Cathartic Cleaning


Moving is usually just a pain in the ass, no more, no less. That's still true in this case, but this time it's different. It's been a cathartic purging of crap - actual crap and emotional baggage.

Yesterday I sorted through all the stuff I'd squirreled away in a cedar chest - things I thought I would always keep with me, like a paper trail of my existence or a time capsule for others to find after I leave this world. Old SAT scores and report cards, travel souvenirs, journals, stacks of newspaper clippings of momentous events and a few letters to/from friends.

What a surprise - most of that crap wasn't worth keeping. The program from the skating show at the Coliseum when I was 12! I MUST have it! It was fun to look through it and remember what I used to be so attached to, but a relief to throw it out and be free of the clutter.

Amid the papers, playbills and cards I found a few letters from a friend I lost touch with years ago. We had our ups and downs as any friendship does. Unfortunately I'd saved some letters written during the downs.

But reading those letters now, for the first time it became clear that the friendship I thought we had was mostly what I'd imagined it to be. I thought it had been much more than it actually was.

It's hard to lose a friend and even harder when it's not clear why it happened, but seeing the situation with the clarity of hindsight and time makes it easier to let it go. It was never what I thought it was, so I didn't really lose what I thought I did, if that makes any sense.

I still miss her and the connection we had, but it feels good to finally see things clearly and move past it in a new way. I kept only one letter, a funny one that made me laugh. I put the others through the shredder.