And there, in a bag I received at an event during my undergraduate career, I found a bastion of letters, notes, and miscellaneous messages and what-nots from an ex-girlfriend. Most of the artifacts were two relationships old–light years from where I am right now.
I smiled as I skimmed the material, and I wondered: when do you throw away artifacts of previous relationships? I’ve got a ton of pictures. A good amount of what I found was created with someone for whom I have the utmost respect. Am I somehow dishonoring myself and those memories if I cast away the memorials of the relationship? Am I disrespecting my current relationship and setting myself up for trouble because I’m holding onto items from my past? Is it unreasonable and petty for my lady to be concerned with gifts from my previous life?
Most of what I found reminds me of me, FIRST, and the relationship second, and even when I’m reminded of the relationship, I do not fall into an emotional abyss wherein I’m trapped, replaying movements from my past. Still, I’m careful. For example, an ex purchased a star in my name–a beautiful gesture indeed. Though there is no emotional connection sparked by looking at the star registry, I don’t keep the proof mounted anywhere in my home.
A friend of mine has a bunch of clothes from a previous relationship, and she has sworn that however comfortable the clothes are and emotionally detached from the clothes she is, she will give them away pending a change in the seriousness of her current relationship.
Perhaps that’s the key–the seriousness of the relationship. I’ve dated, but I’ve kept those relationship artifacts, in part, because I wasn’t going to throw away a catalyst for a positive memory for the latest Keisha that I might have been dating. That would have been foolish blasphemy, but now, now this is different. The seriousness of my relationship is different, and I found myself compelled to smile at the artifacts when I transformed them into rubbish in my heart, mind, and hand as I crumpled letters, messages, and niceties before ultimately trashing them.
I’m not with the sort of woman who would plunder my property and privacy in order to read what some ex-girlfriend might have sent me, but I couldn’t come up with a single good reason for keeping that stuff. I haven’t thrown out the star registry receipt yet. I’m still debating on whether it’s worth it for me to take a stand on a gift that I truly appreciate–a gift that doesn’t remind me of anything but myself. We’ll see.
What I do know is that fighting for the principle of things often leads to a Pyrrhic victory. At this point, my goal is peace and happiness, and regardless of how anyone might feel about it, the truth is that a happy home begins and ends with a happy woman. Deal with it. I am, and I’m happy about it.
Tomorrow is trash day.