As I’m sitting here beyond my trusty keyboard, I’m reminded of the fact that I’ll be moving soon. I’m not sure of the exact date but it’s close enough that I need to think about starting pack up my stuff in the near future.
Since my over analytical brain never shuts up, I’m thinking about this daunting task and wondering how I might be able to apply this feeling to my survivor journey. See! Inspiration can come out of the oddest of situations, or the most normal of situations.
In a never ending quest to procrastinate, I was able to take some time this evening and talk to a good friend of mine who happens to live halfway around the world. Laura, who I met through the survivor community, shared a rather interesting insight with me.
I was talking about how I have some big containers of old T-shirts and other stuff that’s been collecting dust for over a decade now. Most of it is from a time in my life that I’m not proud of, but in typical pack rat fashion, I’ve kept it with me in closets all this time.
As we talked, I mentioned how I think it’s high time I get rid of this stuff. After all, the memories it brings up are not of a happy time, but of time of struggle. A time in my life when I went off the deep end with alcohol. Also a time of just general denial about who I was, where I came from, and where my life was headed.
“So just get rid of that stuff, you don’t need it anymore“…she said. Such a simple statement but it got me thinking.
To be fair, it’s not all bad memories. A little bit of this stuff is just old clothes that I’ve had from when I was a teenager that I never parted with even though there’s no way in hell I’m ever fitting into it ever again.
Anyway, if I’m going to clean house, in the literal sense, parting with various things of my past, I might as well go all the way and do it right. On that topic, getting rid of old stuff can be a symbolic way of where I’m headed in my journey of healing.
As survivors, we are working towards digging out all the junk in our minds that haunts us. The stuff that’s been packed away in a box, hidden under a pile of memories that we’d just rather not bring up. Who wants to deal with all that mess anyway?
Well, we do! Ok, perhaps we don’t really want too but we know we have too. You can’t suppress your trauma away forever and it certainly doesn’t go away by itself. Just like all this stuff in the closet that you can see has been collecting dust.
If I don’t do something about it, it’s not going to walk itself out the door and down to the donation box a few miles away.
We do so much mental work in healing, but the physical act of literally get rid of bad memories in the form of stuff, can be very liberating. There’s something about removing the past from our daily existence that gives us an extra boost of energy.
A new sense of hope, motivation, and encouragement can propel us forward with a renewed sense of purpose.
Even if we don’t look at all of our old stuff every day, we know it’s there. We move it around during the holidays to dig out the decorations, or dig through it trying to find that old book we lost a long time ago.
The same thing goes with healing. We keep pushing our past aside in order to try and find happiness and contentment. Often times we’d rather keep suppressing because we’re so used to it. Hey it’s gotten us this far hasn’t it?
How far has it really gotten us, I mean really how much better off are we if we still have all this junk in our past just sitting there collecting dust and piling up?
I was reminded of this a number of times while working with J. “But I’ve lasted this far, I’m doing ok, I’ve managed to keep my life together”. “At what cost though”, she says? “Are you really, truly happy? Are you living the life you want?”
There can’t possibly be any other answer other than, “No”.
As I take another step forward in my healing journey, by getting rid of stuff that fosters old, unhealthy memories, maybe you can consider taking a similar step. Whether it’s tubs full of old clothes, or the closet in our minds filled a past we’d rather forget, taking steps to get rid of the junk might just be what the doctor ordered.
So let’s leave the past behind, and look ahead to what’s coming that’s good! Looking back at our old, tattered past, our old junk won’t get us any further ahead or make us feel any better.
Besides, you’ll have some more closet space for new, healthy memories more more good stuff instead of old, unhealthy stuff.
image courtesy of wall.alphacoders.com