Yesterday I decided to clean out the back bedroom of my home, where I had been just throwing stuff out of the way for quite a while. Totes that I had never opened in years, boxes of stuff that needed to the “gone through” and everything that didn’t quite have a spot yet. It’s been a year this week since I got this home and moved in. And while the rest of the house looks fine, that back room had accumulated quite a bit and had stored a lot since my move. It was time to purge some of it, throw it away or yard sale the good stuff. It was a lot of things that I just didn’t need or want any longer.
But there, hidden in that room, were two totes that I had hauled around with me for the last five years that I had never dared to open. Yesterday I opened them. They contained the tattered remnants of my “old life”; of my 13+ years with my ex, Leigh. Inside were all of the old files from our farm that we owned together, records of horse innoculations, little notes, bills, and everything tied to that relationship and our being inter-connected as a couple for all those years. Yes, even the receipts for the wedding rings. For two or three folders I held it together, then I found a tattered old napkin on which she had written some little things on one of our anniversaries. I could feel myself sinking; dropping very low inside of myself, to a place I had long ago buried in my heart and soul. I began to feel the anger swell, the rage at myself for all I had done in leaving that relationship, and the sadness, oh the sadness.
As a Butch I am sometimes a bit on the emotionally dead side. Ok, maybe it’s just me and has nothing to do with being Butch. But whatever it is, I have that stupid and yet very solidly ingrained ability to shut things out of my brain and not deal with them; just hope they will disappear. That is what I have done with every thought of Leigh and all those great years we shared. Buried it and deep. It wasn’t meant to happen this way; we were going to grow old together. Then I screwed that all up, and walked. Now I can’t even put together a full sentence to tell you why or to come up with any “good” reasons. And honestly, I carry her in my heart still…even though I wish I could let that go so badly. THAT hurts the worst. I cannot think of her or mention her name without getting choked up and becoming depressed. But I cannot change the past, and I have to somehow find a way to deal with this inside of myself. A way that will not continue to ravage every possible future relationship I might have. It’s so not fair. Nothing about it is right. And nothing I have done since makes much sense in the grand scheme of things. How does one reconcile this kind of shit within themselves, or do they ever?
I forced myself to go through that entire tote of records, and it got worse emotionally by the minute. To the point of me finally going into a complete rage – at myself – yelling, screaming, punching things…I felt I wanted to just explode, and disintegrate on that very spot. Disappear and pretend I never existed. My melt down lasted for a little while, then I regained some small amount of composure and decide that all of it HAD TO GO. I had to purge this piece of physical connection out of my life; clean that room and clear that space – physically and emotionally. I did not need any of the stuff in that tote. Furiously I shredded documents, receipts, paperwork and memories. One by one, page by page, my “old life” was turned into threads of paper, wispy and unreadable. But hadn’t I already done this? Had I not shredded the relationship 5 years ago when I made the decision to leave?
So, I did make it through every file in that tote, all 200 of them, in between breaks and bouts of self-rage and hatred. Never in my life have I felt so small, or so angry at myself. The pile is much, much smaller now….a tattered napkin remains, and as I held it in my hand I felt the grief of a thousand days flow through my veins. I don’t know what to do with it, the rage, the anger or the grief. Still this morning I am in a state of flux.
I immediately hauled ALL of those shredded papers/memories to the dumpster. They could NOT stay in my home; in my space, any longer. I have to get by this, get over it and move on. But I know this, when you love someone that deeply, and have them in your every day for years and years you NEVER stop, the love may change, grow, die a little, morph and rekindle even…but it never leaves your heart and soul. How to deal with that is a whole nother issue…perhaps I need a good therapist and some time to process, or perhaps I will just re-bury the whole thing just a bit deeper this time. I don’t know. But something has to happen, and I know it.
There is a second tote. It contains photos. We were together before the days of digital photos, so there are lots of hard copy photos, negatives and the such. I do not know if I will ever have the fortitude to sort through those. I know I want to keep some of the ones of the kids, old friends, pets, proud moments, but I know there are a lot of the two of us together in happier times, and I’m not sure I can mentally endure seeing those things again….so for now it remains sealed and will wait til I decide what to do.
This has been the hardest post to ever write for me. But I HAD to write it. I had to start to let myself know it’s okay to be sad and I have to find a way to finally be okay with the way life is going. I have to move on from the self-hatred I felt yesterday and find my peace with all of this once and for all. I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I pray that one day I can look back without tears streaming down my face. One day…