Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Letting Go

I hold on to things, people, emotions. I'm a pack-rat in body and mind. It's hard for me to let go completely. There's always the thought lurking in the back of my mind that someday this or that could be useful. It's the same with clothes, extra pens, memories... men.

I have a photo album that I made a couple of years ago filled with pictures of EXBF and me. After this weekend, it would be more accurate to say I had a photo album filled with pictures of EXBF and me. Now, I still have the album but it's mostly filled with pictures of me.

One of my close girl friends and I went to Philly this weekend because we both happened to have Columbus Day off. We decided to make it into a girl-bonding, purging weekend. She has an ex-husband and things from him that she wanted to let go of; I have left-over emotions regarding my relationship with EXBF.

We had so much fun running around Philly that we didn't get to the purging until the bus-ride home. She went first, then me. I flipped through the album, looking at pictures of our vacation in Belize, remembering snorkeling and getting scraped up on the reef, the perfect bungalow on the edge of the island with the hammock perched perfectly over the water, the night of the storm, and caving among Mayan ruins. There were also pictures of our first year together, pictures of a cake I got him for his birthday, nights out dancing, both of us smiling, and hugging, and close to one another. There were a lot of him looking cute and sweet (quite deceptive actually).

Sitting there on the bus, I hadn't known what I was going to do. I sat there holding one picture in my hand, looking at his big brown eyes, remembering feeling tenderness for him (feeling a tiny bit of tenderness despite everything), and thinking how much I had loved him and how much I had tried to make it work. I drank in the picture, the features of his face, his eyes staring out at mine, and then...

...I slowly and deliberately tore it in half.

It felt delicious so I kept tearing until the picture was reduced to a pile of feathery fragments.

It was so liberating. It was like a rush of elated adrenaline surged through my body. It felt so good that I picked up another one, and then another one. I ended up ripping into tiny pieces almost every single picture with him in it, including most of the ones where we were together. I saved two pictures of us where I looked particularly cute, and then folded the picture so that you could only see me. Much better.

As I methodically ripped up the pictures, periodically saying, "Buh-bye, EXBF!," I felt so happy at the confirmation that I no longer need those pictures. I don't need the weight of the emotions. I want to be rid of them completely. I don't want to feel sad, angry, or bitter. I want to forgive him for not being what I wanted him to be, for his faults, his selfishness, his immaturity, his inability to be by himself, and then I want to wish him the best and wash my hands of these memories.

A lot has changed in the 11 months since we broke up. I don't feel pain anymore, but I do on occasion still feel sadness. I see our relationship differently now, from a much clearer perspective, and I see all the reasons that I am so lucky not to be in it any more. I deserve a lot more than he ever gave me - than he was capable of giving. I am still a little angry. I still feel a sense of injustice - that I was wronged. But, what can I do with those feelings? Nothing. I can let myself feel them and move on. That's all. Those emotions do nothing for me, nor do pictures of him.

If you have something you want to let go, trying ripping up a picture or two and see how it feels. It's symbolic but in the symbolism powerful. The last time I saw his face, my heart was in shreds. This time, it was him who had been ripped to pieces and released.

Poetic justice.


Gypsy said...

I'm glad it felt so good to purge those feelings.

I've never torn anything up, but I can see the draw. I've only ever been the dumped, but none of the guys who ended things were jerks, really. Things just fizzled, mostly. So, I packed up all the pictures and letters and cards and put them out of sight. I go back and look at them very rarely, but it's kind of nice when I do.

Starshine said...

Sending a hug for you with a great big smile! I love purging moments, and I'm so glad that exercise was freeing and cathartic for you!


No Nonsense Girl said...

I'm glad you were able to let go, for yourself and your happiness. I did something similar yesterday.

BTW, I don't know if you've seen this, but I tagged you on thursday with a Meme. :)

M said...

i am the opposite of a pack rat. i use everything up, cannabalize my entire life and leave nothing behind when i move on. occasionally i will have one random item which survives with me for several years but eventually all photos are ripped apart and used in a collage or lost in one of my several moves.

i would like to give some of my inability to hold on to a pack rat like you. in exchange, maybe i would get a little bit of the pack rat mentality. somewhere in between the two extremes ... a good place to be.

hb said...

good for you, buttercup!

i've done that before. cut up the bf's picture. it felt so good. my girlfriends thought i was crazy, but i had to do it. it was emotionally cleansing for me. my other girlfriends are not so emotional.

my life got a lot better after the ex too, but i didn't see that until almost a year later.

take care! you are on to bigger, better, brighter things and people! people who actually get you and appreciate you. :)

J. Lynne said...

I'm so happy for you! What a great breakthrough! So liberating!