and can be taken so many different ways. It’s going to be my new mantra too.
      Take care of yourself during this time and I know you are going to be OK :). Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  20. June 19, 2011 12:05 am

    I get rid of things as therapy. Plus, I downsized so it was necessary. But there are always those things I come across and I don’t know why I still have them. I was just reminded of this when my Ex asked me to give him back a gold chain of his I used to keep in my jewelry box. It was still there. It’s unwearable so I figured he wants to do the cash for gold thing. I have already sold my wedding rings so why did I have this necklace? I guess I didn’t feel right about selling it because it wasn’t originally mine. Technically, legally it became mine when the divorce was final. But anyway, I gave it back to him. One less thing to get tangled in my jewelry box. And if it’s not mine I shouldn’t have it in my house. I still have the wedding box, photos, etc. that I’ll save for my kids. The wedding dress itself presents a bit of a dilemma. “Wedding Leftovers” http://wp.me/p1sXPw-C Great post!!

    • June 21, 2011 8:25 pm

      justmewith,
      I know what you mean, I have a tough time getting rid of things that aren’t mine…whether I’m “allowed to” or not. Out of curiousity, and I hope you don’t mind me asking, was it hard to sell the wedding rings? I’m not sure if my ex sold my engagement ring yet. It was hard for me to give it to him, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to sell it. Off to check out “Wedding Leftovers” now! :)

  21. BeneathTheSpinLight permalink
    June 20, 2011 12:47 am

    I’ll send you my ex-box (ZING!) if you send me yours. That way, we aren’t throwing them away, but we aren’t keeping them either. Think about it. :)

    • June 21, 2011 8:30 pm

      Ha, like the name “ex-box.” Maybe in the future I’ll take you up on this… right now the thought of putting the box in the mail to send to you makes me wanna puke! lol. Clearly not ready. Maybe someday?

      • BeneathTheSpinLight permalink
        June 22, 2011 2:51 am

        I’ll be here for you when you’re ready! <3

  22. June 21, 2011 1:50 pm

    I’m nostalgic just like you are, and tend to keep mementos and cards, things with tangible meaning. I’m starting slow in getting rid of these things after a 3-year relationship breakup. I’m starting with clearing my email inbox, which is the hardest for me.

    Thanks for this post, Im interested in hearing more of your story.

    • June 21, 2011 8:33 pm

      Shetraces,
      Thanks so much for the comment. It’s always good to hear that I’m not alone on these things. I’ve done an OK job of clearing my email inbox, well at least putting things in folders so I don’t have to see them anymore. Maybe it’s not the end of the world that we keep these things? I’m not sure my box is hurting me at all… it’s not like I go through it every free chance. It’s the fact that I think I should be recovered enough to get rid of it that bugs me the most. But if I take away the concept that it’s bad to have this box, then it doesn’t seem like such a big deal!

      I appreciate your comment and hope that you will stick around for future posts! Great to meet you.

  23. vixstar1314 permalink
    June 21, 2011 2:43 pm

    interesting post. Sometimes it is hard to let go but if by letting go we are also allowing ourself to live then endure the short term pain for the long term gain

  24. June 21, 2011 7:48 pm

    One day, you will get rid of this stuff – it took make about two years but I eventually did it. It was really difficult for me because my OCD was also screaming that something bad would happen if I did throw it all away but of course nothing bad happened, I just had a bit more space.

    I find it hard to let go, but I know there will always come a time when I feel ok to let go. In the meantime, you just got to ride it out.

    • June 21, 2011 8:35 pm

      AWildDog,
      Thanks for your advice, especially from someone who has been through it. I suspect you are right and I will know when it’s time. In the meantime, I’ll just wait. It’s not the end of the world to hold onto these things.

      • June 22, 2011 7:49 am

        Try putting them out of sight first – small step but helps!

  25. June 22, 2011 1:39 am

    When my first highschool boyfriend randomly broke up with me, I put everything that he gave me into a plastic container. I hid it under my bed and began my long, pathetic weeping period. Eventually, the box moved from under my bed to the top shelf of my closet. The next year, I began dating my new boyfriend and left for college. When I returned for the summer, my family was moving out of our house and into a new one. My mom told me to get anything out of my room that I wanted otherwise it was going into storage.

    And then there it was. The box filled with cheesy stuff from my ex. Touching that box made me want to cry. Not because I missed him (by that time, my current boyfriend and I have built a strong bond), but because I remembered all the emotions that came with that box. It took me a whole year to have the nerve to throw that box away.

    Now if only I could throw away his facebook friend request that I’ve been ignoring for another long year.
    :)

    • June 27, 2011 9:13 pm

      Lolobean,
      Thanks for sharing your story. Eventually you’ll be able to either deny or accept the FB friend request…you cant just live in limbo forever, however. I’ll move on, and who knows what I’ll do with the box. Maybe someday I’ll be ready to throw it away. I hope so.

  26. June 22, 2011 7:09 am

    i totally agree with u about the difficulty of discarding these memorabilia..these things are actually part of who we are and our memories.. i have about 3 boxes of such stuff collected from my 13 and a half years of life. from my first diary entry, to my first crush, to the note from friend-turned-stranger-enemy, to “meaningless” receipts dated on a particular day in my memory,to coins minted in my year of birth! i jus cant bear to throw it out and my mum always says i’m “junk” collector. well, i guess it’s just human nature..
    btw, good luck with ur plants, who knows, a miracle might just happen if u hope n hope! haha^^

    • June 27, 2011 9:14 pm

      Haha, minwei! I sure hope my plants miraculously come back to life – CNN would have to come to my house it’d be such an amazing occurance! Haha. Thanks for sharing about all the stuff you’ve kept… nice to know I’m not the only relationship memorabilia hoarder :)

  27. 2NewBeginnings permalink
    June 22, 2011 3:16 pm

    I 100% don’t want to get back with my ex, but I still haven’t gotten rid of my wedding dress, my rings, or our wedding album/video. I have gotten rid of cards and some pictures, but for some reason I can’t git rid of everything else. Can’t quite put my finger on why, maybe I keep them for the girls, or maybe I just keep them because part of me feels like I would be throwing out such a huge chapter of my life and I’m not ready, IDK. And girl, you are so not alone on those flowers! I try my best, I really do but I so did not get my mother’s green thumb! And I have to give a shout out to myself, I was able to get rid of all of the fat jeans, cause one good thing from the divorce is I got back into my old size before kids! Those jeans are gone, and that is one thing I didn’t have a hard time letting go! ;-)

    • June 27, 2011 9:17 pm

      Congrats on getting back into your skinny jeans! You are an inspiration. I can see why you would want to keep some of those things for your daughters. They may want to see them, and just because you had to move on doesn’t necessarily mean they shouldn’t be able to see such things. I really feel for you, because you aren’t going through the breakup by yourself, you have to be concerned about the kids too. I think as long as we aren’t using these items to make ourselves miserable, it isn’t so bad that we keep them around.

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