» i keep carrying you with me: how to let go.
  • i keep carrying you with me: how to let go.

    May 25th • Posted in love, personal, writing

    I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why people carry so much love for certain physical things.

    Growing up, I never treasured a childhood blankie, or loved a stuffed animal so much that time and wear ravaged it into a dirty rag or sliver of its former glory. The only thing I’ve really held dear is a leather jacket I received as a Christmas present from my mother– which I’ve had for eight years– and I even let go of the idea of that for the most part, because it was time. (The reality is that I probably got really drunk one night and left it at a bar. Or I left it at school and forgot about it. Or it was stolen. The end.) But I’ve never felt this hard-pressed love for things that I’ve had for years on end, even though I enjoy them. While I think it’d be hard for me to part with certain material things (for instance, if I lost one of my favourite dresses,) it’s easy enough to replace with another dress. It’s the same reasoning I apply to moving out, which is why I end up throwing or giving everything away, and start from scratch when I move to a new place. It’s not necessarily wasteful if I’m donating to someone who could use it more than me, right?

    No matter how hard I’ve tried, I cannot seem to apply this sensible logic to my personal life. The people that come through my life, no matter the impact they’ve made, all seem to leave with (as David Foster Wallace so eloquently puts it) claw marks on them. I try to remember that there are different types of people that enter throughout one’s life span: those who are just passing through, hurricanes that destroy everything and leave nothing (these are by far, the most awful– but the biggest blessings, even if I don’t realise it immediately after the destruction) and those who will stay forever.  I have always been told relationships of any sort were a two-way street: the other person has to be willing, open and reciprocating of your efforts in order to have an open avenue of communication. But I was never warned about the hurt I would feel when someone wasn’t open and receptive to my communication, or when I was forced to let go of something sooner than I was ready to let go.

    I mention this now because Tobi and I just moved into our new place. Despite all the stress, my boyfriend finds it funny that I can just throw random things away. And that I’m happy to replace them with new things– that I could let things go so easily and not bat an eyelash at it. I so dearly wish I was as flippant with people I don’t want in my life anymore (or don’t need– shouldn’t need) as I am with inanimate objects. But I’m not. I find it hard to cut off all contact with people that have come through my life. Some cases are easier than others, but most end in a struggle to come to a place of closure.

    For some relationships, this was easy. A former best friend and I ended a friendship in utter radio silence. I still have friends who ask me what happened to us, and I can’t respond with a definitive answer. A lot of things happened, but you can’t maintain a friendship if a person is actively avoiding you and the hard intricacies of a failing friendship. And I was in a place in my life where I was finding out who I really was and where I fit in the community– I did not want to place the time or effort battling it out with someone who really didn’t want to do the same for me. In contrast, for others, this process is long, enduring and difficult. Maybe my ability to romanticise many of my fleeting relationships with men, or people that are constant enigmas hinders my ability to let go. Perhaps it’s the infinite amounts of love I have to give and I’m not sure how to manage it or disperse it evenly between the people I have in my life. It’s something I’m still working on.

    I think I’m also bringing this up because of an incident that happened fairly recently. The thought of someone I had a thing (whatever it was, beautiful fleeting fling– a summer romance) with having a thing with someone I knew bothered me; mainly because it was uncharted territory, but also because of the memories I held onto so dearly. The nostalgia of the moments we had together was too much for me to bear. Maybe it’s because I’m someone who puts a lot of stock into the intimacies of sex and love, even if it’s only for one night. But stupid things like getting caught up in the memories of someone that was wrong for me is the stuff that I’m talking about: I should be able to let go of people like this easily, but I don’t know if I can.

    My boyfriend reassures me that this is a normal thing. While I don’t think it is– he tells me that it’s a good thing that I can hold so much love for people, even though they’ve wronged me, or even if I don’t speak to them as often (if at all) anymore. But sometimes being the person that carries around all this weight is difficult. The memories that I carry are often scars, remnants of those who have wronged or hurt. While I am healed for the most part, and I’ve “let go” of many people– I’m wondering if it is as hard for others as it is for me to cut people off, to let them loose and set them free. I can’t take back the memories, and I can’t let those go because they are moments that define who I am– but I’m wondering if other people feel this sense of utter loss and hurt and try to fight as hard as they can to keep something, like I do.

    Do the things you let go of also have claw marks on them? Or do you set them free, cut them loose, and let them go when they’re no longer useful to you, or they’re not good for you anymore?