1/04/2006

the things we leave behind

We all leave things behind, people we cannot love anymore, those who cannot love us, memories that are too painful to carry, pieces of ourselves - intentional or not, there are things we discard. I've become a champion runner, dashing towards some finish line that is barely visible. I've run marathons away from myself, trying desperately to be - someone else. Rarely have I looked back at the debris littering the road I've followed, most times ignorance is bliss. Yesterday I was cleaning out old desk drawers, drawers that I have not opened for more than ten years. It sounds crazy doesn't it? I've moved this desk from place to place, decorated it's surface with vases and pictures, ignoring what it carried on the inside. I've bumped my hips on it's corners as if it were trying to reach out and speak to me, "look inside," but still - it's drawers remained closed. It's amazing how something so material, so solid - can still be invisible. I'm not sure why yesterday became the day for me to look inside, maybe it was a step I needed to take to move on, to become that person I long to be. Whatever the reason, yesterday I opened up my past, reminders of the things I left behind. I found pictures of my ex-husband and I, happy and smiling, young and ignorant, in love with the people we thought we were. I found letters I'd written to my father and never sent, letters that exposed the most broken parts of myself - the parts he owned. These things made me cry, not because I left them behind, but because as fast as I'd run away, as much distance as I thought I'd put between that life and this one, here they were - exactly where I'd left them. I guess I've avoided opening these drawers because they contained pieces of the self I have tried so many times to heal, but couldn't. I loved my ex-husband but I didn't deserve him - so I left. I thought I'd forgiven my father, but I hadn't. Pretending pain doesn't exist doesn't mean it's not still there lurking in the shadows waiting for a ray of light to expose it for all that it is. So I sat down an I looked at those photos, I smiled at that girl who thought she'd had all the answers, I smiled at the boy who loved her with all his heart, and then I put them where they belonged - in the past. I read those letters, part of me wanted to send them to my dad but I knew that wouldn't accomplish what I really needed it to so instead I called my dad up and told him I loved him. It took me so long to look inside that desk, maybe before I wasn't strong enough, but now I am. I emptied those drawers and placed everything in a box labeled, "old junk." I think for now, I'll leave those drawers empty.

16 Comments:

  1. Joe said...
    Wow. I mean...

    wow.

    I don't even know what to say, but I'll try to say something.

    I know how hard it is to put things like this up for public consumption. Thanks for opening up to us, and for giving us the courage to look at our own lives as honestly as you do yours.
    WDKY said...
    That's the thing though NWC, isn't it? The past isn't something we can run from - we just have to accept that what was... was. Sometimes the pain from these things we remember also makes us realise how much we've developed as people, how far we've come. You're a perfect example of that.
    Caterpillar said...
    I agree with Joe - my first reaction was Wow.

    Looking through things from the past can be painful, funny, so many things. And also interesting, to see how we were, and how far we've come.

    This was just a perfect post, I can't say much more.
    NML said...
    Fab post. It is astounding the emotional journey that you are going on. Take care x
    Just Some Gal said...
    Oh my NWC, I seriously almost posted about something similar! I have it drafted but you have put so much into words better than I ever could have. I don't have an old desk, I already have the plastic tub tucked away in the darkest corner of the hall closet.

    I'm glad you called your father babe. And thank you for sharing so much with us.

    ((Hugs))
    Networkchic said...
    You are righ WDKY, we try to run but somehow we always come right back to the place we started.

    Blondie...I bet we've all got some 'old junk' out there that needs to be taken off a shelf, looked at, and then put away. So often we shove it to the back of our closets hoping it will disappear behind the shoe rack.
    k o w said...
    I wish I had a desk I could look into for items such as the ones you found but I don't. I tend to incinerate everything about my past everyday. Sometimes I lose something dear and I question my motives behind destroying the past.
    Chuck said...
    NWC, this post reminds me of a tiny often overlooked but powerful part in The Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan calls out what he sees in Peter. Peter cowers over past failures...saying, "..you don't know who I am..." Aslan, finishing his sentence, reciting exactly who he is, knowing full well all his scars and shame.
    It's like Peter's 'desk drawers' were hidden in silence and Aslan not only exposed & cleaned them out. He brought healing.

    Thanks for another soul-barring post.
    e.e. said...
    Soul baring, and soul cleansing, I think.

    And so beautifully written. I am so glad you found me.... so that it led me to you.

    It is truly a great pleasure reading you, my friend.
    My God, it is.
    Networkchic said...
    Thanks em, I feel the same about your blog. I remember when I first discovered your blog and it was like reading my own diary...call it fate or karma but something was lined up right that day.
    kimmyk said...
    I can not even imagine looking at my past and wanting to go through some of those emotions again. I'll leave mine tucked behind the shoe rack because today my life is good...if I open old boxes .... I'm just not ready to do that....
    Zoozan said...
    An expression that I use about some of the difficult times in my life that I'm not ready to think about yet, is that I've put them in the 'too difficult drawer'.

    You've been brave enough to open real difficult drawers.

    beautifully done
    NMAMFQLMSH said...
    Here's my two cents ~ memories good and bad are just like lessons (good or bad) ~ they are life lessons and those memories are life memories. I have "memory boxes" that I have come to throw all those things that hold something to me good and bad into. I'm up to 3 now - 3 pretty big boxes. lol. Hold onto memories because we can't easre the past we can only learn from it.
    I see you,
    JJ
    PS: Shit that was a mouthful - more like 25 cents.
    WDKY said...
    I prefer this to the Bunny. Just thought I'd tell you x
    Lance said...
    You and I are on a journey connected on other parts of the country. I have written a lot of what you wrote about in this post. Most of it I took down and recreated a different themed blog, but it is alwyas there, that junk drawer, I am constantly purging.

    I am glad I came back for another look.
    NewYorkMoments said...
    Wherever you go, there you are.

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