Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Things I Leave Behind

As I transition from living in a wooded lot in the ex-burbs of Northern Virginia to living in a cozy house with a grand view of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains, I think a lot about packing. I talk a lot about stuff. As someone who once lived out of a backpack for a few months in India and a few years in Thailand, I'm acutely aware of how much stuff I've acquired.

It's so American, but it's not all bad. This furniture has purpose, the board games help bond my family together, the books hold stories I'll reread, the kitchen tools often entice my kids to help out a little more with the cooking, the clothes (especially jewelry!) are fun ways to express myself.

As I plan for these items to be gently wrapped in bubble and paper and boxes so they arrive at their destination in tact, I think that there should be just as much focus on the things I'd like to leave behind.

I need to dig up some holes in the yard, I think, so the weight of the solid earth can hold down some memories and keep them from traveling with me. The truth is, I had some crazy moments in this house. I have three young children, so there were times that were ugly when my patience wore thin. I yelled, I spanked, I slammed things, and now I shudder remembering. I hope they don't remember. Still, I want to dig up a hole in the yard and put these memories there.

I want to bury even deeper the friction that occurred within these walls with my husband. Years six through eight of our marriage had some seriously un-pretty moments that I'd like to forget once and for all.

Another part of me I'd like to leave behind is the super-apologizing woman. I'm the queen of I'm Sorry. It's my default mode, my way of getting through an argument, the way to accommodate. It's so not the strong woman that I am during the rest of the day, and I have to leave behind the passive-aggressive way that I fight and believe that there is a healthier, better way for me to fight for myself as an individual and for me within my partnership.

This is life. These imperfections, these low points, these not-so-ideal parts of me. I get that, and I forgive myself for them (most of the time). But I'd like to move on to some new imperfections, because I'm a little tired of yelling, resentment, and having too soggy a spine. So I'll purposefully take them out of the moving boxes, carry them outside our sweet, yellow house, and place them into the earth. I think they'll be happier there. Who knows? Something might grow from them.


Jennifer Laffin said...

"I need to dig up some holes in the yard, I think, so the weight of the solid earth can hold down some memories and keep them from traveling with me." Such a powerful, perfect line! Good luck on your move.

Anonymous said...

This is honest and vulnerable and so real. Thank you for sharing this perspective with us. You are right, this is a time to leave those things behind and move on. Good luck.

Karen Szymusiak said...

I loved your honesty in this post. Wonderfully written. Something to think about. Makes me wonder about what I would leave buried in the yard. Some quickly come to mind.
Thank you. Happy Writing!

Unknown said...

I love how you wrote this post. I got lost with you in your thoughts and your memories. You are not alone. I could seriously dig some holes in my yard. In fact, I wish I could to bury those things that bring me shame, sadness or regret. I do think though that these things shape us, and our relationships. I don't know. But if we could, I'm in!