I spent the weekend going through boxes of old journals, letters, cards, and photos. I came face to face with me at 18, 20, 25, 30, 32, 33. There were things I had forgotten that I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of. There were things I had hoped to never think about again staring me in the face. There were reminders of people no longer in my life. There were reminders of a shared past with people still in my life. I had some good laughs and some hard cries.
As I reflected back on the last 16 years of my life I came to some very hard realizations. I have spent most of my life believing I did not deserve to be happy or loved. I spent a lot of time dodging happiness and love, allowing people into my life who were not so good for me, fucking things up to prevent myself from being loved fully. It took being left, as opposed to the one always doing the leaving, to crack me open, break down the walls, and soften the hardened edges.
While there is sadness, for all the people lost and hurt, opportunities missed, and unnecessary suffering, there is an overwhelming sense of relief and lightness. I am no longer that person. I get to make different choices from here on out. I get to be happy and loved.
I wound up getting rid of 90% of the stuff I went through. It was incredibly healing. A dear friend reminded me that it is not necessary to hold on to the pieces of our past that are toxic to the present. My head is still spinning from all of the memories, revelations, and letting go that occurred in the last few days. Or maybe that’s just the hangover from all the cocktails and wine it took to actually open some of those boxes and go through their contents. The mementos I did keep bring a smile to my face when I think of them. They fill me with gratitude for the people and experiences that have helped shape me into who I am today.