If you’ve followed my life story of the last few years you already know that I’ve done a great deal of downsizing. I’ve lost 60 some odd pounds, sold a home and 95% of its contents. I’ve donated more to Goodwill in the last two years than I think I have purchased there in my whole lifetime–and I love me some goodwill/thrifting. Over the last few years I have tried to develop a practice of letting go. It sounds so easy right? Live simply, let go, its just stuff.
I’m no hoarder, but until this recent purge, I’d developed a massive collection of bits and scraps of a life, my life. I’d kept momentos more than anything else: rocks from walks, scraps of paper, cards, photos, letters, metal objects, earring onesies. I figured that I’d lost so much in this short little life, hanging on to these “useless” items had always been quite useful to me. They help me remember. You see my memory is shit. I’ve always chalked this up to my brain protecting me, keeping me “safe” from the harsh realities of a life lived with pain, sadness, depression and abuse. But, I’ve not been run over by a dump truck or had traumatic brain damage. I’ve never had to worry about whether my table would have food on it, how I would get to school, or where I was going to sleep. But Samantha (Sambolina, Sammy, Sambo-suave, Sam, Floyd) my first lady love, had all these things and worse happen. Her memory was shit too. I think it was our shared difficult backgrounds that made her feel so kindred to me.
Sam died this week. I am angry and sad. I’m fucking pissed actually.
For the first time since my downsizing I am so fucking angry with my buddah-esque bullshit choice I could scream. I had collected a lifetime of things, and in one big emotional let-it-go, I chucked it and/or sold it all away. Lighter, sure. Freed up to live in today, the moment, yes. Fuck, yes. But you know what, for the first time since this purge, I hate this new “freedom.”
“When was the last time you talked to her?” someone asked. May? June – yes, June 21st, her birthday. But the distance between us recently was growing. I always knew where she was in some way – I’d be lurking on the facespaces, seeing photos of her pop up in shared friends feeds. She looked happy-ish. I heard through friends that she was adored at her current job, being the amazing helper that she was. I was distant, but never stopped loving her. I was distant because I am married, and the space we held was that kind of space. Sure, we had learned to be friends, it took a long time to get there. But I couldn’t go for long drives anymore. I couldn’t go for a ride on the back of her bike, and I couldn’t just meet up for beers. I knew all too well how I am; and I couldn’t do that to her, or to my partner.
So in this last purge I sold our engagement ring, a pendant of with a map of Ireland she bought for me, and threw away a few old love letters, over a dozen “mix tapes” she made for me while living in KC. Oh, and I finally let go of the suicide note that she wrote, the one after we had broken up. FUCK. I held on to it for years, 10 to be exact. What could I possibly need with it. She had moved on and told me repeatedly she “never had the guts” to actually go through with it.
Now all I want to do is tear apart my things and scream. And also sing, croon & bellow along to all those songs she gave me, used to sing to me: Leather & Lace, Satellite, Total Eclipse of the Heart, the entirety of David Gray’s work. I didn’t actually do what I just did, did I? But I did do it. I let it go.
Every action requires an equal reaction. So here I am, lighter of my things, but heavy in heart. Today I don’t like downsizing. Today I wish I had these things. But more than these, I wish we all had Sam.
A gathering is planned for Tuesday night at 7:30 at the Seward Cafe. All are invited and welcome to come.