Saturday, April 26, 2014

Life keeps moving on

It's our first night in the new place and despite the exhaustion sinking into my bones, I feel the need to write this down.
"Write this down!" A voice screams at me "Don't forget this!"
As I was packing my things, I saw how many useless pieces I had held on to - clothes I had outgrown and half empty bottles of lotion and things long past their useful time. But I think my writing is also like that. It's a place where I keep all of these things, just in case I need them again one day.
Sitting here I feel nostalgic. I feel unsettled. This room is fresh, with none of my memories hanging on the walls. All my things are here, but these walls haven't seen my tears, or seen my lovesick smile. Maybe I'm nostalgic more for the memories those other walls held than the actual room itself.
Moving always feels like casting aside, getting rid of things and starting over with a blank slate. And there's always a slight sense of panic. Because what if I forget what happened in the old room? What if I forget the things that happened and how it changed me? What if, without that physical, concrete reminder, I forget?
It takes me a while to remember that I still have the memories, tucked away somewhere in the back of my mind. I still have this evidence in every word that I write in an attempt to not forget this.
I don't know if I could forget this, even if I tried. I think there is some part of your body that remembers, even if you try to forget.
At a certain point, I think, you're just lugging around things that don't even really belong to you anymore.
Like this is my dad's shirt from 27 years ago or this tendency to keep moving and never let anything sit for a while belongs to my mother.
And you don't know why you keep dragging it along behind you, you just do
Sami sent me this email today, after I sent her one about how thinking of my other empty room made me want to cry, about how this new room is like a bookshelf. It's a blank canvas, a fresh start. And even though the bookshelf is new, all my books are still there.
All the memories I made before this are still in this body somewhere, and all the memories I make after this will be stored right alongside the old ones, until they are touching hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder.
Just because the physical space changes doesn't mean the things in it do.
But there is still this part of me that says "No, I need that! This defines me, this keeps me in place."
It's sort of like an anchor. If I have that half empty bottle of lotion and that scarf someone (I don't know who) gave me as a gift a few years ago, I won't lose my place. I can stay centered and I know who I am.
You think with as many times as I've done this, it would be easier. But it doesn't get easier. Every single time I attempt to pack my life into boxes and throw things out there is a part of me that still thinks my memories are in these tangible objects.
And so, physically and mentally and emotionally, I end up sticking my things into boxes because I'm too afraid to let them go.
I've never been really good at letting go. Not of relationships that have become toxic, not of habits that have become harmful, not of patterns I have been carrying around from generations past. Not of my dad's shirt from 27 years ago or that skirt I wore on that one day when I was happy. I stick everything into a suitcase and drag it around behind me, convinced by holding on to these things I won't have to let go, and then I can maintain my center and my place and my memories.
It happens though, every time we move. Every time a big life change hits. It's time to let go, scheduled right there in the calendar between moving day and Sunday.
Sometimes your arms just get heavy from carrying all this stuff you hold on to because you think it makes you matter and you think it will keep the memories from slipping away.
They won't slip away.
They're right here, tucked inside of you like a treasure chest.
When it comes time to let go, it's a little sad. The nostalgia is overwhelming. But I've been told it's worth it.

inspired by this, and this

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