My household is in a state of unstoppable change. Some of us are staying, some of us are going – and when this equation involves three members of the female species it can only mean one thing: shit is everywhere. It’s lead to this mutual time of of us all going through us our stuff, mostly on a physical level, but in bit of an emotional and spiritual sense as well. This in addition to a party our next door neighbor is throwing entitled: ‘The Annual Fall Naked Party’ (very deceiving title Hannah McKeand – and one that I did not think involved a mere clothing swap) has ended in the lot of us purging through our lives, deciding what stays, what goes, and sitting with what could possibly be passed on to someone else. This experience could have simply been about going through my crap, but of course – it got me thinking, which I do all too much and often, and it turned into something much larger than that.
While some may be able to look at something and immediately come up with a decided yes or no answer; that’s not me. I am the kind of person who holds something up and takes their time with it; I want to really think about it. I want to remember the last time I wore it, how it felt, and why it meant something to me. I want to put it on, listen to what it has to say, feel what it makes me feel, and then make an educated decision on whether or not it is an entity that is worth holding onto, or just this thing I should just let go of.
Purging yourself, whether it be on a simple or existential level, is probably one of the most cathartic experiences in life. We don’t allow ourselves to do it nearly enough, because it’s kind of a scary thing. Think of life as though it’s a comfortable sweater – maybe it doesn’t fit you the right way anymore, there are holes, and you can see that the seam is slowly coming undone. But you still don’t want to get rid of that sweater, because it’s warm and fuzzy and it’s easy to slip-on. We don’t want to release what is comfortable to us, and we hang onto things even after it’s no longer useful or of benefit to us.
The other morning I woke up from a bad dream. If you know me, you know I love dwelling in my dream space and picking them apart one miniscule detail and metaphor at a time. But in this dream everything was broken and wrong and I woke up in that shit state where you feel weird and horrible and you want to hate the day even before you start it. I begrudgingly got up, mostly because I had to, and got ready to start what I was sure would be the worst day of my life.
I was getting ready and looking in the mirror, not mine but someone else’s, when my gaze suddenly shifted to some cursive writing to my left. At first I wondered if I should read it, it seemed like some sort of personal letter, but also; it was kind of tacked up for anyone to see so I figured it was safe. I read through and gathered it was something someone had written to themselves and I thought back to the week before when I had actually written a really poignant and beautiful letter and when I was finally finished I hadn’t the slightest about what I wanted to do with it so I just set it on fire. All I wanted to do was hold onto those words; and somehow, I released them as ashes into the night. After that I got all pyromaniac and awesome and actually put my whole journal up in flames; it had so much that needed to be let go of, and I simply couldn’t hold onto it for one more second.
At some point the next day I kind of rooted around my bookshelf looking for it, wondering where it was to perhaps jot a thought in there and then I had to remember that much like in the fashion of Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopez from TLC (who set her cheating ex-boyfriends 1.3 million dollar house on fire circa 1994,) that I burned that shit down. Nothing makes you feel more adult than acknowledging that not only was that your reality, but to to remember that it made you feel SO fucking good. It was truly self-destructive behavior at its finest.
The marriage of that with the purging of my amenities made what that cursive handwriting said resonate through my heart and soul in a way that was profound and true. At that bottom it read: “I am now ready to release all things – both known and unknown, that no longer serve me in a positive way. I intend to find ways to be happy, regardless of circumstances, because I get to choose how I perceive things.”
I have to remember that as hard as it is to let go, that the release is worth the struggle. Emerson once said: “There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.” What is it that you want to let go of? Is it a thought, a person, an idea, a bad habit? What is it in your life that is no longer working for you? If I could have one motto for the rest of my life it would be this: “If you’re not happy, change something.”
At least give it the old college try, otherwise – quit your bitching about your shitty life because I don’t want to hear it. Trust me, I’ve definitely got my stuff. I have some things I need to get rid of, some demons I need to exorcise, clothes that need to make their way to the nearest thrift store, and some emotional baggage that needs to be unpacked and put away. I think the key is that we learn to properly part with things; so much of our lives is not meant to be tossed in the trash and forgotten. You must first make peace before you let go, even though it’s easier to just close the lid and put it behind us.
You cannot welcome the good and new without learning to let go a little bit. Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.