I know I am not alone, but that knowledge is unhelpful.
I'm going to abandon this Theme. I'm just not Into It, Not Feelin' The Love, Not--all puns intended-- Enamored With It. Maybe it's not even the theme, you know? Hey, Theme. It's not you, it's me. Things just didn't Work Out. It's better we go our separate ways, and I hope we can still Be Friends.
Breaking up is always a shitful part of relationships, and I have to say that I did try to be a good Breaker-Upper. I did not have extensive Boyfriend Experience, however, so I cannot be too self-congratulatory. I did have a couple of young men who thought they were my boyfriend, only to find out that they were not. If passing on that information counts as Breaking Up, then maybe I had more experience than I originally thought.
But I digress.
Sometimes I wonder if Breaking Up is so lousy because of the Love part or because of the Fear part. What are some of the very first things you hear a person say after a breakup? "What will I do now?" "I don't understand." "I feel like my whole world has fallen apart." Every single one of those statements is completely understandable and appropriate, and every one expresses Fear. Aside from horror movies and maybe roller coasters, no one truly likes to be scared.
And so much baggage! People to tell, stuff to give back or throw away, explanations to go through while you relive the details over and over again. It's like a Death. No matter how you spin it, Break-Ups are awful. Part of me wishes it were customary to do it surgically, like a subpoena is served. Someone shows up with a document, hands it to the Break-Upee, and walks away. The End. I think I would feel better if on the receiving end of that. Maybe.
But we all know what a Sentimental Autistic I have become. I am thinking now of my wedding dress, still in its huge box, supposedly preserved, someplace in our crawlspace. I haven't looked at it since the day I took it to the cleaners about 34 years ago. I could drop it in a Salvation Army clothing bin tomorrow and not care a bit. What do I need it for? It seems a terrible waste of money now. (Why is it that men traditionally rent their wedding clothes, but women buy theirs, anyway? I wonder if brides-to-be are suffused with some sort of biochemical cocktail which makes them eschew the very idea of renting a gown, even if it could be a designer gown of their dreams. A quick search tells me that this is now available; the comments on the story tell me that it is also not new for large cities.)
I've already tossed all of the other wedding tchotchkes I thought I'd save forever and forever. The handmade ring pillow (our rings fell off of it, prompting a mad search by the best man), the wedding "unity" candle, the dried-out remains of my bouquet... oh, all sorts of things which had nowhere to be. Why save them? We're married, we're together, we have kids for heaven's sake. I don't need any other mementos of our marriage.
I broke up with that Stuff.
It was, if you'll excuse the reference, Hard To Do. It made me feel guilty. It made me a little afraid. I knew it could be seen as if I didn't revere or respect the Past, like I was trashing the memory of our wedding.
It isn't that at all.
When I throw away or donate things that I no longer need, it's for that reason. I no longer need them. I don't need Things to remind me of how much I love my husband or our life together. I don't need baby shoes to remind me of my sons or how much I love them and the human beings they've become. I can't live a full, wonderful life of Now if I have it crammed full of Then. Our story is rich and ongoing. Every day I celebrate Us. I go on, making room for new chapters.